's 2019 Horror Write-off:

Warm Smiles

Submitted by Anonymous

Mrs. Amarella sat in her hotel room. A beautiful hotel room it was, beautiful indeed. She was on the edge of her bed, picking at the scraps of her lobster dinner. She hosted Mr. Amarella’s funeral about six months ago. She didn’t know just what to feel about it. Mrs. Amarella tried to think what he would order for a meal. She decided to have a bath instead.

Mrs. Amarella towelled her hair dry and slipped into an old nightgown. Its once vibrant blue color had been worn down to a tired grey. She went to the phone on her bedside table. Entertainment services- 2+387

A cold, firm voice answered her call. For any time, for anything, we are devoted to your wants and needs. How may we help you this fine evening? 

The woman in the doorway had a shiny nametag that read “Frances” in curly, red letters. Her platinum hair was delicate, flaking. As if one tiny pull could rip it from her scalp. Her skin was sinewy and youthful, pulsating with resilient life. She carried a leather bag.

Mrs. Amarella told Frances to sit on the bed and paced around in circles. Have you done this before?

Frances smiled politely and opened up her leather bag. It is what I am paid for, after all. 

Yes, yes it was. She was happy enough. She willingly took this position. There was absolutely nothing wrong, after all. She was being paid. Mrs. Amarella tried to remember the last thing Mr. Amarella said. She opened up Mrs. Amarella’s clenched fist and placed the pliers into them.

 Frances emerged from Mrs. Amarella’s room. Her foot dragged behind her, bloodied and raw from the extraction of toenails. Her shift was over, for that evening. Cynthia would take over from there. Frances wondered what she would have for dinner. Cynthia had just started working there. She had never given entertainment services before. Frances knew this because every time she saw Cynthia punching in, there were large sweat stains under her armpits and jittering.  Maybe Frances would see a movie. 

Frances opened her locker. A set of dentures bobbed in a cup of mouthwash. She scooped them up. She ran her fingers around her mouth, making sure there were no clumps of blood, no open sores before fitting the set in. She went and saw a romance film.