Silver Hill Hotel

Edited by Brian J. White

June 2014

Silver Hill Hotel, Pine County, Nevada.

Erected late 1800s, one of the oldest hotels operating in America. The gravel lot slopes; forget your parking brake and roll off a cliff to what locals call “The Scrap Heap.” An abandoned mine sits behind the hotel, a cemetery for locals, a photo op for tourists. Unsure footing keeps people from getting too close. The hotel wears the weathered look of a life-long miner, crusted with dirt that’ll never be removed.

A rusted green truck coughs into the parking lot. A pot-bellied man with coal black hair stomps up the wooden steps, enters. Stares at my chest.

“This shitty place have some rooms?”

I remove the chewed pen from my mouth. “Perhaps you’d be more comfortable at a corporate hotel. If you can afford one.”

“Ain’t here to take attitude from a runt of a girl.”

“It’s sixty bucks for the least expensive rooms.”

He pulls out a wad of bills as thick as a pack of cards. A golden ring spills out of his pocket. He snatches it. “And the not-cheap rooms?”

“Ninety bucks.”

He slaps five twenties on the counter.

I slide him a golden room key. “Bar’s downstairs. Open till one or so.”

“Women?”

“Locals.”

He eyes my body. “You?”

I shrug.

He snatches the key, then thumps down the hall.


Rohypnol. Steal it from meth junkies trying to soften their crash. Crush, then dissolve into the target’s drink.

The regulars take their positions in the bar. Dollar bills stick to the ceiling, a different name and date scribbled over Washington’s face. An empty stage waits for off-key karaoke.

“Knew you ain’t resist me.” The pot-bellied man slurs his words.

I sit on the stool next to him. “Let’s talk about your wife.”

“Fuck off.” He slurps his rum and Coke.

“Now now. Let’s have a chat and see where this goes.” I cross my arms, pushing my breasts up.

He looks. “What you wanna know?”

“Still married?”

He waves the question away. “It’s a contract.”

“It’s a vow.”

“Vow’s ‘nother word for contract.”

“Vow is not another word for contract. A vow is a promise of an action taken continuously over time. For forever. So what’s wrong with yours?”

“Ain’t none a your business.”

I whisper into his ear. “A girl needs to know these things before she does something stupid.”

He orders another drink. “Things just ain’t what I was expectin’. She changed — it’s her fault. Got that ring, sweet girl turned into a bitch from hell.”

“You’re not officially divorced?”

“What’s ‘at matter?”

“I’ve never fucked a married man.”

The rum and Coke arrives. “Well yer lookin’ at one.”

How you spike a drink: Wait for a distraction. They look away, you pour the crushed pill. Watch for ice — the powder clings to the cubes. Stirring is recommended, but higher risk. Drunks won’t taste the drug.

A waitress starts the karaoke machine.

“You gonna sing?”

“You first.”

He shakes his head. “Men don’t do that shit.”

“Afraid?”

“I ain’t nothin’.”

I roll my eyes. “Sure.”

“You’re prol’y not much of a singer.”

“Changing the subject?”

“I ain’t scared.”

“I gotta get home.”

He grabs my wrist. “You leavin’?”

“Are you going to put on a show?”

“You gonna put on a show for me?”

I grin. “You first.”

He slaps the table. “Fuck it.” Stumbles to the karaoke machine. Scattered applause. All eyes on him, his eyes on the machine.

The powder dissolves into his drink.


A stained clawfoot tub holds his body. The last bar patrons spill into the rainy parking lot. A truck roars. Thin light parts the blackout curtains, then vanishes.

At the Silver Hill Hotel, everything shuts down around one, giving me five hours of dark.

Two years back, my boyfriend fucked a redhead. I bought him shots at the Silver Hill, then watched him pass out in his truck. Released the parking brake. A blood-alcohol content that high, anything could happen. My methods evolved into drugs and an abandoned mine shaft. Drop a rock inside breathe three times and you’ll hear it hit bone.

Moving the cheater from their hotel room to the pit was my biggest problem; solved by learning the fireman’s carry.

I remove the pot-bellied man from his room.

Fourteen steps, outside.

Three wooden stairs, the parking lot.

Two breaths, darkness.

Sheets of rain turn dirt to mud. A few slippery steps take me to the mine shaft. The town built lights here, but teens shot them out. The town quit — if a drunk died in a mine shaft, it was their own damn fault. Now no one comes here at night.

I drop the pot-bellied man into the mud.

They boarded the mine shaft a year back. One power drill and a spare night gave me a casket for my cheating bodies.

Mud sucks the cover, then slops inside when I remove the boards.

Black gunk sticks to his face.

I slide his body through the slick mud to the opening. A shove and he falls into the shaft, smacking the side on the way to bottom.

I stand.

The ground gives.

Mud funnels me toward the opening.

I grasp for anything solid.

Dig my hands into the muck.

The slippery grime slides me into the opening.

A straight shot to bottom.

One breath.

My stomach reaches my throat.

Two breaths.

Darkness.

Three breaths.

Black.


Alive.

Eyes open.

I try to move, can’t.

Paralyzed?

Try my legs.

Paralyzed.

Rasping breath.

Not mine.

The dead man’s.

He’ll wake. He’ll figure it out.

I’ll be here.

Darkness doesn’t hide sound.

If noise wakes the dead, I dare not whisper.

About the Author

David Alex Shepherd resides somewhere in the Canadian Rockies. When he’s not writing, you can find him hiking through the mountains, sleeping in haunted hotels, or planning adventures. Rumored to own a death ray. Check him out at davidalexshepherd.com, or on Twitter at @DvShepherd.

© 2014 David Alex Shepherd

Support Fireside

Subscribe to Fireside Quarterly, the beautiful new print edition of Fireside.