It was not a starred hotel but a decent one that commanded a steady flow of patrons. The hotel was by the side of a large lake in a small city frequented by tourists. The ambience was good, the food delicious and service excellent. All the rooms were generally occupied except the corner room on the first floor. It was in fact the best room with large French windows on both sides with the magnificent view of the lake on one side and the green mountain on the other. But this room always remained locked not because the owner reserved it for himself.
There was a story behind the door remaining locked. A young lady executive had taken that room for one night a couple of years back. She was not accompanied by anyone. She said that she missed her train and would leave the next morning. The room was let out to her.
When there was no response to the repeated knocks by the bearer for the morning coffee she had ordered the previous night, the police were summoned. When they broke open the door, the young lady was found strangled to death after a criminal assault. The sniffer dogs could not give any clue of the whereabouts of the culprit. The room had ever since remained locked. A few brave men on different occasions who insisted on hiring the room telling they did not believe in ghosts came away running in the middle of night scared after they heard hideous and strangling sound of a dying woman from the bed. The hotel management had to keep it closed reluctantly but never spoke about the room to the visitors. The hotel staff believed the dead woman was haunting that place waiting for the culprit to avenge her murder.
Prakash, a daring young man with rationalist views and no belief in god came to the hotel one evening seeking a room. He appeared a jolly fellow with a pleasant smile in his face. It happened that all the rooms were occupied that day. When the reception desk told him that no room was available, he pointed out to the board where keys were hung and showed the keys for the corner room in the first floor. The clerk explained that room was not let out. When he dropped names of leading politicians and threatened that the hotel would come to harm if they refused to oblige, the clerk had no option but to reveal that the room was a haunted one.
The young man with a derisive smile assured the timid clerk not to worry about the ghosts and that he can take care of them. He showed him the pistol that he always carried to allay his fears that ghost would harm the occupant. As the owner was out of station the clerk had no choice but to let out the room. The sheets were changed, the room made spic and span and air fresheners used before Prakash moved in. After dinner Prakash was watching a movie till midnight and then read a novel for some time. The lights in all the rooms were switched off save in the corridors. Prakash remained awake unperturbed with lights on and was eagerly awaiting the unsolicited nocturnal visitor. When nothing happened, he switched off the lights and went to sleep.
After about thirty minutes, a loud sound of a pistol shot emanating from the corner room was heard by all the occupants. The reception clerk along with a few security men came running. They knocked the door repeatedly. When there was no answer, the room was opened in the presence of police. They found Prakash still bleeding profusely with the pistol on his hand. He made hideous and strangling sound before his life ebbed out. A doctor in one of the rooms examined him and shook his head sideways to signify that all is over. The police found the windows tightly secured and found no evidence of anyone breaking into the room. The body was sent to hospital. The police left the hotel surmising it a case of suicide.
The reception clerk remembered the smiling face of Prakash and shook his head in disbelief. When he went to close the windows by drawing the curtains, he found on the wall a smiley drawn in fresh blood..He was certain the ghost would never return.