The Door That Shouldn’t Open

One New Year’s holiday, myself, my boyfriend, his friends and my friends went to a hot spring in Chiba; eight of us in total. There was a lake nearby where people could go fishing, and the scenery was beautiful, so we wanted to see the year out in style! …Which is to say, my boyfriend enjoyed fishing, so he was the one who chose the place.

First thing after booking the hot spring hotel, everyone wanted to gather outside at the lake to take a group photo. But as we actually made our way there, the road to the hotel seemed more like a small animal path than a real road. The further we drove, the less buildings we saw along the way. Finally, we could barely see any houses anymore either.

“There’s nothing out here but mountains…”

It was so depopulated that I grew worried. But, the hotel’s selling point was Mother Nature, so what else could I expect? I thought. Plus it was located in the mountains, so of course it would look like this. I felt nothing as we drove.

The hotel itself was beautiful, but also gloomy. Looking at it made me feel nervous. My boyfriend was a so-called “spiritual expert,” and when he looked at it he said with a straight face, “This place is scary…” So, that might not have helped either.

He wasn’t the type of guy to destroy the mood deliberately after coming all this way. So, if he truly thought something was scary, well, I grew nervous. But, this was our vacation, so it would be our loss if we didn’t try to have fun. We agreed to go to the baths and laze around until 11 p.m. when we would meet up again. It was our first time alone since we got there, so my boyfriend and I schemed to to leave at the same time and spend some time together.

The baths were right at the end of the hotel. We walked to the end of the hall and the men’s baths and women’s baths were next to each other. We agreed to meet at the chairs out front, and whoever got out first would wait there.

We went in and splashed around for a while, and when I went outside, my boyfriend was already waiting by the chairs. I called out his name and he leaned back, nearly falling off the chair. I was so surprised that I suddenly grabbed his collar. He was just as surprised and stood up. We looked at the wall behind him and suddenly we understood. There was a door there. We thought it was just a wall, but there was a round doorknob sticking out of it, and when he leant against it, it opened.

We went to close it, but when the door opened his phone fell inside. He had to get it.

The end of the hotel held the hot springs. The end of the hall was the end of the hotel. It should have been a dead end, and yet, another hall continued inside.

There were no lights. Not only that, but the window glass inside was broken as well. It looked rather suspicious. My boyfriend silently walked down the hall and I followed behind him.

“This isn’t good,” he said after we walked a short distance and grabbed my hand, running back towards the door. By the time we got back, both of us were covered in sweat.

As we walked down the hall, I saw broken walls, a broken toilet, and smashed glass. I could also hear something that sounded like metal being crushed. When my boyfriend got scared and dragged us back, we had been standing at the top of some stairs.

The only light we had was from the moon and my phone, but it looked just like an abandoned building. Plus there were stairs that went down. We were already on the first floor.

Why did they go down…?

We didn’t see anything inside, so we both agreed to say nothing about it. It felt like we couldn’t say anything about it. But we decided to ask the hotel staff about it the next day, and tried to shift our moods back to the impending New Year celebrations.

The next day, my boyfriend and I went to see the master of the hotel and talk to him. We told him about the door opening and what we saw inside.

“That door doesn’t open,” he said with a smile. “It’s locked.” He went with us to check, and just like he said, it really was locked. But we had seen what we’d seen. He said that it was the old hotel that was now closed, but there were no stairs at the end of the hall. He took out his keys and opened the door to show us. He opened it outward, towards us. The day before, it opened inward. Meaning, someone on the inside must have opened it. Odd…

And there were no stairs at the end.

“This is the first floor,” the master said. “There’s no basement, and this section used to be a hotel as well, so I remember it well.”

But the two of us really had seen stairs. Now, however, they were nowhere to be seen. I was so scared that I couldn’t say anything.

Why did the door open from the inside? Even though it was still locked…? And what on earth were those stairs?

Even now, several years later, my boyfriend and I still talk about what that place might have been.

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