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The rain had been hammering down for hours. Behind the reception desk, a bored clerk was sitting with his feet up, reading a book, safe in the knowledge that nobody would be risking the weather.

He was therefore quite shocked when the door burst open.

Two women stood in the doorway, dripping from head to foot. They struggled to shut the door against the wind.

“Crikey,” one of them said, “It’s a bit rough out there!”

The other one pushed her wet hair out of her face and smiled. “Do you have a room free? We’re a bit desparate really, with this weather!”

The clerk looked at them. “Um,” he said, “Let me check.”

He flipped through the registry, but he already knew the answer. There was only one room empty; a twin room at the end of the corridor. It was always empty – although it was cleaned every day like the rest of them, the owner didn’t like it to be used. He didn’t know why; he thought it was in case she wanted to stop over instead of driving home.

Still, the owner wasn’t there, and there were two women stood in the doorway, shivering, soaked, with nowhere else to go.

“You’re in luck,” he said. “We have one twin room free.”

He signed them in, helped them with their bags, and fetched extra towels for them before returning to the desk and his book.

He was only a few more chapters through when the two women came out, white as sheets. They each grabbed him by an arm and dragged him towards their room.

“Hey wait,” he cried, “Leave off, I’m not that kind of bloke!”

They ignored him and dragged him into the bedroom. Shaking, they pointed at the rocking chair in the corner. It shifted back and forward, as if somebody had just stood up, and the clerk went cold as the sound of laughter filled the room.

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note – Eh, I’m not too chuffed with this one. Not at all what I wanted it to be, but it’s late and I’m tired. Something better tomorrow, I hope.)