A Ghost Story

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A man trying to cope from his past runs into a friendly ghost.

Submitted: August 13, 2019

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Submitted: August 13, 2019

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Rain was battering the side of the Miriam Hotel as the taxicab pulled next to the curb. A tall man with a brown trench coat and matching trilby hat stepped out but it was too dark to see his face. He was holding a leather suitcase and he waved at the cab as it drove away. Inside the Hotel was surprisingly stunning. A high ceiling, a pretty chandelier with vintage artisanal lights drowning the lobby in a bright atmosphere. White leather sofas were next to the wall opposite the entrance and the floors were a glossy marble with gold highlighting the corners. The man in the trench coat was stunned at its beauty and was looking around circling himself repeatedly as if he stepped into the land of Oz. His clothes, still dripping from the rain, formed a circle underneath him as he was looking around. A voice came from behind him, “Hello? You here for a room?” It startled him, breaking his concentration.

“Uh-yeah…yeah.” He took off his hat and approached the front desk. He wiped his shoes on the long burgundy carpet in front of him. He slowly started to feel the chill of being drenched in cold water.

“You were messing up the floors,” The receptionist said. “That’s why we got the carpet here.” She was an older woman with short hair. She was fingering a magazine as she talked to him.

“Sorry, sorry. Just…you got a nice place that’s all.” The man held his gaze at her for a couple seconds. The woman seemed to not care at all. “Uh…I would like a room please.”

“You a serial killer?” The woman nonchalantly asked while licking her finger, soaking up all the images of her beauty magazine as she flipped through it. It was obvious that her best times were behind her, but she seemed more entertained by the pictures than by her customer.

“Excuse me?”

“We don’t get many customers this late at night.”

“But it’s only midnight?”

“Not what I asked.” The woman kept flipping through the magazine without making eye contact. “Name?”

The man stood there, looking puzzled, “Uh, Tom Duffers.”

“One moment,” The woman said. Without breaking her gaze at her magazine, she started groping around the bottom area of her desk and pulled out a big dusty book. Meanwhile, Tom pulled out his wallet and a couple hundred-dollar bills. The receptionist slammed her book down and said, “Sign here please.”

“Oh, old-school huh?” Tom chuckled a little as he said that.

“Just sign.”

Tom wiped away his smile and nodded, “Fine.” He quickly scrawled his name on the book with a pen. He plopped down his money on the desk and picked up his suitcase.

The receptionist miraculously peered up from her magazine and looked at Tom through the top of her glasses, “You know it’s only—”

“Just….keep it. Just wanna go to my room if you don’t mind. Single bed.”

The receptionist looked back down at her magazine. She groped around again around her knees and pulled out a key. “Room 218. Take it or leave it. Elevator is to your right.”

“I’m taking it, thanks.” Tom took the key and made his way to the double elevators that were of course, painted gold. He pressed the button and waited. As he stood there, he felt the air shift and he got colder. He noticed the sound of the water dripping off the ends of his coat, noticed his heartbeat get a bit faster, noticed his breathing sharpen and sensed as if someone was watching him. He looked over his shoulder and saw her standing there in her blue dress. Her brown hair running down half of her face while the other half, was smeared in blood from the large incision she had on her forehead. Her bloody face had barely noticeable, small shards of glass scattered all over. She was smiling at Tom and had her arms crossed. Her right arm was dripping fresh blood and it was staining the bottom half of her dress.

“Hey there, handsome.” The woman said. She walked forward a little and leaned against one of the elevator doors, tilting her head.

“Here so soon? It’s only midnight.” Tom said, smiling.

“Expecting someone? I can wait outside if you want me to…” The woman smiled back.

“No, by myself.”

“D’aww.” The elevators finally rung. A young couple walked out holding hands. Tom glanced at them and went ahead and pressed his number. The woman followed Tom and looked at him, still smiling, “That could be us one day!”

“That could’ve been us.”

“Oh, don’t be like that honey.”

“Vera, when you say things like that it makes me miss you.”

“Just like teasing you that’s all!” Vera tried to grab Tom’s arm, but she couldn’t. Her bloody hands kept phasing through Tom and turning into white dust before it snapped back into being her hands again. Vera sighed in frustration.

“I’m irresistible now, aren’t I?” Tom said jokingly. The elevator doors opened, revealing a long bright hallway with a nice red carpet. The hallway curved to the right towards the end of it. It was almost dizzying. There were a handful of people loitering about either looking for their rooms or just getting ready to leave. Tom started walking down while looking at the gold imprints of the room numbers on each door for Room 218.

Vera was walking right beside him. She was clasping her hands together in front of her. Her right arm was constantly dripping of blood and she left a nice horrific trail behind her, “Thank god this carpet is red.” She had a small but noticeable limp as she walked.

