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(MYST) The Friendly Ghost

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posted on Jan, 9 2006 @ 11:20 AM
Hi everyone, I hope you like my effort. It's partly based on events that happened whilst at work one evening. Names and places have been changed to protect the innocent, including myself

The Friendly Ghost

They’d been working late and the light outside the office had faded to dusk almost two hours ago. Now, it was an inky black outside the windows and all you could see when peering out was a perfect reflection of yourself.

Stephen groaned and stretched as he pushed the chair he was sitting on away from the desk, the castors softly squeaking along the bland grey office carpet. He’d been squinting at the screen of his laptop for what seemed like an age and he needed a break.
“Anyone for a cigarette?” he asked, aware he was the only smoker in the office.
“Guess that’s just me then!” he said as he got up to escape the tedium.

Kate was in the server room with Dave, putting the finishing touches to the new system the team had been installing since the regular office hours had finished at five o’clock, almost four hours ago. Ian, the portly IT manager looked up from his screen in the corner of the office and grinned.
“Have one for me mate, I could do with a shot of nicotine myself.”
“Nah, I’ll just breathe on you when I get back.”
“Best not” Ian replied with a look of disgust on his face and went back to his monitoring of the tape restore.

Stephen tapped on the window into the server room and put two fingers to his mouth in a sideways ‘V’ salute to show he was going to the canteen for a smoke. Dave looked up briefly, his red sweaty face showing the signs of exhaustion no doubt brought on by the fact that he’d had to lift the new server onto the top shelf of one of the tall metal computer racks arrayed along the far wall.
Hell, that was over two hours ago and he was still suffering. Stephen had helped him lift the machine up but he was ten years younger than Dave. And ten stones lighter too. Dave went back to his work at the floor of the rack, arranging the cabling that had been strewn around during the upheaval.
Kate looked around from her position in front of the main server monitor and smiled, giving him a two-finger salute of her own. Stephen mouthed an obscenity through the glass and returned the gesture.
“The minx, she’d definitely get it” he thought in his own smutty way, temporarily forgetting the fact he was married and she’d just moved in with her long-time boyfriend ‘Gay Mark’, as Stephen liked to call him. He turned away and walked the five paces to the door.
“Be back in a bit” he said to Ian as he opened the door. Ian mumbled something incomprehensible without turning around, mesmerised by the slow climbing of the percentage-complete counter on his screen.

He stepped into the dimly lit corridor and made for the double-doors to the stairway a few short strides to the right, still thinking about what he would get up to with Kate should the chance ever arise.

He pushed open the doors but as he did he felt something fall softly against his shoe. He looked down to see a two pence piece lying on the floor beside his right foot. Thinking he must have kicked it while walking down the corridor he bent down and picked it up, giving it a cursory examination before placing it in his pocket.
“Shame it’s not a penny” he thought, remembering the ‘see a penny pick it up and all day you’ll have good luck’ ditty. Just as he was about to step through the doors he felt another soft thud. Then another.
“What the?” He looked down at the carpet and saw two more coins lying next to each other on the floor, a penny and a five pence piece. He looked back the way he came and noted everything was quiet. The office door was closed and the only light was coming from the small kitchen further down at the other end of the corridor, the door slightly ajar allowing the light to filter out.

As he stooped down to pick up the two coins he felt something hit his hand from above and he jumped up quickly. Looking to see what had hit him he noticed a silvery ten pence piece slowly spinning on the carpet before coming to rest.
“Bloody hell” he muttered, the hairs on his neck creeping upwards. He glanced up at the ceiling but everything looked to be in order, the beige painted polystyrene tiles looking back at him with obvious disinterest. Something brushed past his ear. Stepping back smartly against the wall he looked around to see three more coins resting on the carpet. His heart decided now was the time to pump more blood and a certain fear crept into his bones.

A few weeks earlier he had been channel hopping before deciding on a ghostly tales program on one of the innumerable documentary channels. One of the stories presented was about an old pub in a sleepy Lincolnshire hamlet which was haunted by what the occupiers called ‘their friendly ghost.’

For the past several years, coins of both old and modern denomination had apparently materialised out of thin air and come falling to the floor. Several people (all family) had experienced this phenomenon first hand and over time they had managed to accumulate a staggering one hundred pounds in loose change. Naturally enough this didn’t happen while the cameras were there and there was no explanation given as to the purpose of this apparently benign ghost.
“Maybe it likes us” was the landlord’s wife insightful reply.
Stephen had thought the story was a load of old bollocks, whatever they are, but was now rapidly rethinking that supposition.

