The Hotel Horror
My family was so tired when we finally stepped into the Sunrise Inn Hotel in Maryland.
My mom and dad had picked a long weekend to drive to the beach, but it takes a while to drive from suburban Pennsylvania to Maryland, especially since we got caught in a big traffic jam on the way.
It was about 12:30 a.m. when we arrived. Mom and Dad checked in while my little sister Abby looked around the lobby. We all then hurried down to our room to catch a good night’s sleep.
It didn’t last long, though. At 1:15, I awoke to a chilling, icy sound that I swore was a scream. I gulped, and shook it off. Maybe it was just an angry customer. And hopefully not an axe murderer.
When I heard the scream again, I got really scared. The third time, it sounded like it was coming closer. I quickly dove under the covers and hoped it was nothing. A baby, possibly? I convinced myself that it was a baby and tried to go back to sleep when the screaming stopped.
Funnily enough, I didn’t get much sleep.
The next morning, we were planning on going shopping and
lounging at the hotel. As soon as Abby woke up, she said to my parents, “Julia
and I want to go to the pool. Can we go before shopping?” she whined. I
couldn’t blame her, though. The pool area looked amazing.
My parents agreed. But first, I had to tell about the
“Hey,” I began, “I heard something crazy last night. I woke up and someone was screaming.” I said it casually, hoping it wouldn’t make me come off as scared. Which I definitely was.
“Oh, it was probably an angry guest, or a baby, or maybe a police or ambulance siren,” my mother said calmly.
I nodded, trying to believe that myself.
Fifteen minutes later, Abby was in the pool with me. My mom was laying down in the shade on a deck chair, and my dad was reading the newspaper.
“Race you to the other end of the pool!” Abby cried. I was ashamed that I, a 14-year-old girl, wasn’t as good a swimmer as my 12-year-old sister. I quickly shot after her, swimming as fast as I could until I touched the wall the same second she did.
“Tie!” I yelled. Well, I though, at least it was better than losing. Abby stuck her tongue out at me. I rolled my eyes.
All of a sudden, everyone at the pool area turned towards the gate to see a deck chair levitating above the ground! Everyone screamed, including Abby and me. We ran out of the pool, wrapped our towels around us, and went to our parents, who were clearly stunned, too.
“What was that?” My dad yelled.
“I don’t know!” I responded, and we hurried along with the
noisy, upset crowd that was fighting to get into the lobby. The whole mob went
to the front desk. A blonde woman in a pink shirt and black shorts spoke to the
“That deck chair by the pool hovered in the air! What was that?” she asked, clearly shaken by the incident.
“Is this hotel haunted or what?” her husband answered to clarify.
“Did he just say…haunted?” Abby whispered to me. I gulped. It was exactly like I’d thought.
“Excuse me, I am sorry for this inconvenience and scare,” the man said. “I assure you, this hotel is not haunted. It is a serene, calm place to stay. There is surely a logical explanation for this, and the staff and I will get to the bottom of this. Every guest involved in this incident will be provided with a complimentary free breakfast and movie.”
The mob muttered some remarks and some looked downright
worried as they split up, going back to their rooms. The short, dark-skinned
manager looked very relieved not to have anybody checking out.
My sister, though, was so concerned that she walked up to
the manager herself. The rest of the lobby was empty, so she didn’t have to
fight to ask.
“Excuse me, sir,” she said, “Um, my sister heard some
screaming last night. I was wondering if this had anything to do with the deck
chair. Is this hotel really haunted?”
The manager, whose nametag read Mr. Simmons, seemed even
“So you heard the screaming?” he said. “I’ve been so worried. I think this hotel really may be haunted.” And if to prove his point, a door down the hall slammed a little too loudly. “Oh!” he cried. The poor man looked on the verge of tears.
We left him and went to our room to get ready for shopping. The rest of the day went quickly, and we had fun.
That night, we were lounging in the room after dinner. I began to form an idea in my mind. I really was scared, but this “ghost,” I realized, might not be the real thing.
“Abby,” I whispered, “I think we should try to catch this ghost on video. I bet it will come and scream again tonight.”
“But what if it’s real? It could be dangerous, Julia!”
“Well,” I said, “We have to be brave and try.”
Sure enough, the screaming began at the same time again. I quickly got out of bed, grabbed my camera, and shook Abby.
“Julia? Is it back?” she asked sleepily.
“Yep,” I whispered.
The scream rang out. Abby’s eyes widened. “Whoa.”
We put on our slippers and peered outside into the hallway. “You ready?” I whispered.
“No,” Abby responded, “But let’s go.”
We quietly walked down the hallway and looked around every corner. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a shadow. I gulped. “Abby,” I whispered, barely breathing.
Suddenly, Abby screamed. Down the hall was a floating white figure with two pitch-black holes for eyes and a knife in its hand!
“Aaaahhh!” Abby and I screamed and ran down the hallway away from the ghost. As we ran, I turned on my camera, aimed it toward the ghost and snapped a picture.
We ran down the steps towards the lobby, the ghost hot on our tail. The night guard woke from his nap as we dashed past. His eyes widened and he ran away…hopefully to get help, I thought.
“Abby!” I screamed, “Remember, it has a knife!”
This made the two of us run faster. I saw an open supply closet. “In there!” I yelled to Abby, and pointed. I sprinted ahead of her and slid behind the door. Once in, I stopped. “Come on, Abby!” I yelled, seeing the ghost was only about six feet behind her. She ran even faster, and then finally hurried into the closet. I bolted the door. We were safe. Probably.
We remained in there for about fifteen minutes, until we heard a knock. I gulped and slowly opened the door a crack-to see the ghost holding up his knife!
I screamed and shut the door. I vowed never to open it unless I heard the voice of my parents or the manager.
Ten more minutes later, another knock sounded with a voice, as well. It was the manager! “We have trapped the ghost!” he cried. I opened it, relieved.
There stood the manager, the night guard, my parents and a man in what had to be the ghost costume, without the head.
“Thanks to you two, we have caught the ghost,” Mr. Simmons said. “We cornered it a few minutes ago, after our night guard came to me for help. Did you know it wasn’t real?”
We shook our heads.
“I took a picture of it as we were running. See, I knew that ghosts might not show up on camera. But I didn’t have a chance to look at it to see,” I explained.
“This is Mr. Gale,” Mr. Simmons said, pointing to the man. “He tried to buy the hotel a few years ago but refused. I recognized him right away and he told the whole story.”
Mr. Gale sighed. “I guess I shouldn’t have done this. I wasn’t planning on hurting you girls. This knife is a fake. But I needed to scare all the guests. I’m sorry. When I think about it now, I guess I just lost control.”
“You scared us, girls!” Mom said. “Don’t do something like this again, understand?
But we’re happy you’re safe,” she added quickly. My dad nodded.
I had a few questions to ask before we went back to bed.
“Mr. Gale? Can I ask how you made your voice that loud?”
“I used tiny speakers that I placed in each hallway when I would sneak in late at night. For slamming doors, I used fishing line.”
I nodded. “But what about moving that deck chair? How’d you make it float?”
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