Night Watchman Job
Y.K., NSW, Australia
I would like to point out that this story is rather long, but it is interesting all the same. Best of all, it is all true!
A few years back, when I was 17 I was worked as a brickies labourer, being that age, I just got all the newby jobs like mixing mud and stuff, anyway, after a few weeks the boss asked my superior, the labourer I worked under, if I wanted to come work with most of the other guys on demolishing the insides of a disused private hospital as well as staying there during the night to make sure everything remained normal. It wasn't exactly legal, but they knew I needed somewhere better to stay and the extra money.
So I left my usual work mates at the old site (A creepy old nursing home in the outer suburbs of Campbelltown N.S.W, no less) for the new project; turning a not so old (maybe 40 years at most) private hospital into another nursing home in Greenacre, closer to Sydney.
Everyone thought I was crazy, most stated they couldn't be paid enough to stay in that place alone at night by themselves. But being a "scared of nothing" teenager with too much curiosity and needing money, I couldn't refuse.
The first day was fair enough, tearing down interior walls and the like, the place was well lit naturally and was quite nice inside. I chose the room I would be staying in, a nice private room in the maternity ward, which was one of the newer parts of the building, the only room with a double bed, it also had an ensuite and private courtyard access, as well as a damn fine air conditioner that kept the room an even 21 degrees no matter the temperature. I was set!
I was aware that, you know, strange things were liable to go on in this place, but nothing concrete for a while, although the first night there was nerve racking, all by myself, no TV or anything.
I missed a lot of sleep that night, but I was more than glad to have found an old clock-radio in a nurses station in the old ward down the back of the block, an area I grew to dislike the more I went there.
After a few weeks, I was aware that things were happening in there, most notably would be complaints of certain windows being open in the morning that I had personally closed on my rounds the previous afternoon. Tools being moved and such, common stuff really.
After a while longer other things started becoming a staple. The alarm would go off at all hours of the morning for no reason. This was most annoying, because it became a nuisance, happening sometimes 3 times a night. There would be no real reason why they were going off, but I did get to know the Security Officer who would be sent out as a result, nice guy. By the end he would just come and knock on my door after these incidents and we would chat for a while as we would do a circuit of the wards. The strange thing was this though, the Security Company would get the alarm signal, and their computers would say which sensor detected movement, regularly it would be the one that faced down the hallway outside my room, which was impossible to get into without tripping at least three other sensors each way from the the front Admin entrance/Ambulance bay and the back office (night desk) at the rear end of the maternity suite. We maintained it was a fault, though the technicians apparently were adamant that there was no fault.
The constant complaints from the alarm noise from neighbours and the fact that there was little I could do about it was what eventually got me fired. Though by the end.......... I couldn't care less.
Now, after I stopped working during the days with the demolition/construction crews (through fatigue from lack of sleep and resulting antisocialism) I had more time to get to know the place, and way too much time by myself of course. Over time I developed an erratic case of narcolepsy and when that wasn't bugging me I had a purely daytime sleeping habit, since there was no disruption during the day as the maternity ward was to be the last to be worked on, if at all in some cases.
I got to know the hospital well, I explored all I could, from every room to even the drainage creek that ran under the dreaded rear wards and the supply building and specialist center out back, where I stocked up on abandoned office supplies and furniture. I even got a veritable booty from the kitchen, which I didn't like being in either.
By this time I had already mapped out in my mind where I would move about at night, and which way depending on where I needed to go and to avoid the areas that concerned me.
The main areas I avoided, unless accompanied or completely necessary, included the (now infamous between friends I spoke to about it and had visited me) rear ward wing, the upstairs nurses station, the kitchen and now a certain room in the back of the maternity ward. It helped my mind to avoid these places, but there was no total comfort in that place, even just rethinking walking about in that place gives me some nervous reactions, and also thinking about it, at night even with all the lights on, after the calming flow of light during the day, everywhere in the place was transformed into this foreboding dank labyrinth of dull paint, wards and hospital beds. I hated it there at night.