“Yeah lucky you,” Tom said. “Ah here it is.” Tom unlocked the door and turned on the lights. The room was as pretty as the hotel lobby. The theme was white and gold. The bed was off to the right being flanked by two nightstands and black and white lamps. Above the bed was an abstract painting, too abstract to understand its meaning but it was laced with different shades of white and yellow. Towards the left was a small black table with a nice white couch sitting against the wall and on the other side of the table were two smaller white couches. Next to the entrance was the bathroom.

“Cozy enough for you your majesty?” Vera waved Tom into the room using her bloody hand as a wand.

“This is pretty crazy. Wonder why this place doesn’t get that many visitors.”

“Maybe because Room 217 is haunted?” Vera laughed.

“Haunted………Oh. Gotcha.” Tom started to unpack. Taking out his sleeping clothes, toiletries and shower supplies. He also took out a big yellow notepad and black and blue pens. “Still working on my book.”

“All work and no play Tom…” Vera was standing near the bathroom, arms crossed.

“Makes me a dull boy, right? That’s how it goes?”

“I thought this was your long-awaited break?” Vera started waving her hands, “You should be relaxing getting a massage or watching trashy TV shows. Instead, you’re thinking about work.”

“It’s the only thing I can think of nowadays other than you know…..you. Writing helps me concentrate. Helps me forget about everything else.” Tom was searching for a towel inside the bathroom.

“Still having those nightmares?” Vera looked at him with a concerned but caring face. Tom didn’t look back at her. Instead, he was focused on setting up the shower. “Tom?”

“Yes, Vera. Still having them.” There was contempt in his voice.  

“Like I said before, you should consult with someone about that. You can’t keep living like this.” The hot water from the shower was fogging up the bathroom. Tom was already naked, revealing a gash behind his shoulder blade when he stepped into the shower. “Does it still hurt?” Vera asked.

“Only when I lift heavy objects or stand for too long. Yours looks much worse.”

“This little cut?” Vera pointed at the deep bloody gash on her forehead, “Don’t feel a thing.” She smiled through the stream of blood that ran down the side of her face. Tom snickered a little and stretched his arms out towards the shower wall in front of him and closed his eyes. He meditated a little, taking deep breaths as the hot water rolled down his neck and back. The humidity made it a little hard to breath. A couple images passed through his mind’s eye. Bright lights, a winding dark road, and an approaching roar that kept getting louder and louder the longer he kept his eyes shut. He also saw Vera, smiling like usual but this time without her face being covered in blood. The roar got louder and louder until it was so loud it felt like it was right beside him. The roaring sound turned into a screech that bounced through his body and shook his insides. He then saw small glass pieces hit his face and he opened his eyes, his vision blurry from the water and steam. Vera was standing in front of the bathroom mirror touching her face trying to figure out why blood made her ethereal skin look nice and shiny. Tom looked at her wondering why she was so calm considering her circumstances. “How do you do it?” he asked.

Vera turned to him, “Do what?”

“Stay that calm? I mean, don’t you feel any kind of resentment?”

“You learn to come to terms with it.” The shower was turned off and Tom was drying himself. “You shouldn’t be worrying about me. You should be taking care of yourself.”

“I’m trying Vera. I really am.”

“You sure you’re trying? I mean, you are talking to your deceased wife right now. I think that’s enough of a reason to talk to someone.”

Tom ignored her and walked into the living room to put on his clothes. He hanged his clothes drenched in rain over the bathroom door and placed the towel on the bathroom hanger. “All of this, trying to get out of the city and take some vacation days, is me trying to heal.” Vera came from behind him and tried to embrace him but couldn’t. “I gotta go to sleep. Flight leaves tomorrow.” Tom packed all his things again in his suitcase.

“You never really told me where you’re going.”

Tom turned around and said, “Because it’s a surprise. You’ll see it once I get there.” Vera smiled and walked over to the side of the bed while Tom hopped into the blankets. He had a small medicine bottle and swallowed two white pills.

“Helps you sleep?”

“Not really. I take it out of habit.”

“Promise me that you will see someone to help you with this.” Vera walked over to Tom’s side of the bed and inspected the bottle’s label, “Trimipramine? That’s more of an antidepressant. You have been seeing someone haven’t you?”

“Not anymore. Didn’t really like my doctor so I kicked myself out and kept the medication. Getting sleepy is a side effect so that’s why I kept taking them.”

“You should try therapy, Tom. These medications can mess with your body.”

“I’ll think about it. Just, let me sleep for now.” Tom closed his eyes and he felt a sense of heftiness. He was more tired than he thought he was. He drifted off to a dream state in mere seconds.

