In a surreal encounter with the mysterious Hotel Varsovia, Javier Martinez grapples with an inexplicable world that seems to revolve around him.
The rain fell heavily on the cobblestones as Javier Martinez approached the imposing façade of Hotel Varsovia. A sudden gust of wind nearly blew his umbrella inside out, but he managed to steady it in time. He had been traveling for hours, and fatigue was etched on his face. All he desired was a warm bed and a chance to rest. Little did he know that his stay in Warsaw would be unlike any other.
As he entered the grand lobby, the sounds of raindrops and wind gave way to an eerie silence. The hotel’s opulent chandeliers cast a warm, inviting glow on the polished marble floors. Yet, Javier couldn’t help but notice that there was not a single guest in sight. He dismissed the thought, attributing it to the late hour of his arrival.
He approached the front desk, where a young woman in a crisp uniform greeted him with a smile.
“Good evening, Mr. Martinez. We’ve been expecting you,” she said as she handed him his key. “You’ll be staying in our finest suite, of course.”
Taken aback, Javier couldn’t hide his confusion. “But I only booked a standard room.”
“Oh, Mr. Martinez,” she said with a chuckle, “it’s all been taken care of. Please, enjoy your stay.”
Javier couldn’t shake the feeling that something was amiss. As he made his way to his suite, he passed the ornate ballroom, the empty dining hall, and long, silent corridors adorned with lavish artwork. Every room he encountered was vacant, and the hotel staff seemed to be the only living souls within its walls.
He couldn’t hold his curiosity any longer. He approached a bellboy and asked, “Excuse me, where are all the other guests?”
The bellboy seemed puzzled by the question. “Why, Mr. Martinez, there are no other guests. The entire hotel is yours.”
Javier stared at him, dumbfounded. “But there are a hundred rooms here! How can I be the only one?”
The bellboy simply smiled, as if the answer was obvious. “You are the most important person on Earth, Mr. Martinez. The entire staff is here to serve you.”
This revelation left Javier reeling. He retreated to his suite, its luxurious furnishings providing little comfort in the face of such bizarre circumstances. He gazed out the window at the rain-slicked streets of Warsaw, feeling more alone than ever before.
In the days that followed, Javier tried to understand the strange reality he found himself in. He wandered the empty halls, conversing with the hotel staff. They were always gracious, always attentive, and never without a smile. But no matter how many questions he asked, they could not—or would not—provide any explanation beyond their insistence that he was the most important person in the world.
Javier’s loneliness grew more acute, amplified by the opulence that surrounded him. He longed for his modest home in Spain, for the laughter of friends and family, and for the simple joys of ordinary life.
One evening, as he stared at the rain-smeared windowpane, he made a decision. He would leave Hotel Varsovia and return to the life he knew before. He packed his bags and approached the front desk to check out.
The young woman who had first welcomed him now looked at him with sadness in her eyes. “You’re leaving us, Mr. Martinez?”
He nodded. “I appreciate everything you’ve done for me, but I cannot stay here any longer. I must return to my life.”
As he stepped out into the rain, he felt a strange sense of relief. He raised his head to the sky, eagerly allowing the rain to wet his face. Suddenly, the raindrops became so hot that he couldn’t handle it. He tried to use the taps to regulate the temperature, but it didn’t work. He attempted to open the door to go back into the hotel, but it wouldn’t open. His face and body burned from the heat. Desperate, he pulled what he thought was an emergency cord, hoping someone would come to his rescue. Sadly, no one reacted. The last thing he remembered was collapsing and falling into a restless sleep under the scalding rain.
In the morning, he woke up lying in his hotel room’s shower. Water constantly poured onto him, but it wasn’t hot – it was just right. The emergency cord he had pulled turned out to be a towel, which was now completely soaked.
He got out of the shower, dried his body, and called the reception.
“Good morning, Mr. Martinez,” the young woman’s voice greeted him. “What can I do for you?”
“How many guests are currently in your hotel?” he asked.
“What a peculiar question, Mr. Martinez,” the receptionist replied. “In all honesty, I wouldn’t be able to tell you right now. But why are you asking?”
“It’s rather important,” he insisted. “Could you please check with your manager?”
“Of course, Mr. Martinez. May I call you back on this?”
“Yes, but please don’t keep me waiting too long.”
“I’ll call you right back.”
The next five minutes felt like the longest of his life. When the phone finally rang, he picked it up with his heart pounding.
“Mr. Martinez?” the voice inquired.
“Yes. How many guests do you have?”
“We don’t normally share this information with our guests, but my manager agreed to make an exception for you, Mr. Martinez…”
“Oh. I see. Thank you.”
“No problem, Mr. Martinez. We currently have 93 gue…”
“Thank God for that!” Mr. Martinez shouted into the phone.
“…93 guests,” the receptionist finished and added, “But we treat each of our guests as if they were the most important person on Earth.”
“I know that!” Martinez said and hung up.
All images were generated using DALL.E 2 (Open AI)