As I neared the sober and simple town of Fairbanks, Alaska, I realized that the bustle of the city life had disappeared into a mild , blue weathered landscape. The first thought that came to my mind when I entered the countryside of the town was that I would get some really good pictures for my new assignment In this beautiful hilly town. But, little did I know that my destiny had planned something very different from my perceptions of this trip and that it would stir my heart from its core.
I reached my hotel-The Hard Night Inn-and wondered what did the name actually refer to.”Oh Forget it! Just the work of my weird imaginations.”, said I to myself as I made my way towards the reception.
My budget for this project was limited and so I chose a humble dwelling just suiting my purpose. Though It wasn’t the best hotel in town, but still Hard Night Inn was a cozy , welcoming place that made you feel you still lived in a vintage era.
“Good Morning, may I help you sir?”, said a chirpy voice from behind the reception desk.
“yes please, miss…Casey.”, said I as I read her name on the name batch on her bright red uniform. I continued “My name is Jason Connor, and I m a photographer. I suppose we’ve already made arrangements…”
“Ah yes, please come with me, sir. I’ll take you to your room.” said Casey, as she le me through the corridor onto the first floor.
“Room no. 146, here it is. The finest of our suites.”
“Thank you. Would You please send someone to assist me through my needs?”
“Oh sure. Enjoy your stay with us.”, said she and then whistled past the corridor .
After a while, there was a knock on my door. I opened it to find a strange little girl standing on my doorstep.
“Sir I m Emma.”, she said.
“Oh yeah, I called for you. But aren’t you too young. Anyway, just tell me…..”
The next hour was spent in inquiring about the landscapes of the town. Little did I notice that the girl was looking at me with her twinkling eyes,as if she wanted to tell me something, but I was too busy in noting down her replies. At the end, when she was about to leave, she turned to me and just said, “Sir, we were waiting for you.” And as she ran away, I think I noticed tear in her eyes.
The next day, while leaving to go to the places told by Emma, I heard a faint sound of a piano being played in the room 148, just two rooms away from my suite. I was really curious, and so I decided to look from the keyhole of the door. With one eye closed, I peeped inside and what I saw left me awestruck. I saw a beautiful woman in a white gown( a wedding gown it was, perhaps.)playing a grand piano. Her fingers lingered on the keys with a queer ease and she played such a soothing tone that it made me forget everything around me. I realized that I had already spent almost half an hour observing her, and so I was forced to leave for my work. But, her thoughts kept floating to my mind the whole day.
The next day also, I was accompanied by the music on my way through the corridor and I saw her again, the same woman. This continued for over a week and the sound of the music grew louder and louder day by day, and my curiosity finally reached its limit.
One day, while having our dinner together ,I asked the hotel manager(by now who was my good friend), “Sir , can I please know, whom does the room148 belong to?”
My question seemed to have surprised the manager as he stared at me with wide eyes. Then, he managed to answer “ Sir , it had once belonged to a beautiful princess, about a 100 years ago. But, her husband died on the day of her wedding, she and her maid -who was a little girl herself and was the only one close to the princess -had committed suicide on the same day in the same room. This princess was very beautiful and also, there was a special thing about her. This princess had dark red eyes, almost like the color of blood. So you see, that room has been closed ever since. No one goes inside and it is currently occupied by no one.” He paused and then said, “Why do you ask this sir? Is there…is there any problem?”
My mouth searched for words but could find none. I sat there bewildered, dreading the events that will take place now. How could all this be true after all?
“Sir, what happened?”, the manager asked again.
“Nothing…nothing at all.”I said coming back to my senses, and then very hastily returned to my room.
The whole night I kept thinking about that beautiful girl and the thought that she was a ghost scared me to hell. I couldn’t sleep that night as the fact that she might be there, two doors down my room waiting to haunt me forever, made a shiver run down my spine.
The next day was my last day at the hotel and as I locked my room for the last time, this hotel gave me yet another surprise. But this time, it wasn’t the presence of the music in the corridor, rather its absence that grabbed my attention. With all the strength I could muster, I decided to look through the door for one last time. I went near the keyhole and looked on the inside. All I could see were the teary red eyes staring at me, and then her intoxicating voice hit my ears like wine to my soul . She said “You finally came.”