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A Restless Night

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The rain and hail pounded upon the roof of my old Sedan. It didn't usually rain like this in Dallas, so hard, so consistent. The storm clouds seemed to stretch for miles on end. As I drove down Dolphin Road, the clock on my dashboard read 9:07, which was even odder. Usually, around 9:00 was sundown, but even without the rain, I felt it would still be pitch black. The only thing I could see was about 7 feet ahead of me, the rain made sure of that. Dolphin Road was some sort of a back road, around thirty minutes away from downtown. It followed the country side for miles. There were no other cars on the road, as far as I could see. Lightning flashed in the distance, and a loud roar of thunder followed.

I had been traveling from a business meeting in Plano down to my apartment in downtown, but the realization that I might have to stop for the night steadily rose in my head. But I'm so close, I thought to myself, Just half an hour. Screw it, I'll keep going. The rain seemed to disagree with me. It poured even harder, and it may have been starting to hail. I was beginning to believe that I had to stop for the night, or else I might not make it home. I wondered if there was a motel around. I pulled out my Nokia and brought up my GPS screen. A red text box read NO SERVICE. Great, I thought, Did you really expect to get full bars out in a raging storm in seemingly the middle of nowhere? I shook my head, threw my phone down into the floorboard of the passenger seat, and kept on driving. I just hoped that luck would find me soon.

Soon enough, I did pass by a motel. It was quite small and probably would not be all that fancy inside, but it was a salvation and a haven. There was a sign with the name on it, but I couldn't see it. I drove in at the first opening and went into the check in/check out building (luckily the sign on that was glowing bright red). I pulled up into the parking lot and shut off the engine. I grabbed my brief case, threw my leather jacket over my head, and ran inside.

The inside of the building was just like any other motel. It had some chairs, a table, a couch, and a fireplace. The desk was sitting on the left eastern wall, diagonal to the fireplace. There was no bell hop or concierge there, but the hours sign behind the desk read 7 AM-10 PM. There was a bell on the desk, so I rang it. The bell rang out, but no one answered its call. There was a clock on the wall, but it wasn't working. The storm outside the window across from the desk raged on, making everything seem all the more creepy. There was a desk lamp on, for the overhead lights remained dark. There was a fire in the fireplace, crackling. That meant that someone must be here. I rang the bell again, and when no answer came, I called out myself.

"Hello?" I exclaimed. "Is there anyone home?" There was an eerie silence. I sat in the chair next to the desk, put my arm on the arm rest, and allowed my head to rest on my supporting arm. I sat quietly, and the rain calmed down a bit. In fact, it almost soothed me. I had already begun to doze off when a voice awakened me.

"Oh, hello!" the voice said. I jolted up and awake, almost falling out of my seat. I re-established my balance, and then stood and looked around.

"Oh dear, I apologize. I didn't mean to frighten you." The voice at first had sounded like it came from behind me, but then it sounded like it came from my side. I turned to my left and saw an elegant mirror, with me and another man in the reflection. I spun around faster than the lightning outside. I saw a man in an all red suit. It was a bright, kind of scarlet red. He had a red tie, red pants, red jacket, and a red shirt. It was very strange; I had never seen a suit like that. His hair was black, and combed over to the side. He had a charming smile on his face, but I was too consumed by fear to notice his attractive aura. The whole ordeal strangely reminded me of 'Psycho', with the red suit man being Norman Bates.

"Oh... hi... I'm uh... I'm Andrew Craig." I was very tired, but I was still awake and alert.

"Hello. I'm Christopher Owens. I own this motel." He pointed to his manager pin. He offered his hand, so I shook it. "I'm so sorry if I kept you waiting. I accidentally dozed off. The bell boy has gone home. We don't get very many visitors here." See? Classic 'Psycho'... I shook off the feeling.

"It's fine. I'm just glad I found you before I had an accident. You really saved me. Do you have any vacancies?" I asked him sincerely.

"Of course. I'll even give you the room right next to the office, so you don't have to walk far." he said, even more sincerely.

