Church bells were ringing when Lucy had woken up. Slightly startled, and even more slightly confused she found herself sitting up straight. She frowned, not knowing where the ringing came from. After all, the nearest church was over a mile away. She looked at her alarm, and saw it was only midnight. Shaking her head, and deciding it must have been a dream, she laid down again and tried to fall back asleep. Still, she felt uneasy. She had the feeling several pairs of eyes were watching her every breath. She held her new necklace in her hand, a gift from her grandmother, and steadied her breath.
‘It’s absolutely nothing’, she mumbled. ‘Keep yourself together Lucy.’ She closed her eyes, started to doze off when…
‘BANG’ the loud sound of a church bell rang through her room. Lucy shot up. Looked around. No one. She turned her light on. Looked in her closet. Under the bed. In the hallway. She was alone. There were no churches. Had she really imagined this all? This noise, so loud, so real…
She shook her head, and decided to take a glass of water, sit down with a book and wait for sleep to come for her. Maybe that way she would be distracted. It was her imagination after all.
She sat down, opened her book and began to read. Shortly after she must have fallen asleep, for when she woke up at 8 a.m. the next morning, the novel laid in shreds at the end of her bed.
‘Oh no’, Lucy picked up the book and looked at the damage. The cover was torn, and several pages were ripped out. She picked up all the pieces, laid it on her desk and rubbed her eyes. ‘This is not real Lucy… This is not real! It must have been a cat or something. I probably just left the window open and a cat must have gotten in and taken my book.’ But even then, Lucy knew, that it wasn’t a cat. The window had been closed all night, and she knew better. She knew what was going on. She just didn’t believe it. Didn’t dare to.
After she went to work she had slowly became certain that the occurrences from the night before had been her imagination, and by the time she was about to have her lunch she had forgotten all about it. And if the thought did cross her mind, she blamed it on a dream. Just a very vivid dream.
When she sat down in the park behind her office to eat her lunch another strange thing happened. She was about to open her lunchbox when she noticed a foul smell. Rotten eggs smelt better. With a look filled with disgust she opened her lunch, and inspected her food. All of it seemed to be quite fresh. Once again she shook her head, this time blaming it on the wind. There must be a filled trashcan somewhere around here, she thought, and the wind must have carried the smell with her.
She decided to not let it bother her, and she enjoyed her lunch in the bright sun before having to go back to work. She ate quietly, listening to the birds, watching the people pass. It was peaceful.
Until she had the feeling she was not alone. She felt eyes burning on her back. Quickly she turned around to see… nothing. An empty field. ‘What’s going on with me?’ she wondered out loud. ‘All of this is just my imagination.’ Mumbling this she packed her things and went back to the office.
She took the elevator up, feeling unnaturally uneasy. She had never feared elevators. Why start now? With a soft ‘ding’ she noticed that she was on her floor, and stepped out of the lift.
She went straight to her desk, sat down, got herself a nice cup of coffee and started working again. She talked to some of her colleagues, wrote some notes and made some phone-calls and soon it was time for her to go home. She stood up, after packing her stuff, and realized she was one of the last people on the floor. She said them goodbye, and walked down.
When she passed the bathroom she heard a cry coming from inside. She stopped in her tracks. Lucy wondered. Was it real? Or just her imagination at it again? She knocked on the door. ‘Hello?’
She opened the door softly, and peaked through the gap. ‘Is anyone here?’
She opened the door a bit further and stepped inside. A thick, stiff air hung around her and the feeling of being watched came back to her. She stood in the middle of the room and had checked all the stalls. All of them were open, except for one. That was the one that had been clogged several weeks ago and still not repaired.
‘It must have been somewhere else then…’ before she could properly finish her sentence a loud bang filled the room. It echoed on the walls. The mirrors shook in their frame. Lucy turned around, just in time. She saw a young girl disappear.
‘Who are you?!’ Lucy yelled, nervously awaiting an answer.
‘Little girl! Tell me, who are you?!’
Once again she was met with silence. All of the bathroom stalls were empty, when she checked once again. Poor Lucy began to wonder if she’d gone insane. She looked around, and shook her head. No one was there. There was no little girl. Just her. Alone. In the bathroom at work. Nothing else.
