Caroline & The Haunted Inn

By: Jana~





--Caroline watched as Richard worked, trying to gauge his mood. If she caught him at just the right time... he just might say yes. She couldn't tell what kind of mood he was in though... he had mastered the art of hiding his emotions down so deep, she wondered if he was even in touch with them.

--Richard could tell something was on Caroline's mind… she was unusually quiet. He could see her out of his peripheral vision, occasionally glancing at him, eyeing him for, as of yet, some unknown reason. He wondered briefly if she'd ever caught him staring at her, or catching quick glances in the same manner… through her peripheral vision. If she had, she never said anything. He tried not to pine over her, tried to ignore his feelings for her… but he couldn't. Better to try holding back the sea with a paper towel.

He loved her in spite of the fact that she was perpetually optimistic and annoyingly chipper, and no matter how much he tried to convince himself that loving her made no sense, he couldn't stop the yearning he felt in his heart. When Caroline finally spoke up, Richard snapped out of his thoughts...

"Richard?" Caroline asked...

"No…" he replied, not even having to hear the question to know he wouldn't like it... he could tell by her tone of voice.

"What do you mean 'No'? You don't even know what I'm going to ask!"

"Fine…" he sighed… "What were you going to ask?"

"Well... I, ummm... I was wondering..." she stammered, struggling to find the right words…

"Spit it out Caroline..."

"Ok… I have to go to this charity thing... and would have to stay the night... and I was hoping you would co--..."


"Richard..." she whined his name…

He imitated her whining tone of voice… "Caroline…"

"C'mon Richard…" she pleaded… "Please? I don't want to go alone..."

Richard closed his eyes and sighed. She had this way about her… he found it hard to say no to her.

He inhaled deeply... "Fine Caroline... I'll go…"

"Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you..." Caroline hopped excitedly, hugging him…

He pulled away from her, the closeness stirring desires he desperately wanted to run from… deny… "Ok, Caroline…"

"Sorry…" she apologized. Richard was a difficult man to know, the task even harder when he was always finding ways to distance himself… putting up walls to keep her out. It didn't discourage her from trying to figure him out… it just made her try that much harder.


--"Caroline... are you ready to go yet??" Riichard asked, announcing his presence as he entered the loft, his overnight bag in hand.

"Yeah, I'll be right down!" Caroline called out from upstairs.

"Somehow I doubt that…" he quipped sarcastically under his breath as he helped himself to some coffee.

Sitting at his spot at the partners desk, he looked out the window as he sipped his coffee, waiting for Caroline. It was a beautiful fall day… and although normally Richard wouldn't pay attention to such things, he couldn't help but notice how beautiful the leaves were. Several shades of reds, oranges, and yellows covered the trees and street, leaves floated to the sidewalk as they fell from the branches. Busy New Yorkers, oblivious to the beauty of it, walked to their destinations, trampling on the fallen leaves without concern.

"What a picturesque scene…" he mumbled softly to himself…

"What is?" Caroline asked as she approached him, startling him unintentionally…

He jumped slightly and spun around in his chair to look at her… "Huh?"

"What's picturesque?" she repeated her question, walking to the window and leaning on him as she gazed out at the street. Her touch aroused him and he fought for composure as she innocently viewed the scene.

"The leaves… falling…" he stammered, struggling to find his normal voice but failing.

"Are you alright? You sound like you might be coming down with a cold…"

"I don't know… maybe. You might not want to get too close… wouldn't want you to catch it…"

Caroline smiled and backed away, heading for the kitchen and unplugging the coffee maker. Richard breathed a sigh of relief, glad to be getting the needed room to get back in control of his emotions.

"Can you help me with my bags Richard?" she asked casually, unaware of his emotional struggles as she attempted to pick up her bags.

He shook his head as he walked towards her… "I'll get them Caroline…" he said, grabbing the bags from her.


"Uh-huh. Let's just get going… ok?"


--"You do know where we're goingg, riight?" Richard asked, nervously observing Caroline as she turned the unfolded map this way and that, trying to decipher it.

"Ummm… yeah… I think so…" she lied, not wanting to upset Richard by admitting that she was confused by the map.

He could tell she was lying, and he sighed with exasperation as he pulled the car over to the side of the road.

