About three years ago, I got a job working as a cross country truck driver for a go between delivery company for large grocery chains. The position was seasonal, but I was in desperate need of some money so I figured driving a box truck around eight months out of the year wasn’t the worst thing to do.
I’m from a very small town in the southern part of Missiouri. It’s the type of town where you grow up but you just never move out of and literally everyone knows your name so I was a bit naïve when it came to the large world. I figured this job was a bonus because it meant I was going to travel to lots of new places for free and get paid to do it.
The first several trips were pretty normal. I spent those couple of months going to some boring and not so boring places. New York, Raleigh, some small city in Wisconsin that I can’t remember…just a variety of places.
By this time, I have made easily eight or nine trips so I was getting used to the job and traveling.
My schedule came up with a trip to New Hampshire and if you don’t know anything about driving long distances, you legally can’t continue driving after a certain amount of hours. This meant I had a stop at a hotel in a small area in Pennsylvania.
I didn’t mind this. I was told when I first got the job that stop over trips were very common and I had already had one before when I went to New York earlier.
I didn’t question it as I had no reason to do so. I just drove the several miles until I made it to the stop in Pennsylvania, somewhere near Doylestown.
I pulled in at the address that my boss gave me for the hotel. It was very nice for it being in such a shady spot. It wasn’t a chain hotel but the three story building was brick and well put together but still very old. There were several cars in the parking lot and the lights were on in some of the rooms. The building was obviously privately owned.
I locked up the truck and checked into my room. The receptionist smiled as she handed me the keys. “You’ll find your room up the stairs to the top floor to the right.”
I took my overnight bag to my room and opened the door. The first thing I noticed about the room was how dimly lit it was. The light that came through the other windows made it seem like the room would be brighter. However, I didn’t mind as it was already night and I just wanted some food and sleep.
I dropped my bag on the bed and unpacked. I took out my toothbrush, combs cologne, and shower things to put in the bathroom. I also removed all my traveling snacks and set them on the table in case I woke up in the middle of the night hungry. I then took the truck out to grab a burger and fries.
When I came back, I set my food on the dresser and snatched the remote off the bed to turn on the TV. However, I wanted something sugary to eat so I went to get one of the candy bars I had packed.
I took one off the table but noticed that the box of crackers I had were gone. I looked through my bag to see if maybe they were there, but they weren’t. I called the front desk and asked if anyone had been in my room since I checked in. The receptionist said no and asked if there was a problem with my room. I told her no and just wrote it off. Maybe I left them in the car somewhere or something.
I chilled out on the chair in the corner of the room and watched a bit of TV as I continued to eat. Several minutes went by without incident and I quickly forgot about the missing box of crackers.
I must have fallen asleep because my phone vibrates with a text message from my boss and time has fast forwarded about an hour. He was just seeing to make sure I was safely at the hotel as I forgot to check in. I sent him my location and charged my phone.
As I got up to put my phone on the night stand, I heard a creaking noise above me.
I looked up curious, but heard nothing. Now, I just figured that since this is an old building that maybe the wood was settling or something. A few minutes pass and I go take a shower. While in the shower, I hear it again. A long creak. It was coming from above me but definitely over the bed area.
The building was only three floors tall, so I knew I had no one staying above me. I grab my towel and walk out into the bedroom wet and naked. Nothing.
I start brushing my teeth and preparing myself for sleep. But, again, there was ANOTHER creaking noise. I spat in the sink and wiped my face before heading back into the room but I didn’t see anything.
I was pretty creeped out at this point but decided to just go to sleep and forget about it. There wasn’t anything I could do about a building making noise anyway.
I lift up the comforter to get in and as I do, I see several little specks fly into the air. I jumped, thinking I had just tossed a bunch of bugs out of the bed. I was angry and went down to the front desk to complain.
They receptionist called for the manager and they walked back up with me to my room. He walked around it and inspected the floor in the bed. After crouching over the bed, he turned and looked at me.
“Looks like you’re just a messy eater,” he said with a chuckle.
“What are you talking about?” I asked. The man pointed to the bed, blankets, and floor.
“Those aren’t bugs. Looks like bits of food.”
I looked down at the specks and saw that he was right. Little golden flecks of what looked like some type of food were all over my bed. I was relieved that it wasn’t bugs but still pretty pissed that the room was dirty.
“That wasn’t me,” I said through gritted teeth. I pointed to my food near the chair I had been sitting in earlier.
