Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2309674-The-Knock
by Sky
Rated: E · Short Story · Dark · #2309674
Open Ended, short story. I had submitted this for school as well, tell me if you like it!
Charlotte ran. She ran as fast as she could, her feet splashing in puddles on the road. The night was falling gradually. She knew they were behind her; she could hear the loud padding of their feet. The police from her town were behind her for stealing a precious artifact from a museum. But she really needed the money. Now, she was on the run.
She couldn’t afford to get caught no matter what. Charlotte looked around as she ran, her eyes searching for a place to hide. Anything would do now. She was getting exhausted from running so much.
She took a look behind her. The men appeared to be very far away; she could hardly see them anymore. But she knew it was better for her to keep running until she found shelter. She saw a small worn-out hotel at a distance ahead of her. Yes, perfect. She turned around to take a look again. The police were nowhere to be seen. She had lost them. Charlotte slowed down as she reached the hotel. She looked up at the building, reading the bold letters, Hotel Rose Inn.
She gave a knock on the door which opened a little.
She quickly slipped in. The hallways were dimly lit and there was no one in sight. After a moment, a lady in her forties stepped up in front of Charlotte.
“Could I stay here tonight?” Charlotte asked, panting.
The woman looked confused at first but then nodded. Charlotte mumbled thanks and turned around.
“Stop.” The woman’s voice came softer than a whisper. Charlotte stopped in her movements and slowly turned back around. The woman’s piercing eyes were not helping Charlotte’s shivering. The woman tilted her head a little, eyebrows furred.
“You want to stay here?” she asked, her voice emotionless.
Charlotte nodded hesitantly. Hadn’t she already agreed to let her stay? What was wrong now? The woman’s face stretched in a stiff smile which sent a cold shrill down Charlotte’s spine.
“How’re you gonna find the room alone? Come on, I should be showing you, right?” the lady said.
Oh. Oh! Charlotte let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding. The woman wasn’t mad at her. She was just doing her job. Charlotte nodded and smiled, following the woman.
The next day, Charlotte woke up to the sound of the piano. She followed it to a room and saw the woman playing the piano gracefully. Charlotte stood in the doorway, listening. After a while, she knew she had to interrupt the woman since Charlotte would be leaving for her town.
“Uh…Thank you for everything you did, I have to leave now.” Charlotte said so softly that she doubted if the lady heard her. As she was going to call out again, the woman suddenly banged the piano keys, the shrill noise echoing through the strangely empty hotel.
The woman stopped and looked at her. Charlotte tried to sport a smile that she surprisingly got back.
“How much for the night?” She asked, reaching into her pocket.
“No need. You can go. Goodbye.” The lady said.
Charlotte shrugged and thanked the lady again before slipping away from the hotel. She looked around and saw that she was safe. She quickly made her way to her town.
“I’m back home, Grandma.” She said as she got inside her house. Her grandmother slowly made her way toward her.
“Where’d you stay last night?” she asked.
“In a hotel in the last town. The police didn’t come there. I didn’t see them again.” Charlotte answered.
“What? There are no hotels in the neighboring town…” her grandmother said. “…unless you count Hotel Rose Inn.”
“Yep, that’s where I was,” Charlotte said. Her grandmother’s eyes widened.
“Did I hear you right?” Charlotte nodded. “But that hotel has been locked for years. I was the one who had fought the case of the mysterious murder in that hotel. Wait here.” her grandmother got up and walked up to a shelf. She took out a paper and handed it to Charlotte. It was the death certificate of a woman named Livia.
And the photo beside the name made Charlotte’s face go pale. It was the photo of the same woman Charlotte had met in the hotel.
What? That woman was dead? How was that possible? Charlotte’s head started spinning. Had she fallen asleep somewhere else and dreamt about staying in that hotel? Yep, she must have. There was no way it was real. Obviously.
But that midnight, Charlotte put on a mask and sneaked out of the house, just in case the police saw her. She walked towards the town before and in minutes she was at the hotel.
She looked at the doors and saw a huge lock on it. Exactly, it was a dream. She must have slept under a tree due to exhaustion and dreamt everything. That’s what she told herself. But her gut feeling failed her and she did the stupidest thing.
She knocked.
Not like anyone was gonna open up. But…the door flew open.
There stood the woman, her eyes still holding the piercing gleam.
“You’re back.” She said as a smile crept up her face.
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