"Thank you so much. How much will that be?" I hoped not much. I dug my wallet out of my back pocket and began counting my cash. I had $49 even.

"Well, considering the harsh circumstances, I think just a 10 will do for the night." he said smiling. This really is a haven, I thought.

"Are you sure? Because I can give you more-" He shook his head. "Okay, well thank you so much. You have no idea how much you have helped me." I handed him two 5's. Without even glancing at them, he took them and stuffed them in his jacket pocket. He walked over to a large board on the wall with at least 25 key rings on it. He took one of the key rings off and tossed it to me. I caught it in one hand, feeling an almost humorous sense of immediate pride.

"Thank you again!" I said as I walked out with my leather jacket over my head. I walked directly out into the hail, and then ran around to the right of the building. My room was the first red door next to the building. It was just like any other motel, with the doors in a line behind the parking lot. There was no swimming pool as far as I could see. I fumbled with the key when I reached my door, but I found the position and slid it in. I turned it all the way to the left, and then back into place. I pulled it out and opened my door. The room was small, quaint. I hurried in and put my jacket on the coat rack to the left of my door.

The room itself wasn't ugly or trashy. In fact, it was actually nice. The walls were light blue, going well with the tan carpet. There was one bed with sky blue duvet covers, and a light brown couch on the diagonal wall to the bed. There was a bathroom, stocked with the essential bathroom materials. There was a small fridge, a dresser, and a TV on the wall facing the bed. To the left of the bed, there was a nightstand, a desk, and a large bookshelf with 5 or 6 books on it (all classics). I tossed my brief case onto my couch and jumped onto the bed. I lay back for a moment, and then grabbed the remote from the nightstand. I flipped on the TV. The clock on my nightstand read 10:43. I watched the last hour or so of a movie that had already started. Then, I stood up, turned the TV off, grabbed my brief case off the couch, and sat down at the desk. I set my brief case in front of me and opened.

I worked at a large company that manufactured cars, but I was in the paperwork section. The stack of papers I had been sent on my way with wasn't as big as usual, but it was still quite a bit of work. I pulled a pen out of the side pocket, and began the first stage- reviewing. Next would be processing, initialing, and then final reviewing. It took me about an hour, but I did get all my work done, which was something. After that, I felt somewhat bored. I flipped on the TV once more. I saw nothing on the screen but static, and likewise with the sound. I looked out the window, and saw that the rain was still pouring as hard and consistent as when it had started. The hail hit the concrete like a machine gun. I looked at the main building (or what I could see of it) and saw that the lights were off. Owens must have gone home. I hoped he had made it home all right.

I hadn't even thought to check my phone. I reached into my pocket and found only 3 quarters. I tried my other one, but it was empty. A thought popped into my head, and I ran to my brief case. It wasn't there. I then remembered my flash of rage where I threw my phone into the floorboards. My phone was in a car across a lot that might have been as dangerous as a minefield. I looked at my nightstand and picked up the hotel phone. I put the receiver to my ear, but heard only silence on the line. The line was either out, or it had been cut. At that moment, I began to feel slightly scared.

I didn't know what to do then. I decided that I would take a shower. But, before I even got to the bathroom door, I realized the almost inevitable risk of electrocution. "Never take a shower in a lightning storm." I had always heard, and there was plenty of lightning outside. I looked around the TV stand and found no DVDs. I was starting to feel bored. I picked up one of the books on the shelf. It was The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I had read it, back in high school. I looked over the other books, and saw that I had read them all. So, I jumped onto my bed once more with the intention of resting. As soon as I hit the sheets, the lights flickered.

