Is Sarah's holiday about to be ruined by a ghostly encounter?
|Sarah thanked the driver brightly as she stepped out of the minicab and reached for her suitcase. She was the last one off the transfer and was glad to be out in the fresh air. The sun was shining in a bright blue sky completely devoid of clouds and the heat seeped through her jeans and black sweater. Her thoughts as she lifted the case up the steps and towards the reception desk were of changing in to a bikini and diving in to the clear, cool ocean.
There was already someone at the desk – a man and woman, older than her, in cropped trousers and sun hats. They spoke in English to the receptionist but it was accented – Russian perhaps? Or maybe Polish. Either way, the conversation seemed to be heated.
“I am sorry Sir, Madam,” The receptionist was saying, “But these rooms are non-refundable. This is clearly stated on our website. We will not give a refund for the room you have booked with us.”
Sarah glanced around the lobby, wondering why the couple were so desperate to leave the hotel – it looked just like the pictures on the website. Clean, marble floors and plush sofas in purple and pale blue, glass topped tables adorned with vases of fresh flowers. A white cat lounged on a chair, gazing at her with one open, green eye and through the double doors at the far end she could just about make out the garden and the pool, shimmering in the afternoon sunlight.
“But yet,” The man was saying, “On website is not saying horror house. Ghost in rooms house! No saying of this on website! You think okay but no!” He followed by saying something in Polish, or Russian to his wife before stalking off, dialling somebody on his cell phone. The woman followed him, leaving the receptionist looking warily at Sarah and her bags.
“Ghost in rooms? What was that about?” She enquired lightly, approaching the desk and proffering her passport.
“There are no refunds for hotel rooms which have already been paid for,” The receptionist, whose name tag read “Ersin” said quickly.
“Oh, that’s fine – I don’t want a refund. I can’t wait to change and get in the water to be honest.” She smiled at him and after a moment’s hesitation, he smiled back. The couple were clearly insane, she thought as she signed the check in form and watched Ersin tap details in to his computer. “Room 405,” He said, handing her the key. “On top floor. Nice sea view.” He smiled again and directed her to the elevators. He was right – the view was spectacular, miles of Ocean stretching out before her, the Greek Islands shadowy in the distance. Below was the pool, surrounded by palm trees and sun loungers. Sarah smiled to herself and changed in to a red bikini, flinging her winter clothes over the back of an armchair and, grabbing her towel, headed downstairs.
As she entered the garden, she noticed the couple from earlier. The woman was sat in a garden chair and the man was on his phone talking in broken English and she caught some of the words, “Scratching noise…..Crying out……Crash sound….No persons.....” Sarah frowned, could there really be a ghost in the hotel? It seemed a strange thing to make up, just to get a refund, and besides, the hotel was lovely. Why would they want a refund at all? Unless, perhaps……She brushed the thought aside. It was obviously nonsense. Whoever heard of a ghost in a modern hotel like this? She laughed to herself and headed to the beach.
After swimming, showering, dinner and a couple of drinks at the bar, Sarah felt just about ready to crash. It had been a long day and she wanted to be up early to take a boat trip. She had all but forgotten about the couple from reception and the ghost, had got chatting to a Swedish couple at the bar who had been there a week already. As she climbed in to bed, she sighed happily and closed her eyes.
She must have been asleep for a few hours before she heard it – a crash, followed by a sound like crying, but muffled. In a moment she was out of bed, wide awake – the ghost! The couple in the lobby hadn’t been making it up at all. She opened the door to her room slowly and peered outside in to the corridor. It was deathly silent, lit by the eerie glow of lanterns on the walls. There was the sound again – louder out here, a moaning, whining sound. Sarah edged down the corridor to where the sound was coming from. Right at the end was a door without a number on it, a little more battered looking that the others, and the sound was coming from behind it, a crying, scraping sound. Sarah reached out for the door handle, holding her breath. She pressed down heavily and heard the latch click before the door swung open – and there she saw it.
The white cat, the one from the lobby with the green eyes looked up at her from the floor of the storage room, her kittens mewing around her as they scratched their little claws against the wooden shelves, the sounds rising up through the skylight in the roof. Sarah laughed with relief, catching her breath. Footsteps echoed from behind her and she swung round. It was Ersin, the receptionist, carrying a box of cat biscuits.
“I see you found the ghost,” He said. He looked embarrassed, wary as he moved past her in to the little room and the kittens ran to him. “I didn’t want to tell the manager,” He continued, “They are so small. I was worried if they went outside, they would die.”
Sarah bent down, scooping up a tiny cat who regarded her and mewed loudly. She looked at Ersin and smiled,
“Your secret is safe with me.” She said.