In Thessaloniki

Philippines
September 2004

This is not a ghost story, though no less strange. It is my contribution, having read "Twilight Zone in West Virginia" under the August 2004 listing:

A number of years ago, my father was transferred to Thessaloniki, Greece. The move was rather sudden, so though I was to study at the Pinewood American School in Pilea, the best place his company could get us was at an apartment complex almost an hour�s drive away, somewhere in the boonies. After a few months, they were able to get us more suitable accommodation in Panorama, a bare 15 minute drive from the school.

I remember one Saturday morning (about two weeks after moving in) finding myself bored to tears. The only friends I had were those I made at school, as I couldn�t speak Greek & most of my neighbours (though very friendly) couldn�t speak English, hence, playing with them was quite awkward. That morning, I wouldn�t have minded the inconvenience, save that Greek kids take mandatory military education on Saturday mornings. To top it all off, my parents couldn�t drive me to some friend�s house that day, so I stormed out of the house after breakfast in a huff.

I decided to take a walk, not minding where I went. After about 10 to 15 mins of this, I suddenly took stock of my surroundings & found myself in the woods. I did not find this strange, as I was still getting to know my neighbourhood; besides, I was still on a sidewalk on a well paved road. I remember thinking something like: "Wow! I didn�t know there were woods in this area! Rather like the one we just left behind!"

After a bit, I found it strange that I didn�t see anyone at all, nor other buildings or cars. Panorama is a district of Thessaloniki, Greece�s second largest city, you see, but what did I know? I thought about turning back, but as I was still cross with my parents, I decided to keep going. "Let them worry," the perverse part of my then immature mind thought.

Following the road which seemed more & more familiar ("thank God! I�m NOT lost!" I thought), I followed a bend & found myself shocked to see the apartment we�d just vacated. I remember standing there probably looking rather stupid, I imagine, when I realized its probably just ANOTHER building that looks identical to the one we�d occupied? modern, cookie cutter architecture & all that, you see.

Just as my heart was settling down, it goes into overdrive again when one of my English speaking ex-neighbours, comes out, sees me & calls out, asking what I was doing back! To make a long story short, she takes me to her apartment, calls my parents & they refuse to believe I�m back at the old apartment, especially since barely an hour had passed. Finally convinced I was there, they had to send someone out to pick me up & drive me back to Panorama, almost two hours both ways.

To this day, they still ask me how I managed to pull that one off. No one believes I was able to walk that distance, convinced I probably hitched a ride with someone & somehow got to the old apartment in under an hour.

I (half) jokingly refer to that incident as my "Warp Speed on Foot Day".

Philippines
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