It was a rough year for Mr T, he lost his mother, and his younger brother in a terrible car accident. The death of his mother particularly shook him up, they were very close. Unable to process this tragedy he lashed out in his workplace. He was subsequently fired for disorderly conduct. He also went through a heartbreaking divorce from his high school sweetheart. Life, he thought, couldn’t get much worse.
Two months passed by. In the meantime, he had bought a new car. He had successfully bounced back and landed another job. But it was a hectic one, he was constantly traveling and buying a new car made sense to him. But it was not just the practicality, he wanted to buy a new car for some time now. Driving was the only thing that stopped his mind from wandering off. He liked the way the wind felt in his hair when he drove swiftly in the empty roads of the night, he loved to smell the aroma of the new leather. The reflective blue color gave off a particular shine to the eyes of the onlookers.
Mr T was racing his car in the eerily empty roads of Darjeeling that fateful night that made the oblivious Mr T shudder. The deafening silence was broken only by this solo traveler. Going up and down these isolated hills would have been dangerous but Mr T was not scared. He had just closed an important business deal in the morning. He was in line for a promotion in his new job. Things were finally taking a turn for good.
He was two hours away from his destination, but the weariness was growing on him. He could feel his eyelids getting heavy. The chilly wind was not enough to keep him awake. The large cup of strong coffee from his travel mug was proving inefficient. All the signs were compelling him to stop driving and rest his eyes.
To his cheerful surprise, he saw a light bulb glowing in the distance. Like a glimmer of hope, he rushed there only to find a gloomy and secluded hotel.
It looked like it was there for more than a century. The paint was scraped off the walls. The glass windows were shattered as if some mischievous boys threw stones at it. The glass door had a bell attached to it to notify the old and aged manager sitting dolefully within. One could feel the melancholy and spooky atmosphere emanating through the hotel.
Mr T parked his car and stepped out of the vehicle. He walked towards the door and climbed up the porch to reach the door. Instead of the bell, it was the creaking sound of the door that alerted the manager.
He was an old man with porcelain skin, his wrinkles were visibly frightening and his pure spectralon hair made him the perfect caretaker. He limped over and walked towards Mr T, and before he could utter a single word the manager said
“This place is haunted. You should not stay here.”
“It is 2 o’clock in the night. Where am I supposed to find a hotel now?” retorted Mr T sharply.
“Anyways, I don’t believe in ghosts,” said Mr T in a dismissive tone.
“Sir, that room is out of bounds. The owner has specifically ordered us not to rent out that room.”
Mr T thought this was a clever strategy to drive up the price, so he was adamant and kept demanding a room for the night.
“Look, I am going to pay you twice the amount, but I want to have that room for the night. It has already started to rain and I can’t go anywhere farther, hoping to find a hotel. I will leave early in the morning and I also do not require any room service.”
The exhausted manager realized that his warning was in vain. So, he submitted to Mr T's demands and prepared the room for him.
But, Mr T was perplexed by his behavior. The manager gave him the key but refused to enter the room. As Mr T settled and tried to close the door to take his much-needed sleep, he was interrupted with a grave warning.
“Whatever you do, do not enter the storeroom.”
That was it; after this, the manager left in visible haste.
Mr T didn’t want to lose any time. He freshened up and went straight to his bed. As he lay down, he sunk into his marshmallow-soft bed. The curiosity of what was inside the storeroom didn’t seem to bother him, and the thought of checking was completely absent from his mind.
Within moments he was fast asleep, snoring like a giant resting after a hearty meal.
He woke up to the distant sound of a girl singing. Annoyed, he got up and peeked through his balcony to see the scoundrel singing at 3 am and decided to give her a piece of his mind. But he couldn't find anyone. Now wide awake, Mr T felt his throat was parched, maybe from the excessive drinking earlier that day. He wore his rubber slippers and went to the kitchen to fix himself a hot cup of tea. Suddenly, there it was again. The sound of a girl singing. Mr T this time didn’t do anything but tried to find the source. He found that the girl wasn’t singing but actually sobbing. But this was not the only confusing thing. What was more perplexing was the fact that it seemed to be coming out of the storeroom.
