The waiter handed me a tray and told me to take it to room 239. I asked him what was the clients name and he told me it was Dr Herman. It was a doctor, which meant I had to do this perfectly. The owner loved doctors; they paid their bills on time, they left large tips and they recommended more doctors.
With this in mind, the pressure was on, but there wasn’t time to waste shaking in my apron. Taking the tray in hand I marched straight to the service elevator and with a tap of the button I was moving up. I played the interaction in my head, but it would be never like I expected.
Once on the floor it was a brisk march to the room. I stopped, knocked and called, ‘room service’. To my surprise, the doctor did not open the door as most clients would. Instead, he asked me to enter, so I did. I opened the door and entered a dark room.
“Uh...sir?” I began. “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine, just set it down on the kitchen counter,” Doctor Herman ordered gruffly.
Having worked in the hotel for so long I knew exactly where the kitchen was even in the dark. Making my way past the modern chairs, I rested the tray on the marble.
“Is there anything I can help you with?” I asked the darkness and this there was a visual reply.
The TV screen turned on and there was someone sitting on the couch.
“Nothing more, you may leave,” the Doctor replied.
I was all too willing to leave quickly, it was part of the job to be see, but not heard, but I preferred to avoid both. However, sitting there on the sofa watching the flashing lights a twisted figure. The silhouette of this man was broken, malformed. It was only when the disturbing sight turned on the spot to look at me.
With fear, I ran out the door and closed it with a bang. I was terrified. What was that? It wasn’t human, that was for sure. More than that, my fear wasn’t subsiding so I decided to leave the floor as well. At speed, I made my way to the service elevator and pressed the call button repeatedly.
I looked behind me to check if it was following, but the door remain closed and I remained alone. I would like to think it ended when I entered the elevator that I was free, but the moment the elevator doors closed the door to the doctor’s room opened and just as his foot came into view the elevator was shut.
I waited, but the elevator descended without interruption. I would like to think I had escaped, but I didn’t. The elevator opened up to the kitchen again and I joined the rest of the staff. I must have looked awful as all of them stared at me in shock.
“What’s up with you?” one chef asked.
“I...I…” I couldn’t find the words.
“Hey, take it easy. Have a seat and try to catch your breath.”
“Jesus. His as pale as a ghost.”
“When you can, tell us what happened, alright?”
I nodded and took a glass of water from one of the chefs. We were on a tight schedule with the dinner event on so they soon returned to their posts and continued their cooking. It was a machine-like system, but still had its flaws. Especially with one waiter now out of commission.
I sat there for what seemed like a long moment, but then I was approached by a friend of mine.
“Hey, pal, there’s a doctor here who can help,” he told me
“A doctor who?” I asked immediately.
“A Doctor Herman,” a stranger repled behind him.
My heart jumped for a moment, but I saw the man behind my friend was perfectly normal. Clean shaven, short hair and seemingly young for a doctor.
“Hello, you seemed to leave my room in a bit of a state so I thought I would offer my assistance,” Doctor Herman told me simply. “It has to do with some silly code I took before studying.”
My friend laughed and left me with the doctor to help the others. Once more, I was at a loss for words. The doctor in front of me was not the creature I saw in the room.
“But...I..,” I began, but he stopped me by raising his hands.
“There comes a time in every man's life where he sees things he should not have,” Doctor Herman began with a subtle whisper. “However, this isn’t something that adversely affects their health. You are in shock and that will pass, you can count on it. Just like you can count on what you saw never being seen again, just like you once you start talking.”
I followed every word closely. He spoke so simply, but his words were sharp and to the point.
“Now, I am going to give you some sugar pills and you are going to pretend that you never saw anything,” the doctor continued. “In return for this smart decision, I will pretend you never existed.”
He grabbed my hand and poured three small pills into it. With that he gripped my shoulder firmly, gave me a snake smile and left the kitchen. I did as he asked, bar actually taking the pills and told the others I was fit to continue working in the kitchen. Pushing yourself to act as if nothing bad happened in such a state is next to impossible, but I feared that man more than I feared being fired.
Luckily, that never came to fruition and the doctor left the next day. I never saw him again and as such, I never saw that creature again as well. The twisted face, the black eyes, the teeth and claws...the demon in men's clothing that sat there in the darkness. I still see it in my darkest moments, but I counted myself lucky I was still around to have them.