Monday, 4 November 2013
11:59:24 PM (GMT)
The Cardboard Boxes
This is a story that is based on a dream I had one night.
I apologize for the long length. I saw no other way to shorten this story
Friday mornings are the worst. You wake up feeling exhausted with all the lack of
sleep from the whole week and the stress of having so much homework to do over the
weekend. I wanted so much to go back to sleep and catch up on what I missed the past
four days, but I knew I had to go to my classes if I wanted to graduate. With a
silent apology to my pillows for abandoning them so early in the morning, I crawled
out of bed.
My morning began as most mornings do. I picked out an outfit that I
wouldn't look too horrible in and put it on, washed my face, brushed my hair and my
teeth, and put on my makeup. Then I went to fetch my shoes. While I was tying my
laces, I wondered what was going to be served for breakfast. I was imagining
chocolate chip pancakes and bacon when I heard a loud thump. Startled, I looked up
and around the room to find out where the noise had come from.
I should probably let you know that I live in a dorm room by myself. I
have no roommates, despite being placed in a three-person bedroom. I was late on
paying the housing fee. As a result, I was stuck in a room in one of the hallways at
the very back of the building. Go figure, right? At least all the walking I had to do
to get from my room to catch a bus or eat a meal was good exercise.
Since I have no roommates, I knew I could just blame the sudden noise on
someone. I was the only one in the room. I finally noticed a large cardboard box,
with several smaller boxes stacked inside, lying on the ground. “Aha, that’s
where it came from.” Sighing as I switched to my other shoe, I wondered if the
boxes, which I used for recycling, had fallen from the shelf above the coat rack
because I didn’t push it back far enough against the wall. It was no wonder they
fell down so easily. Doors were slamming shut all the time. The vibrations probably
shifted the boxes enough for them to tip over the edge and fall down.
I finished tying up my shoe and stood up, grabbing my messenger bag and
sliding the strap over my left shoulder. Crossing the room to the door, I figured
I’d quickly toss the boxes back up on the shelf and leave for breakfast. I’d only
taken a few steps when the larger box suddenly tipped over. I stopped in my tracks
and watched as the smaller boxes inside flew out of the box, sliding on the ground as
though an invisible force had kicked them out.
I realized with sudden horror that it was an invisible force. I’d heard
rumors about ghosts appearing sometimes to students in the former hotel building, but
I’d never really believed them. The only solid proof of anything eerie happening
occurred at the dorms closer to the actual school.
Yet here I was, watching as the empty cardboard boxes were now scattering
apart, appearing to be moving on their own around the room. There was no doubt in my
mind what was going on. I felt frozen with fear. In the back of my mind, I heard my
little sister’s voice say, “Tell that ghost to leave you alone.” I knew she was
right. I felt a wave of bravado wash over me. Placing my hands on my hips, I spoke in
the most authoritative voice I could muster up. “Hey! Knock that off!”
As soon as the words left my mouth, the boxes stopped moving. I held my
breath and stared at them, not sure what, if anything, would happen. A few tense
moments passed. I let out the breath I’d been holding in and started towards the
door again, figuring whatever it was that had been messing with the boxes was gone. I
was interrupted again. The hamper with my dirty clothes, which sat under the empty
coat rack, tipped over, spilling some of the contents inside onto the floor.
Ignoring the panic that rose up from my stomach, I glared at the door. I
had no idea where this being was, but it had to be nearby the hamper, right? “Now
why did you do that? Pick that up right now!” I really didn’t expect anything to
happen, but I felt better saying it.
To my surprise, the hamper slowly moved. I watched with amazement as it
was placed right-side up. When nothing else happened afterwards, I stated, “The
clothes too.” First a t-shirt was lifted into the air and dropped in the hamper,
then a bra, and then a pair of jeans. When the last item was put back in the hamper,
I pointed at the boxes. “You need to pick up this mess as well.” I felt a sense
of pride while the being picked each and every box up and stacked it back in the
larger box. I guessed that whoever this was, they were younger.
