Wednesday, June 23, 2010

And Then, As It Grew Later...

A little addendum to last night's story: So, I posted the previous blog entry, packed up my stuff, and headed for the back door of the library. As I'm walking through the workroom, my cell phone rings (which almost never happens -- maybe a handful of people have that number).

It's Tia. She says she's been trying to call me for a half hour, but both of the library numbers she uses to catch me after closing came up with "out of service" messages. "That's weird," I say. "I think I heard the main line ring a couple times since we closed. Let me check it out."

I hang up. I dial my office number on my cell. Bingo. Behind me in the darkness, the phone starts to ring.

Of course, around this place that's just a little blip on the shudder meter. Not like the night a few years ago when I was sitting at the Circ Desk long after we'd closed, talking to Tia on the phone. Building empty. Lights out. All alone... and the elevator started to run.

I heard it coming down from the third floor. I told Tia I was going to check it out. I set down the receiver. Started walking over to the elevator door. Realized just as I got there that I was doing exactly the kind of stupid thing I always complain about when characters do them in horror movies.

But, hell, I guess (like those characters) I'm just a bucket of Spam waiting to happen -- I hit the elevator button anyway.

The doors slid open.

The elevator was empty. No one was there.

Of course, no one ever is.

Like the nights when we're closing and one of my student workers tells me there's one last person upstairs. We lock the doors. Wait for that person to come down. Finally, we go upstairs looking for that last person. We walk the empty stacks. We check the study carrels. But somehow they're gone... if they were ever there at all.

Or the nights when I'm setting the alarm as I get ready to exit, and the motion detectors tell me there's movement in an empty building.

Or the nights when I'm alone after closing and hear doors slamming upstairs, or metal drawers in the old microfilm cabinets on the third floor opening and closing, or --

Okay. The shudder meter just notched into the red. I think it's time to go home now. Good night.