Have you seen those horror movies recently? Or those classic documentaries on the television such as The Haunting that are only there to run a chill up your spine? I have as well… countless times in the past, but I still find all of it to be pointless garbage. There is no feasible way that the dead could have any sort of contact with the living. Souls don’t just find some attachment to something that they endeared while they were alive, and then animate that object with the very essence of their spirits. No, not at all. They just move on. Either these spirits happen to stroll across the light of salvation or they find eternal damnation. That’s the end of it. It’s not supposed to be anyone else’s problem.
Do you know what I do believe in? I believe in mental illness. There are madmen in the mental hospitals who will mumble to themselves about how they have so obviously seen a spirit haunting them in their room, just before they go to sleep. Right, that’s believable. Such a thing could have happened from sleep paralysis as well. And, if there were schizophrenics who would have happened to hallucinate some weird image, it would have to be caused by those blasted documentaries that they would have seen on TV, thus making them believe that they had seen a spirit, only because they had known what it looked like. Thus, their brain was able to manipulate that memory in a frenzy, as if it were a dream, and project the mental image of whatever it is they might have seen.
Now, let’s move on to another subject. What I am about to tell you will seem completely off topic to the subject. This is my honest interpretation of myself; I’m not trying to be prideful or smug. It is the genuine truth that I am a good person. Despite my slightly rude behaviors and attitudes which only come around when I know someone is incorrect, I have been told by countless different people that I’m kind and highly virtuous. I stand by this opinion, as I notice that I show multiple signs of that on a frequent basis. My family, for example, will be able to tell you how I can be a little too charitable to those who I feel are in need. I will often save up my money, and try to blow it all off on charity services or the homeless… My parents would always be there to stop me before I could actually go about it, though, so I never spent a penny, even if I really wanted to.
Now that I feel like you have a decent understanding of who I genuinely am as a human being, it’s time to get down to business. I haven’t come here simply to brag or to complain about television or madmen. The tale that I have includes all three of these factors: spooks, insanity and kindness.
It all started on a Saturday. I was texting at the time, my back cushioned by the soft touch of my bed, arm skyward, restlessly sending messages to my girlfriend. It was the big day for me, or, more specifically, for her. She was an actress, who finally had a performance tonight. She had been preparing for this moment with her coworkers for sixth solid months. Half of the time was spent devising the script itself from scratch, putting their heads together to come up with something original, while the other half of the time was devoted to actually memorizing all of what they had written down, after it had been revised two dozen times over. We were both incredibly excited. And I—being the loyal boyfriend—was going to do all I could to attend.
I loved my girlfriend, as I still do. I would give anything in the world to see her beautiful smile, to make her happy, so watching the play that she would star in was automatically a priority. It was called Dinner Fears. She told me that it was a horrific murder mystery, about a woman named Sally May who had to defend herself from both the killer and those who thought she had committed the crime. I wasn’t told that much else, because I told her not to. I hate spoilers. From what I had heard, it seemed pretty well thought out. I was proud of her for being able to come up with the idea, even if it had been with the help of other people.
Suddenly, I got another text message from my girlfriend. It read, “The play should start in about an hour, my love.”
What? Already? The time seemed to have slipped through my fingers. I immediately shot up from the bed, stuffing my cellphone in my pocket. I knew from past experiences that the site was about forty-five minutes away, and I wanted at least fifteen minutes of time to find my seat and buy popcorn and sodas before it actually began.
I quickly ran around the house in a spastic attempt to groom myself. I stumbled into the wardrobe where I fought to get out of my clothes, scrambling for the finest attire available to instantly replace them. I nearly strangled myself trying to put on a black suit with a red tie. Once I had fulfilled this task, I sprinted over to the restroom and grabbed a comb. I haphazardly ran it through my hair as I reached into my pocket with my remaining hand, pulling out a mint which I awkwardly stuffed into my mouth to make my breath smell more pleasant. There wasn’t enough time to brush teeth.
I threw the comb down and looked at myself in the mirror. My hair was still slightly bush-like from when I had put on the suit, and only half of it had been tended to when I had used the comb. The suit was filled with wrinkles, and the tie was on crooked. I was a mess. I almost didn’t want to leave quite yet, as I didn’t think that a scruffy figure such as myself who just attempted to look fancy was worthy of being in the glory of my girlfriend’s play, but there was no time to refine; this would have to do.
