Author's Note: I'm taking part in the October Spooky Writing Challenge 2018 (OSWC2018) on Tumblr, and I thought I might as well post my entries here too :) You can find the prompts on Tumblr. Come to think of it, you'll probably need to read them to understand what these short stories are about ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Don't Open Till Morning
[OSWC2018 Prompt 1: Vacancy]
DON'T OPEN TILL MORNING.
Just four words. But what do they mean? Why shouldn't I open the door until morning?
I stand there with my hand outstretched, frozen in the act of reaching for the doorknob. Minutes tick slowly by. I stare at the writing. DON'T OPEN TILL MORNING. Why not?
Tap-tap-tap. The person outside knocks again.
"Who's there?" I say through the door.
Is it the boy from the front desk? Is it the woman who told me to leave? Is it another guest?
"Who's there?" I call again.
Tap-tap-tap. The knocking is the only answer I get.
"I won't open this door until you tell me who you are."
I back away from the door. DON'T OPEN TILL MORNING. That writing is there for a reason. No matter who – or what – is outside, I won't open the door until morning.
They haven't gone away.
Is there anyone there at all? Have I fallen asleep? Am I talking to a figment of my imagination? Am I even in a motel, or am I asleep somewhere in my car?
I lie down on the bed. At least it's real. I couldn't imagine the mattress dipping beneath my weight. I couldn't imagine the warmth of the covers when I pull them over my head.
Still the knocking continues. Hours pass. I toss and turn, chasing sleep that constantly evades me. The knocking goes on… and on… and on.
Will this night never end?
The urge to open the door and face whatever is on the other side grows stronger and stronger.
DON'T OPEN TILL MORNING, the writing says.
But why not?