The Hotel by the Sparkling Sea [en]

After a long dusty drive across the desert, we have finally reached the sparkling sea. The coast is bordered by a wall of stone. A real road runs beside it.

It’s beautiful. I take photos, cursing myself for not taking more during our journey.

We hear gunfire. Our party does not seem to mind much. Those responsible for all the racket are small kids, boys mainly, with big machine-guns. Dead earnest, they stand in front of our hotel, spraying the street with bullets. We stay aside, like when strangers nearby have an argument: pretend not to hear, don’t interfere.

I enter the hotel to get some pictures. I almost get a photograph of the big window breaking into one thousand pieces as one of the shooters falls onto it, but I’m a fraction of a second too late.

I suddenly realise being here is dangerous. The kids are done outside. They start coming into the building. I hide in the back rooms. They advance without a sound, from all directions.

I’m really scared, but one room ahead. I walk calmly across a corridor, say hi to the sentinel as if a kid with a gun in a hotel hallway was perfectly normal. It works. He says hi back, almost like a real kid, and I pass my way up the stairs, heart beating.

I end up hiding in a bedroom marked “Private”. I’ve heard some isolated gunshots. I huddle in a corner, near the telephone, concealed under a bed cover. I dial for reception.

Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring.

– Hello?

– …Hello. Er. There are kids with guns in the hotel. Call the police. I’m hiding in a room.

I hang up, trembling. I wonder if my time has come.

Click.

The door opens, and a small armed figure steps silently inside.

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