Chapter 2

They hid behind the service entrance curtain as a lady escorted a half drunk customer into a room at the end of the corridor. A strong odour of perfume assaulted Joulan’s nostrils. Zephyr waited for the span of three breaths before he checked to see if the coast was clear. He lifted a finger to his lips and made a “shhh” sound to Joulan. A cocktail of grunts and moans came from different directions. In Joulan’s mind he heard the hard slap of rock being deposited before him in the mines. Over and over again. Together they tiptoed down the hallway. Dim lanterns spaced far between each room. It made it difficult to see ahead. The walls were a scarlet red with a floral pattern that ran across the skirting board. A carpet lay across the length of the passage. Joulan realised his gaze had drifted downwards, as if he were trying to hide, and so raised his head. Outside a room Zephyr peered – No leered, Joulan thought, through a keyhole. Joulan’s mouth dropped but before he could protest Zephyr had turned towards him, eyes wide with quick breaths. “Mists, they’re not there!” Said the boy before he raced over to another doorway. “Quick, check them.” He said as he pointed to the other half of the corridor. Joulan had never seen his friend in such a panic.  “No..that’s..” Joulan tried but the words wouldn’t come out. The noises were bad enough. He simply did not want to see who or how those sounds were being brought into existence. “Hurry, I need that necklace Joulan.” Zephyr said as he squeezed past his friend to check another keyhole.
Joulan’s steps were reluctant but he moved to a door that stood on his side of the passageway. He leaned over and squinted as he pried into the room.  A man, no thicker than a toothpick was bent over on his hands and knees as a heavy set woman sat on his back and bounced. It looked like the man would cave but he stood strong. It wasn’t Jayr. Joulan stepped back and a shiver ran down his spine. Followed by an acidic taste in his throat. He continued to the next door. Opposite the door Zephyr had originally spied upon. A scantily dressed lady walked across the room with light footsteps, lithe with pink hair? Joulan had never seen hair dyed as such. In the corner sat a copper bathtub filled to the brim. A man relaxed surrounded by foam. It was him. He stepped back and motioned over to the other boy with a wave. Zephyr noticed and ran over. He took a look for himself and then cast his eyes around.
“In here.” Zephyr whispered then pulled Joulan into a suite. A scent of iron lingered inside the room. So much that Joulan could taste it. He glanced around for the source and found it. Blood stained the bed from one corner to another. Not enough to come from a whole person but a decent amount. Joulan thought. Not that he knew for sure.
“This is where they were meant to be.” Zephyr said. “See that door” He pointed towards another entrance to the side of the room. Joulan nodded. “It would have been easy to sneak in and get the necklace back.” He continued. “That was the plan.”
“What the hell happened here?” Joulan said more bothered about the maroon splatters across the bedding. 

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