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Historical Romance Author

The Last Thing You Want to See in Your Hotel Room

The Last Thing You Want to See in Your Hotel Room

Last month my husband Coy and I went to Belize to work with a ministry that a friend had started there. We’d never been to Belize before, but we’ve done our share of traveling and thought we’d seen everything. We were wrong.

After a long day of flights and getting our bearings in the town, we were pleased to see how nice and clean our hotel was. It was beautiful with French doors to a balcony and many windows, but a quick inspection showed that the balcony was one continuous platform with only a very low wall separating it from the other four rooms on that side of the hotel. Not only that, the lock on the French doors popped open when wiggled and the window in the bathroom (which also opened out to the balcony) didn’t have a lock. Alrighty, then. First, we placed the only chair in the room in front of the French doors and then we propped one of Coy’s shoes on the windowsill to jam the window closed. We’re not usually that cautious, but it was our first night in a foreign country and the front office was closed for the night with no one on call. Might as well be careful.

I was sleeping hard, I know that much. With the air conditioner and fan going, outside noises were muted into a soothing drone…that was until I heard screaming. Someone was screaming bloody murder. I sat up in bed and that’s when I realized that the person screaming was me.

Why was I screaming? Then I saw him. There was a man standing in the dark at the foot of our bed.

Now, let’s analyze this –

Waking up to find a stranger in your dark room has to be on the top of every “scenario-you-don’t-want-to-face” list. In my part of the world, when this happens, it’s either the Grim Reaper or someone is fixing to meet the Grim Reaper. To be honest, I didn’t even know where I was, but I knew I was facing pure evil and somehow I was going to defeat it by shrieking at the top of my lungs.

Immediately, I heard a roaring next to me. Coy bellowed like Braveheart and threw a pillow at the figure while he simultaneously rolled out of bed and charged. The intruder turned and dashed into the hall. Coy disappeared around the corner and I started hearing a very apologetic voice fading as it ran away, “Sorry. Wrong room. Wrong room.”

I can only imagine what people in the neighboring rooms thought hearing this ruckus. Had there been room phones, I’m sure they would’ve lit up the front desk. Coy came back to the room twitching with adrenaline-fueled jet lag and locked the door behind him. (Did I mention there was no latch on the inside of the door?) Then we just looked at each other.

Wrong room? How did his key work? Were all the keys the same? Who else was coming through the door? We put the one chair in front of the hallway door and moved a nightstand in front of the French door. Then we piled suitcases up on both pieces of furniture so we’d have a little more warning before someone could make it to the bed.

Needless to say, every noise that night had me jumping up to see if the door was opening, because we still didn’t know how that had happened. It wasn’t until the next morning that we got a reasonable explanation from the hotel staff. The men (there were two, one didn’t make it into the room before we unloaded on them) were the nephews of the owner. They’d been staying in our room, but when our reservation came up the staff moved their things to another room and had forgotten to tell them and take their keys away.

It was as good of an explanation as any. The staff was appropriately horrified and the hapless nephews claimed to have been as scared as I was. All in all, we were able to rest well for the rest of the trip. Hopefully the only consequences to our scary night was the sore throat I got from yelling. As long as no one uploads the film from the hallway security camera, all will be forgiven.


  1. Holy Moly! I would’ve been checking out of that hotel asap.

    • But just think of the potential for future drama if you stayed…

  2. Wow. Please tell me they at least refunded that terrifying night!

    • We didn’t even ask. We were just so relieved that it really was an honest mistake.

  3. Oh my, I’m glad everything turned out okay. You might want to put that scene in your next book. You had me on the edge of my seat! Blessings, Jill

  4. You poor terrified creature! That sounds like a good plot point for a story, not real life! I would never be able to go back to sleep…mostly because I wet the sheets, but still. I just want to give you a hug.

    • Hahaha! I’ve always wondered if I saw someone in a situation like that, if I’d be able to scream or if I’d just clam-up. Now I know. I screamed before I even knew why I was screaming.

  5. Oh, My Goodness!
    That sounds terrifying. I know it was an honest mistake but my goodness, that should never happen, ever!

  6. I have seen Coy in karate class and I wouldn’t want to be on the end of one of his kicks! I think the guy got of lucky as to what could have happened. Glad you had a good time………………..

  7. So sorry you had that experience!! Scary!! I loved Belize!! I’ve forgotten the hotel where we stayed but it was clean, nothing fancy. Wonderful staff. I loved attending Sunday service at the original Anglican Church – such sweet people, very warm and welcoming. Loved all the ladies in their summer dresses and hats, very British. As much as I loved seeing the historic and archeological sites, I enjoyed so much visiting with the people! It’s on my “Return to” list.

    • We had a great time there, too. Since sharing this, I’ve had a lot of people tell me stories of opening the door to hotel rooms and seeing someone in there. Evidently, it happens everywhere.

  8. When I was a young girl, we went on a trip to Chicago. The bellhop was escorting is to our room, and when he unlocked the door a man answered and said “It’s going to be crowded with all of us in here!” We were the third family that had been booked into that room! The staff was so apologetic. They put us in a luxury suite with free breakfast! (Can you imagine…there was even a tv in the bathroom!) Best mistake ever! 🙂

    • I’m glad it wasn’t in the middle of the night! And good for you getting a nice upgrade. All we got was a few more gray hairs and a good story. Then again, you know how I like a good story.

  9. Ah, the makings of a great book say I. Oh dear. Glad it was all a mistake and love how gracefully (in the end, once the screaming was over) you handled it. Enjoyed this story most because I can totally picture us in same scenario doing same — me screaming, him roaring and going after. Thank you for sharing!

    My brother tells the story once of a young adult man, a stranger, who fell asleep just inside his home because he thought he was home. It was late. He had been drinking. And the sleepover group of teens had left the front door unlocked all through the night. It ended up being a harmless mistake but for a few strange moments come early morning a tad stressful.

    Thank you for writing. We enjoy reading what you write. God bless!

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