The doctors had been asking me the same questions for weeks. Finally breaking down, I decided to tell them.
I’m not sure what I saw that evening with Craig but it sure isn’t something I’ve talked about since. We were only kids, you know. It could have been anything. We had been at school late for a study group in math. We had just finished with our teacher. You could tell through the windows that it had grown late; we didn’t have a lot of time to get home.
Craig and I had been best friends since I moved to Delway. He was the first one who greeted me at the door to tell me who he was and where he lived. We spent every living breathing day together.
Pausing to catch our breath, I noticed we were standing across from the old abandoned hotel. It was The Old Abandoned Hotel. Everyone knew what place you were talking about when you coughed up that name. I could have sworn I saw a curtain move in one of the upper windows. Craig told me to knock it off when I told him, and that I was stupid for trying to scare him. While Craig stooped to tie his shoes and re-adjust his backpack, I stared at the old building. Intrigued by its appearance, I couldn’t help but wonder why it had been abandoned. It wasn't until just recently that I found out what happened. Craig stood up and saw me staring at the upper windows of the hotel.
“We better get back, ‘cause it’ll be dark soon, and they mostly come at night… mostly.”
I was telling him to knock it off right after that. I looked again and still the curtain was moving, I know it was. I pointed this out to Craig, but he just grabbed my arm and started pulling me away from the Old Hotel.
“Hey – What’s going on?” I asked roughly when Craig had apparently decided he had drug me far enough away from it.
“Don’t you know, that building’s haunted. People have said that there are ghosts in it. Others say it’s a monster of a different kind. Either way, I’m not sticking around to check it out with you."
"When did you start believing in ghost stories?" I folded my arms and stared him down.
"I don't want to talk about it. Lets just go home, okay?" Craig looked at me, his eyes pleading.
"No way, I'm going back to check it out. You can go on home since your so scared." I knew if I pushed him hard enough that he'd give in, he couldn't let me go anywhere alone. There it was again, that fleeting look of fear, crossing his face and settling in his eyes.
"Fine," after a few moments of silence, "I'll come with you, but you have to promise you're only going to look at it, we can't go in."
"Fine." I said back. We turned and walked back to the abandoned hotel. Craig stopped me across the street and told me he wasn't going any closer. I kept going, I wanted to get as close as I could and see inside the windows on the main floor. Built in the early 1800's, it was a gorgeous sight to behold. I couldn't get enough of it. Every window I looked in was covered by moth-eaten curtains. Looking back I saw that I was now almost sixty yards from Craig. He looked like he was shaking. I turned around and continued on my mission. I was going to find a window to look in, even if it killed me. Turning the corner I found what I was seeking. A large window, the curtains had been taken down and lay in a neat pile just in front of the window. I pulled my sleeve up over my wrist and tried to clean some of the grime off the glass to get a better look.
I had to stand on my tip-toes to get a real good look. I could see old furniture untouched and covered with what had once probably been white sheets but were now dusty brown. An ancient television, some old lamps and other miscellaneous items stared back at me. I looked at the tv again, probably an old black and white from the looks of it. Just above the tv on the wall behind it, I saw what looked to be dark red/brown stains on the walls. I remember thinking, maybe it's blood. I found myself straining to look in the window now, it was starting to get dark.
"Come on Mark! We need to get home!" I could hear Craig shouting from where he was still standing on the corner across from the hotel.
"Okay, I'm coming!" I hollered back. I had to get one more look in the window of the old hotel. I'd be damned if I couldn't have something to go back and tell the kids from school that I had done. I stretched again on my tip-toes and peered into the window. Suddenly, a face appeared, not the face of a person, the face of...of... of God only knows what. I screamed something incoherent as I fell back on my butt, and scrambled to get away. I ran to Craig, grabbed him and started pulling him away from the god forsaken building.
"What the hell, Mark? What happened?" Craig panted running beside me.
I couldn't tell him, I couldn't tell anyone.
That face has haunted my dreams for years now. I still can't sleep more than a few minutes at a time or it comes back for me. I can see it clear as day, staring back at me through the window. Please, just don't make me go back to sleep, okay? I ask the doctors.