My first ever job was working as a bell boy in my town’s local hotel. It wasn’t a chain hotel, just relatively quiet, luxury hotel chain near my house, the Kingfisher. It was the 15th of November that I came face to face with true horror. That my trust in humanity was lost. I can still remember that night like it was yesterday. I don’t know what happened that night, and I hope I never find out. All I know is that I will never again stay alone or work in a hotel, through fear of a repeat of that night. That next time, I would find out what happened first hand.
When I had started working there it was a thriving business. People from all over the country would come to stay here whenever they wanted to spend a weekend at the beach or spend some time in luxury in the peaceful countryside. I loved that hotel, but as time went on and the country was plunged further into economic issue, less and less people started visiting the hotel. Don’t get me wrong, we were still busy, we just weren’t popular. Where we used to get around 1500 people staying with us per weekend, we would now be lucky if we had 1100. This was the start of the hotels decline and as fewer and fewer people stayed, fewer and fewer staff were working there, which meant security was a lot more relaxed.
There was one event I witnessed however that simultaneously made me quit my job, the job I had loved so much, and also swear to never stay in a hotel again.
It was a pretty normal Thursday night, we must have had around 300 people staying with over the 15 floors, so we were obviously pretty empty. We were never busy on Thursdays anyways. My shift started off pretty normal. I help aid any guests who were moving in or departing us, but around 9pm my work died down and we were quiet. Not having any work, I just hung around the lobby, chatting to any guests who were loitering, waiting for taxi’s, or to my friend Craig, who was on the reception desk. After about an hour of trying to find any kind of work I could to make my shift go quicker we had a call come in from room 331, from a Mr. Gerald Rogers. Craig was the one who answered it so I don’t know exactly what it was, all I was told was that the phone had probably been knocked off the hook, but that by the sounds of it, the gentleman staying in the room was still awake as thuds and movement could be heard through the phone.
Thinking that I could drag this job out and kill a couple of hours I decided to take the stairs up there and so didn’t arrive at the room for around 10 minutes. When I arrived at the room I knocked gently on the door, not wanting to alert any of the people staying on the floor that may be asleep. I waited for several minutes but I didn’t get a reply, so I knocked again, his time louder. This time however, I heard a low voice call back to me.
“Who is it?” he called out to me. His voice was very low but very clear. It was nothing that would make me uncomfortable.
“I’m the bell boy. I was informed that your phone was off the hook and you had called us. Would you mind hanging up the phone?” I asked him, hoping to end it soon, though fear of waking other guests.
“Sorry, I can’t. Why don’t you come in and turn the lights on? The door’s unlocked” This time he projected his voice as if he were now far away from the door.
I reached for the door handle but as I turned it, it wouldn’t budge. The door was locked. I tried several times, but it was no luck. I waited at the door, thinking maybe he would realise it was actually locked and would open the door for me. However, after several minutes of waiting, nothing happened. Defeated, I called back through the door, “I can’t get in. Just hang up the phone.” And with that I left to go back to the lobby, thinking nothing of it. Once I arrived back downstairs, I asked Craig if the man had hung up the phone and he told me he had so I left it at that.
It couldn’t have been an hour later that Craig came back to me and once again told me that the same phone in the same room had once again called the front desk and was once again off the hook. Thinking that this now must be some kind of serial problem with the room, I arrived back at room 331 much quicker than I previously had. I followed my normal routine of knocking on the door quietly, as it was now 11pm and we didn’t want any bad guest reviews. Once again there was no answer, so, like before, I knocked louder than I just had. This time however, there was still no answer. My tapping had been met with only silence.
Thinking that the gentleman might have fallen asleep I went back down to the lobby and grabbed the grand key which I then used to let myself into room 331. As I entered, I saw the man sitting upright on the bed. He was looking over towards the bathroom where the sink was running. Apart from the sink the room was quiet, deftly quiet. Strangely the man had not realised I had come in. He carried on staring at the bathroom. I apologised profusely for intriguing and kindly reminded him to hang up the phone, but he still didn’t move. He just kept staring. I edged my way into the room slightly. My anxiety began to rise. It was just creepy how he didn’t even acknowledge me. I was about to turn the lights on but then I saw the phone, so instead I immediately changed directions and placed the phone back on its holder and hung up. Once my job was complete, I turned around and made a quick hustle for the door, all the while thinking that something was behind me following me out. As I made it to the door, I turned around to give one last check of the room. That’s when he finally moved. It was slow, almost meticulous and it was only his head, but it was unnerving. He slowly tilted his head away from the bathroom and instead looked at me, and just stared, eyes wide open. I snapped the door shut. Quick enough that I could break eye contact as soon as possible, but not slamming it so it wouldn’t make too much noise. My skin began to crawl and as I made my way down to the lobby again, I prayed that nothing like that would happen again tonight.