"Give me the map..." he demanded, frustration in his voice.

She handed over the map… "I'm sorry Richard…" she apologized… "I thought I had it figured out…"

He didn't reply as he looked over the map, trying to determine where they were…

"Caroline! You got us lost!"


"What do you mean 'what'?!" Richard snapped… "Which part didn't you understand?"

Caroline was hurt by the question and tone of voice, but tried to hide it… "How did I do that?"

"With you?! Who knows!"

"I'm sorry..."

"Well, that's great, but we're still lost…" he grumbled, slamming the map down on his lap and running his hands through his hair.

"I said I was sorry Richard..."

"I know… I heard you…" was his distant reply. When he saw Caroline slump, her gaze planted firmly in her lap, he realized how he'd sounded… how much his words had upset her… "I'm sorry Caroline."

"Why are you sorry?"

"For getting upset with you. I know you didn't do it on purpose… it's just… now we have to back track. It's gonna take us hours!"

"I'm sorry..."

"Stop apologizing Caroline… I know you're sorry…" He picked up the map again, figuring the best way to fix the mess they were in, then they got back on the road.


--"It's getting dark…" Caroline observeed, hher tone anxious, concerned about the remoteness of the area they were driving through. She looked over at Richard, trying to determine if he seemed worried…

"I can see that..." Richard replied, aware of her distress… "Just relax Caroline. Everything's fine…" he reassured. She sighed with relief and nodded silently. "But, maybe we should pull over for the night…" he suggested after a moment.

"Yeah… ok…" she agreed, in no state of mind to argue with him.


--After driving for about thirty minutes, they finally spotted a small inn with a vacancy sign.

"There…" Richard pointed at the ominous looking building as he turned into the driveway… "We'll stay there…"

"Are they even open? It looks kinda... deserted."

"Well, there's a vacancy sign. Usually deserted places don't advertise vacancy with a light-up neon sign." he stated sarcastically… "Wait here…" he added as he got out of the car, heading for the small office.

--Richard came back a few minutes laterr andd opened the door for Caroline…

"They're open and they have rooms available…" he informed… "C'mon..." He helped her out of the car, then got their bags out of the trunk…

"Did they seem... nice?"

"Huh? I don't know… I guess..." he shrugged as he fought with the luggage…

--"So, it's just the two of you?" the iinnkeeeper asked as he watched Richard sign the guest book.

Richard nodded… "Yeah…"

"So, you get a lot of guests?" Caroline asked… "Way out here?"

"Not so much anymore..." the innkeeper replied... "Not since the hauntings started…"

"What?" she asked, her and Richard both looking at him with shocked expressions.

"Well, about 10 years ago, a young couple stayed here for a romantic night. No one knows why, or exactly what happened… but they just… disappeared. Ever since then, things have been happening around here. Strange things…"

"What kind of strange things?" Caroline asked, fear in her tone…

"Caroline…" Richard whined with a scolding tone, trying to stop the conversation from going any further.

"Noises… things moving through mid air… lights going on and off… unexplainable things…" was the innkeeper's spooky reply.

"Oh my God…" she gasped… "Richard?"

"Caroline, no. We are all signed in… it's getting late… I'm tired from driving… and, there's no such thing as ghosts!" he stated firmly… "Thank you sir, we'll just be going to our room now." The innkeeper gave Richard the keys to the room and he grabbed their bags… "C'mon Caroline."

She followed reluctantly.


--They entered their room and Richard ddroppped the bags to the floor, then plopped down on the bed...

"Ugh…" he sighed, rubbing his eyes.

"I don't like this…" Caroline complained nervously, looking around the room.

"Caroline… there is nothing to worry about." Richard insisted… "There's no such thing as ghosts!"

"Richard… this place is creepy…"

"It's just cause it's dark out. By morning you'll see how silly you're being…"

"Well, excuse me Richard! I'll try not to bother you with my 'silliness' any more!" she snapped, upset by his comments…

"I don't mean to sound unsympathetic… I just don't believe in this stuff."

Caroline had pretty much tuned him out in favor of other issues… "Um… Richard… there's only… only one bed."

"I didn't think of that…" he mumbled, staring at the bed as if a solution would present itself… "Maybe we can get a different room…"

"No… I'm not in the mood to play musical rooms…"

"Ok, so… where am I supposed to sleep?"

