Can Ghosts Snore?

I was only going to be in town one night, so I got a cheap motel room. But the place looked fine. I’ve stayed in scummier places. In the morning I checked in and dropped off the car. Spent the day in meetings and stayed at the bar with the team a little later than was probably smart. I had no chance to notice anything strange until I got back and tried to sleep.

There was a noise. Someone was snoring.

It sounded like it was coming from the next room over. Thin walls are a hazard of cheap motels, I know that. Part of me thought “It’s just snoring. Could be worse.” I might have counted it as a win, except something occurred to me: my room was at the end of the motel. There was nothing on the other side of that wall.

My mistake was that I got curious. I put my ear up to the wall and heard, as clear as anything, a snore coming through. I had to investigate.

I pulled on slippers and opened the door. The streets were dark. Small town, not a lot of traffic this late. The flickering red of the Vacancy sign was the light dominant. Only two cars in the lot. Mine and one down the far end.

I stepped outside, walked past my car and around the corner of the building. Nothing there but more parking lot. Empty spaces. I went around back and a motion sensor clicked on a harsh white light. All it revealed was a little strip of dead grass against the building, plus some garbage bins down the other side of the place.

And all over, not a sound.

But once I was back inside, I heard it again. It still seemed to come through the wall next to the bed. The wall I’d just looked at from the other side. I was frustrated, but then noticed the air vent. It was on the wrong wall, but it could be funnelling sound in from another room and the acoustics bounce it around to trick me, right? Here was another chance to explain it away and stop thinking about it. But I couldn’t help myself. I pushed a chair to the wall, stood on it, and put my ear to the vent. Silence. And I still clearly heard the snoring through the other wall behind me.

I was at a loss. And I was more awake now than when I’d gotten back from the bar. I needed to be up and driving in just a few hours. I had to let this damned mystery go and get some sleep.

I made an earnest effort. I lay in the dark for probably an hour. The snoring continued. I sandwiched my head between pillows. The snoring continued. I tossed and turned and tried not to think about it, but the snoring continued.

I banged on the wall and shouted “Shut up!”

The snoring stopped.

Then it wasn’t snoring anymore. It was a raspy, pained, unsteady breathing. And it wasn’t coming through the wall. It was in my room.

Minutes later I was driving away. I have no idea what I woke up in there. I couldn’t see anything. I can only hope it goes back to sleep before someone else rents that room.

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