I’ve been feeling inspired lately. It might be the one rainy day in Los Angeles or the spooky season. Maybe it’s that my workplace seems even more spooky with the yellow and red leaves flowing with the wind all over the playground and little children playing. As a substitute teacher, I move around a lot from school to school. I’ve been to some schools in Los Angeles that are over 100 years old. They have the class picture from the very first school year posted in their main office. The ground underneath them is dirt, the smiles are toothless and the clothing is even eerier.
I’ve been intrigued with campuses for as long as I can remember. There’s something so mysterious about them. Even when I was in elementary school, I always thought my school was haunted by Bloody Mary. In middle school, I found out that my school was a part of World War II and it was a hospital. My future high school, which was adjacent to it was a part of that hospital. There were underground tunnels that transported bodies from one side to another and those tunnels still exist under the school. Recently, the janitor at the school that I’m currently at mentioned how he’s been to my high school, as a janitor, and had to go down into those tunnels. I asked him what it was like and he said scary. There’s one light and then not another one for a long way. So there’s darkness in between the light. My high school was known for being haunted and is still on record supposedly haunted. I spent a lot of time after school in high school rehearsing for theater and there was always this eerie feeling on campus after everyone had left. The school had this ambiance and energy like no other. It was like the students are gone so now the ghost can have their turn. It goes from very loud to very quiet. I’ve daydreamed about going into the tunnels and experiencing the eeriness myself but obviously, I was never allowed.
So, I’m going to tell you a story about a teacher that stays a little too late after school.
Ms. Garcia taught 6th grade English and History. Sometimes she would stay late after school to do some grading and planning. It was also a good way to avoid the LA traffic. During Fall and Winter, it would get dark around 4:30 pm. Most of the staff was gone and the janitor would leave by 5 pm. Ms. Garcia had a key to the parking lot gate and would stick around till 6ish once or twice a week. This way she had her weekends all to herself and her family of course.
During those long evenings, she would turn off her classroom light because she didn’t like anyone knowing she was staying on campus that late. She just wanted to be left alone to do her work. She would turn down her blinds and turn on her desk light. A couple of times, she had her classroom light on, and the neighbors around her called the school the next to let them know about a classroom light being on. They were afraid of a break-in since the school was broken into once before.
Ms. Garcia was a short, plump woman who had a slight hobble when she walked. She was not the favorite teacher either. She has been teaching for over twenty years, and she was burnt out. The student got worse and worse every year and she still had a long way to retirement. Still, she tried her best to make the lessons interesting and find inspiration to do her job.
On this cold, windy, dark night, Ms. Garica sat at her desk long after every adult and student had left the premises. On this particular night, she stayed longer than usual. She had a report card deadline that needed to be turned in that week.
She could hear the wind rustling outside. She kept at it when she heard a knock. She ignored it at first because she thought it was the wind but then it happened again. KNOCK KNOCK. She looked up at the door and wondered who could it possibly be. She hesitated and looked at her clock. It was half-past 7 pm. She was scared that an administrator had hung around and she might get in trouble for staying too late. She got up and hobbled to the door. She opened it but there was no one there. She glanced around the empty outdoor hall but no one was in sight. The outdoor hallway lamps were on too so she was able to see pretty far down the hall. She closed her door and was relieved that whoever it was had left. She took a step towards her desk when she heard another KNOCK. She jumped and turned around. She just stared at the door for a second and another louder knock came. She slowly reached for the handle and turned the doorknob. She slowly opened the door when the wind swung it open. No one was there. She looked around the hall and not a person around. Must be the fierce wind. Since she was up already, she decided to use the ladies’ room. She grabbed her keys and hobbled over to the bathroom. It was just down the hall. When she opened the door, she heard running water. She turned on the light to see that the faucet was left on. Who would do this? Good thing I was here to turn it off, she thought. She peed and washed her hands. She went back to her classroom and she locked the door. She hobbled back to her desk and decided to turn on her radio. The wind was loud and some classical music would help drown it out. Anyways, she focused better with some music on. She sat back down and decided to work for just another twenty minutes. She sent a text to her husband letting him know that she would be leaving soon. He was going to make dinner tonight and he’s a good cook. He responded quickly,
As she started to work, not ten minutes passed when her radio started becoming static. She played with it a bit but it didn’t work. She was frustrated and turned it off. But, then she heard it.. laughter…almost like giggling of a child in her classroom. Once again, someone knocked on her door. This time it was a light knock. Were some kids playing ding dong ditch? No, it’s too late for kids to be on campus unless they are snuck back in? Maybe they had rehearsal for theater? No, the rehearsals wouldn’t go this late for middle school. She was getting a little scared but shook it off. It is just some darn teenagers she thought. She decided to call it a night. She packed her rolly cart and put on her jacket. She had her keys in her hand. She turned off her lamp and walked to the door. Suddenly, her lamp turns back on. What is going on she thought? She hobbles back and turns it off but then her projector turns on. She looks at it for a moment and decides to unplug the lamp and the projector. She yanks the cord and doesn’t look back. She was scared. She grabbed her stuff and bolted out of the door. What in the world is happening? She wished she could walk faster. She started to slightly run. She glanced behind her and she saw the long outdoor hallway looking oddly eerie. She kept going but she could hear laughter behind her. She didn’t care who it was. She just wanted to get out of there. She got to the gate and fumbled with her keys. She opened the lock and stepped to the other side of the gate. She locked it back up. She rant to her car and got inside. She locked the doors and turned on the ignition. She was out of breath. What just happened? She started to reverse but she let out a terrifying shriek! AHHHHHHHH! She saw a little boy in her rearview mirror but now he was gone. She looked back but nothing was there. She looked back at the school and noticed two little shadows staring towards her. She kept reversing and drove off. She called her husband right away.
What did she experience? Was it some ghost children bugging the grouchy teacher? Or was it simply her imagination? We cut back to the eerie quiet middle school.
Thanks for reading.