Beware the Haunted Hotel Rooms

image from Roubicek

image from Roubicek

“… hotel rooms are just naturally creepy places, don’t you think? I mean, how many people have slept in that bed before you? How many of them were sick? How many were losing their minds? How many were perhaps thinking about reading a few final verses from the Bible in the drawer of the nightstand beside them and then hanging themselves in the closet beside the TV?” – Stephen King, Everything’s Eventual (1408)

I have read countless stories about haunted hotels and one of my favorites . Aside from Stephen King’s “1408” is a local story wherein a young man (let’s call him Jack) in his early twenties decides to travel alone. He goes to a place where the smell of pine is sharp, the air is not enveloped with pollution and everything is laid-back. Jack checks in a pretty cheap and old hotel. After checking in, he goes out to paint the town red and makes drinking in a bar his form of nightcap. With enough liquor to imbibe him, he goes back to his hotel room and finds out that his hot/cold shower is broken. He reports this to the hotel staff and soon enough, an employee knocks on his door.

“Good evening, sir,” the hotel employee, whose metal nameplate pinned to his yellowish uniform read “Andy”, said with a shy grin. “I heard your shower is broken?”

Jack nodded. “Yeah. It wasn’t broken when I checked in earlier today. I’m not sure what happened.”

“I can check it and then fix it real quick,” Andy said.

Jack opened the door. “Okay. Please make it quick, as I’m really tired.”

“Yes, sir!” Andy said enthusiastically. He and Jack stepped inside the bathroom, bathed in bright white light and tiled with scratched but shiny enough moss green tiles.

While Andy fixed the shower, a thought crossed Jack’s mind out of nowhere. “Aren’t there a lot of ghosts in this town?” He wondered out loud.

Andy chuckled. “They say that a lot but mostly, it came from people who don’t even live here. Besides, aren’t there ghosts anywhere?”

Jack looked out the window and found himself staring at the groups of pine trees standing at the empty lot across. “This is an old hotel. A friend told me there’s definitely ghosts here.” He gave an involuntary shiver. A cold breeze suddenly danced around inside the room.

“Do you believe in ghosts, sir?” Andy asked, glancing over his shoulder to look at him with wide, questioning eyes. Innocent eyes.

Jack shrugged. “I’ve never seen one but I’m not ready just yet to discount the fact that there are others out there.”

Andy flashed him a humorous smile. “Very smart answer,” He went back to fixing the shower.

A couple more minutes had passed with silence. Jack was too sleepy to converse and Andy didn’t seem to mind.

“How many more minutes until you’re done?” Jack asked. As he spoke, he saw tufts of vapor come out of his mouth. Brr. It was a good thing the hotel immediately attended to his need of having the shower fixed. He didn’t think he could splash cold water on his face nor brush his teeth with it in this kind of weather.

“Just a few more minutes, sir,” Andy said. True to his word, the hotel employee wrapped up his work not more than five minutes later.

At the doorway, Jack handed him some bills. Andy shook his head and shyly grinned. “Oh, no but thank you, sir, ” He then added, “I have no use of that. Have a nice evening.”

Jack was too tired to argue to he just nodded and thanked the efficient hotel employee. He’ll just hand over the tip to the concierge, where Andy could get it. As he shut the door, he headed straight for the single bed and fell asleep in a matter of seconds.

The next day, Jack dropped by the hotel lobby’s front desk. “Hi. I just need to give a tip to one of your hotel employees,” He told the young lady in charge. “My shower is now fixed. Thanks for your prompt attention. Can you please give this to Andy?” He handed her a small white envelope.

The young lady stared at him in both confusion and surprise. “Sir, when did you report this and what time?”

“It was around past eleven last night,”  Jack said, not sure what to make of her reaction. “I talked to you, remember? I’m from room forty-four.”

“Ah yes,” She nodded.

“Can you please give this to Andy?” Jack said again. “He didn’t want to take it last night but since he was really helpful, I want to tip him.”

“Sir,” the young lady hesitated. “I didn’t send anybody up there to your room after you called.” She paused and looked at him, frightened. “I tried calling your line but no one was answering the call.”

Jack was flabbergasted. “Maybe one of your staff was suddenly free. I know Andy was there. Short and wiry, with graying hair.”

At that, the young lady paled. “I’m really sorry, sir, but no one went there because we were short-staffed due to people being sick.” And she added faintly, “We also don’t have a hotel employee named Andy. But the one you just described…” She swallowed. “There was a hit and run accident thirteen years ago, right in front of this hotel. His name was Andy and he was supposed to start his first day as a bellhop here.” Her small eyes darted around the lobby area. “Yesterday was his death anniversary.”

This is one of the types of ghost stories about hotels. The guest runs into some trouble, a hotel employee comes to the rescue (appearances usually harmless yet disturbing enough to make you feel that something’s off as you read along) and then guest finds out that the employee is either dead or never existed at all. One of the interesting, if not scary, hotel ghost stories I have read is from Stephen King. It’s titled “1408” and is one of the so-called fourteen dark tales in his compilation of short horror stories. The title of this book is “Everything’s Eventual.” I think you’d like it. It’s his best compiled horror story, merging the gruesome, the horrifying, the terrifying, the haunting, and the dark tales of horror.

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