She looked at him as if the answer to his question was obvious… "In the bed?"

"Then, where are you going to sleep?"

"In the bed?"

"BOTH of us?! In the bed?!" He didn't mean to sound so alarmed, the words and tone of voice slipped out before he could stop them…

"Ummm… yeah…" she droned, confused by Richard's behavior… "Is that a problem?"

"Uh, no. Of course not…" he replied as calmly as he could, his anxieties threatening to consume him…

"Ok… I'm gonna go get my PJ's on then." she informed, rummaging through her luggage…

"Yeah… ok…"

"You brought something to sleep in… right?"

"Yeah… well, I sleep in my clothes…"

"You sleep in your clothes?"

"When I'm… out… like, not at home… yeah…"

"Ok…" she murmured with a disbelieving tone, walking into the bathroom to change.

"Real smooth Richard…" he berated himself in a whisper as he pulled the blankets down on the bed. He untied his shoes then turned around and kicked them off… *Now what are you going to do? How are you supposed to get any sleep with her in the bed… right next to you?* he thought to himself as he turned back to the bed.

All of his movements and thoughts stopped as he stared at the bed… something wasn't right. It took him a minute, then he realized what was wrong…

"Didn't I pull the blankets down?" he muttered as he tried to remember. He stood silently, perplexed… just then Caroline came out of the bathroom…

Immediately noticing the bewildered look on his face, she hesitated by the bathroom door… "What?"

"Nothing…" he replied casually, pulling the blankets down on the bed.

"Ok…" she quickly dismissed his former expression as she climbed into bed… "You coming?"

He nodded as he climbed into bed, then reached to turn off the nightstand light…

"Goodnight Caroline…"

"Goodnight Richard…"

--Richard closed his eyes, but was far fromm sleepy. He couldn't turn his brain off… or his emotions. Having Caroline that close to him… in the bed with him…

*I'm never going to be able to fall asleep…* he thought to himself, keeping his eyes closed tight… *Maybe if she thinks I'm asleep, she won't try to talk to me…* he reasoned, pretending to fall asleep.

He could hear her breathing… he could smell the light perfume she always wore, the scent was imbedded in his brain as being Caroline. He couldn't stop the love and desire he felt as he lay there beside her, and he grew angry with himself when his body reacted without his conscious consent.


"Richard? Did you hear that?" Caroline's question interrupted Richard's thoughts…

"Hear what?"

"I heard something… weird."

He scoffed at the vagueness of her reply… "Can you be more specific?"

"I don't know what it was… that's why I said it sounded weird. You didn't hear--"

"Shhh!" Richard interrupted… "I'm trying to listen."

Caroline remained silent while Richard listened…

His face showed signs of concentration… "I don't hear anything…"

"It wasn't my imagination…"

"Well, whatever it was… it's gone now. You know… it's hard enough getting to sleep without you 'hearing things'…"

"I didn't imagine it Richard! I heard something! And it's obviously not TOO hard to fall asleep… you fell asleep as soon as your head hit the pillow!"

"Right…" His tone sounded off and it didn't go unnoticed…

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing. Why do you always think something is wrong with me?"

"I'm sorry… I…" She stopped abruptly, her facial expression showing surprise… "There! You hear it?" she whispered urgently, pointing in the air at nothing tangible…

Richard sat quietly and listened. It almost sounded like music… like from a music box, but if it was music from a music box, it was unrecognizable. It sounded almost… warped…

"Maybe someone nearby has a radio on…" he suggested.

"It doesn't sound like a radio. It sounds… weird."

"Caroline… I know what you're thinking…"


"It's not a ghost… ok?" Richard insisted… "God, Caroline… you're not actually thinking there's a ghost… right? Doing what? Playing music? A radio? Why would a ghost do that?"

"I don't know…" she replied, flustered.

"Caroline… look…" he started, sitting up in bed and turning to face her… "You are imagining stuff cause of what the innkeeper said… the music is probably just something one of the other guests is listening to."

