Egested from a lit train car into a hall carved from rock, a ferrous futility rolls across me on creeping hot breeze from an enormous fan whose blades I can track through their entire revolution. Alee of the fan is glass restraining aqueous light and its medium of refrigerated air, beyond that the island tourism office which closed months ago. Where probably unreal green ocean and white sand shown through the glass wall that opened from its buried storefront beneath the hotel lobby, that I passed every day twice in dazes, mauve fabric on the bare tackboard panel now stops my eyes and my fantasies.

Even the worst lots are choices. I retrieve my housekeeping trolley and up in the service elevator my bowel tightens against a metallic salty whisper and the terror that without the sun I swim down to clutch the seafloor instead of up through the black to a breath. Even that fear I think is a choice. Under control of this building I am compelled to its top floor which is perhaps ground level and the precipice of a dry and insatiable vortex. In the terminal second of deceleration I close my eyes and my fingers over the pushbar of the trolley. I and it revolve in a murky falling drift back through the hotel atrium, trolley and I changing places and my smock hanging loosely over my back like we were floating in that ocean but looser, without body or timecard. All the doors surrounding the atrium fall open and the iron maiden sun from every isolated window tenderly disintegrates my insides floating into a gaseous medium of mauve giblets. Breathe out. I keep on blowing to scatter my confectioner’s guts like some dirty fake gold bolts of lightning casting silently back toward every door. Blow harder and my eye sockets see black stars and I sink against whatever direction I and trolley helicoptered and blow until there is no air left and I don’t want any more or we stop still in the space left behind by all breath.

I slept through the night on the train. Awakened in the limpid steam of the hollowed-out station hundreds of smiling faces all lit up blue when I blinked, looking insane with happiness.

The elevator door opens onto the narrow precipice. The sure trolley holds me up against the equilibrium sink of the cavernous atrium that fogs out to the disappeared brown smoke lobby below. The action of the big casters is a voice from the patterned carpet.

My eyes opened by just some voices way down in the atrium. Across the scabby earth crust a soft fading of voices can be sensed by those of us who could have once heard them rising in a locked room, beneath even the folding sound of cloth. Whether the bodies faded with the voices or the songs of their organs were hackneyed into fatuity I wasn’t able to judge. Those who died in the hotel left a likeness of their silence, or at least an intractable gasp of the earthly air stuck in their lungs that I couldn’t cease tasting in my throat. But those who merely disappeared, whose voices I simply forgot, and can’t reasonably think they had ever existed as the erstwhile peopling of the hotel, prevented my recognizing any ebb in our subterranean population. When a face began to appear regularly, independent of the necropolis of faces yet within it, and then ceased to return, the panic all at once of the lives felled by each moment in isolation claimed me as well.

At the double door to the first suite I nudge my trolley against the solid balustrade separating the scant ambulatory from the assumption of a plunge that I wouldn’t dare verify because I recognize its echoing dirge. Those murmuring voices from below mill and become a single syllable sustained at my altitude above the lobby floor. Vaulting a few hundred feet in threads their tracery intertwines into something approaching me, a very large gauge needle leaning against my skin but not entering.

I blink at the black peephole. In the fleshtone of the door I don’t see horribly smiling faces but from its paleness effuses a faint green like a tire wracked copper statue I recall from an apartment. It might have been my eyes dying, seeing dying colors. I brace myself at every door. Every door could be a stumpy infinity of tales in decimated rooms under vile stains of unhinged lifestyles. Worse, the most quietly descriptive of some fallen angel daily facing a world that fights with its essence to besmear the modest prints of her tunics and skirts with the byproducts of their shortcomings, are the meticulous made beds, perfect in execution but combated still by the rumples she can’t avoid without freshly laundered sheets. I can only pull back the comforter and quickly strip the bed. The faces of the range of people who might have stood back from the bed after it was made to survey it before turning to walk out of the room are vague, vapor-sketched, but peaceful. Hateful faces and hateful eyes might also hide the same old bland necessity that draws them back to make a bed that god they hope will be stripped anyway because they wouldn’t have wanted to lay down in someone else’s soiled sheets no matter how anaerobic their hospital corners had been. They usually looked like me for a moment.

My master key opens the suite doors set back into a deep niche from the narrow ambulatory. No faintly melancholy sunlight glows from the room. A wall of furniture packs the throat of the doors like the most ordered vomit of wooden and upholstered geometry sheared by guillotine in the paralyzed instant of disgorging. As flat of a thing as could be built of irregular things, it must have been amassed from inside using the door like a mold.