The manager smiled and apologized. He sent a maid up with fresh sheets and had them vacuum the floor as well. So far my impression of this place wasn’t the best.
After inspecting the sheets several times and having the receptionist call and confirm that the room was properly cleaned, I climbed in and tried to sleep. The bed was really hard, so that didn’t make it easy, but eventually I did.
I woke up in the middle of the night to the same creaking noise. It was coming from directly over my bed. Flustered, I put the pillow over my face so I could get some ounce of sleep before heading off in the morning.
A few more minutes pass before I hear another creak. But this one freaked me out.
It freaked me out because, unlike the last creak, this one was accompanied with a shuffling noise. And it was coming from over the chair this time.
I thought maybe it was a raccoon or something that gotten in between the walls or something, but it was moving entirely too slow and heavy for that. The creaking and shuffling then went to the opposite side of the room.
I turned on the lights and went back down to the receptionist. It was a new lady now. I told her about the noises I had been hearing in my room and she sent the night manager up there with me. After a few minutes without hearing anything, he apologized but said there were no more rooms available.
He left and, after several minutes of not hearing anything, I, too, eventually went back to sleep. I had an early morning the next day and needed as much sleep as possible. But I didn’t get it.
Several hours later, I woke up again to another noise. I lay still making sure I was hearing right.
My body tensed. I realized the shuffling was no longer above me but instead in my room.
I heard the shuffling continue and something fell on to the floor with a thud.
I lay still, trying to make it seem like I was still asleep. Several minutes pass before I dare open my eyes.
I wish I hadn’t.
Standing over me in raggedy and run down clothes is a giant man. He was pretty tall and had long scraggly hair. He had a bushy beard that covered his mouth and his eyes were staring at me widely, unblinking.
I didn’t move. Neither did he. He just continued staring at me. For a second, I wasn’t sure he saw that my eyes were open. It was pitch black in the room and I still hadn’t physically flinched.
It didn’t take long to realize that he knew I was awake. He immediately reached for me in the bed and grabbed me by shoulders.
“Fuck!” I yelled. I sat up instantly and began kicking at the man. He let me go and backed to the other side of the room. I was too freaked to think of anything expect running. I didn’t even grab my pants or the keys to my room or the truck. I just flung open the door and darted out of there.
I went down to the receptionist and told her what happened. She looked like she didn’t believe me. Hell, I wouldn’t believe me, either. I was a 5’10 guy standing in my gym shorts and nothing else with a crazy look plastered on my face telling an even crazier story.
She didn’t say anything. Instead, she went to the back and got the manager who subsequently called the cops. We went back up to my room and flipped the lights on, but the man was gone. The manager and receptionist looked at me with annoyance.
The manager didn’t believe it happened. He actually thought I was just trying to get the room for free. I explained to him that my company paid for the room so that didn’t make any sense but he still thought I had an alternative motive.
A single cop car shows up and does another inspection of the room. He asked the manager about the structure of the building to see how the man could have possibly gotten without me noticing.
Thinking about this next part still turns my stomach. The building was very old so just like with most huge, old buildings, this one had a rather large attic that the staff didn’t maintain but once a year in the summer.
I hadn’t notice the frame hiding the attic hatch because it was hidden in the corner and painted the same exact color of the room. It was closed, though the cop still decided to go up in the attic and check it out.
I investigated my room further and saw that nothing was taken out of my room, not even my phone or the keys to the truck. The only thing different was the window that was closed was now open.
The cop came back down, grabbed my trash can, and went back into the attic, saying he found something.
I, the manager, and receptionist waited for the cop to come back down. What he had with him made my heart skip a beat.
What he brought wasn’t necessarily scary. It was a bunch of garbage, really. Candy wrappers, plastic ware, pizza crusts…and the box of crackers I was missing. It was empty of course but as the cop and the manager began discussing filing a report for breaking and entering, all I could think about were the crumbs in my sheets and the remote lying on my bed instead of the nightstand.
While I have no proof of this, there was no doubt in my mind that that man, whoever he was, had been using my room and gone through my things when I had left to get dinner.
None of my things were stolen so I didn’t file a police report. But I didn’t tell anyone what happened in that hotel, not even my boss. When he called and asked about the refund the hotel issued, I told him it was because they gave me a room with bugs in it. He said he’d never book them for me again and while I felt bad lying, I just couldn’t bring myself to tell the truth.
I don’t know what happened after that. I didn’t follow up with the police or the hotel. But it took me a long time to get used to staying in hotels after that.