This continued for several minutes, maybe three times a minute. Of course I was scared. I was in a strange hotel, no phone, a creepy manager, static on the TV, a serious storm going on outside, and flickering lights. Who in their right mind wouldn't be scared? I thought to myself. I walked slowly over to the light switch, and flicked it off and then on again in a matter of a millisecond. The lights stopped flickering. It was a small, yet exceedingly large relief to me. Three minutes later, they began to flicker again, more consistent this time. Oh well, I thought, at least I have SOME light. I walked to the nightstand and twisted the lamp knob. It came on and went out. I shrugged, though I was agitated. I sat down on the couch, and almost began to doze off. When the lights went out and stayed out, I felt a sudden urge to open my eyes. When I did, they immediately landed on the corner of my room, and the pair of glowing red eyes staring at me.

I didn't move, I couldn't move. I just stared at those glaring red eyes. They seemed to glow in the darkness of my room. The storm was very loud, but I could almost hear breath. I couldn't tell if it was my breath, or, well, its breath. The room became cold, almost instantly with the darkening of the lights and the appearance of the eyes. Somehow, a thought came to me. I drew in a deep breath, and exhaled slowly. I could see my breath. It was cold outside, but I hadn't been able to see my breath, as far as I remembered. I looked at the eyes, and then directly beneath them. There was breath, I could see it as well as faintly hear it. I didn't know how I could think about all of this and do all of this with those eyes, those glowing, glaring, evil red eyes staring at me. Well, at least now I knew- whatever it was, it was alive.

A minute later, the lights came back on. The eyes instantly disappeared. I still didn't move, I still couldn't move. I decided that I would count to ten, and then I would run for the door. One. I took a deep breath with every number I counted. Two. Three. Four. The lights didn't flicker, but I was afraid that they would. Five. Six. I didn't realize that my breath had sped up, and so had my heart beat. Seven. Eight. My heart was beating rapidly, which was difficult to handle as I sat frozen in place on the couch. Nine. I prepared myself to run. Ten.

I ran for the door like I had never run before. I reached it in a matter of two seconds, and I twisted the lock to open. I grabbed hold of the door handle and twisted it as hard as I could. The handle didn't budge. I was locked in the room. I groaned, and the lights went out. I felt a cold, slow breath on the back of my neck. I turned around slowly, ever so slowly, and I kept looking down. When I had made an about-face, I raised my head slowly until I met the red eyes 6 inches in front of me.

The room was pitch black, so the eyes were the only thing I could see. The eyes were all red, there were no pupils. It was all an indifferent shade of glowing scarlet. I could still feel the breath, so cold, so calm. When the lights came back on a minute later, my eyes were wide open and glued in place. The eyes had disappeared again. I thought I might have a heart attack, or I might faint, but my adrenaline was rushing. I was surprised that I could stand still, or stand at all. To my amazement, I walked to the couch, and sat down. I didn't even blink. A minute later, the lights went out again. The red eyes were nowhere to be found.

I glanced all around the room with quick, choppy movements. There were no red eyes in the room as far as I could see, but I told myself not to be fooled. They could be anywhere, just in hiding. I began to wonder what the red eyes were. I had been too consumed by fear before to think about it. Was it some sort of invisible creature that allows only its eyes to be viewed? Of course not. Monsters don't exist. Then, it came to me. I stood up, and walked over to my bed. Monsters. I dropped down to my knees. Monsters in hiding. I let myself lay on my stomach. Monsters hide under beds. I lifted up the bed skirt to find the red eyes, glaring at me more than ever, directly in front of me. I shot my arms up and pushed myself away from the bed. I flew back into the dresser. I stood up, and looked at my headboard. I saw the mirror above it reveal the eyes directly behind me. I spun around just as the lights came back on.

That's it. Either I'm crazy, or this room is evil. I was starting to lean towards the latter. This room, it had a way of keeping me from breathing. I, without thinking, walked over to the desk. The chair was small and wooden. I picked it up by the legs, and walked over to the window. I raised it behind me, and swung it like a baseball bat. The chair hit the window with a CLING. The chair rebounded off the window, and left not even a scratch. I almost started to laugh. The evil room was starting to drive me to insanity. I raised my foot and kicked the glass with all my might. It did the same as the chair, and left no mark. The window was unbreakable, the door was unopenable, and the room was demonic.

