The Benson:Experiment in Terror 2.5(7)

By: Karina Halle

“What?” I ask.

“Do you want the lights on or off?”

He raises his camera a bit and I get it. Are we going to shoot this in the dark or in the light? I know what I’m going to say, and I know what he’s going to say.

“Leave the lights on,” I tell him.

“I think we should have them off.”

I knew it. “Why do you even bother consulting me if you’re just going to do what you want anyway?”

“I like you to feel like this a partnership,” he says, and sounds strangely sincere. He tucks the key into his cargo pants and gives me a quick smile. “And you know that shooting in the dark adds to the tension.”

“It also adds to my ever-building threat of dying young,” I point out.

“Twenty-two ain’t so young anymore, kiddo. I mean, you’ve almost surpassed James Dean. If you kick it now—”

I raise my hand in the air. “That’s enough. Let’s just get this over with.”

“Perry’s famous last words.”

“Dex. Shut up.”

It’s his turn to roll his eyes. I feel a cold waft come in from the living room area, and I automatically rub my hands up and down my arms. There’s definitely something going on in this place, and I am in no hurry to find out. But of course, it’s my job to find out.

“What if we just leave this light on here?” I say, pointing at the lamp. The rest of hotel room, including the bathroom and the living area, are only lit by residual light. It’s just dark enough to be spooky over there, but it’s not so black that I’d be having a panic attack.

“If you wish,” Dex says and I hate how unafraid he sounds. Then again, he always gets to view things through the lens. He never has to be the one seeing the horrors face-to-face.

It’s a catch-22 with my job. On one hand, I’m often scared shitless at the slightest thing and pray that I don’t bump into a ghost (or a skinwalker, now that I know those things exist). On the other hand, if I don’t run into anything, it makes for a pretty bad episode. I mean, most ghost hunting shows don’t have much to show for themselves, anyway, but that’s also the point: We don’t want to be like most of those shows. We are above and beyond that, at least that’s what Dex rattles off half the time. I don’t even know if he believes what he says, but the fact is that when we do capture some unexplainable stuff on film, the views go up and we look good.

It’s too bad our looking good comes at the cost of me nearly peeing my pants every time.

“So…” I begin.

“So, just come here.” He places his strong hands on the sides of my arms and physically moves me over so I’m right in front of him and the camera. I don’t want him to let go but he does. “I’ll roll it, you give a quick spiel based on whatever Pam just said and then walk into the other room. I’ll be right behind you.”

“Don’t I get a flashlight?”

“I’ll be your eyes. Ready?”

I nod, square my shoulders and take a deep breath. We usually go in just one take and I give a very quick overview of what we are doing in The Benson hotel and what we hope to find in room 818.

Then I turn around and face the darkness of the living room. I don’t know how it’s possible, but it seems to have grown darker in the last few minutes. Before I could make out a couch and a table, as well as the entrance to the fancy bathroom. Now, I can’t see anything at all. Just the partition with its slightly transparent sheets of fabric paper and that terrible feeling that there is something, or someone, just beyond it, waiting for me to enter its clutches.

Dex clears his throat, a signal that I need to move. I feel frozen on the spot but will my legs to step forward, even though every part of me is screaming not to.

Somehow, I do it. I step into the void and feel a rush of frigid air flow around me. No, flow is too gentle of a word. It slams into me like an invisible hand.

I pause and take another step, trying to pick up where the bed should be. I still can’t see anything, but Dex says in a low voice, “Move to the right a little. The bed is right in front of you.”

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