Damien Michaels shifted his backpack as he surveyed the room. “So why are you leaving your last dorm room?” asked the boy behind him.
Damien turned back to Jake Masters, “Roommate issues.”
“Well, good news, ” Jake smiled. “Every room in this suite is a single!”
Damien grinned, nodding, “I’ll take it!”
“Great!” Jake held out a key! “I hope you like it here. We’re a relatively quiet bunch but the walls are pretty sound-proof anyway. I hope you can stay. You’re like the fourth person who has this room since the beginning of the semester.”
“But it’s only been like five weeks.” Damien was confused.
“Yeah! Go figure! Well, enjoy! If you need help moving your stuff, give us a holler,” And with that Jake disappeared down the hallway. Damien felt like he was a little eager to leave but he turned back to the room to take a better look.”
Damien arranged the sleeping bag on his bed and crawled inside. His new suite-mates seemed quick to help him move his things. They seemed nice enough. Jake, a computer engineering student like himself seemed to love a good joke. He was the tall blonde center on the school basketball team. The names of the others were a blur. Sebastian and Avery? He shook his head. He was tired and would learn the other’s names soon enough.
A little after two in the morning he awoke to a woman’s voice. She appeared to be chanting something but he couldn’t quite make out what she said. Damien shifted in his bed trying to fall back to sleep. The voice didn’t stop. Instead it seemed to become louder and more alarmed. Damien sat up in bed rubbing his eyes, trying to figure out where the voice was coming from. It seemed to be all around him. Softly he crept out of bed and slunk to the window where he peered out. He watched for a little while but could see no one in the shadows. Yet the voice seemed to be coming from all over the room. He grabbed his flashlight and opened his door cautiously. There was no one in their shared hallway and all of the rooms were dark. He shone his flashlight both directions before turning back to his room. He was crawling back into bed when he realized the room was silent. Puzzled, Damien waited a few minutes but when the voice didn’t begin again, he settled in to continue his sleep.
“Chanting?” Jake looked at Damien confused as they finished their breakfast. “Like a cheerleader or a witch in one of those Disney movies my kid sister likes to watch?”
Damien furrowed his brow, “Sort of but also like someone doing yoga but not quite.”
“Who’s doing yoga?” asked a dark haired boy from the door.
Jake pointed to Damien, “He said he heard chanting last night. You hear anything, Avery?”
Jake looked at Damien and shrugged. “Maybe it was a radio.”
“I thought you said the walls were sound-proof!” accused Damien.
“Yeah,” Avery interjected, “But they also said the Titanic was unsinkable and look how well that turned out!” Jake and Avery burst into laughter. “Hey, Jake, you ready to get to practice?” Gathering their things the boys exited the suite leaving Damien to ponder the chanting while finishing his cereal.
Damien had just shut off his computer after staying up late to finish a paper. Glancing as the clock ticked past midnight, he slipped into a pair of shorts and prepared to crawl in bed. He froze when he began to hear voices. It sounded like two women calling for help. “What the world?!” After traveling to the window and seeing nothing, he once again made his way to the hallway. After shining the flashlight up and down the hall, he turned back to his room. He paced the room several times and then left the room for Jake’s room across the hall. After knocking insistently for a minute or so, Jake finally appeared at his door, pulling on a t-shirt, “Yeah?”
“I hear two girls calling for help!”
“I hear two girls calling for help. Didn’t you hear them?” Damien repeated.
Damien tugged at Jake, “Come over to my room and take a listen!”
“Bro, it is ….it’s 12:29. I have a test in the morning!”
“Just take a minute and take a listen!” Damien pulled a protesting Jake into the room, but the room had grown silent once again. “I’m telling you, it was two girls calling for help.”
“You need some sleep, Dude!” Jake shook his head, “Go to bed!”
Damien sighed and crawled into bed. He lay awake for awhile, listening. Slumber was beginning to take over when he heard them calling again. Turning over with a groan he pulled his pillow on top of his head.
The next night proceeded without incident, but he lay there for awhile waiting before finally falling to sleep around 1 AM, but at 3:30 he suddenly bolted upright in bed unsure of what woke him up. He listened for awhile before he heard it again…. and when he heard the whispered verse calling this time, he felt chills shooting up and down his spine. The voice whispered again, “Damien!”
The next morning Damien tried keeping his eyes open as he muddled through the events of the night to Avery and Jake. As two more suite mates joined them at the breakfast table, Jake quickly updated them on what had been going on.
“Whoa!” The one resembling a Latino gawked at Damien, “Just like the others!”
“Others?” Damien was suddenly wide awake, “What others?”
“Javier!” Jake reprimanded, “You weren’t supposed to mention that!”
“Sorry,” Javier looked away, “My bad!’
Damien narrowed his eyes at Jake, “What others?”
Jake sighed, “Remember I told you that you were like the fourth one?” Damien nodded and Jake continued, “The others also complained about strange noises and stuff.”
“And why am I just now hearing about this?” Damien demanded.
“Maybe it was the ghost!” Javier interjected.
“Javier!” Jake glared at Javier “I didn’t want to freak you out and I thought maybe it was a TV or something.” Jake looked penitent. “Look, if you don’t want to stay, I understand. Let me know. I won’t be back till late tonight, but you can tell me tomorrow. Why don’t you sleep in our lounge tonight? Okay, I got to go. We’ll talk later!”
That night Damien tried to relax on the couch in the lounge. Most of the suite was out, probably at classes or something. Damien tossed and turned for awhile before sitting up. Sighing, he grabbed his keys, “Maybe the fresh air will help me sleep.”
The school snack bar was almost empty when Jake, Javier, Avery and A few others sauntered in after throwing some hoops save a figure huddled up in a corner under a hoodie. Their laughter grew louder and Avery tried to shush them indicating the sleeping figure.
“Aw, he’s out!” Jake rolled his eyes.
One of the boys poked Jake, “Is Damien hanging in there?”
Jake smiled, “I don’t know. He seems to be getting a little freaked out.”
Javier snorted, “A little?!”
The boy laughed, “I got to hand it to you! Rigging all that up is genius! How’d you do it?”
Jake laughed, “A magician never reveals his secrets!”
“But we spent a lot of time and money at Electronics Unlimited,” Avery guffawed, “Jake even got a timer so that we could get some sleep and let the computer do the work.”
“And we got a few special effects from the internet.” Jake grinned. “We should probably get back to the suite in case Damien is having a nervous breakdown!”
“Yeah, I got to get back too!”
“Okay, later, man!”
The room became quiet and the figure lifted his head. “Those little-!” Damien didn’t know what he was going to do yet, but, what ever it was, it was going to be very slow and very VERY painful.