I fell into a deep state of despair and desperation almost immediately. The lights stayed on for whatever long or short period of time I sat laughing and crying on my couch. I thought and thought of a way to escape, but I knew in my heart they all wouldn't work. I stood up, and walked over to the window. I looked out past the raging storm. I looked at the main building. The check in/check out sign now read "check in". The "check out" part had disappeared.

This didn't surprise me. I knew that I was never going to leave this room. It was a sad truth that had already been proven.

A minute later, I had another idea. I looked up on the ceiling. There was an air vent, that I might be able to squeeze through. I opened up my brief case and pulled out the small letter opener I carried around with me. I dragged the chair that I had used in my window escape attempt over to the air vent in the middle of the room. I stood on it, and began to unscrew the metal covering. It was only four screws, and I unscrewed them in a minute. I looked up into the air vent and saw the ledge to the vent only about two feet above. The air vent was about 2 and a half feet long and 1 and a half feet wide. I could squeeze through with very little difficulty. I bent my knees slightly, and jumped, grabbing the ledge. I pulled myself up and through the hole.

I lay on my stomach, and began to crawl. The fan was ahead of me, but I pushed on. It offered very little resistance. My hopes were high, and I was hugely excited. There were two turning points in front of the fan. I decided on the right way. It would lead me to the main building, which now was the "check in/no check out" building. I crawled towards it. It was only 3 feet ahead. 2 feet. 1 foot. I looked into it and saw a decaying corpse lying on its back, wearing a red suit. Owens, I thought. I'm sure if I had seen my face, it would have been horrified beyond belief. I turned the other way and crawled as fast as I could. When I reached the hole going down, I saw a pitch black room, with red eyes glaring at me. I jumped in whatever small space I had. I felt something on my leg immediately. I looked backwards. The corpse had moved, grabbed onto my foot, and was glaring at me with glowing red eyes.

I screamed, and shook my leg vigorously. I crawled forwards into the drop to the room with the red eyes that I now knew belonged to Owens. I fell the two feet head first, and discovered there was no covering. I plunged down into the room, barely missing the chair in the center. The lights were on, and my brief case rested on the table.

"NO!" I screamed. I stood up, and looked up into the vent. It was empty. I walked over to the couch I had cried on for hours, and cried some more. It was Owens' ghost staring at me the whole time. How had he died? When had he died? Had he been dead when I first met him? Was he a demon, with the red suit being a symbol of evil? There were so many questions unanswered.

I decided to wash myself off. I didn't care if I was electrocuted. Somehow, I knew that I wouldn't be electrocuted. The room was going to make sure of that. It was going to torture me forever, and it wouldn't let me be killed. I walked into the bathroom, and turned on the water in the sink. I put my hand under the cold water, and began to splash it on my face. I did this until the water began to run a dark red color, like the color of blood. I looked at it, and wasn't scared, wasn't disgusted. I turned it off, and walked back into the room. I expected to see a noose in the middle of the room, hanging above the chair, but it wasn't there. The room was original. I sat down on the bed. I sat in silence, and waited for whatever the room would throw at me next. Fifteen minutes later, the handle to my door began to turn. It turned, and the door slowly opened until the handle touched the wall.

It's not going to let me go that easily. It's just mocking me. The storm still raged on outside, hail and all. The door remained wide open for five minutes. I then began to wonder. Is it really letting me go? Maybe it's decided I've had enough. Generous. I stood up, and walked to the door, and stood in front of it. I stuck out my hand, until it was past the doorway. My eyes lit up. It was letting me go. I pulled back my hand and pinched it. It actually hurt. I was being let go. I grabbed my brief case and coat, and, leaving the door wide open, stepped into the rain and hail. I didn't care that it hit me. I didn't care that it hurt. I was free, free from that awful room, and from those awful red eyes...

I walked over to my car, and opened the door. I sat down into the driver’s seat. The lights came on when I sat down. I started my car, excited to finally get away. I looked into my rear-view mirror just as the lights went out, and saw a pair of glowing red eyes staring at me from the darkness.

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