The Benson:Experiment in Terror 2.5(5)

By: Karina Halle

“Anyway,” she continues, “here we are.”

I look at the door we’ve stopped in front of: Room 818.

“Where are we?” I ask.

“This was Parker’s room,” she says ominously.

“Who is Parker?” Dex asks. I’m surprised that he doesn’t know something for once.

“Parker…” Pam starts and then trails off. She takes her keys out from her pocket; the noise of them rattling fills the hallway. It suddenly seems very empty and hollow and a weird, familiar feeling washes over me, causing the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up.

The lock turns, and the door slowly creaks open. Only blackness and dust come billowing out of the room.

“After you,” Pam says.

Dex shrugs and then nudges me in front of the camera, indicating that I am to go first. Of course. I always have to be the first to walk into everything when I’m on camera. And sometimes when I’m not on camera. It depends on how sadistic Dex is feeling.

I take in a deep breath and push the door aside. It slowly swings open with a low groan, and I walk blindly into the swirling dark.

“Should I be putting on the night vision?” Dex asks no one in particular. I hear him fiddle with the camera settings but before anything happens, I am blind. Pam has walked in beside me and switched on the lights.

“No sense in scaring ourselves yet,” she chirps, and I can barely make out her round face.

Dex comes in and Pam shuts the door behind him. Once my eyes adjust to the light, I see that we are in a hotel room that probably looks the same as any other hotel room, albeit a large and very pricey one. Aside from a heavy chill that seems to hang in the air, there’s nothing too off-putting about the place. The bed is made, there seems to be a separate room with a living area, divided only by a Japanese-type paper partition, and I can just see a rather opulent looking bathroom jutting out to the right.

“As I said, this is Parker’s room,” she says. “Well, it was his room. I say this because some guests who stay in here say they still see him. But it happens very rarely.”

“And once again,” Dex repeats, sounding bored, “who is Parker?”

Pam walks over to the king-sized bed and sits down on it. It sags a little from her weight; the mattress is not as springy as it was back in the day.

“We have a lot of ghosts in this hotel. Parker isn’t the most well known of them, but he is the most real. Because he was a real person and his story is terribly tragic. Tragic, but all too common.”

I go over to the bed and sit down beside Pam. Suddenly, that slightly see-through partition between the bedroom and the living area is giving me the creeps, like I can sense someone standing behind it.

Dex looks like he picks up on the vibe too. Although he is standing in front of Pam and I, with the camera in our faces, his eyes keep flitting over there and his head is cocked slightly as if he is listening. I stifle the urge to shiver—I don’t want to look like an amateur—and keep my attention on Pam.

“What happened?” I ask, trying to keep my voice light, trying to ignore the goosebumps I can feel rising underneath my jacket.

“Parker, Parker Hayden, was a ship owner in the ‘30s. Back then, Portland was a very different city. The ships were its lively hood. There was a lot of money, a lot of crime, a lot of… well, scandals, I guess. Think Vegas, but on a river. Anyway, Parker was just one of the many wealthy ship owners. He spent half his time here, half somewhere on the east coast. He rented a room, this room, spending an obscene amount of money every night. He was a ladies man too, no surprise there! He was also a bit nuts. But because he was rich, you called him eccentric. There were rumors he was having an affair with a maid or two; sometimes he’d be caught stealing tons of toiletries and hording them in his closet. In this day and age we’d call him a weirdo but back then, he was just rich and powerful and you let him do what he wanted.”

“Doesn’t sound too much different from nowadays,” Dex says softly, keeping the camera focused on Pam. He’s paying less attention now to the other room, which makes me feel a smidge better.

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