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A man walked into a hotel late one night and asked for a room. The hotel manager told him the hotel was all booked up.
“We’ve only got one room left,” he said. “It’s on the 13th floor, but we don’t rent that one because it’s haunted.”
I’ll take it,” said the businessman. “I don’t believe in all that nonsense about ghosts.”
The man took the key and went up to the room to get some sleep. As soon as he turned off the lights and got into bed, he heard the closet door squeak open. A pale, ghostly figure emerged from the closet and staggered forth, its fingering dripping with blood.
“Bloody fingers! Bloody fingers!”, it moaned.
When the man laid eyes on this horrible sight, he grabbed his suitcase and ran out of the room, still wearing his pajamas. left the hotel that very night.
The next night an old woman arrived at the hotel very late at night. The manager told her the same thing.
“We’ve only got one room left, but it’s on the 13th floor and we don’t rent it because the room is haunted.”
“Sonny, I’ve seen a lot in my day,” she told him. “Trust me, nothing could possibly bother me.”
As soon as she switched off the lights and got into bed, the closet door creaked open and a ghastly figure stepped out. Its fingers were still dripping blood all over the floor.
“Bloody fingers! Bloody fingers!”, it moaned.
The old woman shrieked and ran as fast as her legs could carry her.
A week later a teenage boy arrived at the hotel very late. He also took the haunted room despite the manager’s warning. He paid for his room, got the key and headed upstairs. After he had unpacked, he took out his guitar and began to strum some tunes.
Soon, the closet door creaked open and the ghost appeared. As before, its fingers were bleeding, soaking the carpet with blood and it was moaning, “Bloody fingers! Bloody fingers!”
The boy didn’t pay any attention to the ghostly figure. He just kept strumming his guitar.
The ghost kept moaning, and its fingers kept bleeding. “Bloody fingers! Bloody fingers!”, it moaned.
Finally, the boy stopped playing the guitar. He looked straight at the hideous apparition and said, “Shut up and get yourself a Band-Aid.”
Patchett knows how to write a family drama. She takes a seemingly average plot - the story of a grand estate and the impact it had on its owner's lives and spins it into a deeply intriguing story with a cast of characters worth rooting for. Characters Danny Conroy and his sister, Maeve, grow up in the architectural masterpiece that is the Dutch House, a 1920s mansion in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. Its grand windows offer any passerby a look inside. After the death of their mother, Danny and Maeve are abandoned by their father's new wife, Andrea. Left penniless, the siblings grow prosperous on their own, occasionally driving by their childhood home to stare and wonder what could have been. The story details how this beautiful house changes the family dynamics over time. It both creates and kills dreams. I truly enjoyed this read, it is the perfect fit for this upcoming colder autumn days. -Claire Zito, Bookseller
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