A new short story. Take about 8 minutes to read.
The forest was mesmerising to look at. From the boat it was massive. On board stood seven people. The woman in charge of the group turned to them, then said, "Are you ready to explore?"
Everyone raised their hands, then cheered.
The lady named Dawn felt pleased. Once the boat had been tied up securely, everyone stepped off. In front of the forest was a house big enough to accommodate a hundred people at least. Dawn led them through the entrance to the reception area where a man wearing glasses sat patiently at his desk. He gave them an awful look. "You must be the party arriving today, nice to meet you, folks. Is your name Dawn Mckenzie," he asked.
"Yes it is," she answered.
The man seemed agitated. "There'll be someone here shortly to show you to your rooms. The room to your left is still serving food if you're hungry."
The group had been on the boat for over three hours.
"Yes, that would be great," she replied.
The group walked to the entrance and saw many tables, and at the far end of the room was a bar. Everyone ordered a drink, then made their way to the tables. Once sat down Dawn lifted her glass of red wine as a toast to thank everyone for coming.
Within half an hour a man in his thirties who was dressed in a very expensive black suit came into the room. He looked at the group with a smile on his handsome face, then said, "Are you ready to be shown to your rooms, ladies and gentlemen. We've been busy preparing them for you. Follow me, please."
Everyone got up from their chairs, then followed the man to the reception area where room keys were being handed out. The gent from earlier still sat at his desk, a wry smile covered his face like he knew something they didn't, then he said, "There's plenty of ghosts in this hotel. Make sure they don't scare you."
Dawn found this unnerving. "I'm sure they won't," she answered.
From another door on the right, three members of staff appeared to assist the guests.
Dawn was shown to her room on floor 3 by a friendly young man. A married couple from the group had joined them as where they were staying was close by.
The woman used the key to unlock the door, then excitedly entered. Inside was a neatly made single bed, beside that was a wooden cabinet with a pot plant placed in the middle. It looked very pretty. Opposite to the bed was a slim wardrobe. At the back of the room was the window that overlooked the gardens. Dawn was more than impressed. The temperature in the room was warm,, so she walked over to the window and opened it a little to let in some air. That was much better.
It was a little while before evening dinner, so she decided to have a late afternoon nap. The woman felt tired. It had been a long trip here. She lay on the bed and closed her eyes. Seconds later, she'd drifted off.
Dawn opened her eyes, and it was dark in the room. Through the window all she saw was black.
My god, what was the time I'm late?
In a panic, the woman got off the bed, then headed to the bathroom. She looked in the mirror. Her hair was a mess and her skin was a deathly pale. Shock ran through her. Also, the nice expensive dress she'd worn that day had faded and looked shabby.
How long had she been asleep?
Once Dawn had calmed down, she headed back into the main room. By the clock on the wall, the time was just after midnight.
Dawn neared the window. The moon shone brightly above.
She decided to leave the room and find out why no one had awoken her.
Dawn opened the door and proceeded into the corridor, which was brightly lit. Six doors down, she heard two people arguing. Reluctantly, she knocked on the entrance. The door opened straightaway.
A man stood there with a puzzled expression. He looked in his fifties and wore a polo shirt and shorts. Then he said, "Who are you and what's going on?"
"What do you mean?" she asked.
He scratched the top of his head, then said, "I and my wife are very confused at the moment. Only minutes ago we awoke in our room feeling very disoriented. All we recall from earlier was unpacking our suitcase."
"I honestly don't know, but something odd seems to be happening," she said.
The man's wife appeared in the doorway, looking worried. She was a big woman and her hair was a mess. "How come I remember nothing?" she asked.
Dawn felt helpless. "I think we need to find someone and get some answers. I'm very confused by this, usually I don't sleep for so long."
Both agreed. "So what's the plan?" the man asked.
Dawn was about to answer when she saw something inside their room which alarmed her very much. On the floor a metre from the double bed was the body of the man, even though his other self still stood nearby. Blood covered his shirt. Close to him was his wife with similar injuries.
Dawn screamed, utterly petrified.
The man shook her to calm her down.
She then said, "When you look in the room what do you see?"
