When he spoke, the hairs on my neck stood on end. Clichéd, sure, but it happened. My blood ran cold, my heart stopped, I jumped out of my skin. Ok, those things didn’t happen, but I tell you, I was scared.

My boss warned me the school was haunted. I already knew. I felt it in the hallway at the top of the stairs, right outside the boys’ bathroom. The closer I got, every time, a feeling of dread grew. Each morning, the first one to arrive, I inspected the building, made sure it was properly cleaned. The hallways, the classrooms, the bathrooms. That one boys’ room, man, it freaked me out.

The door across the hall entered the teacher’s lounge. A place for lunch breaks, to while away a free period, or visit the staff bathrooms. No weird vibes there, I just needed to get through that door. As it shut behind me, I relaxed. Safe, separated from that strange bathroom, from whatever demon lurked there.

The building cleared out quickly each afternoon after the kids left. The teachers rushed out to grab some daylight leaving the administrators behind, the two of us. Alone in the building when I stated the day, often alone at the end.

We kept the printer paper in a closet in the lounge. Sometimes after my boss left, I fetched a box of paper for the office. She didn’t like me doing physical labor. That, she said, was for the cleaning staff. I read the cleaning contract. They cleaned, someone else hauled paper. Easiest to do when the building was empty.

I carried the box towards the lounge doorway, shocked by the weight. I quit working at the Y three months earlier. My lunchtime dumbbell routine a distant memory, fading quickly along with all the strength I built up over the years. Right behind me, a few feet away, not loud, not quiet, either earnest or confused, a young boy said “Hello?” I whirled around, already knowing the room was empty, confirming that no one was there.  

After i dropped off the paper in the office, I went home. The story disturbed my family. I expected them to think it was cool, but my kids looked at me with concern. I quit a month later. Not because of the boy. My boss was abusive. My job duties bore no resemblance to what we discussed in the interview. I hated that job. I became depressed.

That last month at work, I tried my best to avoid the bathroom and the lounge. I still needed to inspect them each morning, my eyes partly closed in a perpetual flinch. Ready to snap shut if anyone or anything unexpected appeared. I spent a lot of time looking over my shoulder—in my office, as I walked the halls, as I picked bits of paper off the bathroom floor that the cleaning crew missed. No, the boy didn’t chase me out, I was already on my way, but I’m glad I left. I can’t imagine waiting, day after day, for our next encounter.

Photo by Stefano Pollio on Unsplash

14 thoughts on “Hello?

  1. First thought – I think it’s cool! Ghosts have never upset me. I’ve heard voices, felt cold spots… the usual and I always got a kick out of it. Never scared. Living humans are MUCH scarier!

    Second thought – You had your own version of “Moaning Myrtle”🤣 but not as annoying.

    Cool story, Jeff! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • When it comes to things that go bump in the night, it’s supernatural beings, not real beings that I fear. I’m sure you’re right. There’s a much higher chance of a psychopath creeping around my house then a ghost, but who can control their primal fears.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, that’s freaky. I’ve heard people tell their encounter stories and I believe each one. I’ve never had an experience (that I was perceptive enough to pick up on) and I am not sure how I would handle it. I can’t imagine feeling it every day though. That would be tough.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gettysburg is supposedly super haunted. I guess it was just a matter of time when that would happen. Did I ever recommend the ghost tours that are sold at 777 Baltimore Street? The one we went on was really entertaining.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bob is not into the ghost tours. I think he thinks all the activity is explainable. On one of our last trips he made us walk the parts of the battlefield that are particularly famous for activity after it was dark out. His mom is into that though. If I were ever able to do one I would just go with her.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Me too. I wrote a few weeks ago about how I walk into my dark, empty, century-old library building every morning and imagine zombies creeping up behind me. An over active imagination is a curse.


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