Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Moment of Fear


Just so you know, there’s no real point to the following story, just a little slice of life from my day . . .

Have I mentioned before that I think my office is haunted?  Yeah.  I’m frequently the last one at work in the evening, and there have been a couple of times I could have sworn I heard voices, even though no one else was there.  Kinda creepy.  But I don’t think spirits had anything to do with the scare I had today. 

I was once again alone at the office, trying to finish a project while dealing with computers that were not functioning properly after a power surge that happened right at 5:00.  Anyway, somewhere around 5:30/6:00, I thought I heard something up on the roof.  Now, our parking lot is on the roof, but like I said, I was the only one in our office, and the neighbors who share our roof-top parking are government employees, so I was quite certain I wasn’t hearing them at such a late hour.  So I wandered down our hallway, trying to get a better understanding of what I was hearing, when I realized I wasn’t hearing somebody on the roof, but rather, in the ceiling.  You know, like up in the attic space where all the ductwork is and all.  That sort of freaked me out, since I knew we weren’t having any work done, and I still thought it was kind of weird to be having any sort of activity after business hours.  But I just kept hearing somebody doing something up in the ceiling.  Finally, after about ten or fifteen minutes of hearing these random noises, I decided I should set the alarm to make myself feel better.  Not that the alarm would do much good if crazed criminals decided to bust down through the ceiling tiles, of course, but it did make me feel better.

And, just shortly after setting the alarm, the noises died down.  I convinced myself that it was just coincidence, not that I’d scared anybody off with the rather noisy process of getting the alarm system armed.  After all, I knew I was still going to be there a while, and then I’d have to walk out onto that rooftop parking lot all by myself; I didn’t want to think about somebody being up in the rafters. 

So, the clock keeps ticking, I finish my project, and finally, about 645, I was ready to go home.  I gather up my stuff and make a stop in the break room to fill my water glass, and I realize I’m really not looking forward to the trek to my car.  I decide I’m going to call Brian while I’m walking out, and I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to juggle my purse, water glass, and keys, along with the manila envelope I’ve got to take to the mailbox, all while walking up a flight of stairs and talking on my cell phone. Not to mention I’ve got to disarm the alarm, and then set it again as I head out.  I’m not sure I’ve got that kind of coordination.  It was one of the few times I’ve ever wished I had jumped on the Bluetooth headphone craze.

Anyway, as I’m pondering how I’m going to pull off this feat, the silence is suddenly shattered by the ear-splitting sound of the alarm siren blaring through the building.  It is such a fortunate thing I had made a trip to the bathroom just a few minutes earlier, or I probably would have peed my pants.  Oh my gosh, my heart was suddenly pounding a million miles an hour, and my brain was racing about what I should do, though the rest of me was pretty much frozen in place. 

After a few (eternal) seconds, I realized that no crazed criminals had come rushing down the hallway, so I was probably still alone in the office, alarm clamoring notwithstanding.  And then I realized that even if someone had come through one of the alarmed doors, the system should not have alerted immediately like it did, because I hadn’t set it to do that.  Maybe this was the ghosts after all.  Or maybe just a malfunctioning security system.  So, I forced myself to walk over to the control panel and shut off the noise, then listened for more seconds to make sure I really was still alone.  And though it seemed I was, my heart was still pounding, and I was actually shaking just a little.  Wow.  I can’t believe how immediately and truly terrified I was.

I did manage to clear my befuddled brain enough to make a phone call to the boss’ wife to let her know what was going on, since I knew the alarm company would be calling her soon, and I explained that I really didn’t know why the alarm went off; I’m hoping maybe tomorrow she’ll have someone out to look at it.  Like I said, I’m frequently alone at the office, and I’d really rather not have another of those terrifying moments any time soon.  Of course, if it really was the office ghosts, then a repairman might not be much help, but I’ve got my fingers crossed for a more earthly explanation.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I finally decided I really wasn’t coordinated enough to get out with all my stuff, and I absolutely was not making two trips out to that roof, so I opted to sacrifice my water glass in exchange for being able to call Brian on my way out.  And, I typically park toward the far end of our parking lot, just to squeeze in a few extra steps every day, though after slowly opening that outside door tonight (and why do we not have a peep hole, btw?), and seeing my car so very far away, I may have to rethink that practice going forward. 

Anyway, since I’m sitting here telling you all about my scaredy-cat moment, it’s obvious that there were no lurking loonies waiting in the dark, and I made it to my car safely.  Still, tomorrow I might have to think about leaving with the crowd.