The room is drab, lifeless and basic, like a thousand other cheap hotel rooms in a thousand other hotels in a thousand other cities. It’s perfect. There’s nothing to tie me here, nothing to link me to this place. I could be anyone right now.

Just so long as that anyone isn’t me, that’s fine.

It’s the first time in too many days that I’ve even thought about sleeping. The realisation hits me like a truck, and even though the bed is too small and too lumpy, I sink into it like it’s a pile of soft feathers. It’s not so much sleeping as passing out.

I open my eyes later – how many hours later, I don’t know – and lie on my back watching a faint orange light pulsate across the ceiling. Flash, flash, flash. I presume they had a power cut here at some point, or the housekeeping unplugged the alarm clock to plug in the vacuum cleaner and reset it. I watch the flashing for a few minutes before it gets annoying, then I sit up and turn around to switch it off.

That’s when I realise there’s no alarm clock in the room.

The light is coming from an eerie shape that’s coming out of the wall, probing and poking at the frayed edge of the rug. A single tendril, throbbing with a sick orange light, creeping in like ivy sped up. It’s between me and the door, but it doesn’t appear to have noticed me yet.

I slide carefully back over the bed, keeping my eye on the creeping tentacle, and back across the room until I hit the wall. With one hand I slide the window open and climb out of it.

At least this time I got a few hours sleep before it found me.

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: The Three Word Wednesday prompt words this week are Drab, Pulsate and Tendril.)