Lucy couldn’t sleep, again. She rose from the sweaty bed and washed her face. It was three am–at least she had gotten a few hours tonight. She looked in the mirror to see black circles under her blue eyes, washed out blonde hair and skin that could definitely use some color. Turning away from the familiar disappointing image, went back to sit on the edge of the bed.
It hadn’t always been this way. Lucy had a life, once. A really happy life with a husband, two children and a nice home. She had it all, once. It seemed a lifetime ago, all that happiness. If she had known, had any inkling their lives would all disappear in a moment. . .no use thinking like that, she told herself. She couldn’t change any of it.
Five years ago, all four of them had reservations at the Shoreline Inn, a beautiful old restored home on the coast of Maine. Upon arriving, they noticed it was a beautiful structure, but the grounds were brown and ugly. It did look out on the ocean and rocky shore, but there were no trees or bushes, just sand and dirt. It was late in the afternoon, reservations made, so they decided to make the best of it. The children didn’t seem to notice as they ran headlong onto the beach. Mostly a cold temperature in the sea, and rocky beach didn’t bother them at all. Lucy and her husband just shrugged and joined them.
Rooms in the old inn were New England sparse, and they found the meals served reflected the same. It was not the inn they wanted, it was the sea, outdoors and freedom to explore. Three days of fun until they rented a boat. It was a small one, and the boys had great fun trying to row their parents along the shore. Evening came early and darkness fell by the time they returned the boat. As they walked up the inn’s path, the dark seemed to surround them and odd animal noises were heard. There were no forests close, or farms, and Lucy was very curious as to where those sounds were coming from.
Lucy’s husband assured her everything was fine and they all went to bed that night tired from their day. Lucy suddenly woke up at three. Her husband was not beside her. She went to the washroom to check on him, no one there. She thought he might be checking on the boys, so went to their rooms. Those rooms were vacant also. Lucy felt a panic creeping up on her and stumbled down to the main lobby. The lobby had a strange appearance, but no one was there either. Completely panicked by now, Lucy ran out of the front door to find no one around. She screamed for her family, no answer. No lights anywhere, no noises, not a single live thing did she see. She ran back in and dialed 911 on her cell phone.
She was almost surprised to see flashing lights appear out of the darkness. She ran towards them and related her story. The officers looked incredulous, exchanging worried glances between them. Lucy saw how they reacted, and told them to look in the house. As she turned back to the inn, its appearance had changed. It had turned ugly and old. The windows were broken, and as the sun came up to light the scene she screamed and couldn’t stop screaming. The officers took Lucy to the emergency room. They diagnosed her as being in shock, and possibly mentally ill.
It was only after a two year stay in a mental facility that a doctor finally believed her and decided she would not be harmful to anyone. She was allowed to leave but her other life was over. She tried to disappear a few times and finally ended up in a shelter. Every night she woke at three am exactly, for the rest of her life.