Mr T put down his cup and started walking towards it. The volume kept on increasing as he started taking steps one by one in the direction of the storeroom’s door. He thought that there is someone kidnapped over there and the manager is in cahoots with the owner. Everything started to make sense. The manager’s sneaky behavior, his suspicious conduct; the fact that he was not willing to rent out the room.
So, a sense of virtue and heroism overcame him and he opened the door almost instantly. But to his misfortune it was locked, so he tried to unbolt it a couple of times but all in vain. Suddenly he realized that the sobbing had stopped. But now he was curious, he thought something illegal was happening in the hotel. He kneeled over and tried to see what was going on inside by peeping through the keyhole. To his surprise, he saw a girl about eight years old dressed in all white. He could not see her face which was covered with a veil. But something eerie was off about her.
With her arms raised, she was just circling around a relatively innocent doll. This continued for a while, but suddenly she stopped and started screaming psychotically. But it was at the same moment he heard a knock from the main door. He stood up and went on to open the door. It was the manager. He wanted to know any last-minute requests.
Mr T had still not subsumed the events that had just happened. Confused he politely refused and closed the door behind him. He again went over to have another look in the storeroom, but this time there was no one there. He again tried unlocking the door but it was bolt shut.
Befuddled, Mr T climbed back to his bed. He was still not sure what he had seen was real or not. The beyond belief experience was new for him. After waiting for twenty minutes under his sheets with his eyes shut, he drifted back to sleep.
He woke up again, this time with a knocking. The knocking was not coming from the main door, rather the storeroom. It almost felt real. He got up cautiously and proceeded to see, once and for all, who was behind the door.
He carefully started walking in that direction, midway, the knocking stopped. He kneeled over and went for the keyhole straight away but to his surprise, he couldn't see anything. All he could see was the color red. Not the red color of the lips of a beautiful woman but the red color of blood. The horrific color one desiderates to see; one which terrifies a person to his very soul.
The once-great Mr T was visibly shaken. But being the practical person, he tried to dismiss his entire experience and blamed his fatigue for these supernatural events. But he could not sleep again. He sat upright, like an immovable object and waited for the sunrise. Maybe this was the first time he saw the sunrise and felt its beauty and calm.
As time passed by, he took a look at the wall clock and it was 7 am. After freshening up, he dressed flamboyantly for his important meeting, he again got a sudden urge to peep through the keyhole.
Once again, he kneeled down and found no one inside, but he did not stop there, he tried to unbolt the door and to his surprise, it opened. He entered the room to inspect it but like any sane person, he did not find anything.
Convinced that it was all just a bad dream he raced down to the lobby. He saw the manager there praying in the little chapel right next to his enormous wooden work desk.
Mr T stood there, waiting for him to finish, so he could get his bill and be on his way.
“Can I please have the bill?” asked Mr T
“Why yes of course.”
The manager started tapping some buttons on his archaic computer. The sound was too loud and he was very slow.
Disregarding this the usually reserved Mr T thought he needed to share with this stranger his experience of last night.
“Is the storeroom connected to another room?”
“I never lie”
“I think I saw someone there, a little girl, but I am not too sure about it”
“The girl you saw was the owner's daughter.” said the manager shakily. “She died there playing hide and seek. No one was able to find her body. After three months of her death, people started complaining that someone sings in the storeroom, that is why we made it off-limits. But since you were desperate I made the foolish decision to allow you to stay there. People say that she is dangerous. She lures her victims inside the room and then they like her are never to be seen again.”
Mr T was visibly shaken, what he saw last night was not just a scary dream, but real. The girl in the white dress was singing. She was crying. She was knocking.
After hearing this Mr T couldn’t think, he hastily paid the man and grabbed his things and rushed towards his car. As he opened the main gate to leave this cursed building the manager asked him a question that he will never forget
“Sir? Did you notice one thing?”
“Her eyes were completely red!”