"Ok… ok…" she conceded… "Maybe you're right…" She lied back down, pulling the covers up, trying to get comfortable. Richard just looked at her for a moment, then lied back as well

"Just try to get some sleep… we'll leave early tomorrow… get an early start…" he said in an attempt to offer her some comfort…

She nodded… "Ok…"

Richard wanted to hold her, to comfort her… but he didn't trust himself.

"Are you ok?" he asked, guarding himself from sounding like he cared too much.

"Yeah… I guess…" she lied. Truth was, she wasn't fine… she was scared… and confused. Confused about her feelings for Richard. She had started to wonder lately… wonder if she had 'a thing' for Richard, but dismissed the idea as 'rebound feelings' because of her failed relationship with Joe. And he obviously only liked her like a friend, even then sometimes she wondered. But as time went on, the feelings seemed to get stronger… she wondered if she wasn't feeling something genuine for him.


--After time, Richard and Caroline finaally fell asleep… but they weren't asleep for long. Richard awoke to the light in the room that was invading his sleep…

"Caroline…" Richard whispered… "Turn off the light!" She didn't respond. "Caroline?"

"What?" she asked, coming out of her sleep.

"Why did you turn the light on? You know, even if there were ghosts, I doubt your night light would scare them off…"

"I didn't turn the light on Richard…" she informed as she started to become more lucid…


"I didn't turn the light on… I was sleeping."

"If you didn't turn it on… who did?"

Caroline suddenly gasped in fear… "Oh my God…"

"Caroline… it wasn't ghosts! There is a logical explanation..."


"Like… a short in the lamp maybe? Or maybe you just don't remember turning it on..."

"Richard… I want to go…" she begged, her fear obvious.

"Just let me get a few hours sleep, then we'll go… I promise." he assured her, trying to alleviate her fears. Just then, the sound of running water came from the bathroom. Caroline jumped into Richard's arms and hid her face in his chest…

"I want to go now… please…" She was near hysterical, her voice frantic.

Richard started to get up, but Caroline tightened her grip on him…

"Caroline… let go a minute." His voice was soft and considerate… "I want to see what's going on…"

She released her grip on him and he climbed out of bed, heading for the bathroom. She heard the water turn off, then Richard came back into the room…

"You can't tell me there is a logical explanation for that!" she exclaimed, pointing towards the bathroom…

"It's an old building… weird things can happen in old buildings… that doesn't mean it's haunted."

"I want to go…" she insisted again, tears falling down her face.

"Ok, Caroline… ok. We'll go…" He grabbed his shoes off the floor, then sat on the bed to put them on…


"If you're that scared… then, yeah… we'll go." Richard could tell she genuinely believed the room was haunted and she was truly scared.

She sighed with relief… "Thank you Richard…"

"No problem. Go get dressed…" he instructed as he grabbed their bags and started packing…

Caroline jumped from the bed and headed for the bathroom with her clothes. Richard turned and looked at the closed bathroom door, his love for Caroline filled his head and made his heart race. He shook his head as if that would help clear it, then turned to finish packing. He actually let out an audible gasp… in shock at what he saw. All the bags were unpacked and their clothes were strewn all over the room.

Caroline came out of the bathroom after changing and saw the mess, and Richard was just standing there staring at it...

"What?" was all she could think of to ask… or say…

"I turned my back for less than a minute… and when I turned back around…"

"Stop!" Caroline shouted… not wanting him to finish the sentence. "I gotta get out of here Richard!"

"Yeah… ok…" he nodded absentmindedly, seemingly in a daze.

--He walked with Caroline over to the office and rang the bell for the innkeeper. After several minutes, the man showed up wearing a robe and looking sleepy…

"Yeah?" he asked as he opened the door to the office…

"She says she can't stay here…" Richard informed apologetically.

The elderly gentleman just nodded and collected some paperwork from under the counter.

"I'm gonna go back and get our stuff…" Richard informed Caroline as he pried himself from her grasp… "You stay here and I'll be right back… ok?"

She just nodded.


--"So… I'm assuming you witnessed some straange occurrences…" the innkeeper broached the subject, smiling at a frightened Caroline sympathetically…

"Yeah." she replied simply.

"Mind if I ask what you saw? Or heard?"

"Water in the bathroom going on all by itself, lights going on all by itself, clothes strewn all over the room, strange music…"

"Like from a warped music box?"

