This is my story for Storybook Corner for March. It’s a monthly flash fiction prompt held on the 21st of each month and hosted by Adam Ickes. The story can be from 300 to 500 words in length and must follow the prompt for the month. Anyone is welcome to send in their story.
George by P.S. Joshi
I was sure glad to get this job. I understood the basic work, and was willing to put in some extra hours without pay while learning. Sid Mackey introduced me to the night guard and gave me my personal key to the office door.
The first night I was there I met George. George Binder, from an office down the hall, was also always staying after regular hours. He told me, “I’ve been doing that for years and nobody’s complained yet. I work better at night when it’s quiet.”
We always spoke in passing each other. He kept to himself otherwise. A conservative guy, I doubt he’d bought any new clothes in years. I respected that as I’m not a big spender either, just to keep an up-to-date wardrobe.
It was August and blistering hot. Just on the walk back from the corner diner, my shirt got soaked with sweat. The air conditioning in the building seemed to vary from floor to floor. The lobby was cool. On our Third Floor hall, I could see my breath.
One night I asked George, “The temperature on this floor ever bother you?”
He just laughed. “I don’t let the temperature on this floor worry me. I’m used to it by now. I have worse things to worry about.”
No one else ever complained, and they seemed annoyed if I did, so I just kept my mouth shut about it.
Sid Mackey said, “Bring a sweater.”
Dick Boynton said, “Drink hot coffee.”
However, Ajit Shah looked worried. “Bill, don’t complain about such things. Complaints will make these guys unhappy with you.”
A week ago, as we passed in the hall, I noticed something about George I’d somehow missed before. He had what seemed to be a wound on his throat at collar level. It seemed to have bled as there was dried blood on his shirt collar. I hated to say anything, but it worried me.
“George,” I said cautiously the next day. “You should see to that neck wound. It could get infected.”
It was the only time I’d ever seen him angry. “Mind your own business!” he snapped back.
After that, I did. He also walked with a noticeable limp, but I’m not nosy. I hate nosy people.
This morning I decided to find out more about George. I asked Sid as he seemed the most easy-going of the guys.
He paused for a moment as he seemed to make up his mind how to put what he had to say. “Bill, you’ve met our resident ghost. He was killed about ten years ago by a guy trying to steal his wallet. The guy kicked him in the leg, then stabbed him in the neck. They never did get the guy who did it. I guess George is just the kind of dedicated person who has to do his job, even after death. The office where he worked closed up and moved when he started to appear.