The 13th Hour Chapter 2: You may remember from the first chapter that our main character Doug Miller was obsessed, or cursed, whichever way you want to look at it. He repeated, over and over: One Three, One Three, One Three. He met a strange woman named Flora on a very strange bus ride that he could not fathom to be real. The woman told him that they would meet again and that she would take him to room 13.
Chapter 2: Three weeks had passed since Doug Miller met Flora on the bus he rode to and from his job in the mailroom basement of a big insurance company. During those three weeks, Doug was haunted by that meeting with Flora. Nothing made any kind of logical sense to him. He kept thinking that maybe she was some sort of witch who was going to mess his life up even more than he already had. Doug was very private, and he was a very insecure man. He had virtually no friends, and he never had gone on an official date with a woman. What was worse about him meeting Flora, it increased his obsession with constantly thinking and saying to himself, “One three, one three, one three.”
On the third weekend after, he met Flora on the bus. Doug was sitting quietly in his chair. He had been thinking about that bus experience and had been trying to figure out what that meant. Doug wondered if he would ever see her again. Just as he thought that, there was a knock on his door. “Hi Douglas, it’s me, Flora, your good friend from the bus ride you and I shared three weeks ago.” Doug did not know what to do. He was frightened of her and did not really want to let her into his apartment. Flora sensing Doug’s uneasiness, looked at him and said. “Don’t worry, Douglas, I’m not going to hurt you. In fact, I’m here to give you a new life, a new lease on life, if you will.” Doug sized her up and realized she was wearing the same clothes when he first met her on the bus. The only thing that might’ve changed was the hat she was wearing. He just could not remember. But he did remember she was dressed in mismatch clothes, and for the most part, ill-fitting. As he stood there looking at her standing outside the doorway. He picked up on the smell of flowers just like he did on the bus.
“Well, Douglas, my dear, aren’t you going to invite me in?” Flora said in a soothing melodic voice. Again Douglas really did not know what to do. He did not want to be rude, but he was also afraid of her, especially because of the Twilight Zone experience he had with her on the bus. Doug backed away from the door and moved a yard or more away from the open door to create some distance from Flora. Then he looked her up and down and then sheepishly said. “Why should I; why should I let you in my home? You frightened me; I don’t know who you are or what you’re trying to do to me. I wish you would just go away and leave me alone.” Flora quickly responded. “You may think that’s what you want, but trust me, I have something wonderful in store for you. I want you to come with me. I’m going to take you to room 13. You will thank me a million times over after I show you what I have for you.”
By this time, Doug was starting to settle down a little bit inside. He asked Flora, where is this room 13? Why do we have to go there? How do I know I can trust you? Last time we met, you frightened me so much so that I can’t come to terms with it.” Flora walked in past the door threshold. She was now nearly a foot away from being literally face-to-face with Doug and said, “You don’t have to be frightened. I promise you will thank me a million times over if you will just come with me. No one will hurt you. I’m an old lady, and I certainly cannot hurt you physically. And I am pretty sure you need my help. Your life isn’t filled with joy and happiness. I’m here to make sure it is.”
“Take my hand Douglas; take my hand, and we will go to room 13. It’s not that far from here. Flora repeated that to Doug several times until he reluctantly gave in. Doug responded, “How are we going to get there?” Flora replied, “We’re going to take a short bus ride, and it won’t be as scary as the first one we rode on when we first met. It’s only about 20 minutes from here. We can pick up the bus on the corner. There’s one that will be coming by in 15 minutes or so. Let’s do this Douglas my dear.”
Doug and Flora got on the bus and headed to a rather dumpy part of town. When they got off the bus, Doug turned to Flora and said, “This is worse than my neighborhood. Are you sure we’re going to be safe down here?” “We only have to walk about a block to get to room 13,” Flora said to Doug in a mirthful voice. In about 10 minutes, they reached their destination. It was a gym of sorts. Rundown and on the seedy side. It looked like a lot of boxers went there to spar with other boxers in the canvas soiled boxing ring. Along the sidewalk leading up to the entrance were several brown bags with what appeared to be wine bottles. The cheap stuff like Thunderbird designed to get you drunk for very little money.
“Come on, Douglas, let’s go in. We need to go into the locker room area. Head down this way.” Flora directing Doug all the while. Doug was so nervous his hands were shaking, and he was thinking to himself. “What am I doing? This is crazy for me to follow this crazy lady into this dumpy, filthy gym.” The clientele were mostly unkempt gruff men with pock-marked faces and noses. Not one of them had on a clean shirt. The gym smelled of every imaginable body odor. Doug kept close to Flora. At least she smelled good compared to the overall rancor of the place.