She heard a soft giggle behind her. Quickly she turned around. ‘Stop this!’ she shouted. She rubbed her eyes. This wasn’t real. It couldn’t be.
Silence. All there was, was a thick, deafening silence. Lucy stood there, frozen. Did she dare to look around? Would she be met with silence, emptiness or…?
All the taps turned on. Water splashing down, streaming down. Filling the sinks, overrunning on the floor. More water came down, and it kept coming. Only more and more.
Lucy screamed, ran towards the taps and turned them off. But no matter how hard she tried, they always turned back on.
‘Stop it! Stop it! Please!’ she screamed, ‘I’ve had enough! You win! I’m done! You win!’
Tears ran down her face. Fear stuck in her eyes. Shaking she looked around. The taps had turned off.
‘Are you alright?’ Lucy yelped. One of her coworkers, Matt, she believed, was standing in the doorway. She ran towards him, and looked at him.
‘Please tell me you see it too.’ She begged. She pointed at the water all over the bathroom floor. Matt looked puzzled. ‘See what? What happened Lucy?’
‘The taps… someone was here… and…’ How could she continue this sentence? She herself hardly believed what had happened. She became quiet and looked at Matt with pleading eyes.
‘I’ll take a look okay? Just stay here.’ He walked further into the bathroom, checked the stalls, the taps, even looked under them. He got up and shook his head. ‘No one’s here Lucy. Only us. The taps are off, and there is no water on the floor anywhere.’ Lucy shook her head in disbelieve. She saw the water, liters of it, right there, on the floor.
‘It must have been the light,’ she said quietly. Matt nodded. ‘Probably. Why don’t you stay home tomorrow? You seem to be getting a cold.’
She nodded and waved him off. When he was gone she closed the door and broke down into tears. She glided down the wall until she sat on the floor, not caring that her clothing got wet.
Sitting there, crying she remembered what her dad had told her once. Her great-grandmother had been a gifted woman. She had created Lucy’s new necklace, and had done lots of good in her life. She had lived in a small cottage in the forest, with lots of weird antiquities stalled in and around the house. When she had passed, Lucy’s grandmother had started to live in the house where she had once lived. Quickly after moving in her grandmother had some supernatural problems. Nothing she couldn’t solve of course, but still, the evidence was there.
The moving furniture, the messages in blood scribbled on the walls. Lucy’s grandmother had moved out shortly after that, and had taken the necklace with her. Lucy closed her eyes, think back even harder. Had her father not said it was a ghost that had troubled her grandmother? And didn’t he seem to believe it?
She looked up, laughing an emotionless laugh through her tears. ‘Yeah, right… ghosts. Ghosts.’ She tasted the words on her lips. Could it be possible? The clocks? The foul smell? The feeling of being watched?
‘Well, I can deal with ghosts right?’ She stood up, and looked in the mirror. ‘I’m a living being. They’re gone. They’re dead. They’re only ghosts. They can’t hurt me.’
Oh, how she wished she hadn’t said that. A bright flash shot through the room. Hundred invisible hands pulled her backwards, and pushed her with enormous force against the walls. The mirrors broke, broken glass flying around. Fragments hit Lucy everywhere, her eyes, her legs, her arms, all covered in the pieces of glass. Her whole body seemed to sting. She cried out.
Giggling behind her. She tried to look. Only walls. No space for anyone else. ‘Why are you doing this to me?’ Lucy cried.
The taps turned on once again. Water came pouring out at an abnormal speed. Quickly the room was filled with a meter of water. ‘Stop this! I didn’t do anything wrong! Leave me alone!’
Another pair of giggles echoed through the room. Invisible hands pulling Lucy down. Water. All around her. Closing in on her. Darker and darker. She couldn’t see. Couldn’t hear. Couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t think. She became limp and sunk to the ground, deeper and deeper.
With a gasp she’d woken up.
In the distance a church bell was ringing. She was confused. Where did it came from? Shaking her head, she looked at the clock.
It was only midnight.