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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/768647-The-Stop-Off
Rated: ASR · Short Story · Ghost · #768647
A disturbing stay in a european inn.
I was looking forward with relish to my weekend stay in North Holland. It was my second journey to the European mainland, to escape the crowded and smoky Liverpool streets where I had spent my whole life. The first visit I made was to a small village near the Belgium, Luxemburg border. This was a peaceful and relaxing weekend of drinking coffee on the terraces and playing bowls with the locals. I do believe I was looking forward to more of the same.

On this trip we decided to stay a night in a small town built around a large steelworks. In this town we discovered a bar, near to the centre, which had two rooms to let. We took them and I stayed upstairs above my escort, who took the room below.
There were four rooms above the bar, we had taken two and one was occupied by the landlord, the other, I still don't know to this day.

As night drew in, we finished up our drinks and left the bar then went upstairs to our rooms to retire. The landlord and my escort in the two rooms below, I went up an extra flight of stairs to my room, next to the room which stood empty.

It was during the night when I heard a tapping on my wall. I mistook it for the door. I got up, put my robe on and opened my door. I was greeted by darkness and on the wall to the right I could just see the door to the empty room next to mine.
I closed my door to keep the darkness out and turned the key to secure it outside and to stop it creeping in.
I took off my robe and climbed once more into bed. Not a moment had passed when once again the tapping started and it undeniably came from the wall seperating my room from the room next door.
I persuaded myself after the tapping resumed again a number of times, preventing my sleep and causing me irritation, that the room must be occupied. I climbed out of my bed once more, again put on my robe, left my room and knocked on the door of the adjoining chamber.
No answer.
In my irritation I knocked again and again, each time I was greeted with silence. This was until the landlord, disturbed by my knocking, arrived at the top of the stairway. My escort followed close behind, muttering and asking if everything was okay.

I told them about the knocking but the landlord stood firm, saying that the room next to mine was empty. After much arguing and persuading the landlord disappeared to collect the keys so he could prove to me that nobody was in there. He returned after a short while carrying keys, jangling them on his way up the staircase. He reached the top and then unlocked the door. He passed over the honour of opening the door to myself and I duly obliged.

I opened the door and as when I had opened my own door, I was greeted by darkness. Suddenly, as the landlord was telling me how wrong I was to believe the room was occupied, there was movement.
I stepped into the room to gather a closer look.
As I did this, a number of humanlike shapes reached out to me, eyes open as wide as their silently screaming mouths. Their arms were stretched until almost breaking point, trying to pull me into the room, to keep me in their dark confinement as one of their own.
I turned and fled from the room, beckoning my escort to follow and forget his belongings. To leave that inn that contained a doorway into the depths of hell itself.

The last words I heard from the landlord were, “is there anybody in there?”
To me or into the darkness of the room I shall never know, for I have not returned to this bar or the town it is in and I don’t have plans to return again in the future. Either in person or as a spirit trapped in hell.



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