The back ward wasn't frequented by me much at all, I don't think I ever went down there alone at night, ever, I just rationalised that it would be easier to forget it.
The three times I remember being down there at night was this certain time with the "Security Dude", as we called him, which he found funny. When we were patrolling down that area the whole atmosphere was amiss and I even think he knew this, but he did his best not to show it. I think he even stopped looking down there after a while, as one of the rooms I hated most was down there, the room that would be found open, windows and all, most mornings. The second time my girlfriend who I enlisted to stay with me, making things a lot easier, and I were walking down there one night, to go through a drawer of keys I discovered some time earlier, hopefully to find the keys to certain doors that would make getting through the place easier. (The key we were after opened a door to an office next to the main admin desk at the front, the door was on the other side of the courtyard that was outside my room, this made getting to the front easier, especially since I didn't have to trip the alarm going through the corridors, instead the only sensor that would go off was the admin one, which would relay warning beeps through the alarm console, giving more than enough time to enter the code before it went off.) Anyhow, walking down the hallway toward the nurses station which had the drawer of keys in it, we both started to get the chills bad, especially since we had to pass the 'open room' to get there. We were expecting the worst when all of a sudden the fire door at the far end of the hall opened up and a man walked in and almost immediately froze when he saw us, needless to say, all three of us had our own seperate heart attacks at that moment. He was just a harmless intruder who usually walked through the grounds to get to his house behind the place, and on that particular night had noticed the fire door ajar, and decided to check it out. The door was actually open, inexplicably, there would have been a lot of noise to have opened it from the other side if closed, since it was usually locked and near on impossible to open from the outside without the right keys, which I had. He was curious if there was scrap metal about to salvage and asked if we had been squatting there. I lied and told him that we were, and we hid from the builders well. He was gullible and we were convincing, I got him to leave under the guise that it was about time for the routine security check and we were running out of time ourselves. Later I caught him again in there with a box full of copper piping, and I managed to trip the alarm and leave the building before he noticed. I watched from the park over the road as security arrived, followed by the Police.
The last time I remember was a light hearted night where I had a few friends over for drinks after a day out. I gave them the Grand tour and explained all the apparent problem areas. They were enthralled. We found the old wheelchairs in the back ward and decided to have a race up the hallway, my mate suddenly stopped and his hand was bleeding. He said that it was like someone just jammed down the brakes right onto his hand, which was strange since the brakes on that particular chair didn't have any power in them at all. The only way to stop the thing was to really jam the brakes down, he couldn't have done it since his hand was on the wheel under the brake. He was rather freaked, so we retired back to my room to chill out.
I think that was the last time I went down there.
This wasn't the end of it of course (I hear you groaning at the prospect of MORE to this story, sorry), now about my area, which developed over time to be the most active, maybe because I was there.
One night when my girlfriend was leaving to go home for the weekend we checked to see if the intercom between the front door and the back desk was still working. We tried for a bit, but we couldn't get anything bar some distant crackling, so we left it alone and she left. About an hour later a storm came over. It wasn't particularly fierce, just some thunder and the odd flash of lightning through the curtains and the regular static interference on the TV. The storm eventually passed over and I was almost asleep. After a while I noticed a noise that wasn't the TV, and it was getting louder. I muted the TV, and focused on the sound, which was coming from the hall. I listened for a while, it was like no noise I had ever heard before, it was a sickening electronic droning screech kind of sound, it wouldn't stop, it was making me more and more frightened over time, it was really starting to dig into my head. Enough of this noise could send the most well adjusted man insane, it was just horrible. I finally decided it was time to be rid of it, whatever the hell it was. So, brandishing the meanest looking length of metal I had kept for my rooms security, I opened the door, ready for anything and hoping for nothing. The first thing I noticed was that for some unknown reason, the fire containment doors had closed on their own. There was a set just meters from my room in both directions and they make a decent thud when closing, I hadn't heard a thing. I carefully opened one of the fire doors, poised to strike anything, but was just met with the sound, now more loud and clear, I was certainly close. I gathered it was coming from the back desk, and it was almost completely dark down there beside the EXIT sign above the entrance to the car park. I thought to myself how much this situation annoyed me more than scared me now, so I upped the pace and went straight for the light switches behind the desk, by this time I noticed the source of the noise was right next to me. The florescent lights flickered on and I saw something that will baffle me until the day I die. The intercom that I had been playing with not a few hours earlier was hanging about a foot from the ground by it's wires and making the noise. It had been completely ripped from the wall. If it had fallen under it's own weight there would be no way it would have taken the chunk of the wall that was still stuck to the back of it, there was some decent force to get this thing off. I scratched my head over it for a minute or two, trying to fiddle with the buttons to stop it making this noise, that up close, sounded distantly human. I gave up and with one enthusiastic yank, ripped the chords out to silence it. No one asked me about it the next day though they wondered why all the fire-doors were shut.
