Publish Novellas 7 December 2022
EPISODE 2 – HOTELS
Luna goes on the lam to protect herself as witness to a future crime.
Did you skip prior episode?
The things Luna has done so far are temporary measures so she can sleep at night. She now needs to assess her level of danger and come up with a durable game plan.
Perhaps for a few days or more, she should be safe in her current location. During times of danger, people usually have a big brother or Uncle Vinnie to call. But Luna is an only child who settled in this coastal state after college.
During her freshman year, she hung out with some rebellious girls that got expelled. This was a wakeup call to hit the books, so Luna became studious and graduated with honors.
Now she wonders what her former posse is doing. Using her burner, Luna phones Freaky Fran. “Hey girl, what up? This be Lunatic!”
“Luna? Is dat you? Girl, I still be hanging out wit’ da posse in da streets, ya know. What’s up wit’ ya?”
“I graduated and started slavin’ for da man. Has da posse gone hardcore?”
“Ya mean, is we doin’ each other?”
“Not what I mean….” Luna says inaudibly under her breath.
“How’d ya know? Sometimes—when we party and get high’n stuff—we get a little wild wit’ each other. Ya know what I mean? Livin’ up to my name, it can be hardcore. Is ya down wit’ it too?
“We now tagging some graffiti. Ya can hang wit’ us some party night. That’d be a good way to see ya! None of us was mixin’ it up before.”
“Naw girl. Raincheck. Ya stay safe. I miss y’all and still love ya. Peace out!”
By reverting back to her street dialect, Luna got a little too much information. But she determined that her former posse is not equipped to assist in defending against real mobsters. About the only thing they seem useful for is spraying graffiti on a bad guy’s car.
With a brown belt in Kenpo, Luna is not totally defenseless. However, she is not foolish enough to try and kick away bullets.
The stress of being on the run is causing her to wheeze a little. So Luna takes a puff from her asthma inhaler. She then decides to pamper herself as though she is on vacation. Luna books a spa and schedules morning room service for breakfast. After locking the entrance door to her hotel room, Luna takes a hot shower.
She towels herself dry, then poses in front of the full-length mirror to practice kicks in the buff. Because of frequent exercise, she often examines herself unclothed to see how muscles are developing. In fact, she also sleeps and wanders around her house nude. After admiring her own physique, she wraps up in a plush white robe.
With her laptop, she checks work email before falling asleep. Luna awakens to a knock on the door. Despite wearing nothing beneath her robe, she gets into a defensive position, prepared to fight if necessary.
“Who’s there?” she asks.
“Room service. Your breakfast is here,” replies the muffled male voice.
“Oh, thank you. Please set the tray outside the door.”
“Yes ma’am. Have a good day.”
Luna listens intently as the footsteps pushing the rolling cart get fainter down the hallway. She then cautiously opens the door and looks both ways. A man suddenly exits the room across the hallway.
Crouching with legs apart, Luna raises her arms in a karate position. Her robe separates to reveal more than she intends. But modesty is secondary to defense. He raises an eyebrow at her exposure and responds, “We just say 'good morning,’ where I’m from,” before walking away.
Luna relaxes while tying her robe belt and picking up her breakfast tray. It includes a beautiful spread of everything she ordered.
Breakfast includes Eggs Benedict, salad, fresh fruit, breads, juice, and cappuccino. After enjoying the perfect breakfast, she puts her tray back outside the door.
News alerts make no mention of an assassination. So Luna sits in her underwear by her window to continue reading her book. The encounter outside her door emphasizes the need to be ready for action, lounging in more than just a robe.
At 11 o’clock, it’s time for her massage and spa treatment. Whenever Luna leaves her hotel room, she hangs the “Do not disturb” sign and places a strand of hair at a predetermined height in the door jam to signal whether anyone entered.
The female masseuse, Tammy, has Luna disrobe and lay on her stomach. With skillful hands, Tammy releases all tension. When Luna clenches her buttocks, Tammy squeezes harder, slaps her butt and tells her to relax. After submitting, Luna nearly falls asleep before Tammy asks her to turn over on her back.
The chest and upper thigh massage tickles before Tammy slows down and tells her to relax again. After all her muscles are sufficiently loose, Luna accepts Tammy’s suggestion to go and sit in the Jacuzzi or sauna for 20 minutes.
When Luna returns to her room, she is so relaxed she takes a nap. Awakening at 2 o’clock, she orders a light lunch from room service. While waiting, she puts on her leggings and stretches, hoping to go to the gym after eating.
Responding to a voice calling out “room service,” Luna opens the door. A man forces his way in and shuts the door. When he pulls a knife, Luna disarms him and after a few swift kicks, maneuvers a choke hold. When the assailant passes out, Luna ties him up with the robe belt, gathers her belongings, and drops her room key at the front desk.
Moving quickly, she gets to her rental car while cautiously looking over her shoulder. She now realizes that she should have gotten out of the city, if not the state. On a rural patch of highway, Luna notices a red car in hot pursuit.
With a history of defensive driving courses, she does not allow the car to pass. She zigzags across the road dividing line before accelerating to escape.
In the city, Luna exceeds the speed limit to get attention of police officers. As the sirens flash, the red car aborts its chase. After explaining what was going on, the officers issue a speeding ticket anyway.
Still needing to put distance between her pursuer, Luna begins driving around the city until she is certain no one is following. Before getting on the highway, she refuels the gas tank. The red car pulls up behind her.
As two men step out, she turns the gas hose on them and begins smashing out windows with the nozzle and pouring gasoline inside. When the car speeds away, Luna calls the police to give a description of the car and license plate number.
Then she burns rubber in her vehicle while exiting the gas station before driving out of town. Reasoning that the next city is the obvious place to look, Luna passes it by. Because it’s getting late, she stays in a motel. It is not ideal, but she checks the window every 30 minutes to make certain no one tampers with her car.
About a quarter to midnight, she notices someone hovering around her vehicle. Not wanting to initiate confrontation, Luna hopes he will be gone in the morning.
Since the car is 100 feet from her motel door, she doesn’t leave her room the next morning. Instead, she waits to escape under the cover of darkness when no one appears to be near her vehicle.
As she unlocks the driver-side door, a man comes from behind the car and presses his face against her window. Luna gets away but another vehicle pursuit ensues. Meanwhile, she tries to understand why there is so much interest in her since she cannot identify the would-be assassins.
The automobile navigation system reveals a rental car drop-off location near the waterfront. Luna ditches the vehicle and heads for the pier. Two men approach from different directions.
In response, she strips down to her underwear to reduce drag before diving into the water. Remaining under water, she swims toward docked boats to come up for air.