The Hotel Macabre

Kenneth Broley, Julia’s former father-in-law, spent a summer running the semi-submarine tour here, before he went into the army in 1966. “Magical place, Catalina,” he’d said to her toward the end of his life. “I had such good times there.” His voice softened with the pleasure of remembering, a light coming to his mournful blue eyes, a flicker of sun on clear water. In fact, at times it seemed that the family’s memories of the island’s charms stemmed from the kind old man’s nostalgia alone—though they had spent several vacations here when Will was a boy. In any case, they all talked about going back someday—except of course for Kenneth’s wife, Eunice, with that prim throat-clearing way of talking, sitting ramrod straight in her black rocker, her small white hands with the polished red talons resting in her lap. “An awful lot of tourists, of course. But if you don’t mind them, I suppose it’s nice.”

Suppose.

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