She shuddered… "Yeah…"

"Yep… that one happens a lot."

"How can you live here?"

He shrugged… "You get used to it. Nothing bad ever happens… it's always just… strange stuff."

"Aren't you scared when that stuff happens?"

"I was at first… somewhat… but, now… it doesn't bother me." He handed Caroline a piece of paper to sign…

Taking the paper and pen, she signed the form… "Do you think it's the ghost of the people you talked about earlier?"

"I honestly don't know."

"Ok Caroline… car is packed." Richard announced as he entered the small office... "Let's get going…"

The innkeeper waved a little wave… "Bye folks."

"Bye…" Caroline replied softly, Richard just waved in return.

--When they got to the car, Richard helld thhe door open for Caroline, helping her in before moving around to the driver's side of the car…

"Thanks Richard. I know you think I'm being silly…" she stated as he got in and shut the door…

"It's ok Caroline…"

"Will you be ok to drive?"

"If I get tired, I'll pull over and take a short nap." he informed as he put the key in the ignition… "I'll be fine." He turned the key to start up the car, but nothing happened. Absolutely nothing. The car didn't even try to start. It just sat dead. "Oh great! The car is dead!"

"What? How is that possible?"

"I have no idea… I didn't take shop in school. All I know is, the car won't start…"

"What now?" Caroline asked, dreading the answer.

"Well, there won't be anything we can do till morning…"

She started to panic… "I can't stay here Richard…"

"We don't have a choice. The car won't start!" He got out of the car and headed for the little office. A short time later, he returned with room keys in hand. He opened Caroline's door and held his hand out for her to take. "C'mon Caroline… it'll be alright…" he assured her.

Caroline took his hand and he helped her out of the car… "I'll call someone first thing in the morning…" he promised as they walked to their room.


-- Richard didn't even bother bringing in tthe bags. They both climbed into bed fully dressed with socks and shoes on, above the covers and with the lights on. Caroline snuggled into him, taking comfort in his confidence and lack of fear.

Wrapping his arms around her, he pulled her close, hoping it would help alleviate her fears. Slowly, not even exactly sure as to why, Caroline started to rub her hand up and down Richard's chest. Unconsciously, he moaned, aroused by her touch. His moan was like approval, and she bravely traveled lower, caressing his thigh.

Richard's response was immediate… softly running his hand up and down her side, lightly grazing her breast. She gasped and moaned at the sensation, feeling intoxicated by his touch. Staring into her eyes, Richard searched for a sign… an expression that she wanted him. She said nothing, but her eyes spoke for her. Without saying a word he kissed her passionately, caressing her lovingly.

With the touch of a man in love, he slowly slipped his hand beneath her shirt, the soft almost 'non-touch' of his fingertips causing her to shiver. When his hand reached her breast, he cupped the soft mound through her bra, sighing as he imagined what it would feel like to touch her without the obstacle of clothing.

Her head swimming, she grabbed at his shirt, her silent request that he remove it obvious. He whipped it off, reluctantly removing his hands from her body to do so. She took advantage of the break in contact to remove her shirt and bra, throwing it carelessly to the floor. Their hands roamed each other's trembling bodies, frantically but slowly… urgently… desire mounting.

She could feel his artistic fingers working the snap and zipper on her jeans, and she inhaled sharply, her eyes encouraging him to continue when he looked to her with concern. The jeans were tossed to the floor seconds before he made his way up her body, caressing her legs, brushing past the soft material of her panties as he leaned to kiss her navel.

She arched into his affection, her fingers raking through his sandy colored hair. When his kisses reached her breasts, she moaned his name… the first word spoken since their journey from friends to lovers began.

He moaned at the sound of his name on her lips… uttered in passion… his need to kiss those lips overwhelming. His lips found hers, creating a tenderly erotic kiss as his fingers inched into the waistband of her underwear, teasing very near where she wanted his hand the most.

Sensing her need he broke their loving kiss and pulled her panties down and off, exposing her completely to him. He kissed and licked his way from her toes to her neck, finding her every erogenous zone as if he'd made love to her a thousand times before.

She pushed at his pants, wanting them off, needing him to understand her request without the use of words… her voice gone. He knew what she wanted and complied… his pants and boxers joining the rest of their clothes atop the pile on the floor.

