Tag Archives: Oklahoma

The Old Gym: Ghostly Post #3

The Old Gym:  Ghostly Post #3

I taught at the tiniest of schools my first few years teaching.  The graduating class that first year was eight…yes, eight.  The community was situated close to ten miles from three different towns in the middle of the Kiamichi mountains down in the southeast corner of Oklahoma.

I rented a house from the school and lived across the parking lot from where I worked at this point.  Because I was a beginning teacher, I struggled with time management and grading.  I graded everything and this is not necessarily the best strategy.  As  a result, I’d have all night grading sessions at least once a week.

Sometimes I wouldn’t make it home with everything that I needed.  Thus, I’d find myself crossing the parking lot and keying into the school to get one thing or another.  This even occurred late at night.  At other times, I’d go and work in my classroom after I took care of supper tasks and putting my kid (who was in the fourth grade) to bed for the night.  I was close by and didn’t worry too much.  She could call me if I was needed.

On several nights that caught me at the school late at night, I’d pick up on an eery chill in the air.  Being an adventurous sort, I’d grab my ball bat (one should be adventurous with a means to protect oneself) and wander down the hall.  The school was laid out with one hall that held the classrooms.  Down close to the front end of the hall, you would find the office, the teacher’s lounge, and the library.  The library was carved out of a portion of what is known as the old gym.  A wide hall cut off just past the library that would lead to the bathrooms and the rest of the old gym.

This old gym was fine in the daytime.  Often the other teachers and myself would be comforted with the knowledge that our kids could burn off steam in that old gym shooting basketballs and chasing each other down while never leaving the building.  On the wall that cut the court in half and separated the gym from the library, someone painted a buffalo to represent the mascot of the school.

However, at night it took on its own persona.  I often heard people talk about how it seemed as if the eyes of that buffalo painting followed them around the room even in the daytime.  This seemed even more pronounced at night.  However, if that was all I had encountered, I would just shrug it off and move on.

It was after ten one night and I was wrapping up my grading.  As I said, the bathroom was down next to the gym and nature calls at the most inconvenient of times.  Thus, I found myself on the opposite end of the hall.  As I came out of the bathroom, I heard basketballs bouncing and the squeak of tennis shoes.  I am thinking to myself, “How did those kids get into this building?”  It wasn’t unusual for the community to enter the main gym to play basketball.  Small town, open court.

I entered the gym and noticed the lights were on dimly.  A basketball rolled up to my feet and stopped.  I ignored the cold of the air and began to investigate.  All of the entrances into the school were secured and nobody appeared to be hiding.  I left the room thinking about the oddness and started to head back to my room.

As I rounded the corner onto the main hall, I glanced back.  The light was back on.  I ran back a little annoyed to see if I could catch the kids in the gym.   However, nobody could be seen.  As I reached for the light switch, a ball began to roll on its on accord and stopped next to my foot once more.  My eyes widened and I flipped the switch.  I left in a hurry and wrapped up in my classroom in a hurry.  That was enough grading for that night.

[NOTE:  On the other side of that gym existed a much neglected museum of native American artifacts.  It was never open to the public by that point and I never laid eyes on the displays.  I only knew of its existence because of word-of-mouth. ]




Red Dirt Alice


Red Dirt Alice

(NOTE: This is a submission for Finish That Thought 2-13)

The day it all began, the sky was gray. Rain danced across the shiny red surface of the car. The cell phone chirped awake and Clara glanced down to see the all too familiar area code 580. She edged to the side of the road and picked up the cell. Her sister’s voice crackled across the airwaves. “Clara? This is Kit. Have you heard?”

“I guess not. What’s up?”

“It’s Tracy…she’s…well, she’s gone.” Tracy rarely made a move without telling four other people of her plans. If travel was involved, there would be an itinerary, a map, or something that would provide some idea of her whereabouts.

“Have you checked her desk? She probably has something in her planner.”

“Of course I checked it,” Kit clipped out in irritation. “She disappeared, I’m telling you. It’s as if she was abducted by aliens.”

“Okay…so how long has she been missing?”

“72 hours.”

Clara sat up straight. “And you are just now calling me? Okay…I hear you. I’ll catch the next flight back home. Keep me in the loop.” Hanging up, she called her travel agent and soon found herself on a flight back home. By morning, she glided down the red dirt road in the rented Beamer.

The farm house stood out against the back drop of the hay fields. Her sister Katherine stepped out on the porch as she pulled to a stop. Soon, they hugged each other close and Kit filled her in on all of the news, or lack thereof. Ten years prior, their mother had vanished. Before that, their grandmother disappeared. It was happening again and no one seemed to know why. Her father sat at the kitchen table, looking through boxes of papers. More papers laid strewn about the floor.

“You know she is going to be pissed if she sees this mess,” Clara could not help but state.
Kit looked up sharply and echoed, “If…”

Clara pushed papers aside with her feet as she shuffled through the living room. A breeze blew through the window and lifted the corners and rustled a few more papers until one caught her eye. Reaching down to pick up the document, she was struck by the age of the leaf. It didn’t fit in this scene at all. Trying to make out the writing on the page, she read, “Crimista conlea amblia traversa…Kit, what is this?” Kit rustled through the piles and looked over Clara’s shoulder. “Hmmm…I saw her with something old…” Clara looked up as her sister’s words faded only to realize the entire room was fading around her.

When her feet found solid ground again, Clara looked around. The world around her was black and gray. It looked like the farm house but…different. The letters were backwards. It was as if she was in the back side of the mirror. Did her sister go through the looking glass like Alice?