Written for The Blood is the Life: A Frightful Halloween Quest

The following is a true story that happened in my home town of Port Hampton, Ontario. If you live in Canada you may have heard about it, if you live in the province of Ontario than you've definitely heard about it. It was all over the news. The Post newspaper in particular gave it a lot of coverage. Like any traumatic event the details never really die, I live it every time I smell that strange scent that makes up an arena complex; a mix of cigarettes, sweat, and beer. My life as a janitor didn't last too long.

The Thompson Center in Port Hampton was like a lot of small community sports complexes in Ontario; it combined a pool, banquet hall, a few offices, and a hockey arena. During the summer months when the ice is out the place is deserted six days out of seven. No one uses the pool since Port Hampton is, well, a port, and so it's on a lake (Lake Huron to be precise). Lucky me I pulled a late shift where the banquet hall was actually booked out for a local charity event. The pool and the arena were both closed for the entire day.

I was actually in a good mood for once because the organizers who rented out the hall were considerate enough to close down early and get everyone out of the building by 2:00 AM. Walking through the aisles of tables I was dumping left over booze into a slop bucket. Nasty stuff. I had been working these shifts for two years but I still occasionally got spooked by how quiet the building was at night. All I could hear was the distant droning of the local radio station, Port Hampton only has one radio station within decent range.

"'Cause I am your lady
And you are my man
Whenever you reach for me"

I placed the slop bucket on the ground and decided to go upstairs and lock the main entrance doors. Walking up the ramp I could hear echoing footsteps reverberating through the building. That always got to me. One of the first things Phil told me when I started working was that even after twenty five years he still gets a little freaked by the sounds of his own footsteps echoing off the walls. The Celine Dion song kept grinding away; the damn radio station played it every night.

"Even though there may be times
It seems I'm far away
Never wonder where I am
'Cause I am always by your side"

The parking lot outside was completely empty. Off in the distance stood rows of quiet, sleepy houses. I placed the hex key to the door and spun the latch shut. With these old doors you always had to pull hard to make sure the latch locked. One time I forgot my key at home, so to get in I just pulled on the first door I came across and sure enough it wasn't pulled tight enough to latch and I was able to get inside. That time it was James' fault for not making sure everything was locked. No big deal usually, Port Hampton was a small town. But several weeks ago someone broke into the building and stole about two hundred cases of beer that was stored for the banquet hall. Now we were all making sure the doors were locked.

I headed back down the ramps towards the hall. The stupid echoing footsteps followed my descent. Nearing the hall I heared something out the side door. Thinking raccoons were back running through the dumpster I looked out the door's window. I saw two teenagers playing around with a bunch of grease canisters. I rapped on the window and gave a questioning glance. They turned to me and screamed something incoherent and then threw an empty grease pale at the door. I was startled. They must be stoned I thought--and it looked like a bad trip. I yelled at them that I was going to call the cops. They charged the door and gave it a pull, luckily I had locked it a long time ago. Then they took off around the back of the hall. Oh shit, I thought, there's a set of doors at the end of the hall.

I took off towards the hall doors and checked them. I yanked on one that wasn't quite latched. Almost immediately I could feel someone on the other side of the door pulling violently. Now I was rattled. I raced around the entire building checking every door. It was all locked and I gained a bit of composure. Heading back to the hall to finish the cleanup, the ever present footsteps and radio seemed even louder.

I got a new life
You would hardly recognize me"

Ace of Base. I sure hope they don't stay popular. I decided to just finish clearing off the tables and collect all the garbage. Phil is the morning guy tomorrow, after he hears about the night I've had he won't mind if I don't get it all done. It still took an hour before I was ready to leave.

Peering out the side door towards my car I judged the distance to be less than twenty feet. I was positive the stoners were long gone and I could make it to my car without incident. I closed up the hall and decided to do my final walk-through of the building before taking off.

Tap tap tap tap

I stopped and the footsteps stopped a split second later. Damn it, the echoes were getting too me again. I reached the front doors; all locked. I headed up the ramps to the next floor where the arena spectator gallery is along with the office of Don, my boss. All the fire exit doors were latched and the office was locked up tight. The arena hadn't been opened for weeks so I was sure the doors at the other end of the gallery were locked. I started to head back down the ramp. Ah hell, I can't let anything slide. I went back up the ramp and opened the gallery doors.