Once I got down to the lobby, I told Craig about what happened. He told me I was probably just being paranoid and that the guy was probably drunk or sleeping weird. To be honest I preferred these explanations to what I had just seen and so I tried to convince myself that what he had said was true. As the night went on, the hotel got quieter and so I spent more and more time just talking to Craig which put my mind at ease and made me forget about my previous encounter. That was until he called a third time.
Just like the last two times, there was no speaking into the phone. Only the sound of footsteps and muffled groans. My stomach sank and, despite my best judgement, I made my way back up to room 331.
This time, the door was slightly ajar, so I knocked and creaked the door open, hoping that the man wasn’t in.
As I gazed into the room, I noticed he was. Except this time, he was face down on the bed. The only light illuminating the room was the dim light of the hallway, so I didn’t get much of a look into the room. All that I could see was the man lying, surrounded by a dark liquid. This reassured me a little and made me less anxious. Craig was probably right. He probably was drunk. Now he had probably pissed himself when he fell asleep. It was annoying he ruined our sheets, but it made everything a lot less creepy. I hung up his phone one last time and left, completely closing his door as I did so.
After that, the rest of the night was pretty quiet. At around 1 am me and Craig finished our shifts and went home. I briefly told my replacement what had happened in case the man in room 331 woke up again, but since I had another shift at 9am I left pretty sharpish.
That night it took me a while to get to sleep. Even though I had continually told myself that he was just a drunk man, something about the events just kept me awake. They were always at the back of my mind, giving me an uneasy feeling.
I arrived back at the hotel the next morning and everything seemed fine. It was now light throughout the hotel, so those little anxieties you get in the back of your mind when you’re in the dark completely disappeared. I spent the first few hours of my shift doing the usual. I carried people’s luggage to and from their room. I called taxi’s for people. I gave off a generally friendly vibe for the customers and talked with them about their evenings and stay. On my third trip to the lobby, I was greeted by a tall man in a long, leather coat that was completely buttoned up, a scarf that covered his nose and mouth and a cap. He approached me and just said, “Sorry about last night in room 331.”
“Goodbye Mr. Rogers. I’m glad you enjoyed your stay,” I replied. With that, he exited the hotel.
At around 11am, I was called one final time to room 331, not by the rooms phone, but this time by the maid.
She had called because she was unable to get into the room and needed me to unlock it for her. Apparently, her key wasn’t working as no matter how many times she had unlocked the door, it refused to budge for her.
I arrived at the door and unlocked it only for it to also refuse to budge for me. Given this I figured something must be in the way of the door. I made a call to the front desk to ask if Gerald Rogers had definitely departed the hotel when I saw him at 10 o’clock and they said he had. Knowing this I decided it was best to force the door open, so I gave the door three, fully forced kicks, trying to break the lock. The last kick worked, and the door swung open. As I stepped inside, I was horrified as the room was caked in blood. Blood had stained everything. The bath, the sink, the walls, the ceiling! On the bed there was a large pool of blood, staining all the way through to the mattress. I was disgusted. My stomach began to churn, and I could feel myself gagging. I held a hand over my mouth trying not to throw up. I turned around to exit the room and as I made my way to the door, I saw what was blocking it. It was Gerald Rogers. He was lying by the door, hogtied. All his clothes except for his boxers were missing, he had cuts along both sides of his body, and he was wearing his intestines like a feather boa. The most unnerving thing however was the fact he had a sickening smile formed on his face, as if he had died in a moment of ecstasy.
Needless to say, we immediately called the police. The investigation was long and arduous, but we never did find out who killed Mr. Rogers. Not long after that I quit. I couldn’t keep going back to that place. Not with those memories. Not long afterwards the hotel closed. It couldn’t recover from its tainted image. I often think about what happened that night. Who was the murderer? Could I have helped Mr. Rogers? And why did he look so happy? Those are answers I never want to find out.