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Halloween at the Chateau Portal B&B
By
chippihc

Halloween at the Chateau Portal B&B

Sarah was ready to join the family business and for all the adventures in front of her.

A family owned Bed and Breakfast with fantasy and science fiction themed rooms.©

It was Halloween and Sarah had a couple hours before her guests would arrive for the party she was hosting. Her parents had approved this one last party in the courtyard outside their residence. That included the common areas of the first floor of the Chateau with the half bath restroom and kitchen before the house opened officially as a Bed and Breakfast. There was a strict rule not to enter any of the bedrooms or go upstairs or downstairs and partitions and locks were in place to block any unwelcome trust breakers.

Sarah stared out the window next to the new reception desk she was seated at looking into the courtyard with its nicely landscaped bushes and flowers, now decorated in the Halloween motif complete with lanterns, pumpkins, spooky scarecrows, ghosts, goblins, and a graveyard. She imagined what it would be like to share her house with total strangers, not just her friends as invited guests. Sarah had just graduated High School this year and was excited to be a partner in the new family business instead of starting college.

The Chateau had been in the Dale family for over a hundred years, but had only been converted into a Bed & Breakfast and opening for guests this year. In fact, it would be open for business starting next week. Her grandparents on her Dad’s side had passed away a couple years earlier and her dad, Robert, was their only child, so the estate was now his responsibility and inheritance.

Robert had followed all the rules for converting their residence into a Bed & Breakfast. He petitioned the town for the commercial zoning and set up a proprietorship paying all the appropriate taxes. He hired an accountant and Sarah and her mom, Lucy, took an online business course to learn the basics of a start-up proprietorship. They found and joined marketing online promotion companies to advertise and do the scheduling and booking for the rooms for a shared percentage fee. Lucy had insisted on hiring a maid service and so daily cleaning services were contracted out with a local company. They decided to also contract out with a temp agency for 24 hour rotating bonded receptionists.

Sarah and her parents shared the responsibility of supervising the contract workers, greeting guests, and ensuring that their guests felt welcomed. All the Dale’s had read and watched most of the books and movies of the portal fantasy and science fiction genre, so they were confident that they could enthusiastically promote the theme and banter with their guests expertly.

Sarah openly considered herself a fantasy and science fiction nerd. Her own room, in the basement, (which was not available to guests), was equally decorated with fantasy art and books and was mostly purple in color. She had helped select and order the majority of the used books, movies, and art for the guest suites. She also helped stock the small gift shop, with Cosplay costumes, including her favorite, a rainbow unicorn onesie, available in various sizes. She would not be the least bit embarrassed to wear hers around the Chateau, and was willing to take photos with the guests if that would help them enjoy their stay. She also had other costumes such as an Alice in Wonderland dress, multiple Princess dresses, a space uniform, and of course, a wizard cloak and wand.

Inside the house, each entry to the private rooms had a portal decoration with ancient-looking symbols and designs in a circular gate surrounding the doors. Motion sensors were installed that when you approach the door, neon lights would turn on built-in with the portal decorations. The door locks were normal hotel door locks with a key card programmed to allow entry when the card was held up to the lock. These effects created a surreal science fiction feel to it with the décor and automated lighting. Sarah was proud of her part in the changes that were made in the house to fit the fantasy and science fiction theme of the B&B. It really felt like walking through a portal into a fantasyland.

Outside, they had various benches and gazebos for guests to enjoy. Her Dad had even found a DeLorean car replica converted to look like a time machine that was available for guests to sit in and take photos of. Unfortunately, it did not work and was only stationary, but it matched right into the portal fiction motif.

Sarah looked back at the reception desk computer and the up-and-running website she had helped design for their quaint Bed & Breakfast with four available rooms in rural Shenandoah Valley, Virginia.