The roaring sound came back but this time it was distinct. It was a blaring car horn, long and steady. He was floating over a dark, cement road and saw car lights in the distance. They were part of a small car and were moving quickly. He saw quick flashes of blood and glass and heard a terrifying scream. He floated towards the moving car and he can see them: a young couple. The woman on the passenger seat wore a blue dress and long brown hair. She was happily smiling and talking to the driver which he knew, was him. He had short blond hair at the time and was wearing a black blazer without a tie. The car stopped at a stop sign just before the intersection and Tom did a quick stop and go without realizing that there’s a van heading straight for him at full speed.

Before they can even process what was happening, a loud car horn boomed across the road to their right followed by a whirlwind of metal and glass. The van slammed into the passenger side of Tom’s car, cutting off Vera’s conversation mid-sentence and crushing the lower half of her body. The car deployed its airbags, but Vera’s head had already whiplashed towards the windshield and her face was caught in the storm of shattered glass and pieces of metal. Her forehead ripped open almost instantly, raining down blood unto her legs. Tom was sent flying towards the opposite direction, hitting his car door and getting knocked out in the process. He slumped forward up against the steering wheel. Vera was on her side. The van hit the car so hard, its momentum kept the van moving for a couple of meters and Tom’s car did a complete 180. The van slowly stopped when it approached the side of the road and Tom’s car had broken its horn leaving an obnoxious steady ringing.

The man from the van kicked open his door and stumbled outside. He was limping and had injured his hand which he was holding up to his chest. He shuffled his way to Tom’s car as quickly as he can. He checked the passenger seat and saw Vera’s flayed body drooping towards the windshield. Her eyes were open and most of her face and hair was covered in blood and glass. The bottom half of her body was soaked in blood and even more debris. She was lifeless. The man instantly turned pale and started sweating, “Oh my god…” He said as he clutched his head with his one good hand, “Oh my god.” He ran over to the drivers’ side and saw Tom there unconscious. He quickly pulled out his phone and called 911. Tom slowly started to come to his senses, but his vision was blurry, and he had an intense headache. When his vision became a little better, he saw her. Right in front of his eyes was Vera’s corpse. He only saw the side of her neck and face, but he instantly knew what had happened. He was in a car crash. A bad one. He struggled to move as his back felt as if it was broken so he tried to speak, “Vera…?” He was barely audible, but he was alive. He slipped in and out of consciousness.

Next thing he knew he was looking up towards a ceiling of moving lights. Doctors were talking all around him, but he couldn’t understand anything. Only muffled and garbled words. He started to panic as his most recent memory was that of Vera’s still body in his car. He tried to move his arms, but the doctors began to hold him down. He opened his eyes even wider and started to scream out Vera’s name and was thrashing around trying to escape, “Vera! Veraaa!”

“Vera!” Tom woke up drenched in sweat. He looked around and surveyed his dark hotel room. He looked towards the clock and it read: 4:13 a.m. “Vera?” He whispered. No answer. He was alone in his room. The golden colored shades were blackening everything. He tossed himself back unto his pillow and tried to get some sleep. 4 hours later, he woke up again and again, he was alone. He got himself dressed and made some coffee. He packed everything up again into his suitcase, fixed up his bed and left the hotel room. As he was walking down the long velvet hallway, he felt a chill creep up his spine.

Vera crept up from behind him and said, “Sleep well?”

“Don’t wanna talk about it.” Tom answered.

“Another bad night huh?” Tom and Vera went back down to the hotel lobby to check out. The receptionist was different this time. Younger lady in a ponytail. She was flipping the same beauty magazine from the day before. “So, you sure you don’t want to talk about it?” Vera asked Tom.

“Now’s not the time Vera.” The receptionist looked at him and was confused.

“What was that?”

Tom looked at the receptionist and smiled, “No nothing. Just talking to myself. I would like to check out please.”

Vera started pacing back and forth behind him, “Promise me Tom, you’ll seek treatment.” The receptionist again looked at him as if he was crazy and again Tom just hit her with a stupid smile. When he was done, he called for a taxi and drove to the nearest airport.

 

3 Months Later

 

A woman in business attire and glasses was sitting on a couch in front of Tom. She was scribbling down some notes on a small notepad, “How’s everything Tom? Doing well I hope?”

“Yeah. Been good.”
“How’s your sleep been?” The woman shifted in her chair and crossed her legs.

“Been….” Tom sighed “Been better. Better than before. I still have those nightmares, but you know, just less frequent.” Tom noticed that Vera was standing next to the therapist. She was smiling and giving him a thumbs up. Her image was slowly fading.

“And your visions?”

Tom shifted his attention back to the therapist, “Hmm?”

“Your hallucinations. Still having them?”

“It’s better.” He eyes Vera and sees that she was getting more and more transparent and was fading into a white smoke until she completely vanished, “I miss her.”

“I know you do but to completely heal you must move on from the past.” The therapist kept scribbling things down on her notepad and they kept on talking, with Vera’s bloody smile nowhere in sight.


© Copyright 2019 Manolo. All rights reserved.

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