It shouldn’t be haunted. With its 1970’s aluminium framed windows and creamy white paint on its facade, the building I work in still looks quite modern. Built before the last Great War, the warehouse is out of place in the western side of the city that is sprouting new apartments amidst federation era workers’ cottages. It didn’t give me the creeps when I nodded to the real estate agent after the first inspection. I’ll take it, thanks.
I wish I can take back what I said. I should have at least renegotiated the terms of the lease. Hey landlord, I shouldn’t be paying full rent, I wasn’t informed you’ve already sub-let it to a resident ghost. She didn’t take long to show herself. No, I haven’t seen her but I’ve definitely seen the mischief she causes. A mischievous ghost, I can live with that if she can.
It is not true that ghosts only come out at the dead of night, when the owl hoots, and the lone wolf howls.
It is also not true that we should be scared of them. I suspect it’s the opposite, they should be scared of us. We the urghhlings, usually ugly, untrustworthy, easy prey for temptations are prone to violent behaviour. We destroy habitat with total disregard for living things, including ourselves. Ghosts therefore know we can destroy theirs too. Yes, by that, I mean ghosts are living things too.
She can’t be dead. If she were, she couldn’t keep reappearing in my workplace. The first inkling of her presence was when a cup of freshly brewed tea came crashing down from my son’s desk. He and a colleague were deep in discussion, standing no more than two meters from his desk, when she moved his tea cup off the desk. “Rob, why are you mopping the floor?”, I asked minutes later. He casually answered that the cup just fell onto the floor. “By itself?” I asked. “Yes, by itself.”
Soon after, she decided to appear with annoying regularity. I started getting midnight phone calls from Chubb Security, “sorry to wake you up sir but sector four alarm has been triggered off.” Sector four is right in the centre of the warehouse. “Are you certain it’s sector four?” You’d logically think the outer sectors would be breached first, a burglar can’t get to the centre without breaking through one of the doors first, right? “Yes sir, it’s definitely only sector four” he replied. The following day, I would find a few stock items of considerable weight and varying sizes intricately placed in odd patterns on the aisle leading to my office. I am always the last to leave the building and of course I wouldn’t play such stupid pranks on myself.
She must have known I was deliberately choosing to ignore her existence. That’s when she decided to make her presence undeniable.
In the winter months, it gets dark very early. The staff clock off at 4.30 pm. I’m usually there for another two hours by which time it is pitch black in the warehouse. My office is upstairs; a wall window allows me to look down and observe the staff during the day. My eyes play tricks with me once it turns dark. That wasn’t the problem since we know to expect that, furtive shadows, moving figures in the dark isn’t out of the ordinary; but what is out of this world is the GRA GRA GRA noise that emanates from the darkness. It is the sound I frequently hear, during the day, whenever the warehouse supervisor glides his chair along the rubber mat that the packers stand on. When the chair’s castor wheels rub against the ridges of the mat, it goes gra gra gra. She wants me to acknowledge her presence? GRA GRA GRA, GRAGRAGRA, it got louder and the tempo got faster, forcing me to walk to the window and peer down at the darkness. I half expected to see the chair stationary with the gra gra gra continuing. But no, the noise stops and the chair stays put. Quite normal.
The next night, it went GRA GRA GRA again. But this time I was prepared, I had left one light on so I wouldn’t have to imagine moving shadows in the dark. As soon as I got to the window, the noise stopped. I stared at the chair for a good three minutes but it remained still, it did not move by itself. Staring at a stationary chair for three minutes is a long time. Only someone of unsound mind would do that. I told myself I am not that someone, and promptly returned to my desk. But even before I could plonk my backside on my chair, it went GRA GRA GRA down there again.
She’s mischievous alright. But she has never harmed me. Live and let live, right?
PS why do I think it’s a “she”? Napping on the sofa one late evening, not quite in deep sleep, I felt my blanket being softly and carefully pulled up to cover my neck. A caring ghost with a motherly touch. It’s a she, my devil.
It has been over a month since I blogged about my ghost. Last night (12 June 2019), we left the premises early before the day darkened. Yes, none of us want to stay back and work overtime now that winter is upon us. No, we aren’t afraid. It is just not so busy in winter! This morning, a box of Smartboost charger was found on the floor, quite a distance from the shelf where it was displayed. I tried to convince everyone here that it would have rolled off the edge, lest they quit on me. I am still smarting from the comments I received. Urghhlings.