Thinking on this deeper into the night Curtis emptied a second glass of whiskey over a stretch of another hour and a half. The more he entertained thoughts of the Star's past the more interesting it seemed to him. He put away his papers and his computer and sat in the red chair staring at the room around him. It would need to be restored, that was obvious, but kept in its original style. The kitsch furniture, the tawdry design of the faded wallpaper all lent a certain naive appearance as though it didn't itself realize how out of taste it actually was, a fact that could easily be exploited. Perhaps over time the retrograde style would enhance, even come back in fashion, thought Curtis. He admitted to himself he was relieved that he could return a review to his management that wasn't simply a disappointing experience in a failing hotel. The magazine was always looking for new and interesting places and the Platinum Star was just the sort of thing that could fetch a lengthy article or even the cover if it were done just right. Maybe they'd do an entire feature on the idea, he pondered. Hotels of yesteryear, it would say, Come vacation in the past!

As he mused Curtis naturally began to notice the vast amount of work that upgrading the hotel would require. His eyes fell to the verticle wood paneling along one of the walls that bulged out slightly as the boards had started to warp. There were deep cracks slicing into one part of the ceiling and up near the corner of of the room the wallpaper had started to peel. At first the man disregarded all of it and turned his mind to the possibility - or rather the likelihood - of bugs, scorpions and even snakes living in the hotel. He was even halfway out of the chair in a motion of getting ready to pour himself another drink when just then something stopped him. Something small, barely a sliver of white against the yellowing scroll of the peeling wallpaper where it met the ceiling in the corner.

Curtis completed the effort it took to lift himself from the deep hollow of the chair but ignored the glass and bottle on the nightstand. He came around the bed and walked between it and the wall, looking up curiously at the corner. His hand rose to touch it but it was scarcely out of reach and only his fingertips brushed the dry paper. So he jumped up, standing on the bed and leaning with one hand on the wall for support while the other continued exploring the wallpaper. Now close enough that he could clearly see that there was indeed something there he pulled gently at the spiraled edge so that it rolled back a little further, coming away like an old stamp. And there tucked discreetly behind the wallpaper were little bits of white, notes it seemed, hidden for however many years or even decades they had waited undisturbed for someone to find them.

Gingerly Curtis dislodged the papers. As he held them, folded over several times so that they were modestly thick between his fingers, he saw that they had printing writing on them. Pages of a book he figured, but as the sentences fell off the edge of the folds and were upside-down here and angled there he couldn't yet tell what they said. He rubbed his hand along the wallpaper once to feel its smoothness making sure there were no other hidden notes there. When he was satisfied there weren't he lowered himself from where he stood on the bed and sat down, turning the little stack carefully as though it were an ancient relic that could deteriorate if he so much as breathed too heavily on it.

But the paper was well-preserved, clean of any tears or blotches despite beginning to turn a pale shade of yellow that hinted at its age. Slowly but with all the eagerness and anticipation of a child unwrapping a birthday gift Curtis opened the folds and began to unlock the mystery. Whoever had hidden the notes had tried to keep them as flat as possible while also folding them into as small a shape as could be concealed with the flat of the wall. And once they were all open, bent so that they kept trying to fall back into their familiar creases, Curtis was at last able to properly examnie them.

There were three in all, each of them with one jagged edge which made it obvious they had been torn out of a book. As he read them the man saw that the tiny black text was in fact scripture and that the pages had once belonged to a bible. But amidst the printed words, scribbled in a sprawling hand over the verses and forced into barely legible writing in the empty spaces between paragraphs and along the margins was red pen. Its color and boldness were vivid upon the solemn passages and as the writing turned at the corners to continue sideways down the length of the page it was difficult to tell where one was meant to start reading.

Curtis flipped through the pages making sure to keep them in the order in which they had been discovered. Every sheet was so thin they were almost translucent. It figured that such thin paper was ideal if the author's intention was to hide his notes, and likely the bible that had been defaced was the most convenient material available and had once rested in the drawer of the nightstand. The very nightstand where currently the empty glass and bottle of whiskey still waited. But the man was too absorbed in the uncovered messages to drink. What secrets must they contain if they were hidden so well that no one had uncovered them for so long? He turned the sheets sideways and this way and then that, his eyes flittering over the writing until finally he found a date. A date that seemed to mark the beginning of the message. Above the ninth chapter of Leviticus as Moses instructed Aaron and his sons to sacrifice a calf to the Lord was written...