Traveler's Hotel

Traveler's Hotel

by C.R. Downing


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Traveler's Hotel by C.R. Downing

The wall began to ripple. She felt a jolt, like a low voltage electric current pass through her body then it was over. She shook her head. It was, Shaina decided, time to begin her adventure. She grabbed the handle and pulled hard on the heavy, wooden door. It opened with a groan. Outside, it was overcast. But, it didn't smell all that bad after all. At least not at first. This is how Shaina Brewer arrives at what she thinks is her destination, and is one of the stories in Traveler's HOT L. The remaining seven stories are accounts of time travel by means of one of Earth's two Harmonic Overlapping Time Locations. The stories reveal a unique use of the HOT L by a former mental patient, a pair of counterfeiters, a detective, and four other individuals. As the travelers move through time, they try to repair the damage to the time fabric, attempting to use time as the ultimate hiding place, choosing the "other fork in the road," and righting wrongs. What happens to ex Army sniper, Roselyn Reynolds, while she plays the video game "Battle for a Far Planet" will leave you in doubt about the wisdom of immersing yourself in an electronic fantasy world. She is just one of eight characters who journey across time in adventures that will forever change them.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781938467899
Publisher: Koehler Books
Publication date: 01/01/2014
Pages: 286
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 12 - 18 Years

About the Author

Chuck Downing is an author of scientific works at He won a Teachers as Writers competition and a short story writing contest through Writer's Digest. Both his Master's Thesis and his Doctoral Dissertation were finalists for "Outstanding Submission" in their respective years. He is author/editor of Making Connections, a four-textbook series of integrating science concepts; co-author of Advanced Placement Biology for People's Education; and a designer/developer for biotechnology laboratory firms. He taught high school and university science courses for 40 years.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
Caught in the Middle
Shaina’s Story
The place didn’t look like much from the outside. There was a crumbling, oversized parking lot, mostly full of dust-covered vehicles, and the aging landscaping needed attention. Four large wooden letters, painted white, stood as witnesses to the function of the building—HOT L stood tall on the lawn to the left of the front door. It looked to all who passed by like the E had been blown away in one of the hot, high desert windstorms of some past year. A smaller sign that said Welcome to Traveler’s was fastened over the front door.
Shaina slowed her car and pulled over to the side of the two-lane road. She unfolded the page of directions she had printed off her e-mail confirmation and carefully re-read them. She grimaced. According to the directions, this was the place.
Instructions below the map said to arrive at the hotel by 12:45PM. She checked her watch. It wasn’t even 12:30PM. She removed her soda from the cup holder and slurped down the last lukewarm, watered-down remnants of the diet cola. She stuffed the cup into the fast food bag, tossed the bag on the floor, slipped the transmission back into drive, and slowly eased her car into the driveway.
A carefully paced lap around the parking lot yielded an empty space. She pulled in and parked the car.
She got out of her car, grabbed her small suitcase from the back seat, and studied the building in front of her. A red tile roof protected thick, textured stucco walls. She could see a patio through arched openings in the front portico. Most of the place was two stories tall. Only the lobby area seemed to lack a second floor. It looked like a run-down, Ma and Pa hotel operation whose lifeblood had been sucked away when the Interstate opened.
Except the parking lot was full.
In spite of her initial misgivings, and because she’d already come this far, Shaina decided that she must be in the right place. She headed toward the lobby.
Waves of heat from the parking lot’s asphalt surface shimmered in the afternoon sun. She could feel the warmth through the air-cushioned soles of her jogging shoes. She began to sweat.
A blast of almost arctic air greeted her as she opened the door to the lobby. She shivered instinctively and asked herself whether it was because of the cold or the circumstances. She closed the door behind her and stood, waiting for her eyes to adjust to the semi-darkness of the interior.
A silk Ficus tree stood as lonely sentinel to her right. A braided Mexican rug covered only a small portion of the tile floor. A sofa, two overstuffed chairs, and a coffee table were the extent of the furniture. Two alcoves seemed to embrace their small tables and chairs. A rack, like those that held tourist brochures in most hotels, was conspicuous by its lack of gaudy, colorful, temptations.
Directly ahead was the front desk. She walked over to it and rang the stereotypical bell. She waited.
After what seemed like a long time, a tall, shrewd-looking woman appeared. An equally shrewd-looking, but much shorter man followed her. The man carefully closed the door to the office behind him.
“Yes?” the woman’s voice was neutral. It was almost as though she was performing a formality over which she had no control.
“Um, I have a reservation,” Shaina stammered.
“Name.” The man’s voice was crisply efficient.
“Brewer. Shaina Brewer. I called last week. They said to arrive by twelve-forty-five…” Her voice trailed off as the man pulled a computer keyboard from beneath the plastic laminate counter surface. He glanced at his watch.
“Glad to see you’re punctual, Ms. Brewer,” he commented. He looked down at a recessed computer screen. “Still paying with the credit card on file?”
“Um, yeah. That’ll be all right.”
The shrewd-looking man continued to stare at the hidden screen as he checked the rest of the information in Shaina’s file through a series of questions. Satisfied, he slid the keyboard back under the counter, looked at her, and smiled.
“Welcome to Traveler’s,” he said. “My name is Chronos.”
The phone rang. The man and woman exchanged glances. Neither made a move to answer the phone. Shaina could see no phone anywhere in the reception area—the ringing was coming from the office.
“Shouldn’t someone get that?” She offered.
“Someone always does,” was the woman’s reply.
“Come along.” The man said and directed her around the end of the counter and toward the office door.
The woman opened the door and answered the phone. Shaina stopped in the doorway. Her mouth dropped open.
“Best close that up,” the man pointed to her open mouth without a hint of emotion. “Otherwise flies are liable to take up residence there.”
“What is this place?” Shaina asked.
“What? This?” The man motioned toward an entire wall covered with dozens of television monitors. The pictures were all similar—they looked like the inside of rooms. But there were some significant differences. The upper left display looked like something from a cheap western movie. Two monitors over and one row down showed what looked more like the inside of a cave. Several others appeared to be standard hotel rooms in various price ranges.
“What…? Where are these?” was the best she could do.
“Why, right here, Honey. Each monitor shows the inside of one of our rooms.”
“What kind of hotel is this?” Her tone was accusatory.
A short burst of laughter escaped from the shrewd-looking man’s lips. “Honey, this ain’t a hotel.”
“But, your sign—”
“Says ‘Welcome to Traveler’s.’”
“No,” she protested. “The one on the lawn. The one with the letter missing.”

