The storm blasted louder than ever before. The rain seemed to
have come down and puncture Cliff's skin. He slammed the door,
the thunder masking the sound of the slam, and headed for the
hotel. He ran inside, the water from the umbrella seeping down on
his head. Closing the umbrella and juggling the luggage in his
other hand, he approached the man at the counter, finally glad to
be out of the car, finally glad to be out of Wisconsin, finally
glad to be out of the rain.
The man at the desk was a little bit chubby, and had short, gray
hair. His big blue eyes found Cliff's brown ones and he smiled.
"Welcome," he said in an English accent. "And who are you?"
"Cliff Gallen," he replied, shaking the umbrella a little to get
all of that water off. "I'm a little late signing in-sorry-but
with all the rain and traffic and the fact that I came all the
way from Wisconsin for this meeting, I-"
"Ah, here you are," the man said, cutting Cliff off. "Room 128."
He searched in a drawer under the desk, grunting and muttering
that he's too old for this. Cliff checked his nametag-"Rob"-and
began to wonder how old he was. 60? Maybe even 65?
Rob got up and slammed the key down on the desk between them with
such force that it made Cliff jump. "Key to room 128, enjoy your
Cliff grasped the key firmly in his hand, the cold metal sending
a shock through his nerves. Sliding it inside his pocket, he
picked up the luggage he set down on the ground and began walking
toward the elevators.
"Wait, sir!" Cliff turned around. Rob came out from behind the
desk, and was standing right behind Cliff, arm outstretched as if
to grasp his shoulder, face a little red. Rob lowered his arm
slowly, and continued. "I have to warn you, though, before you
leave. Don't go into room 147. Do not even go near there."
"Why?" asked Cliff, a little impatient. 5 days of clothes and
toiletries aren't light, you know.
"Just don't, okay?" Rob's eyes looked sincere and worried, and
also a little bit sad. Cliff rolled his eyes and walked away.
The moonlight shown through the window, illuminating the bed
Cliff lay in. The cold air bit at his skin, keeping him awake.
That, and the fact that he was so stressed he couldn't sleep.
He rolled over, pulling the comforter snug on top him. He had a
meeting at 7 AM, and no way could he still be awake at-he checked
the clock-12:03 AM. He did everything, counted backwards from
100, took deep breaths, and even counted goddamn sheep, but
He got up and went to the bathroom, splashing some water on his
face. Fine, he thought. If I can't go to sleep, I'm not
going to sleep at all.
He put on his slippers and grabbed a cigarette, taking a lighter
and walking outside his room. He lit his cigarette and breathed
in, the smoke going filling his also tired lungs. Sighing, he
smiled. He wasn't able to smoke in a day, busy airports and
planes. The smile faded when he looked around and saw a sign that
boldly stated: NO SMOKING INSIDE THE HOTEL. He began to walk to
He passed room 129 on the left, 130 on the right, 131 on the
left, and so on, until he stopped in front of room 147. I
wonder what's in here that he didn't want me to see, he
thought. Jiggling the doorknob, he wasn't surprised the door was
locked. Looking left, and right, he looked through the peephole.
What he saw next surprised him the most.
Squinting, he saw a silhouette dancing. Looking closer, he saw
that it was a girl-a young girl, maybe 18. She had hair down to
the small of her back, which was colored a deep, rich dirty
blonde, and bouncing curls. She had only a big white
short-sleeved shirt on, and her skin was a even tan. The
furniture around her seemed out of place, though. It looked like
it dated back to 1910. Not that it had cobwebs on it, but he only
saw that furniture in movies. There was a lamp on beside her on
the table, illuminating what it could.
But that's not what caught his eye. It was her dancing. The way
she moved was hypnotic. He watched her dance not hearing the
music that she danced to, but just watching her dance. He stayed
right there for what seemed like minutes, that turned into hours.
When he became aware of the time startled he rushed to back to
his room confused. His day was haunted with the memory of the
prior evening as he returned around 8 PM. He headed straight to
his room, took a shower, and went back to room 147. He watched
her dance again-same moves, same shirt, same light, same
everything. But he didn't mind. He just watched her dance until 2
AM and decided that being tired wasn't a second day option. He
didn't like leaving her, but he knew that he had to get to work,
and so he left.
He found himself rushing back to the hotel back to the room
without music, back to her. Something was different. When he
looked through the peephole, all he saw was red. He saw the
furniture, but with no light except for the red tint. Cliff took
a step back and shook his head, rubbed his eyes, and tried
looking again. Red. He looked around the room, wondering if he
could spot her, but nothing. Just red. He tried taking a step
back and rubbing his eyes again. Red. He went back to his room.
The next morning when he checked out, he went straight up to Rob
and asked, "What was in room 147 that you didn't want me to see?"
Rob looked a taken back for a second, then it seemed to register
in his eyes. "Nothing," he mumbled, typing at his computer.
"No no no," began Cliff. "Don't tell me 'nothing.' What was in
that room that you didn't want me to see?"
Rob sighed. "All right, all right." He looked into Cliff's eye.
"My daughter died in that room about 2 years ago. She was 18. It
was a fire. I believe she has haunted that room ever since then."
Cliff didn't believe in ghosts. He didn't believe in the
paranormal. He thought whoever did hoped too much that their
loved ones are still with them in a physical sense. He despised
'ghost hunters.' But, still, Cliff's heart beat faster. Was it
her he saw? How did Rob know for sure that that's his daughter?
She surely didn't seem ghostly. "Well, how do you know it is her
haunting that room?" he dared to ask.
"Because she has one red eye."