The next day, once Sam and I had completed our morning routine, we discussed what we would do for the rest of the day. Again, we wanted to limit our hotel exploration to nighttime. I chose not to tell him about my experiences from last night, and I am not really sure why. Normally, he and I were very open about this sort of thing, but my tongue wouldn’t form the words to explain anything to him. I had a very severe lack of trust in him, but I could not pinpoint the exact origin of those feelings.
For most of the day, I struggled to suppress these thoughts and fears while he and I wandered the city. I tried to avoid thinking about the hotel and its secrets, and I tried to avoid thinking about the doctor. Part of me still felt that he was angry at me for not helping him. The image of his warped, angry face was burned into my memory, and whenever I felt at ease for a moment, that image would invade my thoughts and terrify me all over again.
The day inched by slowly, but when it finally started to get dark, we made our way back to the building to continue our explorations. We stopped by our room first to prepare, and as we were walking out the room, I glanced in the mirror and almost screamed because the doctor was standing right next to me, our eyes locking instantly. He still wore that horrid expression.
I grabbed Sam’s hand and squeezed. I asked him frantically if he could see what I was seeing. Of course he couldn’t, and for the second time I saw a look of doubt intermingled with pity dance across his face. He looked directly at where the doctor stood but didn’t see him at all. I glanced away from him in shame and saw that the doctor had vanished. Already I knew that this night was going to be intense, and part of me wanted to just abandon the explorations and go home. I had a foreboding feeling, an oppressive sense of dread about what was to come.
We ascended to the 14th floor, the sliding doors once again trying to hinder us. The elevator seemed to struggle under our weight as we neared the destination, and I worried that it would give out and we would fall to our deaths. It was groaning and creaking louder than it had the first night. The jolting was so strong that I lost my balance a couple of times. Sam seem unhindered by it. We did, however, make it to the top without any other problems. The doors even opened without us having to force them.
Sam and I peered into this dim hallway. As anticipated, this part of the hotel was almost identical to the other floors. The main noticeable differences were the set of double doors directly across from the elevator. On the other floors, this area had three separate doors leading to three separate rooms. In this case, the double doors opened to one of the deluxe suites offered by the hotel.
We looked both left and right and noted that both ends of the hallway looked identical. So far we hadn’t felt or seen anything out of the ordinary, so we decided to split. We would both start from opposite ends of the hallway and make our way towards the middle near the double doors. Neither of us was sure what these double doors used to lead to, but we both knew it was a dark place. Something about the energy of that area was heavy and electric, depressive and anxious at the same time.
I walked gingerly to my respective end of the hall, and again it seemed noticeably chillier than before. Slowly, I crept towards the center, near the double doors. I could see Sam doing the same, so I called out and asked if he was getting anything. He said no. Then I started to hear a faint murmuring sound. It seemed to be coming from all the rooms on this floor. Once again I questioned Sam about this, and again he denied hearing or feeling anything. He noticed my pale, terrified appearance but didn’t mention it. He looked away, instead focusing on a painting on the wall.
The closer I got to the door the more frantic and pained the screams became. I began to hear banging and scratching on the doors leading to the rooms. I looked around me wildly, trying to figure out where the sounds were coming from. I felt as if my own sanity were slipping away from me, and though he was only a few feet away from me, Sam felt distant. He felt so far out of my reach that no amount of struggle would take me to him.
I then felt a searing pain in my neck. I reached up to see what it was, and my hand touched something warm and wet. I looked down at my own blood, which was now gushing down my body. I tried to scream for Sam, but I couldn’t make a sound. The same gurgling sound the doctor had made in my room was the only noise I could make. Sam watched me, puzzled, as I sunk to the ground. Why wasn’t he helping me? Again he looked away at the painting, though I was reaching my hands out to him.
Quickly defeated, I turned over, away from Sam. I lay on my back, half hoping that if I died, I wouldn’t have to see him as I went. Then I noticed someone else.
New energy surged into my body as I recognized a face that was horrendously unkempt and terrifying. My scream was blood-curdling as I looked into the eyes of the patient from the newspaper article. The eyes were wild but lacked any emotion whatsoever. He screamed nonsense at me at first, and then he laughed because he said I couldn’t hurt him anymore. Once he said that, it finally clicked that I was experiencing the attack from the newspaper article from the Doctor’s perspective. But why? And how had I managed to forget that this evil had occurred on this spot? I couldn’t help but wish that I had just gone home. He continued to scream at me. His voice was deep and cracked, as if he was hoarse from screaming all day. And like the Doctor, his lips didn’t move, but the anger and evil energy in his voice was almost tangible as it rang in my head.
The patient then jumped on me and put his huge, rough hands around my throat. He put so much pressure that I was sure he would break my neck. I couldn’t breathe, nor could I scream. And still I wondered why Sam wasn’t coming to help me. I was in so much pain from the gash in my throat, I couldn’t breathe, and I could feel myself slipping away again. I used what little strength I had left to look around me, but Sam was gone. Where he had been standing, I instead saw the doctor. He was smiling a hideous, mocking smile at me. He was taunting me. Once again, I lost consciousness, and I hoped for a quick death.
¤ ¤ ¤
It has now been two years since that night. When I had come-to, I jerked up and felt for any evidence of a gash. There was nothing there; my neck was completely untouched. All the blood I remember seeing was gone, and I was alone in the hallway. I had gone to the room to look for Sam, but he had left. All he left was a note explaining that he couldn’t handle my issues anymore.
Apparently, he had thought that I had lost my mind. My behavior on those last few nights had upset and worried him so much that he was making himself sick trying to deal with it. To him, all that I had experienced in the hotel were delusions, and he wasn’t sure he had the ability to help me. It took me one full year after that night to realize that the Doctor had been driving a wedge between us. He had only showed himself to me so that Sam would think I was just going insane, that I was hallucinating. And it had worked. I never saw nor heard from Sam again. This was how the Doctor had sought his revenge.
In a way, I felt that I had lost my mind. It was no longer mine to control. Ever since that stay at the hotel, my thoughts were solely taken up by the Doctor’s image. During my waking moments, I would relive his death. Sometimes I would only feel a sharp pain in my neck. Others, I would feel and see everything as if it were happening. And when I was asleep, I would see his first horrid look of anger and disgust. Then it would warp into the mocking, smiling, and evil look he had given me on that last night.
For two solid years, I had repeatedly been forced to live through this excruciating torment. Somehow, the anger that the Doctor had felt had manifested into one of the most evil, oppressive, and malignant forces I had ever experienced. Nothing would ever end it, and nothing would ever bring me relief.