The large box, with each smaller one carefully stacked inside, was lifted
up and placed safely on the shelf above the coat rack. I sighed with relief. “Thank
you,” I smiled. Glancing at my iPhone, I realized I needed to leave now for
breakfast if I planned on eating at all this morning. For the third time, I started
to make my way for the door. For the third time, I was interrupted.
This time, it was by something touching me. The panic and fear returned
instantly. I felt cold all around. If I didn’t know better, I would have said
someone was hugging me. Unsure what to say, I just stood there, frozen like a statue.
After a few frightening moments, the sensation disappeared. I forced a smile on my
face. “It’s okay, all is forgiven.”
Now, I’d seen and read plenty of ghost stories in my time. Apparitions
appear suddenly and things move around that shouldn’t move. But very few stories
have physical contact occur between the living and the spirits, and those usually are
the scariest of all. Terror flooded my brain and created one single thought in my
mind: get out of there.
“I… I have to go to class,” I stuttered and ran out of the room,
letting the door slam shut behind me. A few of the other students looked at me weird
as I ran through the hallway, forcing open the door at the end that led to another
hallway of dorm rooms. I didn’t stop running until I was through that hallway as
well. Breathing heavily and trying to think past the fear, I realized I needed a
plan. There was no way I was going back into that room tonight alone. I needed an
immediate room transfer.
My destination was the office in the foyer where there was always a
security person on duty. I knew the person to go to was one of the associates for
student affairs, but he was almost never at this building. Rushing through the door,
I saw one of the female security officers sitting at the desk inside. I took a few
breaths to collect myself and walked into the office.
The officer looked up and smiled. “Can I help you?” I
nodded. Be brave, I told myself. “I need to change rooms as soon as possible. Like,
The officer frowned. “I’m afraid I-“
“I know you aren’t in charge of that but this is an emergency.”
Nodding, she turned in her chair to face me, folding her hands in her
lap. “Alright, what seems to be the problem?”
“Um, well…” I fidgeted with my hands. How exactly was I going to
explain this? “You see, my room seems to be haunted…”
I saw the immediate change in her facial expression. She had a kind look
before, but now she seemed irritated. “You mean there is a ghost.”
I nodded. “Yes, that’s right.”
“And what ‘proof’ of this do you have?”
“This morning, something was throwing boxes around my room and tipped
over the hamper and-“
“Are you sure one of your roommates didn’t do this?” she
“Well, no, I don’t have any roommates. I’m all by myself.”
“I see. I’m afraid we can’t exactly move you to another room on
account of a ‘ghost’ that doesn’t really exist.”
My mouth dropped open. “Are you serious?”
“We take things very seriously here,” she answered, the stern
professional look back on her face.
“But you won’t even acknowledge that this could be true?”
“You want a room change because-“
“Can you please at least send an email to someone who can look at my
request?” I glared at her. No way was I going to let some disbeliever keep me in
With a sigh, she sat up in her chair. “I can do that, yes.”
“And at least check out the room?” Maybe whoever was in there would
appear to someone else too.
“Yes, I will take a look. What room is it?”
I gave her my room number as well as my name. She said she would go look
at the room after sending an email to both Student Affairs as well as my RA. I left
the foyer and walked outside to catch the bus that had just arrived. I may have
missed breakfast, but at least I wouldn’t have to spend another second in the room
with the ghost.
I got an email during the day from Student Affairs that said my request
had been approved and told me where my new room assignment was. I spent the rest of
my day, once my classes were over, in the lobby watching television and texting a few
people. That night, my mom came to pick me up and drive the hour back to my hometown
so I could work over the weekend.
I came back to my dorm Sunday evening. After waving goodbye to my dad,
who drove me back, I went inside. There were two security officers talking with a
police officer just inside the doors. I overheard a bit of the conversation while I
passed through the foyer.