His hand trembling slightly, he bent down and collected what was now six coins. He made back for the office, half-expecting more coins to come his way as he did so. Reaching the door without further mishap he threw open the door and exclaimed “You’ve gotta see this!”
Kate was stood near the window and Ian had left the sanctuary of his desk and gone into the server room to help Dave.
“What’s up chick?” asked Kate, a little perplexed at her colleagues’ excited expression.
He laid out his palm and showed her the evidence;
“These coins! They just appeared out of mid-air and landed at my feet!”
She looked dubiously at him,
“Yeah right” she said, nervously.
“Come with me, come into the corridor. I swear I’m not making this up!” The door was still ajar, propped open by his foot when he felt something strike his shoe.
“Steve, it’s getting late, you better….”
“Another one!” he cried almost triumphantly.
He stepped back into the corridor and picked up the coin, this time another two pence piece and held it up in the air for her to see. She walked slowly towards the door, clearly expecting this to be some kind of prank.
She was used to the ‘boys’ playing games and thought this was no different. She stepped into the corridor and looked first towards the kitchen, then towards the doors at the other end. The office door closed shut behind her. They both stood in the centre of the corridor.
“So, what are you talking about?”
She barely finished uttering her sentence when she saw a twenty pence piece plop on the floor between them.
“How the hell did you do that?!”
Before Stephen had time to answer, a whole handful of coins landed noisily at their feet. Quickly realising that he hadn’t moved a muscle she let out a piercing shriek and promptly fell back against the wall and slid down to the floor, holding her knees close to her chest in an effort to protect herself from whatever was going on. Stephen was dumbfounded. And becoming very afraid.
He spluttered at her not to be frightened, that it was probably a friendly ghost and it wouldn’t harm them or anything. She looked at him with an expression of panic and confusion, not having the slightest idea what he was blabbering on about.
“If it’s a ghost it’s a friendly one, I’ve seen it on TV.”
More coins came raining down on them. He stood in the centre of the corridor, instinctively ducking down and Kate screamed again. He saw with dismay a small wet patch appearing on her jeans between her legs.
“Make it stop you dickhead! Make it flaming stop!” Kate cried, a mixture of fear and manic laughing that threatened to send Stephen over the edge himself.

The office door burst open and both Ian and Dave ran into the corridor, stopping abruptly when confronted by the crazy scene before them.
“What the chuff is going on!?” Shouted Dave.
“We’re being attacked by a ghost!” cried Kate.
“A friendly ghost” Steve said helpfully.
Ian looked around and saw the coins lying on the floor.
“Where have all these coins come from” he asked.
“The ghost is throwing them, I think” Stephen replied. “I saw something on TV like this but this is mad”.
“Bloody ghosts!”
Dave was not having any of it. He marched off toward the kitchen while everyone looked on in confusion. He reached the kitchen and threw open the door.
“There’s your flaming ghost!”
Billy came bursting out of the kitchen and jumped on Dave, tears of laughter streaming down his face. He turned to face the others and tried to speak but was now laughing uncontrollably.
“Friendly ghost!” he spluttered. “Friendly ghost! My god that is absolutely priceless!” Stephen looked on in horror. Kate just looked blankly and slowly got to her feet. Ian started laughing too but stopped when he noticed the dark patch on Kate’s jeans.

Billy came towards them, a look of sheer enjoyment on his face.
“Where the hell did you come from, you went home ages ago?” Stephen asked, becoming annoyed at how easily he had been taken in by the obvious practical joke. “I’ve wet myself” moaned Kate, which set Billy off even more.
When he calmed down a little bit he told them;
“I came back a few minutes ago to see how you guys were getting on. I looked through the window, saw you getting up, and guessed you would be going for a smoke so I thought I’d play a little game with you. Nice one mate it worked brilliantly!” “B*st*rd, was all Stephen could say.
“But the coins?” asked Kate, clearly bewildered, as was Stephen.
“I just threw them from behind the door; I’m surprised you didn’t see them to be honest.” Kate was clearly embarrassed at her little accident and wasted no time in blaming Stephen;
“I only peed myself because of you, the look of fear on your face scared me even more than the coins themselves!”
She hurried off to the bathroom; more than just a little relieved the whole episode was a joke. She didn’t want to contemplate what would have happened had it been otherwise.