I bolted outside, towards my car. It was blue, and covered with dents and signs with collision, as I had never been a careful driver. I was always the clumsy sort of person, but not this time. I had to get to my girlfriend’s play as soon as possible, I couldn’t afford any accidents. I threw myself inside my vehicle, and turned on the ignition, slamming my foot on the gas pedal. Tires screeched in efforts to fulfill my impatient demands, and the car slowly met my expectations as it increased in its speed by the second. I was not planning on being late.
Once I hit the highway, it was a shock that I wasn’t pulled over for a speeding ticket. I’m quite thankful that I wasn’t, otherwise I surely would have hated myself for missing the only opportunity that I had to see my love’s play. Knowing how I am, the shame would have poisoned my heart until it killed me, no matter how many times she would have reassured me that I would have been forgiven for my heinous crime.
I spotted the massive theatre up ahead. I looked at the clock that had been installed into my vehicle, the digits glowing a mechanical green color to give slight illumination. It had only been thirty minutes. I made it on time. My car zoomed over to it, and, in no time, I was there. I swerved into the parking lot, and chose the space that was closest to me, rigorously shoving my foot on the breaks. The car, once again, screeched, and I clumsily hurried out. I tripped while attempting to escape from my transportation, and nearly fell face first on the ground. I quickly caught myself, though, and saved my cranium from the pain. I stood up properly once more, and ran after the entryway.
There was a figure, I noticed, standing in front of the double-doors. The closer I got, the more the details of this figure became less of an enigma to me. Surprisingly, I saw a familiar woman with long, blonde hair, slightly curled. Her body was layered with a black fabric, and atop this fabric was an equally darkened dress, which would have exposed her legs more, had it not been for the clothing underneath. It was my girlfriend. She always had a peculiar sense in fashion, but I encouraged it, and told her that she would always look glorious, no matter what outfit she decided to put on.
Whether or not she looked hypnotic was beside the point, however. My eyebrows wrinkled just as my suit as confusion littered my thoughts. Panting, I shouted her name. “Christiana!”
Hearing me calling her name, she turned to face me. Then she gave me an equally confused look. “Sweetie, what are you doing here? You look like you were just assaulted by a family of rabid squirrels.”
At this moment I felt utterly flabbergasted, and it wasn’t because she had insulted my clearly unkempt appearance. “Wh… what? Did you not say that you had a play to attend to in about an hour? It’s been thirty minutes, so I figured that I would be here on time. Besides, I could ask you the same thing. Why are you here, outside, and not preparing to perform?”
Christiana held her arms behind her back as she looked upwards, letting out a thoughtful little hum. I always thought that it was the cutest sound, even during the most puzzling of circumstances, like now.
“Did you not get my other text?” she asked.
That was when I remembered: I left my cellphone in my other pants. I stuffed them in my jeans before I changed into my suit, which required putting on a different pair of pants to match up with the jacket. I scowled at myself for my own stupidity, and told her the truth. “I left it at home, I’m afraid. I must have gotten in the car before I got the chance to read it.”
My girlfriend giggled. “I told you that there had been a change in plans. Due to some technical difficulties with the power, the show has been postponed for another hour. We haven’t really figured it out yet, but I’m confident that we’ll fix everything in time.”
“Could I be of any help?” I asked. I was always interested to give a little assistance every now and then. That was just a standardized trait of mine. But when it came to her, that instinct was magnified by at least tenfold; therefore, I wanted to help her around every single puddle of rain by throwing myself on top of it so she could use my back as a bridge. I would do anything for Christiana.
Christiana spoke with a reluctant tone in her voice, like she didn’t want to tell me something for fear that it would hurt my feelings. “No, my love,” she told me, “I’m afraid that you can’t do anything to help us this time around. Nobody’s allowed to work with the electricity except the paid professionals. Besides, you know how clumsy you are. I don’t want anything bad to happen to you while you’re working with the lights…”
I understood exactly where she was coming from. There went my only chances of helping her, and my chances of speeding up the process a little bit by adding one more worker to the equation. I let out a sigh, my gaze falling to the asphalt ground. “Alright, fine.”
That’s when I felt her hand upon my cheek. Christiana guided my face to stare directly at hers, our eyes connecting as though there were some sort of an invisible force bonding the two together. She had a smile that could reach into the most unknown parts of my mind and unleash potential that I never knew I had. Softly, she spoke to me. “You can’t help with the electricity, but if you want, you can go inside. Just make sure that you don’t touch anything important, alright? I’m sure that it would be much more comfortable than just sitting around out here in the dark.”
