So there we were in the Haunted Guest Quarters of the Old Infirmary, and I had already heard the ghost once. In the morning, my colleague and BFF Lynne who was staying with us for a couple of days noted that she had heard the mysterious footsteps as well….
“Greg, one, maybe both, of your students are really afraid of ghosts,” she said.
“Why were they even talking about ghosts?”
“They’ve talked about little else since finding out that the ghost tour business is the biggest thing in town! And sooner or later they’re going to hear whatever that was walking down the hall last night.”
“Nah, they’ll just get drunk and pass out every night as usual. Don’t worry about it.”
“We’ll see. What do you suppose that was walking up and down the hall anyway? I looked out and saw nothing,” she said a little too casually.
“Everything has a scientific explanation, my dear friend.”
“Somehow I knew you were going to say that…”
It did turn out that both of the two students harbored beliefs in things like ghosts and spirits. They were not the only ones in town who did. We quickly discovered that our temporary abode was on the route of the local ghost tour. The ghost tour is actually one of the more stable businesses in Kimberley, City of Ghosts, as one might imagine. The local ghost tour bus, a Volkswagen “Eurovan” style vehicle, would travel round the city bringing people to various haunted houses. So one evening after we figured out that we were on the tour, we saw the van pitch up on a nearby public street. Several tourists who seemed to be from East Asia got out of the van, and the tour guide began to point in our direction and gesticulate, presumably telling stories about the museum and its ghostly inhabitants, as the tourists alternated between glancing at the tour books and pamphlets they carried with them and the building itself. This is when the students put on their show. They had covered themselves in sheets. They flashed the lights on and off and danced back and fourth in a ghostly manner passing between the various windows that were visible from the street. I may or may not have assisted.
Pretty soon the rather shocked looking tourists piled back into the van and drove off as quickly as possible.
And, as Lynne had suggested, the students did eventually hear the Thing in the Hallway.
I did not hear it every single night, but that may simply be because I slept through it. The phenomenon consisted of the sound of foot steps in the creaky hallway, going from one end of the hallway to the other, then often coming back the way it came. Frequently, the sound of footfalls would stop for various lengths of time, then continue. If you looked in the hall there would be nothing there. But the regular occurrence of the footfalls caused the students to avoid using the bathroom until sunup (which was great for me because I could shave and bathe early without interruption) and one of the student required that I tuck her in and turn out her bedroom light for her until I got her an extra flashlight that she could use as a night light. This is how it was at The Old Scary Infirmary for a couple of weeks.
Then, one morning, when I was down in the bathroom shaving … the strangest thing happened….
Interested in some Anthropologically Inspired fiction? Have a look at Sungudogo by Greg Laden.
Footnotes will be found at the end of the last post in the series.