I am once again rethinking the reason for doing overtime in this god forsaken office. This project is important to me. As a matter of fact, my promotion depends on it, so it is a pretty darned priority to finish the project by this month’s end. With a week left, my boss sprang a nasty surprise on me and said that I need 2 more years of data to justify the changes I suggest. The fact that these changes could save the team, the office, and all other branches hundreds of thousands of dollars does not matter at all. To my misfortune, my project coincides with another smaller project that my boss’s favourite is submitting, so he is trying his best to block my project and clear the other. I know, this is everyday office politics, and I am determined to come up trumps.
Anyway, coming back to my current dilemma, it is 11:30 in the night and I am the only one on the 3rd floor. For the past 30 minutes, there has been a weird smell in the office and the lights in the corner office have been flickering constantly. I cannot confirm this, but I think there is someone else on the floor above mine, and that person has been frantically searching for something since quite some time. All this is giving the place a very creepy vibe. If my project was not so important, I would have fled this place long ago.
I’m not generally a scaredy cat who believes in Ghost Stories, but I have heard of a few strange occurrences in this building. My office consists of 2 buildings. I started work in the old building that houses a major bulk of the staff. We were recently moved to the new building as part of the office expansion. Since the start, the building has been fraught with unexplained shadows, strange voices, accidents, weird smells and a host of other problems. Many of the housekeeping staff and security refuse to work late in this building. The fact that the whole property is reclaimed graveyard land does not help with the rumours either. Considering this whole back story, I agreed to work late due to sheer desperation and now I am paying for it.
I am tired and overworked, staying late in an empty office building where I hear strange sounds, weird smells and flickering lights. All this seems like a premise for a good horror flick. This thought jolts me out of my daydream. Rather than complaining and getting scared, I decided to wind up my work and come back tomorrow. As I start picking up and packing all my files, I can hear the noises get louder. It sounds like someone speaking in frantic and hushed tones, but the language is strange. This triggers my panic and I randomly stuff all my things into a bag and start running for the door. Weirdly, even those disembodied voices seem to run toward the door. As I open the door, I see a workman looking around in a panicked state. I figured he was the guy searching for something on the floor above, so I called out to him and asked him what he was doing here. He was startled to see me and told me he lost his way out and had been stuck here. Though I find the story unbelievable, I do not waste any time and start toward the exit. I tell him we’ll talk outside as I’m not liking the creepy vibe of this place. We both rush toward the stairwell. The weird smell continues to linger in the air and I feel a sense of foreboding. As any sane person would do, I started chanting gods’ names in my mind and sped up toward the exit. Soon enough, the workman and I exited out of the building into the open, we quickly crossed the yard and ran toward the old building where the security staff are housed.
Once I reach the place, I feel a sense of relief as I see one of the guards run toward me and ask if I was alright. I leave the workman out in the yard and follow the security guard telling him about the scary ordeal. I tell him about the smells and the lights and the sounds. I explained how I met the workman and why we ran out of there. We then turned to the workman to learn his story about why he was in the building.
There was no one there, we looked around the place, but couldn’t find him. I asked the security guard if he saw the person running along with me. I exited the place with a person, so the guard should have noticed someone else too, right? The guard told me he wasn’t sure who it was, though he said he vaguely recalls someone behind me. We decided to check the CCtv to confirm the story. The cameras in the new building were not placed at the best angle yet, so I was not captured in most of them. The last camera in the ground floor caught a good shot of me running across the floor, but the workman was just a blur following me. It appeared that he was moving to fast for the camera to catch a good shot.
All this seems mysterious and creepy to me. Since I was already tired, I decided to book a cab home and forget about this whole incident. I vowed never to stay late in the building again. As I reached home, I had succeeded in pushing the matter to the back of my mind. I worked the whole weekend from home, and finished the project.
Come Monday, I arrived at the office in a fresh and happy mood because I can submit my project today. I also managed to submit my work by the end of the first hour. I felt optimistic for the first time in months. But, my good mood did not last for long.
As soon as I set foot in my office, I was summoned to a meeting by my manager and one over. It seems that the incident from last week has created quite a stir. The security guard scripted a whole horror movie from that incident and he managed to rile up the janitorial staff and the guards. I was apparently the proof and alibi for the story. Within the hour, the story gained notoriety even among the office staff and everyone was panicking. This was the reason why my manager and his manager called me in. We also had the ops director on video call as the matter was getting out of hand.
Despite the whole Ghost sighting fracas, I was more concerned about my project. So, I decided to use this moment to toot my own horn. I started to discuss the importance of my project as the reason for staying late at the office. I also narrated the sequence of events, and tried to play it down as the irrational fear of a tired mind. I told them that I could have been mistaken and the workman must have rushed from there in a hurry too. The director was happy with me for playing down the incident as unimportant. He asked my manager to send an office email to diffuse the matter and downplay the issue. They asked me to corroborate this email to which I readily agreed. We went ahead as planned and the story blew over within a few days. As it was quarterly RnR time, the focus soon shifted to the new projects and promotions.
A month passed before I met the security guard again. He became a local hero, much to the chagrin of the management. When I met him again, the guard told me that he planned to quit his job as he feared retribution from the ghosts. I tried to convince him there was nothing of that sort, but I myself was scared to stay in the building after office hours. Though I convinced the management, I knew what scared me that night was real. During our conversation, as I was trying to convince him to stay, an old man walked up to us. He asked us if we knew about the guy who saw the ghost. We balked and told him it was us. He took out an old photo and asked us if that’s how the ghost looked. We were shocked to see it, so we asked him who it was. The old man got all teary eyed and told us it was his uncle. With a little prodding he told us his story.
The old man’s family were the keepers of the graveyard. The family traditionally kept watch over the graves and ensured that no one disturbed the dead and the dead never disturbed anyone. As a part of this tradition every few centuries, someone from the family was tasked to stay back after death and protect the living trespassers from the dead ones.
Though the graveyard was razed to the ground, the old man’s uncle stayed back on the land to protect the living. He still did his duty to keep the dead from harming the living. The old man proudly stood in front of the new building and prayed to his uncle and told him thanks.
Both the guard and I were shaken by this news. We stood there and prayed as well. We were not sure if we should be scared that the place was actually haunted or to be happy that we had such a diligent protector. By the next quarter, both the guard and I quit the job and hoped never to venture in that premises after dark.