Room 404: Not Found

πŸ“… Published on April 24, 2020

β€œRoom 404: Not Found”

Written by Richard Saxon
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by David Nagel

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: Chilling Tales for Dark Nights – YouTube (feat. David Nagel)


Rating: 8.50/10. From 10 votes.
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Very soon, I’ll be dead. Stuck inside Hotel Non Dormiunt, a place that is essentially a prison decorated with flowery wallpaper. I’ve prayed and begged that anyone find me before my time ends, but if you’re reading this, it’s already too late…

* * * * * *

β€œWelcome to Hotel Non Dormiunt, how may I help you?” the pale receptionist said in a monotonous tone. He was a frail mn that looked tired beyond belief, as if he’d been working nonstop for the past year without as much as a lunch break.

β€œI’d like to check into room 404, please,” I said as I put my booking reference down on the desk.

While the lobby itself looked reasonable, the scarcity of people felt odd. I had my own reasons for staying at that particular hotel, but even then I considered just turning around and leaving.

β€œSorry, sir, I can’t find room 404,” he said, barely fazed by the mismatch.

I took a deep breath, as the anxiety arose in my body. Obsessive compulsive disorder is a bitch, and for whatever reason, one of my obsessions was the number 404. Anytime I had stayed away from home, it had to be that number, or I wouldn’t be able to rest, eat or focus on business. It was one of the few things therapy hadn’t been able to help me with.

β€œI can assure you, I booked room number 404. The reference even states exactly that,” I said, trying to maintain a friendly tone of voice.

He sighed. β€œYeah, I know, it’s probably up there somewhere. How about you check it out? Maybe the key is stuck in the door.”

It certainly wasn’t the ideal work scenario I’d imagined, but it was one I could deal with. Without further ado, I headed for the stairs, adamant not to get into an elevator, even if it meant me being out of breath.

I counted each step as I climbed up the poorly maintained staircase, unwilling to let anything break my concentration. It wasn’t a habit I could justify to anyone else, but it was something I had to do, a compulsion.

β€œ1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. 5.. 6..”

Twenty steps per floor, that’s the number I settled on for each and every floor, except for the third one. It was an annoying, even disturbing discrepancy, but at least it didn’t involve my floor.

Once I got to the fourth floor, I noticed the numbers not following the expected numerical order. The hallway, lined with colorful wallpaper and small chandeliers, only had six rooms: 403… 404… 409… 420… 444… 473…

Each door had its own color. Mine was a bright red one that starkly contrasted with its surroundings, decorated with a framed sign in the middle.

Just a few rules:

1: No smoking.
2: Keep quiet after 10 PM.
3: Do not disturb your neighbors under any circumstances.

The rules shouldn’t be too hard to adhere to, and as the receptionist suggested, the key was already placed in the lock. Muffled sounds could be heard from the neighboring room, number 409. Based on the familiar grunts, moans, and heavy breathing, the person inside was either getting lucky, or murdered. There really weren’t many things in between. Whatever the case, I decided to ignore the sounds, hoping they’d just keep quiet at night.

The room itself wasn’t anything too impressive. Pretty much just a bed, a bathroom, and severely limited closet space. At the very least, it had a decent view of the city, and looked clean.

During the first night, I had trouble sleeping. The neighbors were quiet, but new places always wore on my mental stability. Just the act of double, triple and quadruple checking that each door and window had been locked.

I got up early the next day. Tired, but ready for the business meeting that had brought me back to town in the first place. I showered, shaved, and put on the same shirt and tie that I used for every important meeting. Not because they brought luck, it was just another symptom of my disease manifesting.

On the way down the stairs, I counted the steps just as I had before.

15… 16… 17… 18… 19…

Nineteen steps… I ran back up and restarted the process, but sure enough, one had inexplicably gone missing. After minutes of contemplation, doubt that I’d incorrectly counted the steps the day before, I forced myself to proceed, feeling like something within the hotel had gone horribly wrong.

That thought would linger in the back of my mind until I saw my old friend, and current business partner standing on the street corner. He was always exceptionally enthusiastic about us working together, despite my OCD, he never once doubted me. Not since my condition literally saved his life, as I kept insisting that he drove wearing a seat belt. Truthfully, it hadn’t been for safety reasons, but because I needed ‘symmetry,’ in the car.

Only a few days after I managed to convince him about the fact, he’d been a serious car crash. They said he wouldn’t have survived without it.

β€œHey, Derek!” he called from the distance.

I lifted my hand to wave back at him, and noticed something off about my fingers… One of them, my little finger, had vanished.

I retracted my arm, shaking it as if it could get rid of the horrific sight I’d seen moments ago. Sure enough, on my right hand, I only had four fingers.

β€œWhat’s wrong?” Jake said as he got close enough to notice my horrified expression.

β€œMy – my hand,” I said with a terrified voice, as I showed him the stump that had replaced one of my fingers.

Instead of the expected sympathy, he just chuckled.

β€œVery funny. Do you want to get a bite before the meeting? I know about a fantastic fast food truck just around the corner.

He had brushed off my sudden mutilation as if it were nothing, which further sent me down a spiral of panic.

β€œI have a missing finger, how can you laugh at that?”

His face turned serious for a moment. β€œCome on, Derek, you always had four fingers on that hand. You were just born that way.”

β€œNo – no – no I wasn’t, it – it was fine just moments ago,” I stuttered.

He looked at me as if I’d lost my mind. β€œAre you pulling a prank on me or something?”

