Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The phantom door bell

     Jordan Granger had taken the job because, simply, it was Christmas; Christmas had come around again, already, and therefore Jordan needed the extra money. She had an old friend, a friend of the family who worked at the school and needed an extra worker, needed an extra worker to clean. She was going to clean a school, clean up after small, messy and probably ungrateful little children, though she didn’t mind when it came to work, money was what she needed and any work would do. She had worked as a cleaner, a waitress and a bar maid and so a cleaning job didn’t much bother her. She woke for work every day at 5am; the dark mornings of the British winter didn’t help in her rising and the cold of the season tempted her to stay curled up in bed but never the less she rose and dressed and all on time, sometimes earlier then was necessary. She danced around from foot to foot forcing the warmth into her body whilst the caretaker, her old family friend, opened the gates and doors to the old school; she gingerly walked through each corridor and room turning on the lights before she entered desperate to illuminate the hidden corners and crevices.
     The school was an odd shape in ran from one set of classrooms to a long glass corridor to a second set of classrooms, her area to clean, and then outside and across a court yard was a nursery. The building was old and converted, two adjuring schools brought together to form one. The children who attended ranged from ages 4-8 and they themselves didn’t make a lot of mess for Jordon to clean. It was in fact the teachers who spread the most chaos. She arrived at the school at 6am, the darkness of the night still blanketed the world and many people still slumbered in their beds, she set straight to work; once she had reached her area Jordon gingerly reached through a small gap in each classroom door and flicked on three light switches. She avoided looking into the room until the light had filled it and then fastened the doors open. She then set about filling two buckets, identical barring the colour: one blue and one red, with disinfectant and a mop bucket with lemon scented floor cleaner. She took her marigolds, the two buckets and made her way first to the bathrooms where she cleaned down the basins and wall tiles and scrubbed out the toilets. Once she had done this Jordon carried out a task she hated the most, she had to venture down to the cellar. The cellar was a place filled with noises than drifted through the darkness and made Jordon’s heart beat faster; one thing that scared people universally was the thing that they could not see, the thing hidden around a corner or behind a door or in the darkness and Jordon Granger was no different. She quickly, holding her phoned in her hand, flicked the top light switch on and illuminated the dark concrete stairs. She then tiptoed down the dusty steps and reached around the corner to switch on the second set of lights. She moved quickly from one room to the other and collected the materials that she needed most often paper towels and toilet tissues. Then she filled up the empty holders, including the soap dispensers and then she swept the floor and mopped it. Once she had done this she checked the bins, wiped down the tables and hoovered every inch of ever classroom and the joining areas.
     This routine continued everyday; often her time would be spend longer in one area, if one classroom was particularly unclean, if glitter had been used and often she would bleach out the toilets and the sinks. It became very mundane and tiresome; the same thing every day over and over, early morning after early morning. Jordon often considered listening to her music or an audio book but always changed her mind in fear of not hearing a noise that was not supposed to be. So she continued with her mundane, repetitive tasks day after day. Until one morning something changed.
     Jordon Granger had an overactive imagination and she usually used this to zone out a very boring conversation or situation and she used it to write. Writing was all she would do if she could but unfortunately it often to a back seat in her life, leaving her imagination to run wild. On this particular morning the wind blew icy and spatters of rain attacked any exposed flesh, Jordon stood and waited for the gates and doors to open all the time trying to huddle farther and farther into her coat to the point that she was farther out of the coat then she was in it. Once the front door had been unlocked and buzzed open, the four of them huddled in and each waited for the alarm system to be turned off. Nothing out of the ordinary until the alarm continued to relentlessly blare out. It was stopped. Yet with a single movement it was sounding yet again; refusing for another 5 minutes to turn off, leaving any person in its vicinity with a blinding headache. Once everything seemed quiet each person began to make their way toward their respective areas but before Jordon and the caretaker, who always made their way through the building together, reached the first corridor the door bell sounded, reverberating around the empty building. The both of them looked up, shocked,
“Who is that?” the care-taker, Chris asked
“We’re all here” Jordan replied quietly her heart pounding hard against her chest from fear of the unknown
“I’ll go take a look” the words made Jordon suck in a deep breath; she would have happily left the door locked until the dawn broke when 7:30 showed on the clock faces. But instead she also volunteered to go and look. The two mad their way back to the front doors, Jordon hung back slightly for fear of what they might find, her imagination already running over time though when they reached the doors no one was to be seen outside. The doors were open and each person peered out into the dark morning; they saw not one person. The corners were checked and words were called but no one made themselves seen or answered back and so the two of them made their way back inside, locking the doors. 
     Jordon continued with her work, she made her way through her tasks as she did on any other day however there was something playing on her mind; Jordon had always had a slightly over active imagination and the phantom door bell had stirred her mind. As she went into the darkened classrooms, she quickly switched on each light, keeping her eyes averted, her mind playing tricks on her in the darkness. She moved quickly to the toilets though as she cleaned each tiny bathroom her imagination began to play again, noises drifted in from the corridor, she heard footsteps echo down the corridors, breathing and tapping. Her heart began to pound at an elevated rate, she glanced around the corner, nothing. Jordon continued, she willed the morning darkness to give way to the sunrise but knew that it would not for another couple of hours; she bit her lip and carried on ignoring her imagination.
     As she mopped still more sounds met her ears, creeping, tiptoeing sounds, breathing from behind her, she looked over her shoulder, mopping faster and faster until she had finished. Jordon thought about going to find one of her colleagues but she felt stupid, there was nothing there, no one was stalking up behind her to kill her,
“Idiot” she whispered to herself moving on. For a few minutes as she wiped tables and tidied small chairs her mind behaved itself and then she realised something, her friend who usually came down to see how she was doing had not come down, now her imagination was raging once more,

 Oh god what if they’re, no, no their not, oh no what am I going to do, oh no, what if I’m the only one left

She began to breathe heavily as her heart raced,

You’re being so stupid

She said to herself, she took a deep breath, moving onto the next class room and then the next until she was finished and by the time she had she had once again convinced herself that everything was okay. Jordon continued her work happily without incident until she had to get the Hoover. The Hoover was stored in a cellar, a dark cellar, the main light switch was located at the bottom of the stone stair and Jordon was not happy about going down into the dark. As she moved toward the cellar door, a sound reverberated around the classrooms, something had shifted, she heard a second noise, soon her breathing had escalated again and sweat touched her brow; she moved quickly, ran to the cellar door, grasping at the key, she doped it. Jordon could feel who or whatever was in the building moving closer and closer toward her, she snatched the key from the floor and struggled to get it into the lock, suddenly she felt like one of the girls being chased in a horror film. Finally the key slipped into the lock, a heavy thudding sound filled the air,

Quick, quick

She hurried herself, just as she pulled the door open, she felt it, her foot caught as she fell, her head hit the concrete steps first, her neck bending, though it didn’t snap, her arms flailed outward trying to catch a hold of something but there was nothing to hold; her left wrist bent beneath her as she fell; she landed with a thud at the bottom, her breathing heavy and strained.
As she lay there silently dying, she looked up toward the top of the stair, no one stood there, no one had been behind her or creeping up to get her, and now all she could hear was the slowing beat of her own heart as she felt the heat rise from the blood slowly spilling from her broken skull and she thought, finally, to herself, my imagination just killed me.                

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