I See You

Beep! My eyes flew open, wide and startled from the sudden noise. I grabbed onto the steering wheel and swerved the car to the left side of the road.

I really shouldn't be driving so late at night when I was so exhausted-I had been driving the whole day-but I had to reach London as soon as I could.

My poor grandmother had died the night before and I had to comfort my mother as she lived with her.

Cancer was the reason why she died.

Lung cancer, to be precise, even though my grandmother had had never smoked a cigarette in her entire life. The doctor had told her a month ago, that there wasn't anything that they could do.

When my grandmother knew that she was going to die, she demanded that she spent her last month at home where she grew up.

She was always so demanding and wanted everyone to pay attention to her, but that's what made her so loveable.

I wiped a few tears away from my eyes. Thinking about my beloved grandma always made me feel like bawling my eyes out.

Sighing, I shook my head to get back reality.

If I didn't stop to find a motel to sleep at, the cops were going to pull me over and I didn't want that, did I?

Ten minutes later, without my eyes threatening to close, I glimpsed a sign out the corner of my eye, pointing out a motel further up the road.

I drove up the crooked lane and parked the car. After I grabbed my small suitcase and locked the car, I walked towards the motel.

Whoa! What type of motel was this? It gave the impression of a haunted mansion with all the cobwebs, ugh, and broken bits of walls.

Hmm, I supposed the place was very popular at Halloween. I sniggered tiredly.

I strolled inside to the reception desk. The appearance was quite the opposite of the outside; comfortable furniture and a warm fireplace were placed in the lobby.

Looking around, the motel had an old-fashioned atmosphere and view, with doors that had big key holes and several candles lit, scaring the shadows away.

I shuffled quietly to the reception desk where a middle-aged woman was snoring lightly on the desk.

"Excuse me," I said. "Hello? I would like a room for tonight."

No response. Well, this was awkward.

"Um, hello?"

I sighed.

"Wake up!" I shouted, frustrated.

She woke up, startled and at last, awake.

"Jeez, you didn't have to scare me, you know. Anyway, sorry about falling asleep. I was just really tired today," the receptionist said, yawning.

"Yeah, I know what you mean. I have been driving the whole day. Could I please have a room?" I asked.

"Yeah, there's one more room left," she exclaimed brightly as she became more alert. "It's on the top floor. Just make sure you don't go into the next room, okay?"

What she said sparked my interest and curiosity. So I had to ask, obviously.

"I'm not trying to be rude or anything- but why not?"

Her face suddenly became miserable which gave me a shock. Her moods kept changing so fast.

Tears spilled from her eyes. "My daughter died last year in that room; she died from an asthma attack."

"Oh my gosh. I'm so sorry. I shouldn't have asked," I apologised quickly and guiltily.

"That's alright. It was over a year ago. Anyway, here are your keys." She passed a set of slightly rusty keys to me.

"Don't worry," I assured her. "I won't go in there."

I paid for my room while she dabbed away her tears with a tissue.

I studied the keys while I walked quietly up the stairs with my suitcase.

The keys looked as though they haven't been used for a long time. Haven't these people heard of key cards?

I spotted my room and unlocked the door, creaking as it was pushed open.

I peered inside the room.

The room wasn't very small and had a double bed with a lopsided desk on one side. A door on the left lead to what I supposed was the bathroom.

I took off my sweaty clothes and stepped into the bath, soaking in the gradually warming water as it poured from the tap.

When my skin started to resemble a prune, I dried myself and put on my favourite pyjamas, yawning.

I switched off the light as I lay down on the slightly hard bed.

The room was flooded with darkness except for a sliver of moonlight squeezing through the curtains.

I fell asleep instantly as soon as I closed my eyes.

I woke up an hour later.

I glanced around the room, wondering what woke me up.

Then I heard it.

The ghostly tinkling of the piano deafened the silence in the room.

I held my breath.

Where was it coming from?

I got out of bed silently and tiptoed to the opposite wall of the room.

The sound grew louder as I pressed my ear against the wall.

Wait a minute.

Wasn't the room next door where that woman's daughter died?

I thought nobody went in there anymore.

That was strange.

Hmm, time to investigate the mysterious noises coming from next door.

