“Welcome!” said the little old man behind the counter as Jakob walked in through the aged hotel’s grimy glass doors and across the scuffed marble floor. It was stormy out, and Jakob’s steps left damp footprints in his wake. “Welcome! How can I help you?”
Jakob stepped up to the dusty counter and set his suitcase down beside him. “I need a room for the night,” he said as he tried to brush his soaked brown hair out of his face. “I got a little turned around on the road thanks to this storm, it’s getting late, and you’re the first place I could find that I could stop at.”
The old man gave Jakob a toothy grin. “Of course, of course. I understand completely. It’s our off season, so we have plenty of rooms available. Do you have a preference?”
“No preference. Any room will be fine.”
“Then how about room 113? It’s our most popular room. We have many people request to stay in it.”
“That’s fine,” Jakob replied, stifling a yawn.
“Great!” the old man said as he placed a ledger book with a faded leather cover in front of Jakob. “If you’ll just sign in here, I’ll get you your room key.”
Jakob grabbed a pen from a caddy on the desk and signed in the ledger book while the old man grabbed a key from a desk drawer.
“Here you are, sir,” the old man said, taking the ledger book and handing Jakob the key. “The room is right down the hall there to your left. Check out is at 10:00 in the morning. Have a good night!”
Jakob grabbed his suitcase and made his way down the dimly lit hallway to his room. It was a small room, with just the basic necessities like a twin bed, a small dresser, nightstand with lamp, and a small desk. Like the rest of the hotel, it was a bit dingy and dimly lit, but Jakob was tired and paid it no mind. He set his suitcase down and went into the tiny bathroom to take a quick shower.
After his shower, Jakob decided to sit at the desk with his notebook and see if he could get anything written more on his manuscript before going to bed. But he still couldn’t find a way around his writer’s block, as he’d hoped the change of scenery from the short trip he’d taken would have helped him with.
Closing his notebook, Jakob headed to bed with the hopes that a good night’s sleep would help instead. But a good night’s sleep wasn’t in the cards.
Jakob was about to doze off when the sound of the doorknob rattling woke him. Thinking someone was at the door and trying to get in, he got up to check, but no one was at the door or anywhere in the hallway. With a shrug, he went back to bed, but a few minutes later the door opened on its own. Jakob stared at it, surprised, and heard footsteps walk towards him, but there was no one there. Then he caught the faint scent of a flowery perfume. It lasted just a few seconds, then was gone.
Jakob didn’t know what to think. There was a ghost here. His room was haunted. Maybe even the whole hotel. He was scared, of course, and was tempted to leave the hotel right then and there. But then the inkling of an idea for story came to him.
He jumped out of bed and went over to the desk. He opened his notebook and started writing.
In the morning, Jakob went to the desk to check out. The old man was still there. He eyed Jakob with a bit of surprise as he said, “Good morning, sir. Did you sleep well? How was your night?”
Jakob smiled as he placed the key and some cash on the counter signed himself out in the ledger. “It was good,” he said. “I didn’t sleep much, but I managed to get a lot writing done for a change, so thank you very much.”
“You’re welcome,” the old man said with a touch of bewilderment as Jakob walked towards the lobby doors, whistling a happy tune.
This post is part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, “welcome”: