The taxi pulled up to the hotel. The one inside stepped out, carrying his suitcase. He looked up at the hotel. ‘Hotel Noir’ was its name. He paid the taxi driver, and then proceeded towards the hotel’s doors. His name was Gary Malcon, and he was in this city on business.
Entering the lobby, Gary looked around at the paintings on the walls and the furniture. Even though his job took him many places, this was his first time at this hotel. He checked in at the front desk to get a room. His room was room 529. Gary thanked the employee working at the front desk and then started towards the elevator. In the elevator, Gary was enjoying the monotonous elevator music. He didn’t know why but he was feeling oddly optimistic today. Finally the elevator reached the fifth floor.
Gary stepped out of the elevator and looked around, after determining which way his room was, he began walking in the direction. When he reached his room, he took out the key card he got from the front desk to unlock the door. Then he noticed the room next to his. The door looked identical to all the others, with the exception of one thing; the room number. While all the other doors displayed their room numbers in gold paint such as ‘Room 529’, this door displayed no room number; it was simply a blank door.
Gary stared at it, confused. He wondered if maybe a child or a careless adult had damaged the door, so that they would have to repaint it soon. Gary sighed, people needed to learn to be more cautious about things. Unlocking the door to his room, he stepped inside and pushed this insignificant thought about the unmarked door away. He was very tired, and just wanted to get some rest.
* * *
It was morning. Gary had gotten up and changed, he had a meeting to go to today. He stepped out of his room, carrying a briefcase of files. Walking briskly towards the elevator, he walked past a few other people who were staying at the hotel; tourists or something. He reached the elevator and pressed the button to wait for it to arrive.
The elevator reached the fifth floor and opened. There was only one man inside. This man seemed tired, but very shaky. His clothes were wrinkled and his hair unkempt, he held a single suitcase. The suitcase itself seemed hastily packed (a bit of clothing was poking out of it) and was trembling in the unsettling man’s hands. Gary stepped inside; he saw from the glowing elevator buttons that this man was also headed towards the lobby.
“Umm . . . Hello, my name is Gary-” Gary started to introduce himself, but the man interrupted him.
“Don’t go in the room.” He warned. “Whatever you do, don’t go into that room.”
Gary paused, staring at the man blankly.
“I went into that room. Now I have this.” The man reached up one shaky hand and pointed at his shoulder.
“You have what?” Gary examined the man’s shoulder, he couldn’t really see due to the man’s jacket, but it seemed fine.
“It did this. I don’t really know the purpose of this though. I can’t tell anybody; they would just think that I’m crazy. I told one person though, they thought I was crazy! I can’t tell anyone else they’ll think I’m crazy too I’m not crazy it is real I saw it it was right next to me looking at me with that face covered in- . . .” The man stopped his rambling and stared off into nothing. There was a few seconds of awkward silence, filled only by elevator music. Then the man blinked out of his trance, and turned his head. He looked at Gary with wide, bloodshot eyes.
“You think I’m crazy too don’t you? I’m a man who’s lost his mind? You’re just going to tell me that it isn’t real?”
“What!? No I-”
“You think I’m playing a trick to freak people out? That I’m just some joker pulling a prank and am taping this for the internet or some awful television show? This is real! This!” The man pointed at his shoulder again. He reached up and pulled the shirt collar down a little, Gary thought that he saw something silver.
“It’s real! It’s very very real I assure you! Don’t go in the room! IT is in there! That thing! I don’t know what it was, but it did this to me! I’m getting out while I still can! I’ll never get its image out of my head! First I thought it was a crazy dream; too many drinks! But then it returned; it returned! It will probably try and do more! You think I’m crazy!? I’m not crazy you’re crazy! Maybe I’m the only sane one! I’m the only one who’s not insane and I can see reality! That’s it isn’t it!? I’m not crazy you all are the ones who are crazy I- . . .” The man drifted off into a trance. Gary stared, freaked out. He had no idea how to respond.
It seemed like forever, but finally the elevator reached the lobby. The doors opened, and the man hobbled out. He turned and said to Gary one more time:
“Don’t go in that room.”
* * *
Gary returned to the hotel after his meeting. It had gone well, and Gary was yet again in a good mood. His mind automatically repressed the incident that had happened that morning, and he could hardly remember. It was late, but Gary had already eaten dinner. He just wanted to get to his room and take a shower, then sleep.
Gary rode the elevator up to the fifth floor again, and then walked over to his room. In the corner of his eye he saw that the door next to his was still blank. Stepping inside, he dropped his briefcase on the floor and walked over to the bathroom to take a shower.
