I wasn't going to do this. A 2nd story. I hate the word story! I told my first account because I really needed to 'get it out'. It bothers me, you see. I chose this site at random on a Google search and just typed. I wanted to 'wash my story out of me' somehow. However, I've had such positive feedback and good vibes from here that I'm now really glad I found it. I'm enjoying reading about everyone's experiences and the comments from regular users. I'm heartened, in fact, to see that some stories published are taken 'with a pinch of salt', to say it politely, by the regulars here.
So, more in the spirit of telling my experience purely for interest this one...
I was born and raised in West London (moved to the countryside in 2000). One of my first jobs was in a large shoe shop. To help you visualize it - it was 2 big shops knocked into one, so a large shop, with the whole of the ground floor as the shiny posh shop floor and cash register, and the whole of the upstairs as the grimy stock room and storage space. Also upstairs was the little staffroom. The only stairs were in one corner of the shop floor, with a door at the top and the bottom. Both locked at night but wedged open during opening hours as we were constantly up and down those (bloody) stairs all the time to fetch shoes for customers/put stock away/get it out/go on breaks, etc.
It was an old building (again) late 1800's. The stock room was knocked through too and had no ceiling, you could look right up into the old rafters. A big drafty space, 2 shops wide remember - the bulky wooden shelving units for all the shoe boxes reached up a good 15 feet. You had to get on a ladder to the highest shelves. We tried not to fill them up that high. The units filled the space and ran parallel so it was like a library. You could walk round them at the ends by the walls and up and down between them, but never see across the room. The staff room was on the far side from the stairs in the corner. There were me, 3 other members of staff and a manager. OK. I like you to have a mental picture of it:)
From the moment I set foot in that stockroom it felt bad to me. When I got to the top of those stairs and stepped into the stock room it felt as if I were invading the space of something very very angry and very very active. It seemed to me as if it would come rushing to find me. It hated me. I constantly felt watched. From quite high up for some reason. I would go cold, I would get goosebumps, I felt every bit of my inner self telling me to run the hell back down stairs. But you can't can you! Not when you work there.
Not too bad if I wasn't alone up there. But, and this is hard to explain, I could tell when I was alone and when I wasn't by the atmosphere. If I was working up there for a morning, unpacking stock, for example. Obviously there'd be times when there may be a fellow staff member up there somewhere with me for a while. Sometimes we'd be working together or we would be working separately and chat by shouting through the shelves or I could hear them or I'd just know they were up there somewhere. But when I was alone I could feel this feeling come down on me like a cloud. Something had come to watch me. It wanted me out. I'd just know when my workmate had gone downstairs and I was alone.
Anyway after a couple of months I asked 2 of the girls I was friendliest with if they ever felt anything wrong in the shop. We'll call them J and W. J said yes, she couldn't bear the stock room, W said no, you're both bonkers, lol. Time went on. I used to dread going up there. I used to try to not end up up there alone for any length of time. J talked about leaving. I talked to my mum - she said when you're there alone next time try to talk out-loud to 'it'. I felt an idiot but I did. Honestly it made things worse. I got the feeling I caused fury. The day after I did this W came down on to the shop floor in tears. She had gone up for her tea break and had felt something behind her all the way across the stock room. She had turned and come back down and there had been heavy foot falls right behind her on the stairs all the way down, she said. Me and J were:O. We tried to comfort W. The manager, a lovely black guy about 6'3 and all muscles, came to see what was the problem, heard the story and admitted he hated it up there too! We'll call him Roy. The other member of staff - A - was a bit on the fence about it all.
W left the next day. Roy said he would try to make sure we could work in pairs up there, but we had to have our tea breaks alone and obviously couldn't go in pairs to get shoes for a customer.
J couldn't handle it and left the next week. I was looking for another job. So we now had just me, Roy and A until Roy could employ more staff.
A couple of days later Roy was ill and it fell to me and A to open the shop that morning. Great. I had the keys, and got in early because of opening the until and unlocking the internal doors etc. I said to myself that I would get onto the shop floor and open the till, but I wouldn't be going anywhere near those stairs or the stockroom until A got there. Then we could open up properly.
So I let myself in through the front of the shop, turned off the alarm... And I was doing the float for the cash register when it started. This banging. It was loud and hard and rhythmic. And it was coming from upstairs. I realized I was hearing footsteps. Stamping really. Those stamps went right across the ceiling - it was easy to 'follow' them, if you see what I mean. My eyes were moving over the ceiling with them. Bad enough, but get this - they went DIAGONALLY. You cannot move across the stock room area diagonally because of the shelving units filling the place. 'A' arrived just as this finished. I told her about it and she believed me. I asked her why she never seemed scared and she held her cross pendant and said - 'because I believe in HIM'. She was an Irish Catholic. I was envious to be honest. I worked that day and then handed in my notice.
All I can tell you about the place is that it was old, and that it used to be a butchers until about 1930 when it became a shop. I looked into it and that's all I could find out. This experience is different to the first I told here, in that it is all feelings, sounds and instincts. Different also because I was so scared sometimes of that stock room that I'd be almost in tears going up that staircase. I used to have to get out of sight of the customer and stand and and pull myself together before I went up for their shoes! I'm ashamed to say that more than once I'd get to the top of those stairs and couldn't go in. I'd lie then, and just say we hadn't got their size! Eeek. I've never been so glad to leave a place.
Thanks for reading x