Right after high school, my family and I moved around a bit. My father was a mortician and had gotten laid off. Ironic, huh? You’d think working with dead people would mean job security, but that hadn’t proven to be the case, seeing as my dad, being a passive guy, tended to get laid off more often than I’d have liked.
Anyways, he finally landed a job working at a funeral home in Sedona, Arizona. The best part was that the job came with housing. When I say housing, what I mean is a one bedroom apartment above the mortuary. Stairs were built on the outside of the building to allow roof access to the small apartment. We put a day bed in the living room, which acted as the bedroom for my two younger brother’s and I. That’s right. Five people in a one bedroom apartment.
Fast forward about a year. We had been there, made friends. gotten jobs, etc. And things were going surprisingly smooth. Now, let me give you a tour of the mortuary.
The top floor was the apartment we shared. The ground floor was the chapel, the offices, and the casket selection room of the funeral home. The basement housed the crematory, embalming room, coolers, and garage with a long, angled slope that lead to the door leading out of the building. There was also an ID viewing room, a place with couches and and a cozy environment where people can come see their loved ones prior to the services. This room is where the story gets interesting.
My friend, Evan, and I were running an errand for my father. I was 19 or 20 at the time and Evan was in his mid 20’s. Anyhow, we completed the task my father had given us and were looking for him to hand him his keys, credit cards, and receipts. We couldn’t find him anywhere. The basement was mostly off limits, but we often entered the building through the door leading to the garage to avoid climbing the outside staircase, which was an architectural nightmare.
Evan and I entered the basement looking for my father and noticed that the ID viewing room door was wide open when it was normally shut. And right there in front of us was an older, ragged looking homeless man sleeping on the couch in the viewing room.
I hollered. “HEY! Get out! You can’t be sleeping in here!”
Without arguing, the man got off of the couch, and walked out of the room, right past my friend and I. He had long, scraggly hair that was the same ashy color as his beard. He had a scar above his left eye that almost looked like a check mark. The circles under his eyes made him look like a bandit.
He rounded the corner that lead to the long, sloped carport that headed towards the exit. Evan and I rounded that same corner not two seconds later and the man was gone. No door had opened and there was no way even Usain Bolt could have made it to that door in the time it took us to regain line of sight, let alone, a groggy bum. Needless to say, Evan and I were spooked.
That night, I told my dad about it over dinner. He simply said, “Hmm” and kept eating his spaghetti.
The next morning, my dad called me downstairs. I went into the basement, thinking he needed help with something. Instead, he walked me over to the cooler. He had a body on a table in the center of the cooler. “Is this who you saw last night?”
I looked. I looked, I saw, yet, I couldn’t believe it. On the table lay the same scraggly man that had creeped Evan and I out the night before.
“Yeah,” I said with a shaky voice. “Yeah, that’s him.” I’m not sure what to make of what I saw that night, but I won’t soon forget it.
Submitted to Weird Darkness and My Haunted Life Too by Nick Bunting
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