“What do you see?” I asked.

“Everything. My name’s Bill. Say, you work in the lounge?”

“That’s right.” I shook his hand. “My name’s Andy.”

“Good to meet you, Andy. Why do you work in the Fairbanks Hotel?”

“I’m trying to be a writer.”

“You chose a strange place. If you want a good story, you should follow me to the east corridor, at midnight.”

“What’s in the east corridor?”

“Rats.”

“Oh, can’t you hire an exterminator?”

“Tried that. We poisoned them, but they keep coming back.”

“Maybe something more potent?”

“We experimented with Cyclone B. It’s the stuff the Nazis used against the Jews in World War II. Left a residue on the wallpaper. I had to clean it off in a hazmat suit. Nobody lives in the east corridor, anymore, accept rats. They survived the green clouds of cyanide gas.”

“I don’t want to go down there.”

“Trust me, it’s safe. All you need is an oxygen mask.”

I seriously doubted that.

“They make great target practice too,” Bill said. It’s open season. The owner gives me 5 dollars a rat-hide. I throw the carcasses into the river.”

“Okay, I’ll meet you there tonight,” I said.

He smiled. “I’ll pick-up some pizza for the both of us—it makes great rat bait.”

My stomach turned.

When the evening closed in, I felt like a trapped rat. My eyes were beady, and my teeth were unbrushed, and yellow. The janitor opened my bedroom door, and pointed a crossbow at my chest.

“Five dollars a rat-hide!” He screamed.

The bolt pierced my flesh, and I woke-up in a cold sweat.

To be continued…

6 thoughts on “The Rats in the Halls

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