5 minutes of Fiction.
The Night Auditor.
It was around 5 years ago now when I was working as the night manager of a large Motel Complex on the Northside of Brisbane named The Palmed Acres Resort, this place had a very colourful and brutal past being at one point the hive of city gang activity culminating in a gang war which left 5 gang members dead as well as the long serving night auditor Joshua, the place lay abandoned for a number of year , new owners came in did some renovations and The Country Acres Hotel became the new and improved Palmed Acres Resort . My shift began at Midnight and ended with the sunrising around 6am, most nights went without any event , just the odd late night traveller looking for a room to lay their head and maybe a couple looking to share in a few moments of pleasure away from prying eyes.
On this one particular night things became very disturbing around 3.15am , I was sitting in my office writing the end of day reports when the reception phone began to ring ,which was rather strange for this time of night , I have been in this job 3 years and only received a handful of calls in the Devils Hour , I walked through the darkened reception area to take the phone call.
"Reception , This is Jason how can I help you ?", I said with a strong confident tone. "Hi , this is Joan Stephens in room 1411 " the voice stated. "I'm hearing some strange sounds from the room next door, I have banged on the wall and asked if everything is okay .. but I have had no response".
I looked at our key holes and noticed that both room 1410 & 1412 were both vacant and in-fact the callers room was the only one in use in that particular block on this night. " Okay " I said with a puzzled pitch to my voice, " Well Joan both the rooms either side of you are un-occupied at the moment, it my just be the clock radio or the television which has come on. How about I come and check things out ", I asked her from which side the noises were coming from ,she told me it was the room to the left of hers Room 1410.
The Hotel was on a large 4 Acre estate, and the 1400 block was on the far right hand side of the compound, I grabbed my torch & my master keys and set off for three of so minute walk to room 1410. It was a rather cold evening and my flashlight beam broke through the mist to light my way. I walked the cobblestone paths behind the rooms of our sleeping guests , the occasional bathroom light would help guide my way in a very dark area behind the Pool House. I could hear whispering voices , almost inaudible and I wondered about the reason for there restless slumber.
Approaching the start of the 1400 block I noticed the Housekeeping supply room door was ajar, as I grabbed the door handle I heard a voice softly say " Watch your step " ,I looked around thinking It may have been the guest from 1411 , but i could not see a sole through the rising mist. As I opened the door I noticed that a bottle of Bathroom cleaner had spilt on the concrete floor of the Storage room making a huge mess , I heard the sound of rattling keys coming from inside . I pointed my torch towards the sound, but there was nothing but bed sheets and towels.Maybe it was just the breeze making the sound I thought as I closed and locked the door . This block of the Motel was the most least used in the whole property , it was in dire need of a makeover, the 80's colour pallet made the whole block seem tired and sad , as i walked towards the rooms I could see a light emanating from under the door almost in the centre of the block as I came closer I could see it was Room 1410, which from past experiences usually meant the TV had been switched on with another guests remote control. I searched my pocket to find the Motel master key I looked down for just a few moments as I looked up the light had became brighter as is someone had switched every light on in the Room. I stood at the Wooden door with my ear pressed hard to catch any sound before I entered. I could hear a low and soft moan , which sent shivers up my spine, this room should be empty I thought.
I knocked on the door and announced " Reception ! , Is anyone there ? " , I waited and heard no reply, so I knocked once again, " I'm coming in ", I said as I slipped my key into the Brass Lock. The room was empty and silent ,there was no sign of any activity what so ever, The bed side radio was blinking 12.01 and with every flash the room was illuminated , I fumbled for the light switch. My anxiety was lessened when the brightness of the 3 down lights flicked on. The room was as it should be , a tightly made Queen size bed and the fresh smell of detergents, the bathroom door open and I could see the Hygienically sealed toilet, my heart became heavy as I saw a dark shadow distort the moon light entering the bathroom window. I walked with the grace of a cat towards the bathroom, every step seemed like an eternity ,as I got closer to the bathroom my hand outstretched searching for the light switch. I pushed down the switch , but nothing but the sound of rattling exhaust fan greeted me , I poked around my pockets for my flashlight, Like in every frightening movie the shower curtain was closed , and in my mind there was going to be a masked murderer just waiting for a hapless guy like me. As the beam from my torch lightened the rose pink bathroom the bottom of the shower curtain was flapping like a sail on an ocean racing Yacht, my heart beat became more and more elevated, I used the torch to open the curtain, but nothing was there apart from a small pool of water from a leaking shower head, now somewhat at ease I noticed my own reflection in the vanity mirror. The reflection in the mirror was not the 28 year old healthy man which was me , instead what was reflected back was an older man with a light grey suit and cream tie in his hand he carried a big ring of keys, we looked in each others eyes and I became overwhelmed with fear " You shouldn't be here" , the cracked voice announced. My fear rendered my body lifeless , my feet would not move and my voice could not speak, a red glow began to fill the bathroom , and the face of the reflection became distorted. A huge cry of agony seem to envelop the entire bathroom, I lost all control of my legs ,the piercing cry dropped me to the floor . I closed my eyes and but all I could see was Red. " You Shouldn't be here" , the voice screamed . I crawled on all four towards the carpet of the doorway , with closed eyes and deep breathing I stretched my hand out towards the light ,and as if in a dream as my hands touched the cream carpet the Room returned to its vacant peace. I lay on my back crying in shock of the events that had just taken place, the bathroom light was now on and the bathroom was devoid of any strange light or sound. I managed to get to my feet and , my eyes caught the flashing of the bedside clock , it was flashing 12.35 , what had happened in that 30 minutes of so in that bathroom, had I somehow lost time , or had I been in some kind on trance. As I stumbled for door , it opened much to my amazement. " Jason ? ", the womans voice inquired. " I'm Joan from next door, was it the Television ?". With no words to explain what had just taken place I confirmed, " Yes , it was just the television, I'm so sorry it disturbed you".
I locked the Door on room 1410 it would never be opened again, later the next day I received a phone call from the Motel owner saying that the entire 1400 block and some of 1500 block were gutted by a fire, lucky no one was injured. Curiously the fire fighters claimed they heard the screams of man.
Soon after these events I tendered my resignation, on my last shift I decided to go for a walk to destroyed shell of the 1400 block , whilst walking around the rear of the remains I noticed a shiny silver reflection in the early dawn light. It was a hoop of Motel Keys , there was hundered of keys as well as a tag , I rubbed the black soot of the Brass tag revealing PROPERTY OF JOSHUA INGRAM COUNTRY ACRES HOTEL.