It was a dark and stormy night. (God bless Snoopy, I do love that opening line.)
A lone car cruises down the deserted blacktop.
The driver blinks the tiredness from her eyes.
At the side of the road a board looms out of the darkness.
MOTEL 1 MILE
Her hands tighten on the wheel and her foot presses down on the accelerator.
She needs a break.
The headlights cut through the driving rain, up ahead she can make out the turn, marked by white reflector posts.
A sign swings in the gusts of wind.
The Bates Motel
Even though the hour is late and the road deserted she indicates and turns off the highway.
The driveway twists towards the eerily gabled building at its end.
She pulls up in the parking lot.
The building is not inviting.
A single story row of rooms stands dark in front of her.
At the end a dim light advertises the reception area.
She could drive on, but she has already driven over three hundred miles, and it is very late.
She gives a little shiver and derides herself for being foolish.
A motel is a motel is a motel.
Apart from in Hitchcock movies.
She leaves the car and hurries through the rain to the glow of the dim bulb.
She pushes through the door.
The reception desk is deserted.
Behind the desk is a closed door. She can hear the mumble of voices.
She presses the bell on the counter.
The clock on the wall ticks.
The door opens slowly, allowing out the flickering glow of a television set.
A tall, thin young man appears, shuffling forward on slippered feet.
It's a terrible night.
Not a night to be out and about.
Would you like a room?"
His voice is a little too high for a man.
"Yes, thank you. Is there any place to eat?"
"We can provide breakfast, between 6.30 and 8.30.
There's a vending machine behind you, if you like candy bars."
"Oh. I haven't eaten since lunchtime. Never mind."
"Well I could ask Mother if she would make a sandwich for you?"
"Oh thank you. That is so kind."
He hands her a key and directs her to the end room.
"I'll have Mother bring down your sandwich."
She thanks him again and then turns and leaves, dashing through the rain.
The man returns to his room, closing the door behind him.
Alone in the room, the girl turns on the shower and peels off her clothes.
She steps into the cubicle and pulls the plastic curtain across.
The water is hot and she closes her eyes as it streams off her hair, down her face and onto her aching body.
There is a discreet knock, then the door is opened.
A little old lady, wearing a red cardigan, and trailing an oxygen tank on a trolley behind her, enters the room with a plate of sandwiches in her other hand.
She places the sandwiches on the bedside table.
She stand and listens to the sound of water in the shower.
Slowly she approaches the bathroom, silently pushing open the door.
Behind the curtain the girl is oblivious to her presence.
The old woman approaches the shower.
She reaches into the fold of her skirt and withdraws a knife.
She steps up to the shower and, raising the knife high above her head, plunges it down, through the shower curtain into the body of the woman.
Blood starts to flow.
The woman screams.
But the knife is withdrawn and plunged in again and again.
The water runs red around the drain, the screams diminish to a gurgle, the body slumps down in the stall. Then silence.
"Oh when will you people learn. If I want to dress up as my dead mother and claim rent allowance and disability payments and such like, I'm not going to put up with you guys coming snooping around am I?"
"Oh and perhaps we should change the name of the motel, from Bates to Parkin!"