-by KParthasarathi Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Blog this story
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 flooded by tourists. The ambience was good, the food delicious and service excellent. All the rooms were generally occupied on all days except the corner room in the first floor. It was 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 years back. She was not accompanied by anyone. She said that she missed her train and would leave the next morning. When there was no response to the repeated knocks by the bearer for the morning coffee she had earlier ordered the previous night, the police was 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. Ever since the room always 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 from a dying woman from the bed. The management had reluctantly to keep it closed and never spoke about the room to the visitors.
Prakash, a daring youngman 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 on 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 corner room in the first floor was vacant. The clerk explained that room was not let out. When he dropped names of leading politicians and informed his relationship to one of them 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 his pistol that he always carried to allay his fears that ghost would harm the occupant. The owner was out of station and the clerk had to let out the room. The sheets were changed and the room made spic and span 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 verandahs and the corner room.Prakash remained awake unperturbed and was eagerly awaiting any unsolicited nocturnal visit by strange beings. 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 with police assistance. They found Prakash bleeding profusely with the pistol on his hand. He made hideous and strangling sound before life ebbed out. A doctor in one of the rooms examined him and nodded his head sideways to signify that it is all 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.