Without discussing it any further, I just turned around and walked away. I was on the verge of a mental breakdown, and I couldn’t stay around. Jake followed me for a bit, but he refused to believe I ever had five fingers on my right hand.

β€œJust calm down Derek, let’s just talk about this!” he kept insisting, before suddenly falling silent.

I turned around to argue my side once more, but he had vanished from sight. As if he’d been erased off the face of the planet.

I called out for him a few times, but only got concerned looks from people passing by. Once I’d calmed down enough to think semi-straight, I decided to call him.

β€œWe’re sorry. You have reached a number that is disconnected, or that is no longer in service,” a monotonous voice said in return.

Confused, and horrified by the events that had just unfolded, I headed back to the hotel. Ready to pack my bags and travel home. On the way I called the police, gave them all the information about him that I knew, and said he had gone missing, better safe than sorry, but my missing body part felt more important.

There were no people manning the reception. Which meant no one to help me check out, but I didn’t care. All I needed, was to get my stuff, and leave.

As I entered the hallway on the fourth floor, I slipped on something wet, embedded into the carpet. A red crimson liquid that extended out from room 409, leading in thick streaks, directly into my own room. It was blood, still warm.

Without hesitation, I pulled out my phone to call the police. To my surprise, despite having used the phone avidly, just the day before, there was no signal. I wasn’t about to risk my life by entering my room without support, so I decided to go back down to the reception, and ask them to call an ambulance and the police.

I turned around, and froze in my step, as I realized the staircase I’d climbed, had vanished from existence. What was left behind was solid floor. Same with the elevator, it had just disappeared, alongside every door, and window on the floor, save for my own. I had effectively been stranded on the fourth floor, with no means of escape.

Then, I heard a faint call coming from my room. A weak voice crying out. β€œPlease, help me!”

With no other options, I slowly made my way inside the room. The air smelled of iron, and the floor was soaked. A streak of blood reaching from the entrance, to the bathroom, as if someone had crawled in there while bleeding out.

I grabbed the nearest object I could use as a weapon, should the attacker be in there alongside the victim. Then, I quietly inched my way towards the bathroom, holding onto a coat rack to defend myself. There, on the floor inside, lay a man with multiple stab wounds in his chest, shallow breathing and barely conscious.

β€œH – help me,” he said weakly.

I rushed to his aid, and put the towels towards the wounds, applying pressure. It hardly seemed to help.

β€œDon’t worry, I’m going to call for help!” I said.

β€œIt won’t – it won’t work. I tried to get out of here, but it’s – it’s impossible.”

Ignoring him, I pulled out my phone, intending to call an ambulance. In the midst of the panic, I’d temporarily forgotten that no signal could reach the fourth floor.

β€œShit,” I mumbled as I thought about my next step. β€œWho did this to you?”

Before he got a chance to respond, his body fell limp on the floor as he lost consciousness. I did my best to help, using the little knowledge about first aid that I possessed, but within a minute, he just died.

I rushed back out to the hallway, desperately looking for a way out. A fire escape, a door, a window, anything that would lead to the outside world. I even contemplated jumping out my own window, wondering if I could survive the fall, but that idea was quickly shut down as I realized even my own room was rid of any window.

I collapsed to the floor in despair. A million thoughts ran through my head, none of them a viable chance at escaping this nightmare. Every time I blinked, something else vanished from my room. The bed, the closet, even the carpet just disappeared. I could do nothing but watch, all the while thinking how long it would take for people to notice my absence from the world.

Before giving up completely, I took whatever solid object I could find, and started smashing the wall. It was an effort that inevitably ended in injuring my shoulder, the wall was simply too thick, and even if I could get through, there was no guarantee that anything better existed on the other side.

By the time I’d tired myself out, all I had left was a few books and a newspaper. Everything else, including my own luggage, had vanished. Without food, or water, it would only be a matter of days before I finally succumbed. These thoughts ran through my tired mind until I finally fell asleep, a rest that was more of an exhausted absence from consciousness than true sleep.

I awoke in the dark, as the light had long since been erased alongside everything else. In my pocket, I still had a lighter, which barely aided in illuminating my surroundings. I tried to stand up, still not willing to give up, but I couldn’t… my left leg had been deleted below the knee. As with my finger, there were no signs of surgery, nor wounds. It was just a healthy stump, as if my limb had never existed.

I knew then and there, that thirst or hunger wouldn’t be the things that finally ended me. I would be completely erased long before anything else had the chance to kill me. So, I started writing this letter. A final goodbye to those I love, and an explanation as to what happened to me. As I started writing, I had no pencil, nor a phone or computer left to communicate with. So, as barbaric as it might sound, I’m writing this in the blood of the murdered man I found in the bathroom.

I don’t know how much time has passed, nor do I know if the world still exists on the outside. By now, I’ve lost my legs; My face has been partially removed, and turned into an unrecognizable lump of flesh. On my hands, I only have a single middle finger left, a perfect β€œfuck you,” to myself before I die.

I really hope no one else suffers the same fate, and that my letters survive the deletion. At least then, my death won’t be for nothing. Soon I will be gone, but before I go, I leave you with this warning:

Whatever you do, stay away from Hotel Non Dormiunt.

Rating: 8.50/10. From 10 votes.
Please wait...

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: Chilling Tales for Dark Nights – YouTube (feat. David Nagel)

Written by Richard Saxon
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by David Nagel

πŸ”” More stories from author: Richard Saxon

Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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2 years ago

I listened to this on spotify. It was told by dr nosleep

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