The Armoire, Revisited

Think I’ve figured something out.

I’ve walked the haunted tour for years now, hundreds and thousands of times. Tour groups climb these stairs to the armoire, where the guide recounts the story of the ghost inside. The doors are opened, but the armoire is empty, always empty, despite shrieks of fright from the tourists. They just want a good scare. Can’t they see there’s no ghost in there?

And then, they’re gone. I only notice when, at the foot of the staircase, the door creaks wide. Another tour has arrived. And a thought crosses my mind.

Am I the ghost?

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The Armoire

There’s a room at the top of a narrow staircase, and in that room is an armoire. It has large, thick doors that don’t exactly close right. The armoire is supposed to house the ghost of a girl who was locked inside and forgotten long ago. It’s the highlight of the tour. When visitors arrive at the top of the stairs they shriek with fright, or delight, I can’t tell which. I’ve pushed my way through them to see for myself but I’ve never seen a thing, not once, not ever. Not in the thousands of times I’ve been here….

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Every morning I collect the empty bottles first, careful not to let them clink, careful not to wake him. I’d left a pitcher of coffee by the front door. I gather half-empty cups around it, tiptoe in the kitchen, and pour coffee over the glasses in the dishwasher before setting the cups inside. Black blood splashes over dirty plates in the bottom rack and my heart races. It looks like a crime scene. It’s my favorite part of the night. Then I close the door, it latches – and the chaos is erased.

If he ever found out, he’d kill me.