The Budget Hotel is a scary story about 2 young men who spend the night in a disused hotel room. It is based on a Japanese ghost story.
Eight years ago, I worked for a securities company in Japan. It was a small company and it was a busy time of year. A few of us had to attend a business conference in a neighboring city and it was my job to book some hotel rooms where we could stay the night.
More than a month before the conference, I went online and booked 4 single rooms in a budget hotel. The group consisted of myself, my colleague Shinichi, our manager and the owner of the company.
The day before the conference was to take place, I called the hotel to confirm the reservation, but I got an unpleasant surprise. When they checked the reservations, the hotel staff realized they had made a big mistake and double-booked the rooms. They had only reserved 2 single rooms for us.
I was furious and complained angrily but the staff told me they had no other rooms available. I demanded t speak to the manager and eventually, he told me there was a twin room he could give us for the same price as a single. I wasn’t very happy about that, but it was better than nothing.
The next day, we attended the conference and when we arrived at the hotel, it was a little after 1 AM. We collected our keys at the front desk and since we were very tired, the four of us went straight to our rooms.
Of course, the owner of the company and the manager got the single rooms, so Shinichi and I were forced to share the twin room.
Our room was located on the top floor at the rear of the hotel. When I opened the door and stepped into the room, I had a strange, eerie feeling. I can’t quite explain it, but somehow the room had a very unpleasant feel. It was decorated in the Japanese style, but it was unusually dirty.
Still, I was tired, so I went into the room and dropped my suitcase on the floor. I could see my colleague Shinichi wasn’t happy and I tried to reassure him that it probably wasn’t as bad as it looked.
There were two futons on the floor and they looked quite new, but everything else was filthy and covered in dust. The curtains were torn and ragged, the wallpaper was peeling off the walls and there were patches of damp and mold everywhere. It was really disgusting and the room looked like it hadn’t been used in years.
There were two Shoji screens (6ft-tall Japanese fold-out screens for dressing) so we went behind them and got changed out of our clothes. I happened to look down at the floor and saw a dark red stain on the carpet, as if somebody had spilled something there and nobody had bothered to clean it up.
I decided to complain to the hotel manager about it the next day. At that moment, all I wanted to do was take a quick bath and go to sleep. However, when I went into the bathroom, there was a terrible stench that made me cover my nose. It was dank and musty and the bathtub was covered in brown stains.
The two of us gave up on the idea of taking a bath, so we just lay down on the futons and tried to get some sleep. My futon was facing towards the bathroom and Shinichi’s futon was facing towards the window.
In the middle of the night, I suddenly woke up. I blinked my eyes and looked around. In the dim light, I noticed that the bathroom door was open. It had been closed before to keep in the smell, but now it was open. When I glanced down, I saw that something on the floor was moving.
It was so dark, I couldn’t make out what it was. There were two small dark shapes scratching at the carpet.
“What now?” I groaned. “Rats?”
Gradually, my eyes adjusted to the darkness. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
It was the head of a woman with long, stingy black hair.
What I had thought to be rats were the woman’s hands.
She was on all fours, her gnarled hands clutching and scratching at the carpet as she slowly crawled out from the bathroom, little by little.
I couldn’t see her face because her hair was hanging down, covering it….
I can’t understand what happened. It was as if I was paralyzed. I couldn’t move. I just lay there, staring in horror at the woman as she slowly crawled towards me… inch by inch… getting closer and closer…
Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I let out a strangled scream and scrambled out of bed. I turned on the lights and the woman disappeared.
I was shaking and sweat was pouring down my forehead.
“Shinichi,” I whispered. “Did you see her… the woman… she was crawling across the floor…”
I reached out to shake Shinichi, but he was already awake. He turned over and I could see his eyes were wide with fear.
“I saw her too,” he said in a trembling voice. “For the past half an hour, she’s been peering in through the window… watching me…”
The two of us scrambled to our feet, grabbed our bags and ran out of the room. We spent the night in our manager’s room and told him what we had seen.
The next morning, we went to the front desk to complain. I told the manager we would never stay in his hotel again and we would warn everyone we knew to avoid it also.
Whenever I think about that ghostly woman and how close she came to us, it gives me the creeps.