The arena was nearly pitch black save for the light coming from the hallway behind me and the faint red glow of the EXIT sign at the other end. The deserted ice surface was below giving depth to the darkness. The radio was loud in the gallery.


I groaned loudly, Rod Stewart, Bryan Adams, and Sting, the Three Stooges of music. I walked across the length of the gallery. That's funny, no one has been in the arena for weeks--who turned on the music? All I saw was a ripple of darkness in front of me. I didn't even feel my head hit the concrete floor.

I could only open one eye. In the movies when someone gets hit in the head they get disoriented and confused. I knew exactly what the fuck happened. The damn stoners had come around and opened the doors by this back stairwell and waited for me. My eye focused a little and I figured out that I must've fallen or gotten tossed down the stairs. I was on the middle landing. Small slivers of light were creeping through the cracks in the doors down the steps. I must have blacked out for the remainder of the night and it was now morning. Phil will be in. Those fuck-head kids will be gone. Phil should've come looking for me when he saw my car still here. Phil was a good guy, not like that dumbass James. I gave myself a mental shake, focus!

Lurching upright I started feeling the damage done to my head. I could feel one side had definitely swelled up. My nose was pretty messed up too. I felt dried blood around my ear. I definitely needed a doctor. Standing, I hauled myself up the stairs getting lots of use out of the railing. The music was off, Phil must've noticed the arena speakers were on and turned them off. He didn't come looking for me...

I pushed open the doors to the gallery and headed down the ramp. The clock read 9:30. Don, my boss, was probably already busy at work in his office. I was halfway to the break room where the janitor who works the morning shift always sits and reads the paper before I realized I could've just gone into Don's office to get help. Ah hell, the office was back up the ramp, easier to go down, there's a phone in the break room anyway. I guess I was feeling the effects of getting hit on the head after all.

Bursting into the break room, completely exhausted, I saw James holding a bandage to his head. He looked at me, momentarily startled.

"Phil get to you? That sick fuck. He's definitely gone ape-shit. I slugged him out cold but not until he pulled out some of my hair... Fucker fights like a girl when he doesn't have his shovel." James nods towards the corner of the break room where a large round-head shovel lies covered in my blood. I shudder.

"Nick, fuck man, you have blood coming out of your ear and half your face is swelling. Come on man, we have to get you to the hospital." James forgot about his own bleeding scalp and took one of my arms helping/carrying me up the ramp towards the office.

"Phil..." I mutter.
"Don't worry I have him duct taped to a fucking toilet, he isn't going anywhere."

He shoved open the door to Don's office, a move which upset his awkward balance. He tried to recover but I got pitched to the floor at the foot of my boss' desk. Grabbing on to Don's desk I started to prop myself up but the desk was slick and I couldn't get a grip. Looking at my hands I realized they were covered in blood. There's fucking blood everywhere around the office. Phil must've killed Don. He must have gotten Don as he came into work in...the morning...What the hell was James doing here on the morning of Phil's shift?

Intense hot pain shot through my back as James sliced into me with a utility knife. Panicking I grabbed a pair of scissors that had fallen off my former boss' desk and I stabbed as hard as I could into James' calf. It didn't go deep since I was so weak but it was still effective. Screaming in pain James fell on top of me. He tried to bring down the utility knife to my throat but I already had the scissors plunged deeply into his left eye. A blackish bloody fluid fountained out of his mangled socket. His right eye glazed over; bloody tears streamed down his face.

A copious amount of blood was flowing out of my wounded back. Scanning the ground I found a knocked over office phone. I had enough energy to dial 911 before I blacked out completely for the second time that day.

The next thing I knew I was in a hospital. Later, the police informed me that Phil was found in the pool change-room locker, dismembered and stacked like some twisted game of Tetris. My boss was also dead... though they still hadn't found all of him. The two stoners were both found inside the garbage dumpster with their heads bashed in by the same shovel I fell victim to. Since everyone was dead I was promoted to supervisor, but I decided it was in my best interest to quit and pursue a different career.

Everything you just read was a work of pure fiction. Was it scary... I don't know. I'd love some feedback though.

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