* * *
Gary heard some kind of noise. It was very subtle, but because of the late hour there were hardly any other noised going on. It kind of sounded like someone walking but not picking up their feet, someone just kind of dragging their feet along the ground while walking. It was coming from the hall outside his room. Gary had awoken and heard this noise, but he assumed that it was just an employee probably. Then the noise stopped, somewhere near his door.
Then there was the sound of a door opening. Gary tensed up, but he saw that is was not his door that was being opened, so he relaxed again. But then he tensed up again. The door that he heard open was the door next to his; the blank one.
Gary got out of bed and walked towards his door; something was not right at all. He slowly opened his door and looked out at the hallway. No one was out there. He scanned the doors, and then his gaze met the door next to his own, the blank one. It wasn’t blank anymore.
This door was slightly ajar, and had something on its surface. The area where a room number was supposed to be painted had an odd liquid substance on it. This substance was a deep blue black, and it smelled heavily like blood and also a bit like ink. The substance seemed to have been painted onto the door, spelling something.
Suddenly the memory of the crazy man returned to Gary. Was this the room that he had warned him about? Couldn’t be. He was just a crazy man, probably had a bad dream and a bit too much to drink. After all, what could a room do that was so bad?
Gary reached out and slowly opened the door a bit more. He didn’t see any movement from inside the room. It was dark, and he could only make out the silhouette of a lamp that was standing before the window. The dim moonlight did not help much to illuminate the room, but the room seemed normal enough; just an ordinary hotel room, identical to all the others.
Gary slowly walked inside, loudly whispering out to anyone who might be in the room.
“Hello? Is anyone in here? I’m sorry it’s just that I heard someone walking in the hall, and the door was open.” Gary looked around, trying to see through the darkness. Reaching out towards a side table, Gary spotted something. He picked it up and tried to examine it. When his eyes adjusted in the darkness he saw that is was black fabric, with a silver metal zipper running through it. Examining this item, he noticed the light switch.
“I’m turning on the lights now.” He flipped the switch, and gasped. The room, he had felt that something was wrong with it, and now he saw it.
It was covered in zippers; everything, the curtains, the bed sheet, even the lampshade; zippers. Zippers had been installed all over, unnecessarily and numerous in many areas. One curtain seemed to have over fifty zippers sown onto it. Along with the zippers, there were also a few spots of that odd blue black substance that had been on the door. On the table were some sewing supplies; needles, measuring tape, and there was what looked like a bottle of some kind of medicine or drug.
Then Gary noticed that he was not alone in this room. There was someone looking at him, well, facing him. Someone was sitting in the corner, Gary didn’t get a good look at it, but it was looking at him. Gary’s breath caught in his throat, and when he finally got it back he turned around and ran out the door and into his own room as fast as he could; he didn’t realize that he was still holding that zipper that he had picked up.
* * *
Gary woke up with a start. He remembered his odd experience during the night and looked around for abnormalities; he found none. Sighing with relief, he got and to get ready for work. The zipper that he had picked up last night was on the ground, but he did not notice it.
Walking out his door; he took a quick glance at the door that had been marked “Room 42”, then did a double take. The door was back to normal. It was blank, as if nothing had happened. Gary took a deep breath and exhaled; it had to have been a dream. The stress of work was getting to him, even though he didn’t feel stress. He walked down the hall towards the elevator.
* * *
Back at the hotel again, Gary reached his room and entered; ignoring the blank door. Same as the day before, he took a shower and went to bed.
* * *
Gary woke up in the night. Something was off again. He was sleeping normally, but he had been sleeping with his arm poking out of the side of the bed; something was touching his arm. It wasn’t something simple like a piece of furniture either; it was moving. Gary froze, and slowly turned his head to look.
It was the creature that he had seen in room 42. It was dark so he couldn’t see very well; but its skin seemed to be black leather like material; and it was covered in what looked like zippers. It was holding something it its hands; measuring tape. It pressed the tape against Gary’s arm, and then picked up a small notepad and wrote something down using a fountain pen.
Gary screamed, causing the creature to jump a bit; it emitted what sounded like a mix between a squeak and a shriek. Then it gathered up its materials, the tape, the notepad, and the pen. It got up and sprinted out of his room, shutting the door surprisingly quietly.
Gary’s heart was racing; what had just happened? He checked his clock, it was around eleven pm. He sat up in bed, no knowing what to do.
* * *
The sun was out; Gary woke up to a large amount of pain. His arm hurt like hell. Gary sat up and yawned, and then he got a look at his arm.
“W-What the hell is this!?” He screamed. His arm had been modified.