I returned her smile with one of my own. My girlfriend was always the kindest person to me, just as I was the nicest to her. When two souls of purity merge together with love… there is nothing that can go wrong.
I took the opportunity to give her a hug. “Thank you,” I remember saying to her.
“Don’t mention it,” she said, patting my back. “Now, in you go.”
I nodded, and energetically took a step away from her. “I’ll see you in about an hour.” I cheerily walked past her, and into the large theatrical area. This was going to be the greatest play that I had ever seen.
When I had stepped foot into the place, I realized immediately how eerie it all seemed to be without its lights turned on. It was cold, like in the movies. When a spirit was in the room, the whole place would drop in temperature immediately. There was a ticket booth up ahead, unoccupied by anyone, next to which had been a stand where a buyer could purchase their popcorn and candy. Past that were three hallways, two diagonal, pointing in opposite directions, and one going straight down the center.
I looked to the door again, thinking of what my girlfriend had said to me. So I couldn’t do anything with the electronics… but that didn’t mean that I couldn’t explore. It’s not that I was curious about my environment—no, not that silly cliché. It’s just that I was energetic, and a lively sort of person. There was no way that I could stand in one place without beginning to pace, fidget with my fingers, or pointlessly wander around. I had to be doing something.
Without thinking of how creepy this place was, or considering the alternative of getting my girlfriend to come along with me—which probably would have been the wisest option—I walked down the hallway which curved to the left. I stared at the wall, to find that there were several advertisements to future plays that would occur in two-thousand fifteen. I remember my eyes falling upon one play in particular. It read, “PLAYGROUND PANIC” in large, whitened text which covered the skies of the photo. Below which were two children, holding hands in an awkward position. It looked like they had just been stopped in the middle of skipping around each other in a circle. Creeping towards them was an eerie, shadowy figure, plants dying behind his every footstep.
It was strange. The two ideas of children playing and an object of death and destruction were so contrasting that putting them together in a single photograph was out of place. But it gave a dreadful foreshadowing of the demise of the children, should the evil figure capture them. Since death followed every step it took, perhaps all it needed to do was touch them, and then the kids would immediately begin to die, like speeding up the rate at which a corpse rots. I shuddered, trying my best to stop thinking about it, and kept walking.
I tried my best to focus on the idea that was supposed to be obvious to me: this was the site of my girlfriend’s performance. Sure, it might be unsettling when I look at it now, but all I needed to do was keep my eyes on the events to come to remain positive. This was going to be a very positive experience when I actually got to see her act onstage, and when her show had finally come to a conclusion, I would bathe her in my love to reward her after a hard night’s work. It would be glorious. With this in mind, I felt my shoulders ease down, and my heart rate slow from its pace of panic. I had calmed down.
Suddenly, I noticed a figure standing off in the distance. It was too dark to see him as more than anything but a silhouette, motionlessly facing me. I wasn’t particularly surprised by the presence of this figure. After all, my girlfriend had mentioned that there would be some technicians indoors working to fix the lights.
I continued to walk forwards. I don’t know why. I had nothing to gain by doing this. It was most likely out of boredom, at the time, to roam about the hallways aimlessly. Either that or to get my head in the clouds so I could use my imagination to distract myself from the morbid plays—with definitely morbid advertisements—around me.
As I approached him, his image became clearer to me. He had a head of gray hair. He was bald in the middle, two bits of his hair pointing upwards like horns. His skin was wrinkly and crumpled, like a demolished homework assignment.
The elderly man stood across the hallway from me, staring in my direction with saddened, hollow eyes. His facial expression was filled with heartbreak and sorrow, almost some sort of remorse. I took pity on his soul. Nobody should experience any sort of sadness, especially not those who are so close to their final moments in life.
I met the depressed, aged man before me. “Excuse me, sir, are you alright?” I asked. There came no reply. He merely continued to stare at me with that same look, permanently drawn on his face, frozen on his mysterious lamentation. “Sir?” I said again, trying to capture his attention.
He seemed so saddened and unmoving that it seemed as though time itself had come to a complete stop around him. Perhaps he was just in a trance. I knew that some old men had a tendency to do that. I waved my hand in front of his face to try and snap him out of it. But, I forgot about how clumsy of a man I was.
I would have smacked him in the face, under normal conditions, but then the oddest thing happened… which made me question my sanity. My hand… faded straight through his skin.