YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE ME, BUT IT HAPPENS EVERY YEAR.
Throughout the week of Halloween, our office becomes haunted. It used to just be small questionable events, like the lights flickering on and off, or the stapler running out of staples. Did a satanic ghost take all of the staples? Maybe, or maybe it was just your imagination. But this year was different….
I brought in donuts last Monday to kick off the week with a sugary boost of happiness. Of course, I don’t want to give my employees the idea that anything is free, so I charge $2 per donut. It works out to where I end up making money from the donuts since I picked them up super cheap before the bakery closed Friday night.
Everyone seemed to be enjoying them until one of our senior employees, Fred, began ranting on about how stale they looked and how he can’t afford to buy one. I probably should have ignored him, but this wasn’t the first time he gave me shit. So, instead, I said “It’s your sales numbers that are stale, Fred. Maybe if you had hit your quota last week, you could afford a donut.” Fred stormed off back to his desk, cursing under his breath.
About an hour later, I received an email from him. “You are unfair! Your head must be stuck far up your ass!” As I typed out my reply, my fingers felt like they were being pulled from key to key like a possessed Ouija board. I read it back to myself, and it said: “Watch it, Fred, or I’ll stick your head in the water cooler.“Perfect! I hit send and got back to work.
THE NEXT DAY
I showed up to the office early to hang up Halloween decorations. As I was spray painting a pentagram on the wall in the break room, I noticed that someone had tampered with the water cooler. I grabbed a Dixie cup and pushed the lever, watching as red liquid oozed out of the container. I took a sip and immediately spit it out. “Yuck! Is that blood?“. Took another sip, “What the yuck! That is yucking blood!“
I drank a bunch more just to make sure, until I noticed where all this blood had been coming from – Fred’s head! His head was just floating around in the bloody container! Crikey! I freaked out, not sure how to react, and decided to drink some more blood and get rid of the water cooler. We were just working on an article on search engine marketing, but this was a total distraction!
Throughout the rest of the day, everyone was asking me what happened to the water cooler, what happened to Fred, why I was covered in blood. I realized that I had to get rid of that email I sent to him yesterday. If anyone reads the email and finds the water cooler, I’ll have a hell of a time explaining what happened. After all, I didn’t kill Fred, just drank his blood and hid the evidence. Whoever killed him may have already seen the email I sent to him. I knew what I needed to do.
The following afternoon, I snuck over to Fred’s desk to steal his computer so I could destroy it, along with the email inside of it. As soon as I pulled the plugs out of the wall, there was a loud BANG! The front door had blown open, as if there was a strong gust of wind, and papers started flying around the office. Oh shit… I had forgotten that our office becomes haunted every year!
Last Halloween, and the Halloween before that, and the Halloween before that Halloween. As Halloween back as I could remember, evil spirits from the abyss had risen to fulfill their biblical prophecies. I realized now what had killed Fred. The same demonic apparitions that visit us from the nether realm every Halloween.
BEFORE I COULD WALK AWAY WITH THE COMPUTER, I HEARD A VOICE
“Hey, is something wrong with that machine?“. Great, the IT guy, Dwayne.
“Yes, Dwayne. It’s not working properly, so I’m going to replace it.“, I continued walking away.
“Well, I wasn’t aware of any issues.“, he said, “Don’t throw it away until I look at it.“
That smug prick, thinks he knows everything about technology. I mean, he knows quite a bit, but he acts like he can fix anything. I mean, he can fix quite a bit, but screw that guy. “Fine, Dwayne, here you go.” I handed him the computer and watched him walk away, trudging upstairs with my fate in his hands. Would he get a life in the Social Media world in the end?
As Dwayne headed up the stairs, a couple of employees walked over to me, complaining about unpaid commissions, or something, wasn’t paying attention. Suddenly, the lights went out and there was a tumbling-down-the-stairs sound, followed by a loud crash. The lights flickered back on. There was Fred’s computer in pieces at the bottom of the stairs. Smiling with relief, I asked the two employees to meet me in the conference room to discuss their commission issue.
The employees, Dawn and Michelle, sat across from me at the conference table rambling on about not getting paid properly for their sales. As they spoke, I thought about how much I hated them both. These two ditzes just got hired last month and they think they can demand money? They’re both unproductive and ungrateful. If only I were an axe murderer, I’d murder them both with an axe.
I cut them off. “Listen, both of you have been doing mediocre at best. You didn’t get paid for your sales because you didn’t hit your goals. I suggest that you both keep your heads focused on doing your own jobs instead of questioning whether or not I’m doing mine.” I left them sitting in the conference room, speechless.
EARLY THURSDAY MORNING
I had finally finished decorating the office for Halloween. There was a carved pumpkin on every desk, glow in the dark skeleton posters on the walls, and a giant iron cauldron boiling over in the middle of the office for our annual All Hallows’ Eve Employee Achievement Ritual Sacrifice. I called Jamie over to give me a hand. “Jamie.”, I said, “Give me a hand.”
