Today, I scared myself silly.
It started simply enough– a trip to a somewhat local mall to walk around in the early morning. We drove way out of way because the malls closest to where I live are bustling this time of year, and the chaos doesn’t let up till mid January.
We decided to treat ourselves to some coffee. While we ordered, I noticed that my hands were mussed with car dirt. I’m finicky about that sort of thing so I decided to venture off toward the bathrooms by myself while Dave took care of the coffee.
First I walked down an escalator that hadn’t yet been turned on. There was no else around.
I walked through a nearly-empty food court, avoiding eye contact with the staff of the only open restaurant. A girl with a tray of orange chicken samples was pacing on the right side, so I took the left.
I followed the bathroom signs down a long hallway, completely devoid of any light. The cleaning staff was down the far end, and their carts were strewn about the hallway.
I saw the sign that said “Ladies” went in. The room was dark, so I peeked back into the hallway to see if I was disrupting the routine of the staff. No one was there and, after my journey here, I decided I didn’t want to have to make the return trip later, when it was all filled with people. I opted to make use of the facilities.
It was completely dark in the restroom, and silent, of course– but I shook off my vague sense of unease and reminded myself that I never turn on the lights in my bathroom when I visit it at night.
I went into a stall, had a seat, and then saw the feet in the stall next to me:
You, like me, may recognize this unholy combination from a wide variety of Japanese horror movies. Or, from this popular American alternative:
Dave always says how I’d be the first to die in a horror film come to life, given my tendency to inspect rather than go with my gut and run. Thus, it wasn’t surprising that instead of yanking up my pants and running for the hills, I heard myself say:
Nothing. The feet didn’t even move.
I ran out of the room as fast as I could go.
Down the hallway, and through the food court. When I saw the Chinese restaurant, it took me a moment to process that I was finally in front of people and was unlikely to have my heart ripped from its cage by a malevolent schoolgirl.
I gave the orange chicken girl a slow smile as I realized that I was safe.
She, rightly so, scuttled behind the counter with her chicken.
Because I’ve now seen enough horror movies to know that 5 people can die just as easily as 1, I panicked again, and ran my way up the escalators to Dave, and the slightly busier area of the mall. He handed me a coffee that would do nothing but speed up the adrenaline coursing through my veins. I told him the story and he alternated from “Someone must just be dead in there” to “You probably imagined it.” I offered up the idea that it was a ghost.
We saw the cleaning crew minutes later, wiping off the tables where we were sitting, and one girl claimed she cleaned the ladies bathroom in the food court.
I looked at Dave and said, “That rules out someone dead, so it must be a ghost! Good thing she just haunts the room.”
Then he said, “Well, if you’re going with horror movie proof, then you should know that they often attach themselves to people and follow them around.”
I hope you enjoy never sleeping again.
So yes, I nearly didn’t post today because I couldn’t think of anything to say. Words aren’t coming to my mind today and I blame it on all that adrenaline so early in the morning. I blame that adrenaline on undead school children.
How would you play out in a horror movie? Would you be the hero, the oblivious side character, the best friend of the hero– or would you be the person (like me) who investigates the sound in the backyard?
Do you believe in ghosts?
What’s the strangest reason you’ve had for not writing a blog post?