I woke up to the high pitched sound of my doorbell. I cursed “Who the hell is it at this hour?”. I was travelling as part of work and after a long, hard day managed to put my self to sleep on the hard hotel bed with great difficulty. My fingers searched for my glasses on the night stand. The doorbell sounded again. As I put on my glasses I switched the lights on. I looked at the clock; 01:30 it showed. I had hardly slept for an hour!. The doorbell sounded again and this time it made me livid. “Coming!!” I shouted as I walked toward the door. Looking through the door-hole, I couldn’t find anyone. Yet, I opened the door just to make sure. My room was at the end of the hallway on the third floor. To my left was a blank wall and to the right was the long hallway guided by doors on either side. At the far end, I caught a glimpse of a tall man turning the corner headed toward the stairs. I called out to him! He wore a long brown coat and had a slight limp. I was not very sure who it was. I shouted out again “Hello!!”. There was no reply. Well, if it was important he’ll come back again, I thought, as I closed the door. Back on my bed, something just didn’t feel right. I used the telephone at the corner of the room and dialed the reception.
The phone was answered surprisingly quickly, “How may I help you?”. I explained the scene to the guy at the other end. He sounded genuinely concerned, but his voice was calm. He said, “Sir, What you are telling me is impossible. I have been awake all this while and I have not seen anyone walk in, or out, of the lift lobby or the staircase here. There is no chance of anyone coming there from down here.” He then paused and went on to ask me if I knew any other guest staying there? No, I din’t. “Sir,” he said “I’ll send the bell boy to do a quick check on your floor just to make sure”. “Alright,” I said, “Do let me know if you see someone”. He disconnected the call. I was a little intrigued now. Was I hearing things. No! I did see someone leave, Didn’t I?
After about ten minutes the phone rang. It was from the reception. “Sir, the boy has checked all the floors, he found no one. You must have imagined things. I think you should rest Sir.” Somehow, I din’t like him advising me on what I should do. As I was putting the words together in my head, the doorbell sounded again. “Did you hear that! Did you hear the ring” I asked. “Yes sir!” he said. “I’m not crazy,” I shouted. “Sir, can you please check the door! I will hold the line” he said. I swiftly walked back to the door and opened it. And again there was no one there. This time there was no one in the hallway either. I quickly closed the door behind me and as I walked back to the phone, the doorbell sounded again. I was petrified this time. I shouted into the phone “If I find out that this is some cheap trick, I’m going to sue this hotel! I want somebody at my room right now!” “Sir, what happened?” “There is no one here” I replied. “Stay calm sir, I’ll come up to the room immediately” he said. “Room Number 333, is that right, Sir?”. “Yes!” I said and disconnected the call.
I walked to the bathroom. As I washed my face under the light I saw two empty strips of Desyrel tablets lying next to the washbasin. Like I said, I had managed to go to sleep with great difficulty. I threw the empty shells into the dustbin and stood staring at my bloodshot eyes in the mirror. I stood there for, I don’t remember, how long. Slowly a shrill noise entered my senses. The continuous sound of the doorbell knocked me off the stare! It was as if someone had kept the doorbell pressed. I walked slowly this time to the door. As I was about to open it the sound stopped. I hesitated. And peeped through the door-hole again. No one!! “Should I open the door?” I asked myself! Before I could answer that question the phone in the corner rang.
“Sir, Why didn’t you answer the bell!”, He asked. “I was just about to answer the door, when I heard the phone!” And as I said that, the doorbell sounded again. “What the hell is happening!?”. “Sir, I am looking at the footage from the CCTV at the moment! There is no one at your door!” “Well, that’s exactly my point, I said” “Sir, I have your cell phone number, keep your phone with you. I will come up to your room and give you a call”. “OK” I said.
Now, I waited and waited. No doorbell. No phone. Nothing. It must have been about half an hour or so. I took courage and went to the door. I opened it and kept it open. I waited another 5 minutes. I couldn’t wait longer. So I called the reception. The phone was answered after about a minute. He sounded irritated this time! “What Now, Sir!!?” I was surprised. “You said you would come up here and give me a ring! I was waiting!? Why didn’t you come?”. Now his voice turned into anger. “Sir, are you kidding me. Its been only 10 mins since I got back”. “Got back from where?”. “From your room” he shouted “I spoke to you in your room. Your doorbell is not working and I said we’ll get it fixed in the morning. I was there with the bell boy and the security!! Now Sir, I’d suggest you go back to sleep! For heavens sake it’s 01:30 in the night!”. And he slammed down the receiver! I looked at the receiver of the phone in disbelief! “01:30! But I have been up since 01:30!” I heard my door slam shut. It was loud. And then the doorbell sounded again!
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