A Date with Destiny.

Submitted into Contest #65 in response to: Write about someone’s first Halloween as a ghost.... view prompt

3 comments

Suspense Thriller

Janet got her phone out for the hundredth time that morning “One last look.” she said wistfully. She had been single for eighteen months and had had a succession of unsuitable and disastrous dates. “I am going to look one last time then delete the whole app.” She resolved. Flicking through the same losers faces and hopeless cases she stopped. “I haven’t seen him before.” Her fingers rested at Everett Johnson, dark and mysterious looking, her caught her eye. “Occupation……Doctor, great I have always fancied dating a doctor”. Before she had had time to change her mind she typed a friendly message to him and put her phone down.

The phone pinged to life and she snatched it up quickly, her best friend Kate, “Hi Kate, what’s up?” Kate was asking her to go around and spend Halloween with her, her husband, the kids and the neighbors, a pity ask, as she knew that Janet would be alone again. Janet reassured Kate that she had plans and totally did not want to go to a children’s Halloween party at her house.

The phone pinged again, more persuasion Janet guessed. When she looked, much to her delight there was a message from Everett wanting to meet for a drink on Wednesday, Halloween. Hurray, a tingle of excitement spread through Janet “I have a date with a doctor”. She thought happily.

Tuesday after work Janet and Kate met for a coffee, Janet could not wait to tell her about her date with a doctor. After whoops of excitement Janet got out her phone to show Kate his picture. As she flicked through the app and found his picture the phone suddenly went dead. “I don’t know what’s the matter with it” she cried, “The last thing I need is my phone dying on me now”. Shortly after Kate left the phone burst back to life, much to the relief of Janet.

Wednesday night was here at last. Janet walked briskly through the colorful groups of children with their trick or treat costumes and buckets of sweets. She had booked a few hours off work this afternoon and had the full works, haircut and color, manicure, make up and a new dress and shoes. She was determined to leave a good impression on her doctor. She had not heard again from him after arranging the date and doubts began to creep into her mind, what if he does not show up? She pushed the thought from her mind, “Think positive” she chanted.  She had arrived at the pub, it was decorated with fake cobwebs and spiders, a sea of orange and black, she passed two witches, a cat, a ghost and Dracula as she moved to the bar. The window seat had just become vacant so she sat gratefully down to watch the passers-by.

“Hello Janet”. The deep, calming voice jolted her from her thoughts. Here he was, her doctor, a little paler than his picture but every bit as good looking. The conversation flowed freely, as did her drinks, he didn’t drink alcohol he told her, he also told her he had been through a bad time. Janet presumed the two might be connected and didn’t push it further. All too quickly it was time to leave, he offered to drive her home. As he had not mentioned a further date yet Janet agreed, she didn’t want him to slip from her grasp. In the car she would talk about films she would like to see, restaurants she would like to visit and try to prompt him into asking her for a second date. Janet was still a little old fashioned in thinking that the man must ask the woman or he may not really be that interested.

As they walked to the car Janet noticed just how tall Everett was and his long black coat made him look very thin. “I must lose some weight.” Janet thought to herself, I don’t want to look fat next to him. When they got into the car Janet told Everett where she lived and settled back into the passenger seat starting her plan to get a second date, she was talking about films and asking him questions when she realized she was not travelling in the direction of her house.

A shudder of fear went through Janet’s body, her mind racing, “What did she know about this man?” It had been mostly her doing the talking, (a combination of alcohol and nerves), all the terrible news stories flashed into her mind, why had she been so stupid? In the calmest tone she could muster Janet asked “Why are we going this way Everett , my house is back in that direction?”. Everett didn’t take his steely eyes off the road, “I’ve left my bag at work in the hospital; I’m not working tomorrow so I’m calling in to get it now”. Was it her imagination or did his voice have a chilling, creepy tone that was not there earlier.  Janet tried to calm herself down, that was a reasonable explanation wasn’t it? She began thinking of her own survival what she could do, all the while staring at his long fingers in the black gloves, squeezing hard on the steering wheel. She rummaged in her bag and got out her phone, it was dead, yet she knew she had charged it this afternoon.