I do this job alone. The first piece I dislodge is an upended cherry wood coffee table, worn and nicked tabletop first. Loveseat cushions with a striped pattern are packed between the legs of another table nested the opposite direction back out to the atrium. Even suites only have one coffee table. I set the table aright on the floor of the ambulatory blocking most of its width. The mass in the door is black. No dust caught sun secreting through.

The props of many collected rooms are pulled from the door throat. When the furnishing stacks above the balustrade in the ambulatory I move to the opposite side for my bone pile. I have excavated three feet into the room. I stand in that space and pull the doors shut behind me and it is silver. The heavy whip stitching on my shoes is visible from light beneath the doors, nothing else. Shielded from the atrium seashell sound my breathing is voluminous. I draw in deep and exhale then slowly, quietly. Inhale and hold. A muffled voice, not sharp enough to form words, speaks in the little dark space with me. Spirits deep beneath a grave or people in next-door rooms don’t speak in words; they speak in masses like tides invisible but creeping and irrefutable because the ocean is so black and silent without them.

I would have screamed but I do this job alone. I throw the doors back open. Although a voice with no face floats through my mind and eyes without wake, and I couldn’t articulate something in this way if I could stay it, I know the voice came from behind the furniture. The wood grain in a low desk quivers with its vibrations.

I reach the front edge of the water closet door jamb about six feet into the room. The dislodged furniture now forms completely insurmountable barricades on either side of the outer door in the ambulatory. Only a running dive tumble over the balustrade absolves me of putting all the furniture back in place. The furniture left to excavate the water closet door will fill the niche in front of the doors. Right now is the time for a choice. The voice from the furniture has grown clearer. I don’t recall from which side of the water closet the doors hinge. If the voice is coming from the water closet and the handle is on the near side of the door I have only to move a few pieces of furniture. Out come a circular writing table on a metal pedestal, a bale of cushions, and two luggage racks into the niche and there is the silver door handle.

I swing the door in and through the slot of space between the still lodged furniture and the water closet door jamb the full mirror reflects obliquely back to the shower curtain, bulged out, the mass slumped over the curb of the tub I think is moving but the voice is still lost and sexless. The sink is filled black and slick but the room is dark, it is probably water. It smells like soap. The light switch is over the counter not on my side of the jamb; I can’t reach it.

The next stratum of furniture I move out stacks above the balustrade and into the niche blotting out the light from the atrium. I clamber over what is left in front of the door, turn on the light, hesitate, the voice still hums. The form isn’t moving. The curtain bulges in more detail with soft square edges like broken limbs. Hello, I believe I say. Why did I wait so long to speak back to the voice? I don’t speak to empty rooms. I try not to speak loud enough through walls. The cadence and timbre of the voice remains unchanged addressing the ether still. Just pulling the leading edge of the curtain away from the tile I slide my head slowly into the shower stall. A silent tumbledown column of bedding, cushions, and towels fills the tub and limply offers a drapery hand over the curb between porcelain and oilcloth. Mandalas on the bedding of felled cypress clearings burned so black as each shivered in funereal drafts everything in my eyes was swelling with an opposite empty white light.

Back between the wall of furniture where the front doors had let onto the beckoning abysm and the wall still whispering to me, louder now, I am disoriented and breathless in a rhythm of words that repeated like a chant, repeat, repeat, repeat.

The two walls of furniture are identical. Behind one the room and the voice, behind its twin the slow tumble of me in a cloud of furniture graying down through the atrium. Submit me to the choosing of the building. All paths are the same, all accidents, but I throw myself into one of the rickety messes which topples into a heap in sunlight like powdered milk on death rattles floats. A television voice in the room sings to me, a chorus of women and men that I can now easily ignore. My limbs tingle and my lips bleed warm narcotic pain onto my tongue. At night I dream only in the final moments of sleep. Subdued here I sleep in what must be summer sun frozen, intermittently panicked by the failure of the accident to erase me into the hotel. A lumpy long form is bound down in the center of the impeccably made bed. In sunlight we are not beneath the earth’s surface but still we are barely alive above it. I fold my arms in some sagging arch over the furniture scree, put my face in my hands, the sunlight skin red, and sleep just a bit longer.