Join us in our Bed & Breakfast Chateau with each room designed and dedicated to portal fantasy and science fiction. Each room has books, movies, and art to escape into during your stay. Breakfast includes yogurt, fruit, breakfast bars, donuts, muffins, cold cereals, milk, and juices.” It read in bold letters.

The website included short videos and photos of each available room, the Chateau, and the grounds immediately around the property. There were selfie photo opportunities everywhere in and around the Chateau. Memories could and would be made by all guests in this unique themed Bed and Breakfast.

In fact, Sarah had written the script for a YouTube video to promote the B&B. It was already trending on their website. Not yet viral, but attracting a lot of attention for only being posted for a couple of weeks. She was the star of the video of course.

The video started with Sarah dressed as Dorothy, from The Wizard of Oz, with her hair in pigtails and a picnic basket with a stuffed animal dog sticking out of it and her skipping down a road. Sarah exclaims, “I am so bored, I wish I could go on an adventure!”

Then her Mom, dressed as a Fairy God Mother with a big wand with a star on the end of it, suddenly appears and says, “I hear your wish, my sweet girl!” With a flash special effect at her entry and disappearance.

After another flash, Sarah is now sitting in the DeLorean car passenger seat. Her Dad is dressed up like the crazy white-haired professor from the Back to the Future movie as the driver and shouts, “Great Scott, my girl – we’re off to the future!”

After another big flash special effect, Sarah then exits the car and walks to the Chateau gazing in wonder at the sights around her and nervously says, “Toto, I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore!”

As she enters the chateau the camera pans around all the interior décor and Sarah walks to one of the second-floor suites entering in through the Stargate portal door. Her Fairy God Mother is waiting there and exclaims, “Surprise! I have granted you all your wishes. It is probably best to be in bed before Midnight!”

The camera pans around the room and then zooms in on Sarah’s face as she delivers her closing line, “Oh I don’t want to go home! I’m trading in my ruby slippers for glass slippers and this old dress for a gown and going to a ball!”

The video then fades to the advertisement of the Dale Chateau Portal B&B, where all your dreams can come true.  

Sarah smiled to herself and could feel that success was closer than the other side of a rainbow. The Portal Chateau B&B was going to be a hit and the current bookings are already shown to be sold out through the rest of the year!

Sarah then looked over at the clock and decided it was time to get into her costume. She had her Alice in Wonderland costume all ready for the party. Her parents had costumes that matched as well. Her Mom was the Queen of Hearts and her Dad was the Mad Hatter.

Sarah let out a sigh, for her now ex-boyfriend, James, had gone off to college at Virginia Tech and said they should break up so they didn’t feel like they will be cheating on each other being so far apart. She really missed him. He probably had already found a new girlfriend.

Sarah’s best friend Sally would be coming over soon. She was the one who had begged Sarah to host the party and had promised to arrive early. Sally was much more outgoing than Sarah and was always the life of any party. Her boyfriend, Sam, had not left for college and was doing what he called a “gap year.” Really, he was working at the local grocery store to earn money to go to college, but it sounded so much more hip the way he described it.

Sarah had asked Sally what costume she would be wearing to the party, and Sally had refused to tell her. She did give a hint that it would match Sam’s costume.

There were only around twenty friends invited to the party, and Sarah’s parents had invited any parents to come if they wanted as well. Sarah was relieved that only a few parents had R.S.V.P.’d and that it would mostly be her younger crowd.

Sarah was also relieved that the weather was good. It was a little chilly, but other than that, it was forecast to be a clear night with maybe a good bright moon for ambiance.

Sarah, now wearing her costume found her parents already in their costumes in the kitchen. There was plenty of food and drinks. The apple cider had black ice in it, so it was bubbling and steaming like a mysterious brew and positioned just outside the door on the patio off the kitchen. There were plenty of canned drinks available as well. No liquor was allowed. That was one way to guarantee that the party would not go past 10 PM and no underage drinking occurred on the premises. The invitation had said from 7 PM to 10 PM and to be wherever you desired by midnight, anywhere except at the Dale Chateau.

