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The Chateau

“I’m sorry, ma’am. I don’t see a reservation for tonight in your name.” The young man looked up from his paper ledger and shook his head. “I’m afraid we’re completely booked.”

“Is this some kind of joke?” Janet was beside herself. “I made this reservation last week!”

The man frowned. “Well, who did you speak with when you called?”

Janet leaned on the counter, exasperated. “I booked online.” Her face brightened. “I’ll bet I have the confirmation on my phone!” She squinted at the desk clerk’s name tag.

“Say, Bob … what’s your last name?” She was most definitely going to complain about this young man.

He looked confused, but just shrugged. “It’s Robinson, ma’am.”

Janet gave him a curt nod and stepped to one side, thumbing through her phone to find her reservation. It didn’t take long.

“Yes!” she exclaimed, pumping her fist. She noted the phone number on the message and vowed to herself that she would call later to discuss one Mr. Bob Robinson. For the moment, she just wanted to get to her room and kick back.

When she returned to the front desk, Bob was nowhere in sight. Janet dinged the service bell on the counter, and hurried footsteps slapped against the tile floor leading from a small office.

A middle-aged woman stepped out of the shadows.

“Oh, I’m sorry, ” she said. “I didn’t know anyone was here. Welcome to The Chateau!”

“Um, where’s Bob?” Janet surprised herself with the question.

“Bob?” The woman looked nervous. “Bob who?”

“Bob Robinson. He was helping me just a few minutes ago.”

The woman’s face drained of blood, and she pointed to the portrait of an old man at the front of the lobby.

The plaque beneath read, “In memory of Bob Robinson — beloved founder of The Chateau.”

Published inFlash Fiction

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