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On the 4th Floor

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Being the teacher’s assistant for a zero period physics class is more boring than you would think. It mostly entailed me waking up at around five-thirty in the morning to catch a bus for school, followed closely by me doing menial tasks around the room or the campus. When I wasn’t doing that, I would usually just sit my ass down on the swivel chair in the far corner of the room, twiddling my thumbs like an idiot until the bell rang and I’d be free to go to a more interesting class. The only real upside was the fact that I didn’t have to answer any of the students’ questions, I just did all the shit-work that the teacher put off.

It was sometime in late November, 2006, that I remember being handed a summons by the teacher, Mr. Wallace. He didn’t say anything, he just handed me the slip and walked back to the front of the class in his usual, boring zombie-like manner.

Glancing at the small pinkish slip, I saw that the box next to “REPORT TO IMMEDIATELY” was checked off, so I peeled myself off the swivel chair and proceeded outside the class. It was only until I had walked out onto the wind-chilled campus that I actually took the time to look at what had been given to me. I had originally thought that this was just another summons to the counseling office to discuss my poor grades in math and reinforce the fact that I was a loser, but upon further inspection, the location that required my services was much different than what I had expected.

“L-17, FOURTH FLOOR” was typed out in that small box under “LOCATION”.

Before I go on further, I think I should give some details about the campus and the L-building. The campus was an outdoor area with small one story buildings dotting the landscape, all except for the L-building, which loomed over the western side of the school like some sort of strange whitewashed monolith. It was a monstrous four stories tall, and it dwarfed all that surrounded it, and despite the fact that I had been going to that same school for nearly four years at that point, I only ever had one class in that building, which was during my freshman year and that was only on the first floor. To be honest, I knew so little about the L-building that I actually thought that it was only three stories tall for the longest time.

When entering the L-building, I made my way up the once packed staircase that was now devoid of people due to class being in session. Going up further, I got that kind of feeling I used to get when I had to give a presentation in front of the class. It was like a cocktail of nervousness and anticipation that tied more knots in my stomach whenever I reached the next floor’s landing. This alcoholic beverage of tenseness continued to fill my already queasy stomach with more acid until I had finally reached the fourth floor.

The fourth floor didn’t open up to a hall with a bunch of lockers lined from wall to wall like the other floors did, rather, there was a wall with a door that was fixed in the dead center of it. The door itself was akin to those fire exits with the push handles, only it was painted a faded aqua-green with the outlines of what used to be a door sign at the top. I thought that it could be an exit to the outside roof used by the staff to do maintenance, yet that didn’t really seem right.

I stood there for a good while, just asking myself questions like “Why would they need a physics T.A. all the way up here?” To which I would reply “Maybe they need an extra hand moving some supplies into the large storage closet that was in the back of the class.” Yet no matter what answers I gave to myself, I couldn’t shake that uneasy feeling.

I reluctantly walked over to the door and pushed it open as slowly as I could, sticking my head inside to get a better look at what I was getting myself into. To my surprise, it was just another hallway like the ones below. As my tension dropped, I started to move in, now fully putting myself in the hall.

The door clicked behind me, and as I turned to see the door that tension I had earlier became pure anxiety. I had not noticed when coming through to the other side that the door had no knob or push handle on this end.

I really didn’t want to be there…

I tried to claw away at the gap between the door and threshold to hopefully open it somehow, yet it proved to be useless no matter what I tried. It took me a while before I gave up and convinced myself to walk to the other side of the hall and ask whoever was in L-seventeen for directions to an exit and then proceed to get fuck out of there ASAP.

It wasn’t a long hallway at all, but the walk felt like it took years before I reached L-17. On my way there, I had noticed some oddities about the area, such as the lockers having no letters or numbers written on them, or the majority of the classrooms only being identified by their name plate as “L--”, or the faint sounds of the wind outside disturbing a bunch of papers as if a teacher has left a window open... or all of them.

I knocked on L-seventeen’s door, and when I didn’t receive an answer I opened the door.

When I had finally entered L-seventeen I called out, “Hey, listen I…” before stopping abruptly. The early morning wind from an open window was the first thing that greeted me. The second was the sight of a near empty classroom, with all the desks pushed to the edges and corners of the room. In the center was what looked to be an average-sized, young man with his back turned to me, his concentration fixed upon the florescent lights above.

I walked in a bit closer, and I noticed that on the teacher’s desk was a large file that seemed to be placed there for me. Picking it up, I was able to peel off the post-it note on the cover that read “FOR THE POLICE”.

“Thank you…”

After his meek and boyish sounding voice had filled the room, the entire world seemed to plunge itself into a thick darkness. It was so cold, and the sound of panting, crying, moans and the wind were the only things that accompanied me in this shadowed area. They continued to get louder and louder until they too were silenced…

I woke up in a bed in the nurse's office a few hours later with two people besides me. There was a nurse and a tall, narrow faced officer with a pencil and pad of paper. The nurse informed me that before I passed out, they had found me running around and mumbling nonsense to myself on the fourth floor which had been closed off for the past year or two from the rest of the building due to some serious renovating that needed to be done with the piping. The officer asked how I managed to get into the place without a key or something, to which I responded with a far off and dazed “I dunno…”

It was when he brought up that file from the class that I snapped back to reality. Apparently, it contained a lot of evidence that pointed to my physics teacher, Mr. Wallace, having some sort of sexual affair in the closed-off fourth floor with a fourteen-year-old boy that had recently committed suicide a few weeks prior. He had apparently been doing it for some time, always after school hours.

“There were pictures, tapes and everything. Where the Hell did you get all this stuff anyways?” the officer asked as he clicked the pen in unison with the clock’s second hand.

I tried to explain everything to them, and the officer jotted down some notes, occasionally glancing down at me from time to time. After I was done, the officer and the nurse left the room to discuss something. After about five minutes, the nurse came back into the room and told me that my parents were on their way to pick me up.

As the weeks passed, the officers brushed off my story as some sort of hallucination that was brought on by some sort of neurological fit, and that I had just so happened to stumble upon Mr. Wallace’s porn collection that he might have taken back home after the school had ended. When I tried to show them the summons that I was given, and to prove that I had been sent to that class, they pointed out that the class I was directed to on the paper was actually “B-07”.

In the subsequent months, I had to visit a lot of doctors to see if something was up with my brain. All the tests though, came out inconclusive.

I’m not sure what the Hell exactly happened to me on fourth floor, and after ten years I don’t think I ever will. I know it sure as Hell wasn’t some neurological fit, I know for sure that that paper had specifically directed to L-17 and I know for sure that the door to the fourth floor wasn’t locked. I didn’t even see a lock or keyhole on it! But as time flies, I still have some questions.

Who really stored all that evidence against Wallace? He would've never been so careless as to leave that filth as plainly open and vulnerable like the cops said he did. He wasn’t that type of guy. He was really uptight about organization and other shit like that. I should know, I was his T.A. after all.

“Did I really meet a ghost? Was that actually the real fourth floor, or somewhere else entirely? Why choose me over everyone else?” I feel like all these questions don’t have a real answer, or at least one that I won’t be given anytime soon. Yet the question I often come back to the most is…

“Is that kid finally at peace now?"