The relief flooded through her as they pulled up outside the hospital, “Come with me.” Everett said, which seemed more like an order than a request. Janet followed him through the maze of corridors until they came to the back stairs, they were poorly lit and a strong smell of damp hit her.  Their footsteps echoed in the deserted stairwell. Everett walked ahead of her at a brisk pace, his black coat disappearing around each corner, Janet could not walk as fast as Everett, with his long legs and tall figure. “Everett, wait”. Janet pleaded. “Follow me, keep going.” Everett replied getting further and further ahead of her. Janet heard an eerie creak and a loud slam, her heart was pounding. “Everett” she called. Everett didn’t answer. The stairwell was cold and the only light started flickering on and off, Janet knew going all the way back down the stairs in darkness on her own wasn’t an option so she ran up the last flights and was met with a large, heavy metal door.  Her heart was pounding so loud she could hear it in ringing in her ears. She pulled the handle and realized she was on the roof. The roof was eerily quiet and there was no sign of Everett. She called out to him, he did not reply. She thought she saw a black coated shape near the ledge, she walked quickly towards it.

As she got to the edge and cautiously leaned over she felt a sharp hand grab her shoulder, she screamed but the wind took her breath. “Miss, come away from here, you must come down”. A short, plump man in glasses and a hospital uniform was pulling her away and in the direction of the door. His accent was thick but she couldn’t quite place it. “I am with someone.” Janet stammered “A doctor.” He didn’t seem to understand, he was ushering her back to the door and down the stairs. “You must go”. He said as he eventually walked her out into the hospital car park.

Unsure what to do Janet walked around the car park; she couldn’t remember what car Everett had driven or where he had parked. She went to the hospital entrance and waited there for what seemed like an hour but there was no sign of him. She took out her phone and it had sprung to life again, she called a taxi and her mind began thinking rationally. He was probably called to help someone while at the hospital, she would send him a message later, when she got home. Suddenly her phone rang, it was Kate. “Oh Janet, so your doctor didn’t turn up then, are you ok?” Her voice was soothing but what did she mean? “Yes he did turn up why do you say he didn’t?” “I was worried for you so I sent Jack to the pub, to check you were ok, he said you were sat in the window seat alone, so he went to the shop and came back at 8.30 and you were still sat there alone”. This was confusing, maybe Everett had been at the bar or in the toilets both times when Jack passed.  She could only recall him getting up once. “He was definitely there Kate.” Janet began to recount the nights drama to Kate. Kate sounded anxious, almost as if she didn’t believe Janet. “Look I have to go now, I’m home and I’m paying the taxi driver”. Kate had asked her to ring if Everett messaged back.

Inside the house, Kate made herself a soothing cup of tea and composed a message in her head. “Hi Everett, hope everything is okay, thank you for a pleasant evening, hope to speak soon”. Not too desperate she thought, hopefully they could meet for a coffee later on in the week. When she scrolled through the app Everett was gone. He must have taken himself off, she was not sure if that was a good sign, he liked her and was no longer interested in meeting anyone else or a bad sign, the date was a disaster and he did not want to meet anyone else on there. She rang Kate, “I have no way of contacting him now” she moaned. “Yes you do, ring the hospital”. Kate answered. Brilliant she thought, this would take away all the doubts from her mind and she would probably find he was still in work dealing with some sort of emergency.

“Hi, is it possible for me to speak to Doctor Everett Johnson?” Janet put on her best telephone voice, she hoped that she sounded like a woman who would be dating a doctor. “There is no one of that name working here anymore, and this crank call is not funny.” the woman answered sharply. “Anymore…..? “ Janet started to panic, why had he taken her there? Had he been sacked? What had he done? “Why, what happened to him?” she managed to stammer. The reply sent a cold, clammy shiver down her spine. “You know dam well, it made all the news channels, a year ago tonight, Halloween,  Doctor Everett Johnson committed suicide, his girlfriend was too late to stop him and he jumped off the roof of the hospital”. Janet dropped her phone.

October 27, 2020 14:13

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3 comments

Patricia Green
23:56 Nov 04, 2020

Great little Halloween story which goes perfectly with the prompt. You kept the tension, without going too far. keep an eye on your editing, a few language mistakes, but otherwise congratulations great story!

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Bianka Nova
16:54 Nov 02, 2020

Nice story, I liked how the tension evolved once they got to the hospital. Unfortunately due to the prompt it was predictable, but there was still some doubt until the end who would end up being the ghost. I was going to say the same thing as AJ - pay attention to your dialogue. If it's internal dialogue, the suggestion of using italics is a very good one. And if you do it with quotations, don't forget to start a new paragraph each time the speaker changes. Also, pay attention to the quotations themselves. Here, for example: “I m...

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AJ Hensley
00:51 Nov 02, 2020

Great story Marsha! Very creepy. I like how you wove in the paranormal suggestions throughout the story - the phone dying, the pale skin, etc. I only found a few edits: her caught her eye — typo, should be “he” he caught her eye I would use italics for internal thoughts rather than quotation marks - it helps the reader distinguish between spoken dialogue and internal musings. Thanks for sharing this awesome, creepy story!!

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