I pushed open the large, rickety wooden door into a lobby barely big enough to house a decrepit sofa and some chairs. The receptionist, a grumpy old man in his 60s with white hair and a sinister sneer, grunted as I walked towards his desk. He never once took his eyes off of me, as if he expected me to turn into a wild animal and attack. “Hi, my car broke down a mile up the road and my cell is dead, can I use a phone to call a tow truck?.” I inquired. “No electricity, no phones. Room for one?” The man asked rudely. After debating whether I was better off in a rainstorm walking to my car or in a run-down, abandoned motel, I shrugged and offered the worker my credit card. “Room 115. Take a left down the hall.” he said quickly before stalking off into his office.
Confused but relieved to be out of the company of the eerie receptionist, I started walking to his room down a long, darkened hallway. It was then that I noticed there wasn’t a single soul in sight, and I suddenly got the prickly chills down my back that only occurred when I knew something was wrong.
The hallways were barely lit with gas lamps, and there were strange shadows cast over the walls. I was halfway to my room when the ceiling began to creak and shift, and some dust fell from the weary ceiling tiles in front of me. There was someone walking through the hallway upstairs. I chuckled to myself, relieved that I wasn’t the only one in the motel. I had just put my key in the door when a chilling thought struck me; the motel only had one floor.
I quickly jumped into my room, slamming it behind me and shaking the furniture from the impact. There was no light switch, but by the dim light of the lightning storm outside, I could see a candle and matches on the nightstand. My fingers shook as I lit a match and almost burned myself. The glow from the lone candle I had set out cast eerie shadows across the room, adding to my fear. The creaks and taps of the walls were getting louder by the minute, and I wondered if I had made a mistake in coming here.
After an hour or so, the noises “upstairs” and the creaking suddenly stopped, throwing the room into a chilly silence. I sat up in bed, listening hard. I began to hear small, faint whispers from every direction. Shaking my head, I tried to tell myself that I was making it up and I was just a little freaked out, but they were too real to write off as imaginary. I jumped off the bed, grabbed my coat, and ran to the door to leave.
The hallway was the same as when I had come in, still empty and barely lit but now was too quiet to be considered normal. I half-ran down the hallway, dying to get out of the creepy hotel and back to my car. But strangely, when I turned the corner where the lobby was supposed to be, there was nothing but another long hallway. Although confused, I started sprinting to the end, only to find yet another hallway. I just kept running, but then I had turned four different corners only to be greeted by four more stretches of empty hotel rooms. By then I was straight up terrified, and I barely held back a scream of frustration. I didn’t know what else to do except just keep walking and hope I find the lobby eventually.
All of the sudden, I heard the same footsteps from before walking right above me. I stared up at the ceiling, watching it give in the slightest with every footfall. When I stopped walking, they stopped walking. When I started moving faster, so did they. I started to run. More and more hallways, with more and more footsteps above my head. Suddenly, it stopped. I slowly turned around, but nothing was out of the ordinary. My heart stopped beating when I heard a giggle behind me. I turned around to see a figure standing in front of me with eyes painted red and a gleaming white smile. I couldn’t even let out a scream before he jumped at me and the hallway became pitch black. The last thing I registered before I passed out was the mysterious figure’s high pitched, scaly voice saying, “Once you check in, you never check out…” and laughing maliciously.