The Benson:Experiment in Terror 2.5(3)

By: Karina Halle

He shrugs and takes his hand away, his attention back to his own drink. The back of my head feels vulnerable without his hand there. “You never know. There’s supposed to be a shitload of ghosts in this hotel, maybe you can help one of them.”

I raise my brows at him.

“A shitload?” I repeat. “Where do you get your information, Mr. Foray?”

“Wikipedia. That thing is never wrong,” he says without irony. He looks around him and takes in the scene. “We’re supposed to meet the night manager, Pam, in a couple of minutes. She said she’d find us. She’ll give us a tour of the place; hopefully give us the real story. I want that on film.”

“And what do you want me to do?” I ask. Once again, we’re going into a film shoot more or less blind. And by we, I mean I. Dex always knows what’s going on and I’m always in the dark. I did research The Benson before biking over here and all that, but I have no clue what to do or say. There is no storyboard, no script. We just wing it and I usually end up looking like an idiot.

“Just be yourself. Ask her questions. I’ll film both of you. We’ll wander around the hotel. Then we’ll probably be allowed to go off on our own and do some exploring. I’ll give you the infrared camera this time so we can see if we pick up any hot or cold spots.”

I shiver at that thought. Using the infrared meant we’d be wandering around in the dark. Whether I’m in a lighthouse on the coast or in the New Mexican desert, the darkness still gives me the creeps. Especially now that I know there are things out there that want to hurt me. That know I’m a sort of “bait.”

By the time Pam shows up, I have finished my glass of wine. It has only left me anxious, not relaxed.

Pam is on the overweight side, similar to the way I was in high school, but unlike me, she seems to bustle with confidence. Or bustle with something. Her wide, cheery face gives her the appearance of being younger than she probably is and she speaks a mile a minute.

“You must be Perry and Dex, I recognized you!” she exclaims, beaming at us and holding out her hand. We both give it a quick shake. She points to the name tag on her black suit. “As you can see, my name is Pam. Pam Gupta. I’m the night manager here at The Benson.”

“Thanks for having us,” Dex tells her sincerely, reaching under the table and bringing out a backpack and a camera bag.

“No, thank you,” she says putting extra emphasis on the words. “As soon as you told me who you were, I looked up your ghost show and immediately fell in love with you guys.”

Dex and I exchange a quick look.

“I mean,” she corrects herself and lets out an awkward clip of a laugh, “I was scared witless at the Darkhouse episode and the one in Red Fox but I was so drawn in by you two. You’re just so…so…”

“Handsome?” Dex asks, flashing her a smile and stroking his chin scruff.

She blushes and giggles. “Well, yeah I guess you are.”

I roll my eyes. Dex doesn’t need any more encouragement.

“But,” she continues, “you’re both just so…lucky!”

We look at each other again, even more confused.

“Lucky?” I ask.

“How about I explain as we walk? I don’t have much time to show you around before I start my shift.”

We get up, Dex giving the backpack of equipment to me, and we follow Pam through the lobby. For a larger woman she walks like a sprite, moving quickly between people and showering her big smile on all of them. The guests eye Dex and I curiously, intrigued by the camera he has placed up on his shoulder.

We stop before a grand staircase leading up to the second floor. I eye myself quickly in the mirror on the landing. My floral dress is sticking to my leggings in static cling, and my black hair is a mess from my motorbike helmet (and Dex’s hand). I don’t look camera worthy at all. I shrug helplessly at my reflection and look to Pam who is pointing up at the stairs.

“There’s been many sightings of one of ghostly guests walking up and down this very staircase,” she says, sounding like a chipper tour guide talking about museum pieces and not dead people.

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