A Room With A Cloud

The back streets of Rome were lumpy and bumpy. The cobbled roads erratic as a choppy sea. My husband swore loudly as one of the nasty cobbles twisted the wheel off our obese suitcase.

“Are you sure you have the right address?” He quizzed me as he manually carried the bulging case.

“It’s somewhere along this street.” I whimpered. “Can we just walk back it one more time and I’m sure we’ll find it.”

“This little 2* hotel does not want us to find it. No wonder you got it so cheap, it doesn’t exist. “He said grinning.

So we trudged the same street again and again.

It was a long narrow dark street, close to the Spanish steps. The location was great if we could find the bloody hotel.

What followed, however, often made me wonder if the little obscure hotel was trying to hide from us and spare us what was to follow.

We did find it eventually. Sandwiched tightly between two ancient buildings, it’s identification hiding behind a creeping ivy.

The lobby was no bigger than a cupboard and the male receptionist reminded me of Norman Bates in “Psycho”.

He spoke very little English and we spoke about two words of Italian between us. We got our key, a real iron one, and made are way up a complaining stairs to our room.

There was an immediate chill on entering. I made a beeline for the only window and drew back the heavy curtain with a flourish only to discover I was looking out at a brick wall.

“Ah well we’re only here for three nights, so let’s make the most of it. Come on, we’ll treat ourselves to a bottle of vino somewhere!” The husband said using one of our two known Italian words!

We quickly unpacked. I set out all my jars, perfume, etc. on the decaying dressing table. A scary picture hung over our bed which featured some sort of hysterical biblical scene and the bathroom creaked, groaned and dripped.

“Think I’m going to need a drink alright to help me sleep in this place.” I laughed.

We had a lovely evening. Visiting some of the nearby sights, eating in a cosy Trattoria and drinking a little too much wine. We got back to our hotel nearing midnight and I gave Norman Bates a silly grin. He seemed to snarl back.

The drink aided the sleep initially. About 3.00a.m. I woke up to pipes rattling really loudly. I shook my husband.

“Do you hear that.” I whispered.

“Yeah, it’s pipes rattling.” He said.

Then it appeared at the end of the bed. It was like a small cloud, and it just hovered there. Neither of us moved. After a few seconds it disappeared at the same time as the pipes stopped rattling. This little scene replayed itself at the same time for the three nights we stayed there.

Norman Bates couldn’t understand us, or let on he couldn’t when we told him the next morning.

The first day we came back to our room I could smell my perfume. We assumed one of the cleaners might have sampled it but then it happened the next day and they hadn’t yet been to our room.

“A little ghost that has expensive taste in perfume.” My husband grinned.

“Between, rattling pipes, clouds over the bed and a perfume spraying ghost, what else can happen.” I shivered.

I did not have to wait long to find out.

The second evening I was in the dilapidated bathroom getting ready to go out, husband was lying on the bed reading, when suddenly I heard a loud crash.

I ran into the bedroom to find all my little bottles, jars and perfumes, which I had place meticulously on the dressing table , scattered over the floor.

“You wouldn’t believe it.” The husband said. “I felt that chill in the room again and suddenly everything on top of that dressing table took flight and crashed landed on the floor.”

“I want to go home. I want to get out of here.” I wailed.

“Ah listen we’ve only one more night. Leave it all on the floor and maybe it will tidy up after itself when we are out.” He laughed.

It didn’t tidy up after itself. We endured one more night of the usual pipe and cloud routine.

We checked out at dawn.

B Kearney

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