The Lonely Man

Contributor: D. Robert Grixti

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It had seemed like nothing but a mundane bedroom.

“Is this it?” Haversham asked, producing a notepad from within his coat.
“Yup, that’s the one,” the proprietor said cheerfully, gesticulating with his arm as if he was a game show host revealing the grand prize. “Now, don’t be fooled by how it looks. We keep it maintained ‘cause of hotel standards an’ all, but it’s definitely haunted.”

“Right,” Haversham said, consulting his notebook. “Well, we’ll soon see, I guess.”

He stepped into the room and surveyed it. It was adorned with the typical fixtures of a motel room: a standard double bed; two cheap bedside tables beside it; a small black and white television sitting on a cabinet opposite. There was a door in a corner that opened into an adjoining bathroom. It was all well kept, and aside from the fact that the blinds were drawn on the single bay window above the bed, which cast a thick blanket of shadow over the room, it was perfectly ordinary.

He’d seen creepier.

“Guy hung himself in the bathroom,” the proprietor said casually as he followed Haversham into the room. “Usually, we keep it locked ‘cause the staff don’t like going in there.”

“Who was he?” Haversham asked.

“Just some nutcase. I remember when he checked in – said his wife had left him or something. Poor janitor found him next morning, when he came to refill the shampoo.”
“And that’s when the haunting started?”

“Yup, started happening right after. Whatever it is – ghost or what you want to call it – comes out just after midnight. Vanishes an hour later.”

Haversham scribbled something in the notepad.

“Any of the guests see it?”

“Yeah, several. On three separate nights. Thing must be scary as Hell – they all ran for it in the middle of the night. Didn’t even bother checking out.”

“Well, I’ll see what I can do,” Haversham said, bored, returning the notepad to his pocket and sitting down at the foot of the bed. “Seems like a straight forward case to me.”

The proprietor chuckled morbidly.

“You shouldn’t say that, buddy. Ever seen a horror movie?”


Haversham lay in the damp bed, awakened by the alarm on his cell phone. He’d taken a moment to muster the strength to turn onto his side and turn it off. As he touched it, the time – 11:45pm, the time he’d set for the alarm before going to sleep – flickered into existence on the screen, and eerie white light that both illuminated and obscured filled the room.

He’d spent the day outfitting the small room with equipment. He’d set up infrared cameras overlooking the bed and the entrance to the bathroom. He’d even taken the time to set up an extra camera above the grimy shower cubicle, along with a handheld tape recorder, though a strange feeling of being watched had bothered him the entire time he’d been in the bathroom.

After he retired to the motel room proper, he recorded a minute of test footage to make sure the cameras were working, then sat down to rest, and wait.

He turned on the television; it only played static, no matter how he adjusted the aerial. After twenty minutes, all he’d managed to get was a snatch of distorted conversation – “please, don’t leave me” – from a local station, interspersed with the white noise, so he turned it off and decided to get a few hours of sleep.

The bed was damp and the springs were worn out. It had taken him a conscious effort to fall asleep, and now he regretted it: his back was aching and he felt like he’d sunk so low into the mattress that he was almost touching the floor.

A sliver of movement on the edge of his vision disturbed his thoughts and returned him to full wakefulness.

He sat up against the wall and watched curiously as a slender figure, seemingly composed of darkness, glided silently out of the bathroom, stood at the end of the bed, and stared.

He leaned forward cautiously to get a better look. It didn’t respond to his movement, continuing to hover, motionless, in front of him. If it had facial features, they were invisible in the darkness, though shining white orbs glimmered where its eyes would be. What appeared to be spindly arms hung at its sides, though they were as long as its body – if it was indeed a body.

“What are you?” Haversham asked, pressing the record button on the tape player beside his hand.

The being bowed its head.

“You came back,” it said, in a forlorn whisper. “I was waiting for you.”

“You aren’t supposed to be here,” Haversham said firmly. “You have to move on.”

“But I don’t have to leave,” the being said, reaching towards him with its long arms. “Now that you’ve come back to me. I was waiting for you. Now I don’t have to be alone.”

Haversham edged backwards, the tip of his fingers fumbling for the revolver he stored under the pillow.

“I’m not here to stay. I’m here to make you leave.”

“No,” said the creature, slowly gliding towards him. “We can stay here together. Forever.”

It began to advance faster. The glowing orbs turned bright red.

“I love you.”


The check out time was 10 in the morning. When Haversham failed to meet it, the proprietor and the head janitor went to his room to remind him.

They found the room empty. The bed was unmade, and the cameras were still rolling.

“I guess he couldn’t take it,” the janitor said, making the bed. “Too scary, even for a ghost hunter.”

The proprietor smiled a knowing smile, and nodded.

“He’s probably halfway to Clement Cove by now.”

The janitor had finished cleaning by lunch time. He decided to go out for burgers. As he fished his car keys out of his pocket, something occurred to him: Haversham’s car was still parked in the guest bay.

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D. Robert Grixti is a speculative and horror fiction writer from Melbourne, Australia. His influences include Stephen King, John Wyndham and H.P Lovecraft.
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