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Traveler's Hotel 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Jenthomason1109 More than 1 year ago
If someone were to ask me if I were a science fiction/fantasy fan, I would typically reply with “not really,” or “it’s ok.” However, today I had the pleasure of reading C.R. Downing’s Traveler’s Hot L, and discovered that I am a sci-fi fan after all! This novel is a compilation of 8 chapters (short stories) centering around the Traveler’s Hot L and the concept of time travel. Each of the stories is different, and contains characters travelling through time for very different reasons. The characters common to all of the stories are Chronos and Eternity, who manage/own the Hot L, and prepare the travelers prior to departure and assist them upon return. Other common characters to all of the stories are Enoch, Tempus, and a man in the mist, who basically work at ensuring that there are no wrinkles in time, and also provide opportunities, or quests, for people to visit other time periods to correct various issues. I certainly don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun in reading this novel, but there is an incredible variety in characters and plot in each of the chapters. They range from going back to solve crimes, a simple vacation back in time, counterfeiting money, to ensuring that a child is conceived and a bloodline is carried on. This novel is unique in that each of the stories is so different from the other, yet there are commonalities which provide the reader with a smooth transition from story to story. As I read through this novel, I found myself excited to find out what the next story would be, and was genuinely disappointed once I realized I had finished them all. C.R. Downing is a creative and amazing storyteller that knows how to draw in the reader and keep them wanting more. Knowing that Downing spent most of his life as a teacher, I can imagine him sharing stories with his students, gaining their attention and respect because of his imagination and animation. Anyone that is presently a sci-fi fan should absolutely pick this novel up, it will not disappoint! For those of you, like myself, that wouldn’t normally choose a sci-fi novel to read – give this a chance, step out of your comfort zone, and prepare to be thoroughly entertained. I can now officially refer to myself as a fan of science fiction, and look forward to reading more of C.R. Downing in the very near future! Want to know more about the author? Visit: *I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.