The man looked in, then answered, "I see the bed, the wardrobe. At the far end, a window. Why?"
This was getting crazier by the minute. What the hell was going on?
She had an idea. Then told them to follow her, which they did.
At the open entrance to her room the two of them looked in, horrified.
"What do you see?" Dawn asked.
The man then replied, "I can see you on the bed. My god, you've been shot. There's blood everywhere."
Dawn faced them both. "We need to get out of here, now. Someone is playing a very sick game"
All three walked to the end of the corridor.
"The stairs are through them doors. Come on, we need to hurry," ordered Dawn.
From the far end of the hallway, a shadow was observed as it crept slowly towards them. Within the dark mass, many terrified cries were heard.
Dawn opened the door. Once all three were safely through, she closed it. At the top of the stairs, the man seemed reluctant to walk down. His wife stood by his side.
"What's wrong?" asked Dawn. "That thing on the other side of the door whatever it is will get us if we stay here."
He turned to her, then said, "Me and my wife will take our chances. I've got this bad feeling there's something down there which is far more dangerous."
"It's up to you," she said. "But the last thing I want to do is stay in this mad house."
She made her way down cautiously, not knowing what to expect. At the bottom of the stairs it was pitch black as the light in the lobby was switched off. Still the woman carried on. She looked back to the top of the stairs and with shock saw the shadow lurking on the other side of the door. It was time to hurry before it was too late. Two more steps and darkness surrounded her. Holding the banister, the woman took it slowly so she wouldn't fall. Finally at the bottom, Dawn used her hands to find the door which led to the reception area. She pushed it open slowly, then made her way through. In the room, the woman could make out certain objects. On the right was the entrance to the hotel and being very cautious she proceeded to it. The moon shone on the front windows of the building, which helped. Without warning, the light in the room came on. Dawn turned to the desk, expecting to see the creepy man there. He was, but his body was slumped over the table. Blood ran from the wound on his head. In his left hand was a gun.
Suddenly screaming was heard from the stairwell. She needed to hide. Dawn ran to the reception desk, then hid behind it.
How could this get any worse?
The door the woman had came through only a minute before was pulled open. Then a black cloud flew into the room with the terrible cries coming from it. It floated to the entrance, then materialised into a person she recognised.
This is when the woman realised she was in serious trouble. Dawn stayed where she was. Footsteps made their way towards her. She froze.
Had he figured out where she was hiding?
Suddenly his face appeared above her, and he said, "Boo."
Dawn stood up. She took three steps away from him. "So it was you who did all this?"
He laughed, then replied, "I see you've found my body. The hole in the back of my head should give you a sign of how I died."
Dawn felt horrified. "I don't understand?"
He stared at her with a smile on his face. Then the man answered, "For years I have put up with rude guests who think it's okay to treat me like dirt. When I saw your group earlier, I knew at that moment I was going to make you pay. Killing you all felt great. Better than I could have expected. After that dirty deed, I sat at my desk and placed the gun in my mouth. Bang."
She felt sick. "But why?"
The man took a step towards her. "After this week the hotel is closing for good. You are the last of the guests. The man in charge has sold the land to a wealthy property developer. They're going to knock the place down and build houses instead. My job of thirty-five years will be no more. So instead, I thought I would go out with a bang, literally."
"You're insane," Dawn screamed, while she tried to run to the entrance.
The man grabbed the woman and threw her to the hard floor. He wrapped his hands around her throat, then tightened his grip. "See you in hell, bitch."
She was petrified. The woman fought him the best she could. Suddenly she realised she was a ghost. How can you kill someone that's already dead? Dawn closed her eyes. She thought of her two children, knowing she'd never see them again, because of him. She opened her eyes and gave him a wry smile. This must've worked as his grip lessened. Disappointment covered his face.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"I've figured it out, arsehole," replied Dawn.
She kneed him hard in the groin. The man cried out in pain and fell to the floor.
The woman stood up, then said, "By the looks of it, you still haven't, you loser. It's fear that will keep you here and I'm not scared anymore."
Through the main window, a tunnel of light appeared, and from it, someone called her name. It was time to go home.