Jamie was a dumb kid with no life and a pathetic loser attitude who I suspect he’s merely trying to help a friend get his blog posts up and running. “What do you want me to do, mam?”, he asked. This stupid little punk must never pay attention to anything. How can he not know what to do? We’ve done this many times before. Or wait. He wasn’t here last year. Now that I think of it, none of them were. What happened to those other people? We must have a high turnover rate.
“Everyone please gather around!” I called my employees over for a quick holiday-themed pep talk. “Listen. I know there’s been a lot of strange events happening around the office recently.”
The employees agreed. “Did you see the door blow open the other day?”, one asked. “And the lights flickered off too!”, another chimed in.
“Yes,” I explained, “and since none of you were here last Halloween, I figured I should point something out. Our office is-”
Lori from HR interrupted, “Where’s Fred been? Has anyone heard from Fred?” The other employees looked around, “The new girls, Dawn and Michelle, never showed up today”, “I haven’t seen Dwayne either.”
Wonderful, I thought. Now, Lori has everyone worried with her great storytelling attitude… Who does she think she is? It’s none of her damned business where those people are. I mean, it is technically her job, but she’s scaring everyone for no reason. I mean, she has a reason to be scared. She just doesn’t know it yet.
Before I could tell Lori to shut her mouth, Jamie came running over in a panic. “Guys! Look what I just found!” He held up a large axe, covered in dark red dried blood.
I snatched the axe from Jamie, accidentally cutting the top of his hand with the blade. “Damnit, Jamie!“, I yelled as he stood there holding his hand in agony. The room fell silent. I looked around, while my employees stared at me, wide-eyed, mouths hanging open.
What’s wrong with these people? It was clearly an accident, but they’re looking at me like I’m some kind of monster. Every year, I try so hard to give them a memorable holiday, and every year they take it for granted. They just don’t care. Whenever there’s a new project kick-off, they seem to be sleeping…They just don’t deserve it.
THERE WAS A FLASH OF LIGHTNING, THEN BOOM!
Thunder roared outside as rain started to pour down from the blackened sky. The power to the building went out abruptly. Everyone turned their heads when a loud scream was heard coming from the break room.
We all ran over to see who it was, but the room was pitch black. I could hear Lori whimpering near the corner of the room. Another flash of lightning revealed what caused her to scream. Fred’s head sat bloody on the break room table next to her.
“Lori, it’s me.” I reached out and grabbed her hand but she jerked it away. “It’s just a decoration, Lori. Just like the axe.“
“It looks just like Fred“, she cried.
“I know it does, but it’s not.” It was nearly impossible to calm her down, but she finally caved in and stood up. “Come upstairs with me to my office, Lori.” I turned and looked at the others. “Everyone else, listen closely. Our office is not safe right now. I need everyone to stay calm, grab some candles, and head down to the basement until the storm passes.“
While everyone walked away, my mind was racing. How did the head end up on the table? How much does Lori know? I decided that it would be best if Lori and I discussed this one on one, before explaining what happened to the group.
We stepped into my office, the room lit with a few candles and glow in the dark posters. “You keep these lit candles unattended up here?”, she asked.
“That’s why I asked you to come up here with me Lori. I didn’t light these candles. We are not alone in here.“
“What did you do to Fred?“
“I didn’t kill Fred, Lori. I didn’t shove Dwayne down the stairs. I didn’t chop up Dawn and Michelle. It wasn’t me.“
“Why are you still carrying that axe?“
She’s so dramatic. How can I convince any of these people to listen to me if they don’t trust me? The others would probably trust me if our HR rep wasn’t constantly hovering over my shoulder, contradicting everything I say. I wish she couldn’t speak at all.
After Lori was finished speaking, I grabbed a candle to make my way down to the basement, where the others were patiently waiting.
OR SO I THOUGHT.
As soon as I reached for the handle to open the door to the top of the basement stairs, my nose was stung by the smell of kerosene coming from under the door. I touched the handle, and it was cold, but the door was locked.
My candle was starting to burn out, so I didn’t notice the gas can by my feet until after I had accidentally kicked it over. That must be where the smell is coming from.
My ears were ringing loudly but I could hear voices coming from behind the door. As the candlelight became dimmer, the voices got louder and louder, until I realized they were screams.
The light became dimmer and the screams became louder. They were screams of terror and pain. I could barely see through the thick black smoke. They were screaming for help. The candlelight died out. They were screaming for me.
Thank God it’s Friday!
I’ve been sitting at my desk, answering emails, running campaign reports, and enjoying the peace and quiet. It’s almost noon and I haven’t noticed anything out of the ordinary. No flickering lights, no gusts of wind. I haven’t even heard a single complaint from my staff all day. I did run out of staples, which is strange, but I feel confident that our office has finally been cleansed of the evil that’s haunted it for so many years!
On second thought, it’s a bit too quiet in here. I’ll probably need to post a job offer online to fill some of these empty seats.
While I was typing up the job offer, someone walked in the office. It was the receptionist, Pauline who is actually in the process of getting back to college so she just submitted her new college application. What the hell is she doing here?
“Hi there! Sorry, I’ve been out sick all week. Just stopping by to pick up my paycheck.“
You unbelievable bitch… this ends now.
“Sure, Pauline. Meet me upstairs in my office.”