Sarah’s Mom had insisted that at all her Halloween parties when she was Sarah’s age, they used to bob for apples and play fun games together. Sarah could not convince her Mom that her generation preferred to listen to music, take photos, and hang out more than play organized games. So, sure enough, her Mom ignored that and supplied a large pot full of water and apples for anyone who wanted to bob for them at the party. Sarah could not imagine any of her girlfriends being willing to ruin their make-up by sticking their head in the water to try to bite into an apple to get it out of the pot. Maybe the parents could play that and reminisce on their old generational pastimes.

Sarah thanked her parents once more for allowing her to host the party and excused herself with a handful of miniature sandwiches to check if Sally or any of the other guests might arrive early, as it was now within an hour of 7 PM.

Sarah had to take a double look as she watched Sally walk up the path to the courtyard from the front of the Chateau. It was Sally all right, easy to recognize her, as she was not wearing a mask or anything. What she was wearing was some thick rope around her midsection that was connected to what must be fake railroad tracks. The tracks became more obvious the closer Sally came. Running to catch up to her was Sam, wearing a mustache, black top hat, black clothes, and a cape. Snidely Whiplash and Sally must be Nell. What great costumes!

As Sally came face to face with Sarah, Sarah noticed that Sally had a bandana around her neck with a knot in the middle of it. It hung there like a necklace. The rest of her costume was a simple light blue dress that went to her ankles with black flats. The railroad tracks were actually made from round foam swimming noodles wrapped in black electricians tape making the slats. The rope was real enough, and it was obvious that Sam had really enjoyed himself tying Sally to the noodle tracks. The rope went from her shoulders to her waist with some gaps for her breasts and her arms were free from her elbows.

“I’m guessing Dudley Do-Right will not be coming to the party or rescuing you any time soon,” Sarah laughed as she looked over to Sam and then back at Sally.

“I hope not,” was Sam’s reply, “This damsel is with me! But if he does show up, I will be sure to introduce you, he would be more your type anyway.”

“You are such a romantic Sam, I mean Snidely,” was Sarah’s retort.

“He is that,” agreed Sally, “My anti-hero!”

“You two do belong together, what great costumes! You are going to have all the attention tonight as usual.” Sarah replied, “Come help me make sure everything is ready.”

“Don’t fall down any rabbit holes, Alice, I mean Sarah,” was Sam’s attempt to poke back at Sarah.

“I’m afraid our Alice will do no such thing, I’m also quite sure she will also refuse any of the mushrooms or whatever food that might make her shrink,” Sally said looking seriously at Sarah.

“What’s that bandana for Nell, want me to help you with that?” Sarah said half-jokingly to Sally.

“Maybe later Alice, after I’ve had some mushrooms and drinks at your party,” quipped Sally winking at Sarah. “Sam already tried it on me, and it doesn’t really work too well.”

With that greeting, the three friends went into the courtyard and made sure all the lights were dimmed, the eerie music was on, and the spooky setting was perfect for the rest of their friend’s arrival.

The party was a complete success! Sarah's friends and even the few parents who had come in costume all agreed.

Around midnight, Sarah was sitting alone in the DeLorean, talking softly into her phone.

“Thanks for calling and checking on me Sally, I really had a good time tonight, and I’m going to say it again – I loved your costume – oh and you were right about your bandana too! I won’t keep you longer from Sam or Snidely or whatever his name is. You’re my bestest friend ever! Hugs and sweet dreams!”

After hanging up, Sarah scrolled through the many photos on her iPhone, her hair still wet from her bobbing competition with her mother, and she was slowly eating her apple. She was still dressed as Alice but with different shoes. She was wearing her ruby slippers and saying to herself, “There’s no place like home.”

So begins the adventures of Sarah Dale: rabbit holes, portals, and future boyfriends waiting just on the other side.

 

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