“She hasn’t answered any of her calls. It’s not like her.” One
security man said.
The other nodded. “She was supposed to be on duty here in the office,
but when I came to switch with her, she wasn’t there.”
“And no one has reported seeing her at all?” the police officer
asked, writing a few notes in a small notepad.
“No one has said anything.”
I frowned while I walked to where my new room was. The only female
security officer I knew of was the one that I went to Friday morning. I wondered what
happened to her. The thought quickly left my mind as I reached my new dorm room. It
was time to meet my new roommates.
Luckily, the two girls I would now be living with were both friendly and
understanding. They told me they’ve heard stories of ghosts from other students in
this building before. That didn’t surprise me at all, since I too had heard of a
few. I told them my stuff was still in my other dorm room and they offered to come
help me. Grateful for the help, we left for my old room. Luckily, I still had the key
card to get in.
The room was pitch dark and cold. I could hear the air conditioner
running. I fumbled for the light switch, flipping it when I found it. I took a step
into the room, but my roommates screamed and stopped me instantly. I quickly found
what they were looking at.
Inside, lying on top of one of the beds was the missing security officer.
Her neck was twisted in a way I was positive they weren’t even supposed to be able
to move in. Her arms and legs were sprawled out. A pool of blood was gathered around
her head and just past her shoulders. If that wasn’t horrifying enough to see, the
rats were worse. Yes, rats. There were a few around her that ran for the shadows
after I turned on the light. How they even got in here, I wasn’t sure. The room was
on the second floor of the building.
“Oh my god…”
We ran as fast as we could, screaming in terror through the hallways and
down the stairs until we reached the front of the building. The security and police
officers must have heard us because they were already making their way to the sound.
“What’s wrong?” one of the security officers asked.
“T-the lady, the missing lady…” one of my roommates stuttered.
“She’s dead. She’s in my room,” I told them.
They immediately ran for my room. Despite not wanting to see the sight
again, the three of us followed them. I used my key card to let them in when we
reached the room.
The events that followed after are hazy. I remember paramedics rushing to
the room with a stretcher and more police officers coming to the room. My roommates
and I stood in the hallway against the wall, watching in shock as everything
happened. After the woman was pronounced dead and taken out of the room on the
stretcher, one police officer took the three of us to the station to give a
I was able to get my clothes and valuables after everything had been
examined for possible evidence. The security officers moved everything into my new
room after I refused to go inside the old one. Rumors about the strange death spread
like wildfire. Some blamed drugs, others alcohol. Some thought I had it out for her
and did it myself. Officially it was claimed to be an accident, though there was no
explanation for how the rats got in. As time passed, the gossip died down. The shock
that had kept me quiet for weeks slowly wore away and I started to gain back my
confidence and feel like my old self.
I awoke with a start, panting and drenched in sweat. In confusing, I looked all
around me, trying to gather my thoughts. Why was I in bed? And why was I in my old
Startled, I scrambled out of bed and grabbed my teddy bear, clutching him
close to me. I realized that everything that it was all a dream. The ghost, the
boxes, and the dead officer was all a dream. None of that had actually happened.
Slowly, I looked around my room and then let out a sigh of relief. I placed my bear
back on my bed, no longer feeling the need for protection. I needed to get ready for
the school day, so I went to my wardrobe to pick out an outfit. I got dressed,
brushed my teeth, combed my hair, washed my face, and put on my makeup.
As I was tying the shoelace on my shoe, I heard a loud thump. Startled, I
looked up and around the room. My eyes stopped when they saw a large cardboard box
filled with smaller boxes lying on the ground on its side, like someone had pushed it
off of the shelf above the coat rack, where I kept it. I laughed to myself. “What a
coincidence.” Grabbing my backpack and my lanyard with my Student ID and key card,
I started for the door. I stopped a few steps later in horror.
The smaller boxes inside flew out of the bigger box and landed on the
ground as if someone had kicked them out.