With a trembling hand she reached out to grasp him… stroke him… and he moaned deeply in response, his head spinning. He kissed her passionately as her hand continued to play with him, his body thrusting into her strokes of its own volition.

Not able to wait another moment, she removed her hand, grasping at his shoulders as she opened her legs wide for him. He needed no further cues, and he kneeled between her thighs, positioning himself before gathering her into his arms. He entered her slowly, the willpower needed to do that incredible.

They found a perfect, sensuous rhythm… their love apparent as they became one.


--Both were deep in thought, neither brrave enough to address what had just happened. Richard held her tight, part of him afraid it would be the last time he would be allowed to…

*She was scared…* he told himself… *It just happened. This doesn't mean she feels anything for you. She doesn't feel anything for you. It was just the stress of the situation. She could never love you. God, you are so stupid! This is going to affect your friendship! How could you let your heart take over like that? How could you let your urges and desires rule your actions?!* He harshly reprimanded his actions, tenderly caressing Caroline, not able to control his desire to do so… *God I love her...*

*What was I thinking?!* She scolded herself… *How could I do that? How could I seduce him like that?! How could I put him in that situation?! How could I risk our friendship?! Oh God, I'm in love with him. I'm in love with Richard! Now what am I supposed to do?*

She couldn't help but enjoy the soft caresses, his hands, warm and tender, wandering over her body. She sighed, catching his attention…

"Caroline…" he whispered, afraid to speak, but knowing he had to…

She braced herself for what was to come… "Yeah?"

"I want you to know…" he trailed off…


"I… I don't just do that… kind of thing. I mean, I-- It… it meant something to me. And I am just so sorry I took advantage of you…"

Confusion was written all over her face… "Took advantage of me?" she repeated his words in the form of a question… "I thought I was taking advantage of you!"

The confusion on his face mirrored hers… "What are you talking about?"

"I seduced you… cause… I have feelings for you Richard. God, I am so sorry… I tried to ignore them, but I guess the stress of the situation clouded my better judgment. I don't want to lose you as a friend over this. Please tell me this won't affect our friendship..."

"Caroline…" he hesitated a moment, his heart racing at what he was about to say… about to admit… "I have had feelings for you since the first day I met you. I love you Caroline. I thought I was taking advantage of you! I thought I overstepped my boundaries! I thought I was going to lose you over this…"

"You… you love me?"

"Yes. God yes." he admitted adamantly, then kissed her passionately as proof.


--Caroline completely forgot about the posssibility that the inn was haunted… she felt safe and warm and loved in Richard's arms. By morning, the place didn't seem quite so creepy, and she didn't feel the same anxiety about being there… but that didn't stop her from wanting to leave.

Richard went to the office to use the phone… the one in their room broken. When he came back a few minutes later, he had a look of confusion on his face…

Caroline immediately saw the odd expression… "What's wrong?"

"The innkeeper… he isn't answering the office door. I find that odd…"

"Maybe he's still sleeping."

"Yeah… maybe. But he seemed to be able to hear us ok last night… in the middle of the night…"

She scowled with concern… "What are you saying?"

"I don't know…" he shrugged, not wanting to upset her… "I'm gonna go see if I can find a payphone. You stay here." He advised, then kissed her quick before leaving.


--Richard went out in search of a payphhone,, and was lucky enough to find one near the road not too far from the inn. He scrounged together $0.25 and dialed 'O'…


"Hi… I'm staying at the inn down here off of route 34 and my car won't start… I'm gonna need a tow truck or a mechanic or something…"

"You're staying where?"

"At the little inn off route 34…"

"How is that possible?" the operator asked, sounding shocked.

"What do you mean? It was getting late and I was tired, so we decided to pull over and stay the night…"

"Are you sure you're on route 34?"

"Yeah… is there a problem?"

"Did you just… let yourselves into a room?"

"No. An elderly gentleman checked us in. I assumed he ran the place…"

"You're sure you're on route 34?!"

"Yes! I'm sure! Are you ok?"

"Yes, sir. I'm gonna send someone out there right now…"

"Ok. Thank you." Richard was confused by the conversation, and quickly made his way to Caroline, not quite trusting that she was safe alone.