Blood was dried up all around a fresh new wound; the strangest wound that he had ever seen. It seemed someone had cut into his arm, and then sewed on a silver metal zipper. Large stitches of thick black string held the zipper onto his skin. The zipper’s teeth were caked with his blood, and his arm looked pale. He started to panic; what was this!? He saw blood staining the sheets of his bed, and his arm still hurt very badly. Then the phone rang. Gary quickly looked over and saw that he had overslept, and was late for work by several hours. But this thing on his arm, this had to be some sort of hallucination!
Even though Gary thought of this whole experience to be in his imagination, he picked up the phone to call in sick. Lucky for him he was right handed, and the zipper was on his left arm. After ending the call, he sat back down on the bed. He felt dizzy, maybe he should get some rest and go to sleep; maybe if he woke up he would laugh and see that there was no zipper. There was no creature next door. He was just a business man away on a trip, staying in a hotel that he had never heard of before. Yes, this is what would happen in a perfect world of his. But unfortunately for Gary; this is not a perfect world.
* * *
Gary woke up to an intense pain in his chest. He felt dizzy and numb, but pain was slowly beginning to course through his body. The reddish orange light of the sun setting flooded through the windows; making his blood appear redder than it was. Gary began to scream when he saw his situation. His arms were tied to the bedposts; and his shirt had been opened to reveal his chest. He saw that along his arms and upper torso there were covered by many smaller cuts; all of them were affixed with zippers of various sizes. His chest had also been cut open. Blood flowed from his chest, the exposed muscle and tendons glistened with blood in the light.
That creature was there. It was standing next to the bed and holding something. It held in its hands a large zipper, and was trimming the fabric around it with a very large pair of scissors. It noticed that Gary had begun to scream, and quickly set down the zipper and scissors onto the table beside the bed. It quickly picked up the notepad that it had before and jotted down something onto it; then it put that down and picked something else up. It held a bottle of some kind of medicine or drug. Using a large syringe, it extracted a small amount, and then set the bottle down.
Gary began to struggle as the creature came towards him, and the creature tried to hold him down. The creature was not very strong, but was surprisingly steady. It injected the drug into Gary, and he felt the pain begin to numb. Gary stopped screaming, but was breathing heavily.
The creature stepped back and watched him calm down, nodding approvingly. Then it set down the syringe and picked up the large zipper it was holding. It came forward yet again and set the zipper over the large opening on Gary’s chest. Reaching back towards the table, it selected a large needle. It poked the needle into its own hand, seemingly using its own hand as a pin cushion. Then it selected a spool of thick black thread. Taking the needle out of its hand, it threaded the needle with a good length of thread and approached Gary yet again.
Gary’s heart began to race more, but that drug left him feeling weak and he didn’t feel he could struggle any more. The creature held down the zipper on his chest, and began stitching it into his skin. The creature worked swiftly and efficiently; as if it had done this many times before. After a few agonizing minutes of watching; the zipper was attached to Gary.
The creature stood up and clapped its hands together quickly but silently with glee. It put the needle back into its hand, once again using its own hand as a pin cushion. Then it walked back towards Gary.
Gary could feel the pain returning; the drug was wearing off. The creature reached forward and unzipped a zipper that was attached to Gary’s arm, and zipped it again. Then it did the same with another small zipper, and another and another. Each time it did so Gary could feel the pain more intense. Finally; the creature had unzipped and zipped every zipper that it had affixed to Gary, every zipper except the new large one.
The creature reached forward and slowly unzipped the large one; Gary gasped in pain. The zipper unzipped smoothly and easily, and the creature began to zip it again. Then Gary inhaled deeply, trying to repress the pain. Then he began to scream. The zipper had gotten stuck. The teeth had closed around a piece of flesh, and it was stuck. Gary began to thrash around and scream in agony as blood began to flow harder from the cut. The creature seemed to grow frustrated and tried to force the zipper to close; but it just caused the blood to flow more.
The creature stood up, frustrated. It turned around and gathered up its things, storing them in a bag that it had attached around its waist. Then it turned around and tried again to unstick the zipper, but again only caused the bleeding to get worse.
The creature shrugged its shoulders angrily and turned around, starting towards the door. Gary continued to scream, trying to scream for the creature to come back and help him. But all that came out was pained noises and blood. The creature simply opened the door and left, probably returning to its own room; Room 42.
* * *
After a few days of not hearing from him, Gary Malcon’s boss tried to call. Each time he tried to call, he received no answer. Finally the hotel staff went to go check on Gary; only to be greeted by the sight of his gruesome death.
While investigating this strange death, the police did not find anything unusual about the doors surrounding Gary’s door. They did not notice that the door next to Gary’s door’s room number was different from the others. Its paint was fresh, as if it had been done very recently; but even around it there could be seen small traces of an odd, blue black substance. In a perfect world they would have found the stealthy creature, in a perfect world they could have prevented it from causing any more harm with its unusual ways. But this is not a perfect world.