Do you work here?
Submitted by RJV..FortBend
It was a national holiday and I wanted to spend the day at home lounging around or finding something minimal to take care of; something that would not take up the entire day. My wife asked me to take her into Houston to a very popular party store. I knew exactly where it was it was near the old neighborhood where I grew up. I was very unhappy but I took her anyway because she promised me that it would not take any more than three hours in Houston. So I agreed.
We drove up into the parking lot and I still wasn’t in a good mood but I quietly found a place to park and we both walked in. When I realized where we were I remembered when I was a boy working as a delivery boy for a drug store off of Washington Avenue that this warehouse was always busy. Only once did I make a delivery to this particular building but I had made many others runs to other small factories and warehouses. I remember when coming here most of the men that worked here always looked angry or unhappy. It must have been hard or very dull tedious labor. Their faces had lines that seem to cut deep into their skin freezing those unpleasant expressions permanently. That is what I remembered.
We walked in and I was over taken with its overall appearance because for the most part it looked pretty much as I remembered it. It had high ceilings with large beams that were supported by thick wooden posts that came from beneath the floor all the way up to the celling. Its structure resembled much like a pole barn that I was use to on my grandfather’s farm only this structure was ten times larger. My wife walked into the main floor and I walked past the registers to come face to face with wooden stairs that made their way to a second floor. I could not imagine how such a large party store could occupy this hugh warehouse with so much inventory but it did.
I stepped from the concrete floor entrance to wooded floors and I felt a sudden sensation. I could not explain it but it was like each step I took I was announcing my presence a reverberation that resonated throughout building. I loved the wooden floors and that’s all I kept saying to myself. I felt as if I was walking back into time. The smell of the wood became very familiar to me but It was as if I was being expected; an appointment I was to keep but for whom or what.
I walked upstairs and I moved slowly up and down the isles. There were people up stairs nowhere the amount of people that were downstairs. You could say that I almost had the entire second floor to myself. I walked continuously down some of the same isle just to kill time but I noticed something different. I walked through one peculiar isle and I felt a cool chill so I looked above me and I did not see an air condition vent. The vent was two isles over. This is strange I thought to myself. What could that be? I walked down a few isles but I kept in mind what I felt earlier and later came down the same isle. This time I felt a hot spot about the same place that I felt the cold chill earlier. “Who is here with me?” I asked in a normal tone. A woman in the next isle poked her head over and looked at me. I smiled, it was an awkward moment but then she said. “You feel it too?” I nodded, “yes I do.” We did not say anything else she continued her way to the other side of the second floor. I walked around some more and I continued to question an obvious presence that was on the second floor. I continued asking my questions “who is here? What do you want?” I kept my voice low this time. The same sensations of hot and cold spots I kept running into no matter where I walked. The floor began to creak behind me as if I were being followed. Footsteps accompanied the creaking behind me. Then the creaking of the floor was in front of me later to my side. There didn’t seem to be anyone else in close proximity. Then I asked “Did you work here?” and for about ten minutes there was nothing then I began to smell something I hadn’t smelled in years. Crown? It was what we use to call it as kids growing up in the neighborhood. It was a hair jell that we as kids use to put in our hair. It was thick like axil grease but it would keep our hair in place and it had a scent of Hazelwood. It was a pleasant smell and I began to smell it in certain isles on the second floor of the warehouse. I stopped a young girl that worked there and I asked her if they had any hair products. She walked me to an isle that I had not walked through before and I looked quickly through the shelves and I did not see the hair gel. I asked her l if they carried any Royal Crown hair gel. She told me that they no longer carried that product. As a matter of fact it has been over six years since the store stocked it. I thanked her and moved on. Interesting I didn’t want to come into Houston but I encountered something I definetly was not expecting. A spirit of some sort was following me through the second floor of a ware house. In its own way it was made contact. What else would you call it?
I made my way down stairs and I met my wife at the cash register. She was checking out. I looked around and there was the lady that I had run into earlier two registers down. She smiled and rolled her eyes in the direction of the second floor. I smiled “yes I did.” She smiled and put her finger to lips saying that my secret was safe with her. My wife asked if I knew her and I told her no but, that I would explain on the way out. In the truck I explained what had happened, she didn’t say much. She didn’t deny the fact that my experience was real but it was as if maybe she was familiar with it. As if she felt the same thing I felt before. She has been to this store more than once But at the same time I got the impression that this visit to this warehouse would be the last time she would visit again. I was okay with that.
Do you work here?
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