Horla Flash Fiction (July 2021)

 

TOURIST TRAP

by MALCOLM TIMPERLEY

andmoreagain wrote a review Sep 2015

I was looking forward to revisiting Taigh Sgàil Hotel, but sadly it seems that things have changed, and not for the better. Of course, it’s still the same glorious Highland setting, unbeatable for those who like to get away from it all, but since the loss of the previous proprietor, the atmosphere isn’t what it was. The staff were always so attentive, but now seem jumpy and preoccupied. The place has certainly lost its sparkle, and not just in the public areas. For the first time at Taigh Sgàil I slept badly. Such a disappointment.

2000lightyearsfromhome wrote a review Nov 2015

We’d booked to stay here for an overnight stop at the very end of October while driving north through Scotland. The satnav got us to the postcode but we couldn’t find the hotel. There was no phone signal so we drove around for a while and eventually stopped to ask a man by the road. We thought he was a farmer. This long haired man just stared at us and walked away. We returned to the main road, drove on and finally spent the night at a Travelodge. If Taigh Sgàil Hotel wants paying guests they should invest in some direction signs!

ladymadonna wrote a review Jan 2016

When we arrived at Taigh Sgàil it looked shut. There was a note on the front door saying we should call at the croft behind the hotel. We thought this was a bit strange but walked round and knocked there. No-one answered, but thought we could hear what sounded like whispering inside. We were both confused (and a bit frightened, tbh) and returned to the car. As we walked back round the side of the hotel my husband said he thought he saw a face at one of the upstairs windows (I didn’t), but other than that there was no-one about.

A couple of days later we visited the Taigh Sgàil Hotel’s website. It said they had closed down (why weren’t we told this???) but would be reopening soon under new management.

zigzagwanderer wrote a review Oct 2016

The bedroom was an unusual shape, very narrow but very long. The wallpaper was brown. At the foot of the bed was an old wardrobe which looked like it was going to open up and fall forwards onto you at any minute. The room was gloomy and the lights didn’t help. The bed had an old and dirty looking blanket. As I pulled it back the lights went out and I was in the dark. No-one came when I called.

prettyvacant wrote a review Dec 2016

i was given a room with no windows!! but there was a small door that kept swingin open no matter what I did on the other side was just stairs down into this big black space like a celler the note by the bed said dial 0 for help I would of but there was no phone

DCBA25 wrote a review Feb 2017

I went to leave and nearly knocked this thin creepy guy out with the door. He’d been silently standing less than a foot away from the door. When I asked what he thought he was doing he just turned and walked off through a fire door. I was that shocked I didn’t do anything for a minute but when I ran after him and opened the fire door there was no-one there.

WontGetFooledAgain wrote a review Mar 2017

DON’T stay ere if you want a good night’s sleep. It sounded like people were dragging furniture or heavy objects along the corridors all night, the noise was terrible. When I complained next morning the man at reception said night-time was the only time he could do “his work”.

shipbuilding wrote a review Oct 2017

Found it creepy and I don’t scare easily – I was in the Falklands. The door to the room had been damaged, it looked like someone had tried to force the lock or a big dog had been scratching at it. Once we’d finally got in my wife made me take down this huge picture that was over the bed of a weird-looking man holding a child. Whenever we turned on the TV it only showed the same old black-and-white movie (not in English – wtf?). Lots of noises all night – water dripping I think. Felt like there was something in the room with us. Felt I had to keep watching for any sign of movement.

LivingInThePast wrote a review Mar 2018

Shifty ‘baldy guy’ at front desk. If you ever get to meet him you’ll see what I mean. Corridors full of stuffed animals and china dolls and this old rocking horse that swings by itself. Rooms all have windows with bars on them. Found what we thought was an old dog’s toy in the wardrobe but turned out it was a real bone. Strange people live there, they stare at you.

MathildaMother wrote a review Sep 2018

Hand prints on the windows. Woke up to find bite marks. Unsuitable for children.

20thcenturyboy wrote a review Feb 2019

twice in the night – someone aggresivly tryin the handle to get in bangin on door, –   drunk??? didnt risk opening to see

passionatefriend wrote a review Oct 2019

Right now I’m almost in tars it is so bad. It’s cold and I keep hearing these strange noises. I swear there is something in the corridors of this place! Can’t wait for the morning it is so bad – as a female on my own I feel really unsafe. No heating and no staff. Where are they? Too scared to go looking for them. I booked for 3 days but I’m checking out in the morning even though I’ve nowhere else to go. It’s that bad. Will figure it out somehow. The wi-fi isn’t reliaaaaaaaaa

 

We understand this hotel has closed for business. We do not know if it will reopen. Meanwhile, we are accepting no further reviews.

 

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Malcolm Timperley studied medicine at Liverpool University, spent more years than he likes to remember as a psychiatrist, and is now a writer and heritage steam railway signalman, living in the Highlands of Scotland. His published writings include non-fiction (railway history), as well as horror and comic short stories and flash fiction. His work was short-listed at the 2020 Edinburgh International Flash Fiction Awards and most recently has appeared in Frost Zone. Previous writing from him for Horla can be found by entering his name in the search engine at the top right of our pages.

Title photo credit – Andras Vas on Unsplash

Horla standard disclaimer – image has no direct connection with the fiction

All names, identities and references in the above story are entirely fictional. Any similarity to people / places is entirely coincidental.