The Hotel Room, flash fiction by Lynda Lee at
Jonathan Petersson

The Hotel Room

The Hotel Room

written by: Lynda Lee


The decor was plain but pleasant enough. Early evening sunshine cast a warm glow bathing everything in its radiance. It was an average hotel room, but this was not an average overnight stay.

Molly planned her trip with the precision of a surgeon’s first cut. There would only be one chance, and nothing could go wrong. Taking a deep breath she unzipped her bag and began the preparations.

There wasn’t much. She removed the items slowly, knowing what each represented.

A clock was set with two alarms, and Molly placed it on the nightstand together with a half bottle of wine, some Belgian chocolate, and the crucial jars.

Forty envelopes were held together with a thin blue ribbon. Each had been written with care, addressed, and sealed. She hoped the words would help her beloved family to understand why she made this decision, and why it had to be now. She knew if she waited any longer she wouldn’t be able to do it and couldn’t imagine asking her darling husband for help. She placed the bundle under the telephone, where they couldn’t be overlooked.

Molly lifted her pajamas from the case and took off the dress she’d worn for her flight. She pulled a brush through her hair. For a mad moment, she considered giving it the usual one hundred strokes as she’d done since childhood. She laughed and told herself not to be ridiculous. Molly smoothed some tinted moisturizer into her pale skin. It mattered how she’d look when she failed to check out the following morning.

All her favorite songs were on her iPad and it pleased her to hear the familiar melodies. It was hard to imagine that she’d danced to them less than a year ago.

Molly remembered the party, the stumble, and the fall. No matter how hard she tried to convince her friends she was fine, an ambulance was called, and her journey began.

With the words “motor neuron disease” her life ended. Doctors tried to reassure Molly and her devastated husband Mike that there were pills to slow the disease and prolong a normal existence. However, they knew the end was inevitable. Molly lost her mother to the crippling, undignified beast, some years earlier.

She watched her beautiful mum who loved nothing more than a game of tennis or a round of golf struggle for every breath. Molly knew what she had to do right from the start.

Her husband and family were wonderful. They rallied around constantly popping in with her grandchildren, and suggesting outings and projects to keep her busy.

Molly did her best to smile and try to convince them she had accepted her fate but never did, not for one second.

Molly still had vivid memories of her mother’s decline. The sound of her gasping for breath still haunted her. She saw the deterioration from week to week. She watched as her body became rigid and unmanageable. Slowly and painfully. It seemed like every week another piece of her beloved mother vanished. Her ability to speak, walk, breathe, and eventually swallow. Molly was determined her family wouldn’t have the same memories that she had.

The high-pitched scream of the alarm startled her. Taking a deep breath, she opened the small bottle containing white pills. She poured a glass of wine, and swallowed, not allowing herself time to think about what she was doing.

Everything had been talked through with a doctor Molly found on the internet. He explained each step carefully.

“Are you sure, Mrs. Lucas?” he asked, for the thousandth time.

“You know I am,” She told him.

He nodded solemnly.

“Under no circumstances can I, or anyone else be involved in this. It must be done by your hand alone. As discussed, I’ll provide you with the necessary medication and advice, but, should I be asked about you at any time in the future I’ll deny all knowledge of you. There’ll be no evidence, no records to suggest we ever met.”

Molly nodded.

“The first tablets need to be taken thirty minutes before you drink the liquid. They’re anti-sickness drugs. Barbiturates can cause nausea prior to coma, and we try to avoid that at all costs.”

The alarm screamed out again, and suddenly Molly was terrified. She wanted her husband and her children. Tears pooled in her eyes and rolled down her face. Was she doing the right thing? Taking a deep breath, she pulled back the cover and got into bed.

“Eat some chocolate before you drink the sodium pentobarbital,” the doctor advised. “It will override the bitter taste, and make it easier to swallow.”

With trembling hands, Molly stuffed some orange cream chocolate into her mouth and drank without hesitation.

Retching, she collapsed back against the unfamiliar hotel pillow. The setting sun flickered through the window and danced on a painting at the foot of her bed. Sunflowers. She liked sunflowers. Garth Brooks was singing If Tomorrow Never Comes.

Molly closed my eyes and waited.

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