Bohemia Village Voice  Bohemia Village Voice

For bohemians everywhere

Paul Broadhurst

Another Day, Another Eden

Filling in the large hole had been exhausting work for Harry, who had always hated work of any kind.
He was looking forward to a beer, now that he could have one whenever he liked. A grim smile of satisfaction came across his double-chinned face as he brushed aside a strand of steel-grey hair.
Harry laid aside the spade and slumped onto his new garden bench. Although expensive, there was no longer anyone to criticise his extravagance. He knew he would derive great pleasure from sitting on it during the summer, admiring the tree that he would plant. The tree would eventually be well fertilised he told himself, smiling malevolently.
Emptying the large freezer had been essential because of the power cut, despite the chest pains that he had felt which were increasing in severity. Maybe a meal before digging had been unwise. He would feel better after a sleep. His eyelids flickered.
‘I feel much better for that doze’, he thought as he glanced around his garden. A cool, damp afternoon had given way to glorious sunshine. He stood up, stretched, and cast a pleased glance at the patch of bare earth before walking slowly to the house.
The postman had delivered late; there was just one letter with amazing news. He had won a holiday for singles in a competition he couldn’t recall entering, and staying at a luxury hotel called Eden on a tropical island.
Harry sat alone on the coach for the last stage of the journey and ignored his fellow passengers. He feared being asked yet again personal questions that he would find difficult to answer. The coach drew up outside a low white building, and a man came on board.
“Welcome to Eden! My name is Peter.” He spoke warmly and seemed of indeterminate age, with gleaming white teeth that contrasted with his smooth dark skin.
“Your luggage will be taken to your rooms, but they are only temporary accommodation. Your others are elsewhere, but not yet prepared for you.”
“Wow!” Harry exclaimed loudly as he glanced around his opulently furnished room.
“This’ll do me! I’m happy to stay here.” His clothes had been unpacked for him, but when he opened the mirrored doors of the wardrobe they lay in crumpled heaps, fallen from broken hangers. He went in the bathroom and turned on the shower’s hot tap. Ice cold, foul smelling, dirty water gushed from it.
‘I’ll have a drink from the mini-bar’, he decided, ‘and then complain to reception.’ The whisky he poured tasted sour. He spat it out.
‘What a dump! The sooner I move the better. I’m so tired’, he thought, as he crossed to the bed and pulled back the clothes. He recoiled in horror as a snake reared its head and spat at him.
“They terrify you, don’t they, Harry?” a familiar female voice mockingly said from behind him. He turned and froze.
“Beth? But. . . you’re. . .”
“We both are, Harry. I’m only visiting, but you may be here some time.”
Harry rushed from the room, distraught, and straight into the arms of Peter.
“Is it true? Do I really have to stay here?”
Peter shrugged. “Yes, for now.”
“But why?”
“You know the reason why. In different circumstances we would have accommodated you elsewhere. You see, arrivals on other days go to another Eden.”
With a look of weary resignation, Harry walked back into his room. The bedroom was pitch-black when Harry awoke. He was sweating and disorientated, with terrifying thoughts.
He panicked, wondering with dread if he had woken from a nightmare, or to one.

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