Billy patted Stephen on the back as the guys went back into the office. He knew this one would never be lived down. He tried explaining that he wasn’t really scared but it was no use.
“Friendly ghost!” the other three cried and fell about laughing. Stephen groaned.

Half an hour later the work was finished and they all made their way to the car park to go home, still talking and laughing about the night’s events.
“Where’s your car Billy?” asked Stephen as they went to their cars, noticing his car wasn’t in its usual place.
“I parked over the other side” he replied.
“Oh ok, see you tomorrow then, you git!”
Billy laughed again and patted Steve on the back once more. “Nice one mate.”

Stephen made the journey home in good time, chuckling to himself most of the way. He couldn’t believe he’d fallen for something like that and he knew he was going to suffer at the hands of his workmates. Poor Kate probably wouldn’t speak to him for a week. He chuckled again at the thought of her peeing in her pants. He’d get her back with that one if she ever wound him up in the future, that was for sure.

He entered the house but everything was quiet. It was past midnight and Faye and the kids were already in bed. He boiled some water in the kettle and stuck BBC News24 on the television.
“A cup of hot chocolate and the TV” he thought. He didn’t have to be at work early in the morning and he didn’t feel tired, so he could afford the luxury of watching the box until late. Besides, a re-run of Star Trek would be on at 1am and it was one he’d missed earlier in the series. A news item caught his eye and he turned up the volume to listen.

On the TV was a picture of a car wreck on the motorway. A nasty one at that.
“… the crash happened just after 5pm on the M62 when the Securico lorry crashed through the central reservation and collided with an oncoming car on the westbound carriageway, killing the driver of the car instantly. The Securico driver was seriously injured in the accident and is being treated at Doncaster General Hospital. The motorway was closed both ways for several hours following the accident while recovery works….”
On screen the camera panned from the lorry to the remains of what was once a car. Stephen winced at the sight.
“The poor guy didn’t stand a chance” he thought as the camera zoomed in on the carnage.

A shiver went down his spine as noticed the rear number plate of the smashed vehicle and at the same time he felt something fall on the carpet near his foot.

He looked down to see a shiny new penny resting there on the carpet. He looked back at the screen, his blood turning cold as he felt another coin hit the floor, followed by another, then another.

He stared blankly at the screen.

B1LL 1. Billy’s personalised number plate…

posted on Jan, 18 2006 @ 07:29 PM
Interesting story, Zep Tepi. Written very nicely too. I enjoyed the way it read, from the setting up of the office and the acknowledgement of the characters as you went for your smoke. I could imagine the place in my mind quite easily. Then the friendly ghost, the comical outcome of Bill's prank and finally the car crash and the appearance of a true ghost.

I enjoyed it.

Good luck on the contest.

posted on Jan, 19 2006 @ 06:54 AM
Thanks a lot Masqua, I appreciate your comments

posted on Jan, 22 2006 @ 02:10 PM
My, oh my. That story sent shivers down my back. You done good Zep Tepi. Real good.

posted on Jan, 23 2006 @ 05:55 AM
Thank you CelticHeart

Or should that have been go raibh míle maith agat

[edit on 23-1-2006 by Zep Tepi]

posted on Feb, 3 2006 @ 01:07 AM
Great job with characters and imagery, especially for such a brief work. It was really easy to get an idea of who the people were and what their surroundings were.

I sort of got burnt out on the traditional style ghost story when I was younger, but I have nothing bad to say about this one.

posted on Feb, 3 2006 @ 04:41 AM
Thanks for your comments Vagabond, much appreciated

posted on Feb, 5 2006 @ 07:46 PM
Enjoyed it immensely Zep! You're a wonderful story teller!

posted on Feb, 6 2006 @ 10:02 AM
Thanks Shawnna, I'm glad you enjoyed it

posted on Feb, 7 2006 @ 04:41 PM
Very well written story ZepTepi, I enjoyed reading it.
"The joke that wasn't", made for a good concept and set up us for the nice and spooky ending. Characters, setting all worked well and reader was able to relate almost instantly.


posted on Feb, 7 2006 @ 05:49 PM
Wow! Thanks a lot

That was my first story too, perhaps I'll try some more now

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