I rang the small metal bell on the counter three times in quick succession, but no one came. I picked up the receiver, but the line was dead.
On the back wall behind the counter, the small brass keys for each motel room hung on short, rusted nails, except for room 206. I grabbed the key for room 205 and hurried up the unlit stairs, clutching the wooden handrail, and then down the dark, second floor hallway.
Brass numbers on the doors had been removed years ago, but their faded outlines remained. I unlocked room 205 and went inside. The smell of pungent decay were pervasive and stung my nose.
I sat on the bed, which was still made but spotted with green and black mold. Then I heard it: A soft, rhythmic knocking coming from the walls, from room 206. I rose, leaned over a splintered and worn dresser, and put my ear against the wall.
I knocked back.