Part 11: The Stranger
He stepped into the inn, carrying a large blue suitcase. His stare was icy cold as he looked around the room at the other residents. The stranger wandered up to the front desk, and struck up a conversation with Charlie’s mom.
Mr. Robin, one of the inn residents, stared right back at the stranger. He leaned over to Charlie and whispered, “That looks like a man who’s up to no good. I just get chills when I look at him.”
Charlie nodded. “There’s something I don’t like about him.” She slumped down in her seat, only to notice her mom flagging her down. Sighing, Charlie stood up and trudged over to the front desk. “Yes, mama?”
Her mom handed her a key. “Will you take Mr. Betts to his room?”
“Fine.” Charlie clutched the key, and waved to the stranger. She made it a point to stay a couple feet in front of the man. He stared right through her, as if he knew her secret. A small shiver ran down her back. If he knew, then nothing about this was good.
As they climbed the steps, Mr. Betts asked her a ton of questions about the village and the wildlife. “Your mother told me you’re a Phoenix Scout,” he explained. “I hope you’d know a thing or two than anyone else, maybe seen something strange on your outings?”
Charlie froze just outside the room. “Here’s you’re room, mister,” she said quickly, unlocking room 151.
“Well, have you seen anything strange?”
She handed the stranger his key. “Someone found a new flower,” she lied. “But the rangers took care of it. Said it was dangerous.” Charlie pretended to smile. “Laundry room down the hall to the left. Meal times are on the room’s message board. Don’t ever be late to meals or you’ll never hear the end of it. Have a good stay!” She left Mr. Betts standing outside his room and ran as fast as she could back down stairs.