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ROOM 301

By: Joel P. Salud

The story happened roughly 20 years ago in small newly  built,  three-storey hospital. A rather prominent family in  the area owns the hospital,  which has  through  the years become  a rather  well-known medical institution. However, during its  early years  in operation, it was witnesses  to a ghost  story like no one has  ever heard….  One midnight, Tony and Marie Grace Sorillo rushed their eight-year-old  daughter, Maritoni, to St. Francis of Assisi Hospital (not the real name of the institution after the little girl complained that she couldn’t breathe. The doctors initially diagnosed her with bronchitis,  but wanted  to conduct further tests to make sure, so  they had Maritoni confined. At 2:00 o’clock in the morning, the small emergency room operated  only with a “skeleton screw”  of three nurses and a young resident doctor. Unfortunately,  every room-21  in all three floors- was occupied, mostly  by children suffering from Asthma, bronchitis, primary complex, and various upper lung  diseases. The summer was hotter than usual  and children were falling ill left and  right Roger, who joined the nursing staff and  emergency room graveyard  shift only for the past two nights, brought Maritoni and her parents to the counter to see if  there  were rooms still available. There were none available, and the queue  of patients on the waiting lists   was just getting longer by the hour. Tony and Marie Grace begged Roger to find  Maritoni a  space in the hospital where she could rest.

Since the  emergency room was packed to the brim that night, Roger  said he  would bring them to a  vacant room as long as  they wouldn’t tell anyone  about it.  The desperate couple agreed, so  they took the  elevator to the third floor and  brough Maritoni to a locked room- Room 301.  Roger said the room has been locked for the past year but no one could explain to him why this was so.  When they entered, the couple saw  that the room was clean and the sheets  were all new,  meaning someone had been making sure the room was well-maintenaed,  despite being locked for several years.  Marie Grace asked Roger if they could  stay there until they could get a room for their daughter. Having agreed, Roger and Tony went down to the counter and booked a reservation for Maritoni.

Maritoni slept soundly that early morning,  though her mother  did not. Tired, hungry, and distraught over her daughter’s condition, Marie Grace went out to a nearby sari-sari store to buy bread and coffee.

She left Maritoni in the room alone,  but figured that she would  be back within  five to ten minutes. Seeing that Tony was already  next in  line, she told her  husband  no run to the room as soon as he  gets the reservation  while she bought  something for them to eat.  Since room 301 was located on the far aside of the left wing,  and that it was considered off limits, the mother  thought their daughter would not be  bothered by anyone. Maritoni woke up  a few seconds after her mother left because of a knock on the door.  A small girl about her age  opened the door and  went inside. She was wearing  a dress which looked pale pink  in the garish hospital light. Her skin was a white as  alabaster. She was carrying  a small rag doll and  she was smiling. Maritoni  smiled  back as the girl  sat beside  her on the bed. She could  see that  the girl had happy eyes.  “Hi”

“Hi! My name is Maritoni.

“I’m Julie. Why are you here?”

“The doctor  said  I’m sick of bronch… bron…:”

They both giggled because Maritoni couldn’t pronounce the word. “You wanna know a secret?” the girl whispered conspirationally, smiling.  “What?” asked Maritoni. “This used to be my room!”

“Really? Are you sick too?” Asked  Maritoni  as she placed her palm on the little girl’s forehead. “No. It’s my birthday today,” the girl said while she placed the  doll lightly on  Maritoni’s chest.

“Happy  Birthday! I don’t have a gift for you…”

“But I have one for you..” the girl said. “When your mama arrives, tell her to bring you home. Ask  the doctor to look at you again.  You’re okay now.”

The girl leaned over and kissed Maritoni on the cheeks and then she left without looking back.   After Julie left, Maritoni realized that she forgot her doll.  When Marie Grace and Tony came back to Room 301, they found Maritoni on the floor playing with the rag doll. “Hey,  what are you doing up and about?” cried her mother who rushed to her daughter’s side and felt her forehead.

“You look like  you’re okay.”  Tony took Maritoni’s temperature, and miraculously,  her fever was gone.  “Where did you get this  doll? Did someone come in here?” her mom  asked  when she saw Maritoni clutching the rag doll to her chest. “Yes, Mama- Julie. She’s this nice little girl who came  and visited  me while you and papa were out.  She said this used to be her room. It’s her  birthday today. I told her  I didn’t have a gift for her but she said it’s okay and then she gave me this,”  Maritoni held out the doll. “When was this?”

“Just you before came in… Oh and she told me to tell you that you can take me home. I’m okay now.”

The couple looked at each other. “Do you think  there are other kids on this floor? Marie  Grace asked . “Let me check,” her husband answered. Curious to get to the  bottom of the incident. Tony went  in search of  Roger,   orderly  who led them to Room 301. He found him chatting  with other emergency room  nurses.

Tony asked, “Are there other children on the third floor?”

At this, Roger  suddenly turned pale and cried, “Oh my God, we have  to get your kid out of that room now!” “Why? What’s the matter?” Tony  asked,  starting  to get worried. “I’ve  just been told by the other nurses that the room is haunted by a little girl who was killed by her kidnappers during her birthday. She was stable  to death 26 times and the blood from her wounds had turned her white dress pink!”

According to the nurses, the property on which the hospital stands was where  she was found dead. “Today is her birthday, March 1,” said Roger. “Oh my God, that explains visit,” Tony said, uttering a short  prayer that  nothing bad had happened to his daughter. “One last thing,” said Roger. “The little  girl was found clutching a rag doll in her  hands when she was found.

Hearing this,  Tony immediately rushed to Room 301, bundled up his daughter,  grabbed his wife’s  hand and fled the hospital, leaving the rag doll behind. That was more than a dozen years ago.  Maritoni is now married and has teo lovely children.  She hasn’t  had bronchitis  since. The rag doll  was last seen by an orderly being taken out by another little girl who was accidentally confined in  Room 301. The haunting stopped after that.

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