--"Caroline?" he called out as he walkeed inn the door…

"In the bathroom… be right out…"

"Hurry up…" he called back, looking around the room as if something would shed light on the weird conversation he just had. When Caroline came out she noticed Richard's demeanor seemed off…

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing… we just need to go out and wait for someone to come fix the car…" Richard tried to keep his concerns to himself, knowing Caroline would overreact.


--They didn't have to wait for long, buut itt wasn't a tow truck or a mechanic that showed up… it was a cop…

"Hi there folks… what's going on?" the cop asked as he approached Richard and Caroline.

"Our car won't start…" Richard informed as Caroline started to wander off.

"I hear you were guests of the inn last night."

Richard nodded hesitantly… "That's right."

"And how did you enjoy your stay?"

"It was ok… I guess…"

"Just 'ok'?" the cop asked, prodding further…

"Yeah, well, weird stuff kept happening…"

"Weird stuff?"

"Yeah… like strange music… lights going on and off…"

"I see… and what about the innkeeper?"

"What about him?"

"Tell me about him."

Richard shrugged… "He seemed nice…" He wasn't quite sure why the cop was asking such questions.

"Well, see… here's the thing…" the cop started… "The old man that used to run this inn died ten years ago. So, now I'm wondering… who checked you into your room last night?"

"What? That's impossible!"

"Hmmm…" the cop squinted at him… "Let's check the car, shall we?"

Richard walked with the cop to the driver's side of the car and handed him the keys. When the cop turned the key after getting in, the car started right up, shocking Richard.

"Ok… this is just getting weird…" Richard muttered, looking over at Caroline to be sure she was ok. She was still off walking around… unaware of what was going on.

"Indeed…" the cop agreed… "Let's go have a look at the room you stayed in…"

"Ok…" Richard nodded, leading the cop to the room.

They walked inside, and what Richard saw caused him to freeze, in utter shock as he looked around. The room was completely empty. No bed… no lights, no furniture… nothing. The cop looked at him, as if awaiting an explanation…

"You stayed here?" the cop asked skeptically, finally breaking the silence…

"Well… yeah… I thought so…" Richard stuttered in confusion…

"Well, where did you sleep?"

"Ummm…" Richard knew there was nothing he could say that would explain any of his story… "Ya'know… it was late when we pulled in… I guess it's possible that it was all just a dream…"

"And your wife?"


The cop clarified his question… "Did your wife have the same dream?"

Richard just shrugged in response… he didn't know what to say.

--When Richard and the cop walked back outsside, they Caroline leaning on the car and looking bored, but stood up straight as they approached. Richard walked up to her and hugged her…

"We stayed in the car last night…" he whispered in her ear… "Trust me."

Caroline pulled back and looked at him, confused. His eyes told Caroline to go along with what he was saying…

"Excuse me ma'am… but I need to know… cause your husband doesn't seem to be able to remember… where did you spend the night last night?"

"Well, he was real sleepy, so we pulled over and stayed in the car for the night…" Caroline lied.

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah… why?"

"Just making sure… and why did the car not start before… but it started just fine for me?"

"Wow… I don't know… it's a rental car… maybe something is wrong with it. We should get that checked honey…" she suggested to Richard, smiling as he nodded in response…

"Ok… well, it looks like everything is fine now… so I guess I'll be on my way. I'm assuming you'll be doing the same…"

"Yes officer…" Richard and Caroline said in unison.

The cop got into his squad car and drove away, leaving a confused Richard and Caroline staring at one another.

"I didn't imagine last night… did I?" Richard asked, starting to doubt his own reality.

"No… you didn't." she assured him… "Still say there's no such thing as ghosts?"

"You know what… I don't know anything right now… except… I love you. Whatever happened last night… it brought us together… and that's all I care to focus on right now." He wrapped his arms around her… kissing her…

"Do I want to know what you saw in that room?" she asked with surprising calm…

"No." he stated simply. They got into the car and started to drive away… and as they pulled out of the driveway, the 'vacancy sign' light flashed 'no vacancy', then went black.

"Richard? Did you see--"

"No." he replied, cutting her off, driving away a little faster then he should have.

They never forgot that night at the haunted inn, and how that night brought them together…




Thanks for reading!