“Here we are, Douglas. This is where room 13 is,” Flora said as she removed a key from her purse and inserted it in the lock. Doug looked at her and said. “What are you talking about? This is a locker. This is the door to a locker, not a room. What are you trying to do, Flora? You’re not going to ask me to get inside this locker. I just won’t do it! This it’s crazy.” Flora told Doug as she opened the locker door. “Don’t worry… watch what happens next.” Flora pushed on the back wall of the locker, and it opened into what appeared to be a very large room. It seemed to be well lit from Doug’s position, standing half in and half out of the locker. Flora went in and told Doug. “Pull the locker door shut. It will lock on its own,” Doug obeyed her command. He walked in through the narrow locker and into the room, pulling the locker door shut behind him.
“Welcome, Douglas. This is your inner sanctum.” Flora proclaimed as she motioned, first with her right hand and then her left, gesturing to show off the interior as if she were selling a new home. Douglas was overwhelmed. You might even say he was spellbound by the room’s opulent decor. The room smelled of heavily scented fresh-cut flowers, mostly the aroma of rose. He thought to himself, “This must be why Flora always smelled like a delicate flowery perfume.” Doug was transfixed by all of the breathtaking visuals in front of him. He was trying to figure out what to say. Finally, he asked Flora. “What is this place? Why is it so beautiful? Before we came in through the locker, I was disgusted by what I saw, and quite frankly, my nose was being assaulted by the horrible smells of unwashed bodies.”
Floral spoke softly but directly towards Doug, “This is the place where you will regain your life. I will give you a key, and you can come here anytime you want to recharge. All of the negative thoughts and ideas you have about yourself will quickly disappear. You will become confident, self-reliant you will gain composure. But most importantly, you will find happiness, and your soul will be at peace. There will be a time when you will no longer need this place, and at that point, you simply leave the key on the table. You will walk to where the locker door is. You will close it, and you will never be able to return.”
Doug was starting to feel happy inside but not really knowing why, and said to Flora, “I feel amazingly good in here. It’s almost hypnotic all of the anxiety I have been feeling over the last several years of my life has seemed to have evaporated. I feel at peace inside. I am happy! I’m truly happy!” Flora let Doug bask in his newfound emotional feelings and then finally said, “You will become what God intended you to be. You will come here frequently for several days then you will need to come here less and less. Your life is going to change dramatically. You will become successful. You will marry the woman of your dreams. You will have children. You will be very prosperous. You will grow old, and you will be happy all your days.
Doug, half holding his breath, said to Flora, “Why? Why me? Who is making this happen? I can already feel changes taking place in my mind. I’ve never been this much at peace, and my negative self-talk has seemed to stop haunting me. It’s disappeared. Why Flora? Why?” Flora, with a big warm, friendly smile on her face, said, “Douglas, this is happening. Don’t question it. The answer is way beyond what you will ever be able to understand. All I can say is there are hundreds of thousands of room 13’s, and they open up during the 13th hour. And you experienced the 13th hour with me on the bus. In a short while, you will no longer want to come back here to the locker entrance to room 13. It will completely disappear, and your memory of it will be gone. Your life will change, but you will not remember the past. Everything that you have known of your unhappy life will be gone.”
Doug was experiencing a calmness inside that he had never experienced before. Went over to Flora and gave her a hug, and said, “I don’t know who you are. I guess you are an angel. At least you are an angel to me. I don’t want to forget you or this experience you have blessed me with. It’s way beyond anything I could’ve ever imagined.” Flora hugged Doug in the most honest, loving way and said, “I’m going to leave you now. You have the key, try and come here every day for a week. Don’t let anyone know about this place or all the goodness you will receive will disappear. You will soon lose memory of this place and the key will disappear. Make sure when you open the locker no one sees you.” Flora broke away from the hug that she shared with Doug and said, “You are a very lucky man, and I am so happy that I was able to share with you. The 13th hour and take you to room 13. I must leave now you can stay here as long as you wish. Do then go back to your apartment. Only visit this place. Do not spend the night.” She then said, “Goodbye, Douglas, you’re now a blessed man.” Then she went out the door and through the locker.
Doug followed Flora’s instructions and did not deviate one bit. Before long, he forgot about the 13th hour and room 13. His life had completely changed, and he’s living the way Flora predicted. You may experience the 13th hour in your own life. It does happen. You just have to believe there is a 13 hour. Every time you look at a clock, think about it. You may just be lucky enough to live that one hour and go into room 13. But then again, like Flora said, you will never remember it, but your life will be truly blessed.