The Mystery of Room 19

“It may not sound true but it is. I swear. Cross my heart and hope to die. You can’t go in, really. You can’t go in or else you may never get out!”

That’s what my seven-year-old daughter told me when she came home from school.

I listened intently.

“It’s classroom 19. It’s spooked. There are ghosts in there, and bad things happen. It’s true. Some of the kids don’t believe it. But I do. It’s true.”

“My!” I said.

She told me of how her and a friend went to the bathroom. It’s across the quad from room 19. The bathroom windows all of a sudden shook, the toilets flushed on their own, the lights flickered. And they ran. Out the door, down the hall and into their classroom with a gust and the door slamming behind them. They flew into a room full of looks and a query from the teacher – “Something the matter?” – followed by a reprimand – “Please sit down and be quiet, girls.”

The kids knew and waited impatiently until recess to hear every last detail as my daughter and her friend spoke in fast forward.

“My!”

I had heard tales of buried bodies but not of a ghost, not of room 19. My daughter elaborated on the mystery of the room, telling me of a bodiless hand that wielded a large knife, and about the bodies of three students who dared venture into the room only to come out headless. They’re buried on the roof – somewhere. “Nobody knows where. And we’re not going up to find out. Not now!” my daughter tells me.

I decide to investigate and my effort starts with an inquiry at the door of the school before the kids are let out. I approach a mother of my daughter’s friend. “So what’s all this about room 19?”

“I know,” she says. “Frightening, isn’t it!”

She tells me what she’s heard, but then the scream of the traffic on the avenue in front of the school drowns her out and then other parents join our circle and the conversation turns and the kids get out and my investigation comes to little.

“So?” I ask my daughter as we start walking home.

“What?”

“Room 19.”

She starts telling me the latest but the traffic swells on the avenue and I make out little of what she says until the buses and cars pass and then she becomes audible.

“So?” she says to me.

“What?”

“Can you buy me a piece of gum at the kiosk?”

“Oh, yeah… Okay.”

And she skips in front to find a friend and I think I will have to take a fresh tact to get to the bottom of this mystery. That is if the spirits let me.

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