HALLOWEEN HAUNTS - Horror Writer's Association - Trick-or-Treating of the DEAD

I had just gotten out of a three week hospital stay during the harshest point of my radiation treatment on Halloween and decided that 18 was still not too old to go get candy.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Lonely

This woman is stalking me! Everywhere I go, she seems to be there. At first, I thought she was haunting me, but then we had a lovely chat about Doctor Who. 

Megan is a new friend, and she's contributed a compelling and maudlin story about loneliness in this world and the next.

The Lonely
Submitted by Megan Gulliver
Kutztown PA

When I was 19, I decided to stop commuting to Temple University and go to Kutztown University, where I could live on campus and embrace independence. I was paired with a roommate whom I didn't know, but we got along very well. However, this roommate left every weekend to go home to work, so I was left on my own every weekend. I wasn't afraid of being on my own, but I didn't like it, either. I suffer from major depression and I hadn't ever been left in a room by myself for more than a few hours at a time. With my longtime boyfriend-at-the-time back at home, things got lonely. I ended up using the days spent alone to embrace my inner insomniac, but that seemed to make my depression worse.

Whenever I would get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, I would always see a black flicker in front of the laundry room. This would only occur from the hours of midnight and six a.m. I assumed it was my imagination or the way the light cast itself along the dorm hallways. But one night, when I was at my loneliest, I got the feeling I wasn't alone. At first I was a little freaked out, because no one likes the feeling of eyes on them when there's no one there. But it felt like my own loneliness was wandering into the hallway and receiving someone else's loneliness in return. I stepped into the hallway to see if anyone was there, because almost everyone went home that weekend. I saw the quick flicker in front of the laundry room, which was across the hall from my room. Any other time I would have thought I was crazy, but this time I was sure - there was something out there, and it was as lonely as I was.

I whispered into the hallway before even realizing I had opened my mouth, "You can come in." I immediately stood horrified at what I had just done, but not regretting it. Something about this occurrence felt normal. I hovered in the doorway for half a minute, then went back into my room, leaving the door open. After an hour, I had almost forgotten the encounter all together until I saw a black flicker on my roommate's bed. It was out of the corner of my eye, but it was in the shape of a human sitting on the bed, like someone was watching t.v. with me. I no longer felt loneliness surrounding me, from either myself or whatever was outside my door. Instead of feeling freaked out, I felt safe, and I continued watching t.v. until I eventually drifted to sleep.

I had almost forgotten about my lonesome companion when I moved back into my dorm for the second semester. Nothing out of the ordinary happened in the first few weeks. About a month in, I was walking back from the girl's bathroom when a thought seemed to rail through my head at full force. All I heard was the name "Michael," and the thought rushed into my head right outside of the laundry room. The memories of last semester came flooding back to me, and I immediately rushed into my dorm room (leaving the door open) and started Googling students whom had passed away while attending Kutztown University. I couldn't find anyone by the name of Michael, and just as I was about to give up, I narrowed my search. "Kutztown University death Michael." Bam, there he was. He was riding his motorcycle only a year earlier when he got hit by a car and died. Students loved him, he was widely known around campus, and he hated being alone. I was relieved to have a name to my new companion, even if the thought of befriending a ghost made me feel like a madwoman. Michael. (Picture attached to e-mail, he's the man standing on the left.)

I had broken up with my high school boyfriend halfway through the previous semester and had started dating someone new in the beginning of the second semester. For privacy's sake, we'll call him Jose.

Further on through the semester, things between Jose and myself got heated. One night, we were arguing fiercely as we walked back from the dining hall to my dorm. I had decided to let him come in, even though I wanted him to go back to his own dorm. Jose was still laying into me as we got to my door. I unlocked the door, opened it, and when I stepped inside, the door swung shut behind me. Jose caught the door and started yelling at me, saying I slammed the door in his face. I ran over to the window and shut it, thinking that the door slammed because of a wind tunnel effect. Schuylkill Hall was notorious for doors slamming shut if you left your window open. As I told him I didn't touch the door, the door slammed shut again, even with the window closed. The only thing I could think was that my new ghostly friend didn't exactly care for my new boyfriend, but I decided not to tell Jose out of fear of sounding like a madwoman. So I told Jose that the doors in my dorm slammed shut on their own a lot, and we continued to fight.

It was rare for Michael to leave from outside of my hallway, but there were other occurrences in the basement. I can't be sure the basement occurrences were Michael, because these seemed more hostile. One night, Jose and I were playing billiards. As I went to hit the cue ball, I saw a black shadow out of the corner of my eye. I say shadow instead of flicker, because the feeling was different than when I would see Michael. As I hit the cue ball, the ball went flying and almost hit Jose in the stomach. He managed to dodge the ball and told me to calm down. Later on, Jose went to hit the cue ball and I saw the black shadow again. I told Jose to hold on, and I moved to the other side of the pool table. Jose resumed his shot, and the ball went flying where I had been previously standing. If I hadn't moved, I could have been seriously injured. I told Jose I was done for the night, too freaked out that Michael would do something like that, and thought about the possibility that there might be more than one ghost roaming Schuylkill Hall.

Things like this happened a lot for the rest of the semester. If I ever felt alone or depressed, I would leave my door open and I would see the black flicker outside of my door by the laundry room. If I went down into the basement, I would watch weird occurrences happen if residents were playing billiards or ping pong. Michael only ever came into my room once or twice, and I still doubt he ever went into the basement.

The day I moved out, I was emerged in depression. I could sense it wasn't entirely my own. I think Michael was sad to have someone believe in him and then leave him alone for who knows how long. My only hope is that someone is as open-minded as myself and keeps him company. But I also worry about his safety, because I have the feeling that there was something much worse in that dorm. I doubt I'll ever find out the truth, since I'm no longer a student of KU and no longer have access to that dorm.

From Jacob Haddon, author and editor at Apokrupha:

Vignettes from the End of the World

This is the how the world ends.
This is how the world ends.
This is how the world ends.
Not in a bang, but in a book.

58 flash fiction stories of the final hours. Passion, pain and horror of the end of days, all in short vignettes.

Featuring stories from:

Christine Morga, Essel Pratt, Cameron Suey, T. Fox Dunham, Guy Anthony De Marco, Mandy DeGeit, Jessica McHugh, and many more of the finest voices in modern horror.

No comments:

Post a Comment