José Suarez: Spooky action, not so distant
During my senior year of high school, I worked for Vector Marketing/Cutco — don’t judge me, I didn’t know any better. Part of the job was setting up appointments with potential customers and meeting them at their home. This particular appointment was no different than any others, save how far away it was — almost five hours round-trip.
As I walked up the stairway to the customer’s door, I distinctly remembered hearing the chatter and noise of what must’ve been some kind of get-together occurring, which energized me — because potentially, even if the appointment goes badly I could get more clients or do more presentations.
I checked the address to confirm it was the right place, knocked on the door and … no answer. “Okay,” I thought to myself, “they seemed fairly busy out there, it totally makes sense that no one might be able to hear me knock.” I knocked louder … nothing. I yelled my name and the reason I was there and still … nothing.
“No worries, I’ll just try to wave someone down at their get-together.”
I turned and took a few steps towards the gate to their backyard and … silence. A surreal silence — it wasn’t just that the voices and conversations abruptly ended, I couldn’t even hear the sound of birds or anything else that had been in the background besides a sharp, howling wind.
I turned back to the door and the small window pane beside it quickly drew its drape, but I didn’t actually see anyone (or anything) pulling it.
“Hello?” I nervously called out. I decided to reach out to the doorknob, and before I can even place my hand on it, the door is pulled shut with a surprising amount of force, breaking the silence. Had it been open?
I left immediately and never called back or returned.
Maya Salem: My Housemate Emile (is a ghost.)
On August 2, we got an email from housing about our new resident. His name was Emile Austen Blanc, and he would be taking the single room adjacent to mine.
Emile moved in the middle of the night, almost soundlessly. And one day, he was just there. I never saw him, but I heard him — doors opening and closing, water faucets running, floorboards creaking. After a few weeks with no organic run-ins, I made a concerted effort to say hello. I knocked on his door, but he never made a sound. I slid notes that went unanswered. I baked cookies, attempting to lure him.
My housemates and I were perplexed. We had been living with a stranger for three weeks.
Until one day, this week. I had heard Emile’s door open and saw my opportunity. Planning to corner him in the hallway, I sprinted out, but nobody was there. So, I waited in front of his door.
Bored, I leaned against the opposite wall, scrolling through emails. Suddenly, a far-off door slammed and a cold air brushed past me. I peered down the hallway after it and as I turned back, I saw Emile’s door closing in front of me.
Flustered as to how he passed by me without sound, I lunged forward to catch the closing door, but it slammed shut.
“Emile? Hello?” I tapped gently on the door.
There was no answer. I took a breath.
“If you’re there, can you make your presence known?”
And with that, I felt a brush of cool air crawl up my left forearm. I moved to rub away the cold sensation when the door handle began to jiggle slightly.
“Emile?” I whispered, heart racing.
The lights flickered. My palm, resting flat on the door, was suddenly vibrating with a cold, dull echo from deep within the wooden panels.
I immediately dropped my hand and ran.