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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Ghost · #2179786
A traveler spending the night in a hotel encounters a strange man.
It was nearly 10:30 when Mark pulled into the old hotel’s parking lot. He’d been driving for hours on his way to a conference in Virginia. He followed the GPS advice to follow back roads and avoid traffic.The detours added several hours to his drive, so he stopped at the first hotel he came to. He pulled into an empty spot, shut his car off and gathered his things. He made his way inside to the lobby and approached the lady at the desk.

“Good evening, sir. How may I help you?” she asked.

“I’d like to book a room for the night,” he said.

“Alright,” she replied as typed on her computer.”There’s a room on the third floor available.”

“That’s fine,” Mark answered fatigue transparent in his voice.

He handed her his information, then paid her. She gave him the small packet with his key and the hotel’s Wi-Fi password. She gave him directions to the elevators and how to get to his room when he got to his floor. He thanked her, made his way to the elevators and took the first available elevator to the third floor. An eerie silence engulfed him as he stepped out from the elevator. He supposed that all the other occupants on the floor were asleep and that’s why he didn’t hear anything.

Mark walked down the long hallway toward his room. The lady had said that he needed to go straight down the hallway in front of the elevators, turn at the second hallway he came to and his room would be the third door on the left. He followed the directions and found his room. A cold chill ran up his spine as he pulled his room key out of the packet and he looked around. There was a dark-haired man dressed in a black suit standing in the hallway he’d just come from. He was certain that the man hadn’t been there when he’d first walked down the hallway. Mark turned back toward the door and inserted the key into the reader. The reader beeped and he heard the door unlock.

As he opened the door, Mark dropped his keys. He set his bag down in front of the door to keep it from closing and bent down to pick them up. When he stood back up, he saw the man was now standing only a few feet away from him. The man looked perfectly normal up close, if a little pale.

“Did you have a long drive?” the man asked.

“Yeah, a little bit,” Mark answered, a little confused.

“I hope you have a restful night, although I recommend you remain in your room tonight. Don’t open your door for anyone without calling the desk to make sure. Have a good evening,” the man said.

Before he could reply, the man turned around, strode down the hallway and vanished around the corner toward the elevators. Mark was very confused and more than a little creeped out. He turned on the lights, brought his bag into the room and dropped it on one of the beds. He decided to forget about the strange man and just get some sleep. He changed out of his clothes and into his pajamas. After turning on the TV, he clicked through the channels until finding an action movie. He turned the lights off and laid down, deciding to see if he could fall asleep during the movie. He must have fallen asleep during the movie because he was suddenly being awoken by loud knocking at the door. He got up and walked to the door.

“Who is it?” he asked.

“Room service,” said a voice on the other side of the door.

He remembered the strange man’s warning and told the voice that he hadn’t ordered room service. He heard someone walk away and immediately called down to the desk. The lady said she’d send security up right away to check the floor. When no one came to speak to him, Mark went back to sleep.

When he walked into the lobby the next morning, he saw the desk lady from last night. She was still there. He approached her and told the lady about the strange things that had gone on the night before, including the man in the black suit. She leaned forward a bit and spoke in a low voice.

“It seems that a known burglar managed to book a room here two days ago. He was posing as an employee to try and get into people’s rooms. He was caught by security last night, coming out of another guest’s room, right after you called. Apparently, he was armed and stabbed the other guest several times. As for the man you saw, that was Mr. Dennis. His mortuary’s the building next door. That mortuary would get the call anytime there was a death on the hotel property. The thing is Mr. Dennis died fifteen years ago. However, there have been reports for years from guests and staff seeing him around the hotel. He’s also been seen at his mortuary and the local cemetery,” she explained.

Mark wasn’t sure what to think. His life may very well have been saved by a ghost.
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