Now, one of the rooms I hated was only meters from the office, this room always had a different smell to it, but only at night, the thing is the smells weren't offensive but familiar. The only one I managed to identify was peanut-butter on toast, I know, weird huh? The door to this room was invariably open any time I went passed it, whether on not I closed it in the afternoon. I had to pass it to get to the coke machine at the other end, and regularly I would catch something peeking around the door. I never saw it long enough to tell what it was, but it was green.
The bombshell came after the activity around the maternity ward was getting more frequent. Nothing had ever happened in my room until this night, I don't think it left either.
My girlfriend was in the shower, and I was sitting there fumbling with my bass guitar with three strings and a missing machine head. I was leaning down to adjust the setting on my Amp and I was facing the door. To my disbelief, in full view, a leg, translucent, strode through my closed door and disappeared. I sat there, perplexed and trying to make sense of what I had just seen. I am sure the last thing I needed on my mind in this place was someone else in my room, let alone one with an eager long stride and well pressed slacks (this was very clear). I never saw anything like that again, but he was, still there, I knew it. He wasn't there to try and talk to me or scare me or anything. If anything, I think he fancied my girlfriend, because not long after that she started talking conversationally in her sleep, something I had never seen her do before. It was only ever between her and someone she called 'Charlie', who she believed to be an Angel (yes I am aware of the tragic pun there). I would be awake at night, or be woken up by her chatting away, she always seemed very pleased to see him, they made quite a friendship, talking about stuff, not stuff I remember, just stuff. I started to ignore it after a while as it didn't concern me and she never seemed bothered by it either, though she has absolutely no recollection of these incidents.
Finally I moved to Alexandria in the cities southern industrial area, walking distance from Redfern. I had most of the stuff from the hospital which I could keep, except for the bed, I even snaffled the TV my boss had supplied for me, which he was none too happy about. I remember a few weeks after moving in, she had one more of these unconscious conversations with Charlie. I remember asking him something like 'Why do I have to watch TV tomorrow night?', thats all I remembered from that, only because of it's significance. The day after that my old boss rang saying he wanted the TV back, 'or else', I relented it for moral cause as I wasn't scared of him, he was all talk on the phone but in person reminded me of that unfortunate looking fellow who used to supply the voice for Piglet on the old cartoons of Winnie The Pooh.
It was the last night I had the TV anyway, and I wasn't watching it or anything, I think I was elsewhere in the building, then for some reason I remembered the sleeping conversation from the previous night. So I sat down and chucked the TV on curiously, I was shocked at what I was seeing, the same thing on every channel. I watched for hours. You might have been watching at the same time, I remember the day perfectly, only because it's a historical day now, I remember it was September 11th.
I since have broken up with that girl, moved on with my life and had several more TV's, I have even had several more experiences, but I have taken up enough time already, hope you enjoyed this, if anything, 'short novel' of a ghost story...