Palace Hotel – a short story

Here’s another short story from 2013, or quite possibly earlier in fact. I realized, while pulling some stories from an old Scrivener file, that the dates had become jumbled. I know it was written earlier than March 18th, but that’s about it, and the same goes for That Thing which I republished a while back.

It matters little for small pieces like this, but it just goes to show that it’s important to keep system-agnostic logs of things you create.

Anyway, Palace Hotel is another short story originally published on the Opuss service. Newsletter subscribers got this one early, so that might be an incentive for you to subscribe, I guess?


Palace Hotel is a place so far from the real world I both want to run away, and stay here forever. It’s beautiful and utterly untrue, it’s dangerous and mundane, and it’s the only place I will ever call home.

I awoke here one morning, and came to the obvious conclusion that this would be the last day of my life. God only knows why it lasted this long, but who am I to argue with the bearded man in the Heavens?

You see, I have a price on my head, and I surely won’t give that amount of money to some trigger happy stranger that just want to cash in. There is just no way out for someone like me, a drunkard and a loser who just happened to stumble into the wrong company and then fuck everything up. So I have to die, and I have to do it today to make sure no one else will take care of that for me.

All for her. My girl, she’ll get it all.

The only thing I regret is that she probably doesn’t know I exist. Not that it was my choice, not that I think that I would’ve made a difference in her life, I just regret not being able to, you know.

Well, of course you don’t know. If you did, you wouldn’t feel sorry for me. I’m not really either, I’m just sentimental, on this day, the day of my demise. I feel I should be writing or perhaps recording something for my daughter’s eighteenth birthday before I kill myself, but I have nothing to say, no advice to give, and nothing to pass on.

But money, oh that money.

I can leave money behind, at least. But the barrel of a shotgun looks so cold, so impersonal. Just like the pills on my table, or the long – oh so long – drop to the pavement.

Dying is hard.

Dying is perhaps made easier when it knocks on my door, as it no doubt does right now. Sure, it could be room service, as they’re calling from outside, but I didn’t order anything. Or did I, I do seem to recall something about a shrimp cocktail, Palace Hotel is famous for them after all, and what better way to go out than with style? Yes, something bubbly with that, and I’ll be ready to go. Perhaps a smoke.

But the door. The door opens now.

The guns scream out their anger.

And I fall, stumbling over the shotgun, the table flips over and sends the pills all over the place, bullets piercing my skin, my body, spraying my blood all over this glorious room fit for a king. It’s my time now, and it’s not mine of choosing.

I hate that. The lack of control, the only thing I wanted. So I throw myself through the window to fall to my death.

Or so I thought.

Fucking safety glass.

Sorry girl, you’re not getting anything. I’m not even good for dying. But at least I’m going out in Palace Hotel. That has to count for something, right?

Have you read <em>Haunted Futures</em> yet? cover

Have you read Haunted Futures yet?

I’ve got a story in the science fiction/near future anthology Haunted Futures, together with the likes of Warren Ellis and Tricia Sullivan. Check it out!