The Gateway

Submitted into Contest #109 in response to: Set your story during the night shift.... view prompt


Fiction Suspense

Sitting in the office watching the cameras. All of a sudden there is a bright flash of light across one of the cameras that is in the main lobby area. I blew it off as just car headlights hitting through the windows at a particular spot as it drove by. A few minutes later it happens again. I figured it has to be the same thing. I continue to watch the cameras in the rest of the building and outside the perimeter and everything is dark and quiet.  

Two hours later I got up to make my first rounds of the night. As I make my way to the Grand Lobby where that flash of light had occurred earlier, I hear noises. Not just any types of noises, I hear banging noises. I look around and I can’t figure out where the noises are coming from. I walk to the doors, which are locked and chained from the inside, there is no one near the building and nothing hitting up against it. The banging continues, but I decide that it is an old building, maybe it is the piping. It’s my first night working here, I will mention it in the morning when my relief arrives. I did hear before this was converted into a convention center, it used to be the train terminal. So, it probably is the pipes.

I continue on my rounds and I don’t hear any noises anywhere else, I must just be in that room. I go back into the security office, sit back at the desk, and look at the cameras. I look at the lobby camera and I see shadows. Great, now there are people standing near the doors outside that I need to go tell they are on private property and they have to leave. 

I walk back into the lobby area and I don’t see the shadows anymore, I just hear the banging noises. Then I heard what sounded like voices, but I wasn’t sure. It was as if they were coming from a radio channel that wasn’t quite into range. 

I turn around and see nothing. I walk up to the doors and look out there is nothing there. I turn around again and walked back towards the center of the lobby and all of a sudden, I got really cold. It was as if I had walked into a freezer or into a snowstorm with no coat. Out of the corner of my eye I saw another, what I thought was a flash of light. I turned to my left and came face to face with the light that I had been seeing on the cameras all night. I understood now what the banging sounds were. I clearly understood the voices that I wasn’t sure I was really hearing.

I froze. I couldn’t move. I wasn’t scared, more shocked. I had heard stories of the paranormal. I had always been fascinated with it. I have always believed. But I had never experienced it. But now, not only was I seeing one, but they were also all coming into vision. Standing in front of me were now at least five, men and women. They just smiled at me at first. Then one of the women started speaking.

“Hello. Please don’t be scared. We don’t harm anyone. Most people stay out of this room at night. But you seemed to keep coming in and we thought maybe you wouldn’t be scared if we showed ourselves to you,” she said.

“Um,” I replied. “Well, I really wasn’t sure what I was seeing on the cameras. I thought the flash of light was car lights. Then the dark shadows were people outside the doors. I never really imagined it would be, well, you. However, no, I am not scared, just shocked. I have never encountered the dead before,” I replied.

They all laughed a little and she said, “We understand that! My name is Sally. This is John, Chris, Evelyn, and Bruce. Unfortunately we all died here at the train station. But there are a lot of us. We mostly stay down below at the gateway, but some of us come up late at night. 

We like to look around and just see how things have changed. Those who work here at night, once they see the flashes of light or hear the noises we make, they just stay away. Would you mind talking with us? Tell us about things like what year it is and about these new things we see; answer questions for us? Even just to chat?” Sally asked.

“Well, Sally, it is nice to meet you, as all of you. My name is Laura. I am new to this shift as you probably know! And I would love to chat with you guys. Do you mind answering questions for me too?” I asked.

“No, we don’t mind at all,” Sally responded.

For the next three hours, they asked a lot of questions about how things had changed. They had all passed in the late 1920s. It was interesting to see their faces while I explained cell phones, computers, and the internet. The progression on cars, planes, and other transportation vehicles were easily understood.

They explained to me some of the hard times they had faced back in the twenties and even the late 1890s. It was amazing to me. I had always been a history buff. But to actually speak with someone who lived in that timeframe was fascinating.

At the end of the night, I got ready to leave and they said goodbye and asked if I would come talk with them when I worked again. I told them I would. 

As I drove home at the end of the night, I literally pinched myself to make sure I hadn’t dreamed about the encounter. I knew there was no way I would be able to tell anyone. Seriously, who would believe me, right?

When I came in the next night, my coworker that I relieved asked me how things went the night before. I said yes. Her next question threw me off.

“Did you see the ghosts?” she asked.

“Have you seen them?” I asked back.

“So, I take that as a yes! I saw the white lights of figures on the cameras. I have heard the noises in the lobby. I have also walked by the old telephone booths in the west hallway and they ring at three in the morning. I have never answered of course! But I just know that it’s always around the same time every night, so once that time hits, I don’t go in those or near those places. But I guess they can be anywhere in here,” she replied.

“Oh, yes, I heard noise and seen white flashes of light. I didn’t hear the phones ring though. Are you scared of them?” I asked.

“Hell yes. Aren’t you?” she asked.

“No, not all. What can they do to you?” I asked.

At that moment, I knew I would have to keep my encounter to myself. Even those that worked here and knew they were real would think I am crazy for speaking with them. But I looked forward to it again.

September 03, 2021 15:23

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