Ginny decided on a cool swim before breakfast to set her up for the day’s meetings which would be interminable in the July heat. Wearing her hotel robe over her perfectly plain black Speedo she pressed U and the lift door puffed together after the familiar ping. It only gradually dawned on her that that was the only sound she had heard that morning. There was no annoying muzak on her way to the basement, no cheery “Hello!” at the reception desk, no buzz and chatter in the changing room and no clang or whir coming from the gym because she was the only person around. True, everything was unlocked so she couldn’t be too early but the only movement was the switching of the silent monochrome CCTV display which flipped between corridor, gym and pool in a regular sweep registering nothing. Nothing moved. There wasn’t a ripple on the pool surface, not even the slightest shimmer. Ginny wasn’t sure if she should continue or not.
She slung her robe over one of the poolside deckchairs and slowly entered the water to get used to the temperature which was surprisingly chilly. Ginny kicked off from the bottom step and moved into her usual quick front crawl, churning through the water sending waves towards the glossy white tiled sides which then criss-crossed back towards her sending out ever increasing troughs and crests, swelling and breaking against her body as she lapped backwards and forwards for her half hour work out. She hit the shower and washed the chlorine out before going back towards the lift.
The call button lit up but the light was stubbornly showing 3 and from the lack of noise seemed to stuck on the upper floor. There was still no-one on reception and everything was back to being calm, still and empty. Ginny pulled her robe a little more snugly round her and looked around for stairs to go back up towards ground level. There were six red doors . Two led to changing rooms which then had access to the pool, one led to the gym which she could see anyway through the large windows which flanked each side of the room so it had to be one of the other three. The lift was still lit on 3 so she tried the fourth door. It seemed to be a small office as there was a desk with a laptop, a swivel chair and a filing cabinet. Door five led to a beauty/treatment room with a range of products lining the shelves so the stairwell must be behind door six. It wasn’t however as she soon discovered.
A curtain of heat met her at the door and through very dim lighting she could just about make out a sauna and a steam room but something wasn’t right as the heat and steam were not contained as they should have been and dense hot mist pervaded the corridor area.
Ginny was becoming increasingly irritable not just because she was annoyed but also because she hadn’t had anything to eat or drink yet. Where was everyone? What time was it now? Why were there no stairs – surely that was illegal?
She picked up the phone on the reception desk but there was no dial tone. She tried each digit one at a time in case there was a number to press for an outside line but nothing she tried seemed to work. There was just a buzz on the line as if it was disconnected. Ginny went back into the small office to try the laptop but its password protection eluded her.
There was nothing to do but wait.