Strange occurrences at Arogma HotelWhen Nischal decided to stay at the hotel, he had no idea that the experience would leave a lasting impression.
As soon as Nischal Sharma walked through the doorway of Arogma Hotel, he felt a niggling sense of unease. When he talked to the receptionist, he felt as though the receptionist wasn’t interested and instead handed him the keys in haste—as though his presence was unwanted there. It wasn’t the tone of the receptionist's voice nor his behaviour that bothered Nischal, but it was his eyes. Nischal felt that the receptionist looked through him when the two conversed. Nischal wasn’t really offended. Considering that he was staying in a grand hotel at such a cheap rate, he didn’t mind the staff being impolite.
He looked at the elevator. It was old and rickety, and as he moved closer to it, he felt warm air on his face. It was as if the elevator was breathing. When he entered the elevator, he felt his stomach clench on its own, and a sharp breath shot out of his nose like a trench whistle. The sound shocked him. And before he could process it all, he stepped out of the elevator. Feeling scared to turn around, he got into the steps with nervous impatience.
He felt a strange sense of giddiness as he walked up the steps. He felt as though the walls were closing on him. Other times, he felt like his legs were getting ticklish, as if they were sinking underneath the sand. When he walked in the dark corridor, he walked as if he was in a trance with an extra spring in his walk, as if a friendly hand was gently pushing him. He also noticed that the staff was avoiding eye contact with him. It was as if some unseen force was guiding him. This trance was broken when he tripped on an object and almost fell to the ground. He leaned in and closely examined the object on which he tripped; it was a doorknob. He held his breath and gazed at the door and found that it had gouge marks. As his eyes travelled further into the line of doors, he noticed many of them actually had doorknobs missing. Turning his face sharply away from the disturbing scene, he walked towards his room. He slid the key into the lock, turned it and felt something click. He turned the knob and pushed the door open. Nothing unusual was going on inside.
He changed his clothes and sat on the bed reading his magazine. It was 10 PM. He reached for the curtain and pushed it partly open. He grabbed the newspaper lying on the table and started reading it, and suddenly he felt someone present outside his room's window.
He put down the newspaper and looked out of the window. He noticed something odd in the building on the other side of the road. It was entirely dark except for a room. From the room, something very bright was glowing. He had a sinking feeling and could now see a man smoking a cigar looking back at him. As their eyes locked, he heard a faint sound, like that of a twig breaking, and the room across the road suddenly plunged into darkness. Overcome with an overwhelming feeling that something was not right, Nischal decided to sleep.
He felt something tap within the walls but didn’t give it much thought. He placed the newspaper on the table, switched off the light, and laid on his bed. As soon as his head hit the pillow, he immediately fell asleep.
His eyes shot open in the middle of the night. The odd stillness chilled him. He tried to sit, but he couldn’t move. It was as though his body was frozen. As Nischal wondered if he had just had sleep paralysis, he felt a strange pulse in his throat. He scanned the room, and as he looked underneath the table, a peculiar outline standing beside the closet drew his full attention. Nischal felt the nerves on his wrists beginning to throb and soon felt his throat pounding in terror. Slowly the figure moved forward, and as it emerged from the darkness, it became more distinct. The figure looked like that of a bony old man wearing an old robe. Nischal could see the bones poking through the robe. The man had his eyes fixed on him. As the man moved closer to the bed, he made a rattling sound. Nischal’s nerves were pounding violently, but he couldn’t move. He tried to scream, but his tongue laid rigid on the floor of his mouth. The man leaned on Nischal. His eyes were sunken so deep; Nischal wondered if he had any eyes in those sockets. The man had a long pointy chin and was completely bald except for the hair on his ears. His skin was yellow and with white bony patches around his skull. Finally, Nischal’s tongue became responsive, and he screamed at the top of his lungs. He suddenly woke up and looked around. He wondered if it had all been a dream.
Nischal’s screams had woken up his neighbours, and he could hear people talking in the corridor. When he managed to get up from his bed, he was shocked to see that his room's door was wide open.
A few people came to ask if he was alright; Nischal told them about the strange dream that he had. He apologised to them for causing all the trouble late at night.
In the morning, he jumped out of his bed. As he stood up, he felt dizzy, and his vision got blurry. He sat back and, as he did, felt a stabbing pain around the back of his neck and his upper back. He took a long, deep breath, got dressed, packed his bags and immediately rushed out of his room. When he pushed his door shut, he was shocked to find that the doorknob was missing. It was lying on the ground. When he walked out of the doorway of Arogma, he was flooded by this sense of relief.
A month later, Nischal was sipping tea at this newly opened restaurant, and he heard the name Arogma Hotel being mentioned on the TV. He immediately jumped to his feet and sprang towards the television. According to the news, the hotel was haunted by the spirits of its late owner, Vibek Neupane, who was murdered in his room by an intruder. Shortly after, the photo of the deceased owner flashed across the screen. He was an excessively thin old man with deep sunken eyes and protruding nose. Nischal’s jaw dropped as a flicker of recognition flashed through his terror-stricken face.