Meanwhile back at The Rose and The Thorn

“For the love of God stop!” Flor yelled from the bathroom.
Stephen looked up from The Fall Of the House of Usher and scowled. The only thing he hated more than twelve year old girls were loud twelve year old girls. The TV’s volume increased.
Shrouded in a white towels and fragrant steam, Flor swung open the bathroom door. “What in the hell is your problem? We are going to get called by the front desk. Stop screwing with the TV.”
Stephen flipped a page.
“Where’s the god dammed remote, cretin?”
“Excellent word choice,” Stephen replied still without looking up. “If only your eyesight was as sharp as your vocabulary. I have no remote, milady.”
Gripping the towel wrapped around her hair with one hand, Flor rooted around the boy laying on the hotel bed. By now, the flatscreen was screaming the melodious tones of Stella By Starlight across the quaint hotel room.
“Fine be that way troglodyte.” Flor walked towards the TV. The volume dropped. She turned. The volume increased. She turned back to Stephen still reading his book. The TV turned itself off.
“I told you milady,” Stephen said with a chuckle. “No remote.”
“First if you call me milady again I’m going to pop a tooth out your head. Second look for that remote while I get dressed,” Flor said. Stephen looked at her muscled arm and flinty glare and for the first time since his mother introduced him to his mother’s new boyfriend’s daughter he saw Flor. They torn apart their hotel room and then searched the adjoining room where their respective parents were staying. No remote. When they returned to their room the TV was on again playing The Haunting. Flor unplugged it. They sat on their beds, thinking and eating snacks. Flor eyed the oddly smart third grader eating beef jerky with one hand and a sleeve of Pringles in the other. His haircut was horrendous but his tee read My Other Car is a Tardis. Her eyes squinted as she realized this freaky little kid was a lot bigger on the inside.
“Theories? I’m thinking another remote is interfering with our set,” Flor said, offering Stephen a Twizzler. He accepted the red licorice and wrapped it around the jerky. The lights flickered. The room was silent except for chomping.
Chewing, Stephen pondered. “I think ghosts are merely the undead living in a parallel universe and some places are shall we say thinner than others and you can peek.” He offered her a stack of chips.
“Interesting what do you base your theory on, little Mr. Spooky Spook.”
“Research naturally. You do know Cape May is well known as one of the most haunted towns in America. And call me … Spike.”
“Spike, no I didn’t. But I know this broke ass inn was once a makeshift hospital during the infamous influenza outbreak of 1918. Yeah you’re not the only one who reads.”
“That makes sense. Do you remember when we came in from the beach this afternoon and when the books fell off the table and you bumped into that lady in…”
“The old fashioned waitress costume,” Flor said, a light coming into her face. “No one else on staff was costumed!” Suddenly there was a volley of knocks on their hotel door.
“Okay already we get it. You’re haunted. You’re a haunted creepy inn. Nobody likes a show off. So Spike our parents as sick of us and it is only day one. While they are out getting their groove on let’s peek.”
Stephen aka Spike jumped off his bed and ran for the door. Flor collected her phone, a portable charger, a couple of water bottles, and her Swiss Army knife in her retro Scooby Doo backpack and followed.
“After you milady.”
Flor punched Spike’s arm and they headed down the wild patterned hallway to adventure.

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