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Travelers Rest by Keith Lee Morris

Robbie Addison, fresh from rehab, is in the charge of his much older brother Tonio.  Tonio travelers restis sure that a change of place will help Robbie, by moving him from his drug-addled stomping grounds of Seattle to Tonio and his family’s home in South Carolina.  Along for the ride is wife Julia and their ten-year-old son Dewey.

As the family drives east across the Idaho panhandle, a freak snowstorm makes stopping a necessity – in this case, the small town of Good Night, and its aged hostelry named the Travelers Rest.

The hotel is old, imposing, and repulsive, but Julia finds something strangely compelling about it, and apparently the Days Inn isn’t an option in this odd little town.  So the Addisons hunker down for the night in one of the hotel’s cold rooms.

The next several days become disorienting for all four, as they basically cease to exist (mostly) to each other.  The hotel and its environs become a taunting maze, where passageways and alleys stretch on interminably and certain scenarios repeat themselves.

For Tonio and Julia, it’s feelings that they were at the hotel before, over a hundred years ago.  For Dewey, the hotel becomes ever creepier, even as he bravely stays there each night, his only comfort being the diner across the street.  For Robbie, there is an excuse to fall back into his excesses, as he finds the town’s only bar conveniently close by.

They all on occasion see each other, but it’s much like visiting unresponsive ghosts.  The hotel and town are multi-dimensional, and each of them inhabit a different one.

A nice resolved ending would have all of them reuniting.  I won’t give the ending away by saying they do or don’t.  I also won’t claim that Travelers Rest is typical horror fare.  The scariness here is more psychological dread than in-your-face horror.

(William Hicks, Information Services)


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