Author’s note: Be sure to check out my related zombie article here.
Like all ghost stories, this one begins with a curse. But not just any ordinary curse. This one involves nasal congestion, insomnia, and the love of Jane Austen-like mini series. Oh . . . and a dead body.
Sleep had eluded me for many weeks. When I wasn’t awake at wee hours of the morning glued to the TV set in poorly acted Austen-era dramas, I was propped up on my memory foam pillow, struggling for air like some Darth Vader drag queen. Allergies had hit me hard in this Houston suburb and invited hideous guests to the party, turning my head into a swimming mess of sinus infections and enough postnasal drip to sink the Titanic.
To celebrate the Memorial Day weekend my husband whisked me away to San Antonio where we were given a free upgrade to a suite on the 19th floor, complete with flushing toilets and a huge balcony overlooking the Riverwalk.
As we settled down to sleep I warned my husband that I was cursed.
“What?” he asked.
“It’s true! Every night for the past few weeks something has woken me up. I have not been able to get a single night’s rest.”
“Oh, don’t worry honey,” came the proverbial pat on the head. “We have blackout curtains and I’ve put out the Do Not Disturb Sign on the door. Tonight we’re going to sleep like babies!”“Ohhhkay . . .” I was dubious. But I decided to trust my husband and fell immediately into a peaceful slumber.
That was until the wee hours of the blessed a.m. (That’s the magic hour when the ringer on the telephone is the most shrill.)
“Uh, Mr. Siddoway . . . is everything okay?”
“What?” My husband is incredulous. “Of course. Yes.”
“Not other than the phone ringing at 2:30 in the morning.”
“Okay, sir. Just wanted to check on you.”
Zealous front desk clerk maybe?
No more than 10 minutes later there is a flashlight shining through the glass doors on our balcony. You know the one. On the NINETEENTH floor.
This time its my husband calling the front desk.
“Ummmm . . . yeah, now there’s a disturbance. On our balcony.”
“Oh, not to worry Mr. Siddoway. That’s just the police.”
Oh. Okay. Normal, everyday occurance at the Marriott.
“Sweetie,” my husband croaks to me. “There’s a helicopter outside our balcony.”
You know, even after that I still was NOT going to get out of bed.
Then comes the loud, urgent knocking on our door. By now its 3 a.m. and we are letting in two policeman and a detective.
“What are your names? Is there anyone else in the room? Any disturbances on the balcony?”
FINALLY my husband asks the question . . . “What is going on??!!”
I am now out of the bed.
“Well, sir. There is a dead body in the hotel and we’d like to know where it came from.”
Even in my half comatose state I still wanted to turn to my husband and in a smart aleck tone say, “Ohhhh! So THAT’S where it is. You know, we have been looking for that thing ALL night.” So, yeah. It was a bit of the attitude that it somehow this corpse belonged to us.
“Dead body?” my husband said. “What was it? A jumper?”
The detective was hesitant to give out too many details say but one of the policemen standing behind him was silently but firmly nodding his head up and down.
Well it became apparent that we were not the owners—or producers–of a lifeless, unclaimed body.
As soon as he saw the police to the door and had closed it behind them my husband turned to me and simply said,
“You ARE cursed.”
I just shrugged my shoulders. “Like I told you. I never get a good night’s rest.”