Sometimes I really, really hate my curiosity. Or nosiness to be more accurate.

I crept soundlessly into the hallway and crouched outside the door of the next room.

The door was locked as I found out when I grasped the doorknob and tried to open it.

I looked around me quickly before I knelt down to peer through the key hole.

Luckily, they have big key holes here.

From what I could see, the room wasn't anything special.

Just an ordinary teenage girl's room, with posters on the walls and soft toys on the bed.

Though there was one thing out of view. However, the light shining through the window cast a shadow on the big object, allowing me to recognise the shape.

A piano.

It was rather odd, though, that as I started looking through the key hole, the music abruptly stopped playing.

I couldn't see anyone sitting at the piano or anywhere else in the room.

I sighed.

I probably imagined it or something. My fault for driving the whole day without stopping.

Or I should ask the woman downstairs.

Downstairs, the toasty fire had burnt out and the only light came from the small candles burning steadily.

The landlady was still at the desk, slumped over the top, snoring with her mouth wide open.

Oh no, not again.

I really don't want to yell at her for the second time tonight.

So I decided to just shake her awake.

I nudged her shoulder.

She turned over and mumbled in her sleep, but otherwise did not awake.

I prodded her another time, but I may have pushed her a bit too harshly, as she nearly fell over.

My bad.

"Sorry…" I apologised sheepishly.

She blinked her eyes sleepily, staring at me until recognition shone from her eyes.

"Oh, hello again. Is something the matter?"

"Not really. I just wanted to ask you a question. Um, did you daughter happen to play the piano?"

An awkward silence built up between us as she narrowed her eyes and glared at me.

"Did you go into her room?" she asked angrily.

"No! Of course not! I just heard the piano playing next door so I just went to see what it was. And I saw the piano inside the room so I was just wondering," I defended myself.

She looked very frightening in the dim light of the room.

"Just make sure you don't try and go into her room," she muttered fiercely. "And yes, to answer your question, she did play the piano. She was going to pass her last piano exam this month."

She gasped shakily.

"Sorry," I mumbled.

I then walked back towards my room, thinking.

I wasn't superstitious or anything, but this was starting to get a little bit creepy.

Back in my head, I drew the covers over my head, hoping I would fall asleep and that the next time I woke up, it would be morning.

I fell into a restless sleep, kicking the blankets and changing positions edgily.

The music woke me again.

I sat up in bed, chest heaving, as I heard the alarming noises of someone trying to breathe and failing.

I was scared, frightened.

But I knew I had to get to the bottom of this if I wanted to get a good night's rest without any more interruptions.

I reluctantly got out of my warm bed and grabbed a thick blanket off a nearby chair.

I walked into the dark hallway, shivering from both the cold and fear.

With my heart thumping inside of me, I knelt once again at the door.

I squinted into the key hole.

I could see nothing but a red transparent sheen of light surrounding the opening.

It wasn't like that before.

Were the walls red? And why didn't I notice that before?

I was confused.

Although, I gazed through the key hole for a second time, I couldn't see anyone playing the piano.

Maybe it was someone else playing some music in one of the rooms nearby.

However, I doubted it.

What about the gasping as though someone was being suffocated?

I don't think anyone would record that.

I sat down against the wall, attempting to figure out the situation.

Then I felt someone breathing harshly right next to me.

I screamed like I was being murdered and rushed downstairs towards the sleeping woman.

I ran up to her, sweating with fright and swearing loudly, and shook her violently.

In the back of my mind, I wondered if she was getting pissed at me for having woken her for the third time this night.

Her eyelids open, glaring at me with annoyance.

"What now?" she demanded angrily as she took in my appearance.

"I t-thought I heard s-someone breathing very heavily n-next to me b-but there wasn't any-one there," I stuttered quickly.

"Well obviously, you imagined it. Now, go away and don't disturb me for the rest of the night."

She turned her back on me and prepared to fall asleep again.

"Wait!" I said. "Can I ask you another question about your daughter?"

"Yes, yes. Hurry up. What?" she stared at me with contempt.

"Was your daughter's room painted red?" I asked timidly.

"No, she hated the colour red. You see, her eyes were red…"