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Fiction

The One Visitor

By Seana Sperling

There had been an argument down the hall. Tenni woke, sweat-drenched to the sound of angry voices. Then there was silence. The only sound came from the rumbling of the steam radiator in the corner.

Then a woman screamed.

At first Tenni couldn’t move. Then she crept out of bed, stumbling against the antique luggage stand near the door. She put on her robe and flipped on the sconce, which illuminated the Do Not Disturb sign.

She opened the door into the dim, but empty hallway. The chandeliers that lined the long hallway flickered against the red wallpaper that was peeling in several spots. She tightened her robe as she walked down the hall.

She noticed a shadow near the ice machine around the corner of the hallway.

“Is anyone there?’ Her voice sounded thin and weak.

There was no response, but she saw a tall shadowy figure briefly appear again from the corner. Then it was gone.

She stopped. “Hello? I know someone is there.” All she could hear was the hum of the ice machine.

Then, a nasty little chuckle, almost like a whisper, came from around that corner.

At that point she thought about turning back. Instead, she knocked on a nearby door, Room 201. She knocked again, but heard no one stirring. She knocked on Room 200. She waited and knocked again. Then, hands shaking, she beat on Room 202 several times. “Is anybody in there?!”

Again, the nasty little chuckle came from around the corner.

She looked back at her room door. She was halfway down that long hallway.

The nasty chuckle came again, but this time it seemed louder.

“Screw this!” She thought and sped back to her room. She could hear the sound of running behind her, but didn’t look back. She entered quickly, locked her door and for a moment listened. There was silence.

She picked up the phone near her bed and dialed the number on the receiver. It rang and rang and rang. She put down the receiver and huddled under the covers until dawn.

As she was checking out, she told the clerk what she had witnessed.

“Oh yes.” Said the clerk. “We have heard this story many times, especially when the hotel has so few guests. You were the only one last night.”

About Seana Sperling

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