Untitled by: Gage Banks

At George Washington High, a lot of rumors are spread through walls and vents. Scattered rumors spread through the halls twisted into scary stories, tainting what people used to call a pure school. One of the largest rumors to be thrown about the halls is the story of Jone. Jone was the first janitor of G.W.H., and oddly enough, he found a sense of meaning in cleaning.

“Something about seeing the dirt-scuffed floors become a pearlescent white,” Jone once said, “brings a warmth to my cold, withered chest.”

Jone respected his craft over everything. He wanted nothing but appreciation from the inhabitants of the halls. Back then, most of everyone did. Nowadays, anything heard about Jone is oftentimes regarded as false. Hearing something from a guy that heard it from another guy is not always the most credible thing to believe.

With doubt of the rumor, the students don’t believe stories of Jone.Many teachers spread scary tales of Jone and his obsessive cleaning habits. For the young children at the school, they never took time to believe such things.

“No way that’s real. Ghosts aren’t real, especially Janitor Ghosts,” many freshmen would say snickering to their equally dull friends.

Seniors and Juniors would always join in on the fun of spooking freshmen around October with ghost noises and throwing objects towards the freshmen. One day, a senior’s joke must have been a bit too much for one freshman to handle. The freshman, blind with emotion, took out the humiliation and anger on the memorial bench made for Jone. 

The polished granite crumbled down the middle. Jone’s memorial bench now read ‘JO-NE,’ and a chill was sent up the spine of every attending student. This freshman would later go on to be named Maw, for splitting the bench down the middle. Maw was immortalized by older students for doing something so rebellious. After a spell, Maw seemingly became more famous than Jone himself. 

Maw became friends with a misfit couple of upperclassmen named Pipi and Kyle. Pipi was known for his ability to ‘pi-pi’ anywhere he wanted. Out of the three, Pipi was the wildest and Kyle was the calmest.

Ever since the bench of JO-NE became abstract art, something had felt off in the school. Students would report hearing odd groans and muffled words coming from the basement. Hell, Maw himself has reported slipping on a step connected from the basement to the second floor. In his words, he slipped and couldn’t manage to pull himself back up as he kept sliding down the stairs. Veteran teachers began telling stories of JO-NE year round, maybe as a warning. Clearly, warnings were not heeded by students.

Weeks had passed since Maw became the immortal legend he was now. Sitting in class, writing tirelessly to pass another class. In his bored trance, Maw dropped his pencil.

The sound of the pencil clattering on the linoleum echoed through the silent room. Wandering eyes gaze at the floor, waiting for something more to happen.  Maw hunched over his desk reaching for the pencil. Focusing more on the patterned floor, waking from his dazed state, the pencil was gone. He checked his pockets to make sure he didn’t dream it, double check, triple, doing a fast lookaround, nothing. Adjacent classmates were just as confused. A few particles of dust fluttered  down onto Maw’s desk. Maw and the other students looked up to see the pencil pierced halfway through the ceiling tile.

Maw was stunned. Kyle, a few seats back from maw, was studying the whole event, scribbling words into his notebook. The pencil fell into Maw’s lap, coated in dust. The still silent class was then filled with shaky breathing. Maw felt a gaze on him, as if the top of his head was on fire. His head shot up, looking at the small hole in the ceiling. The breathing stopped immediately, and chilled air danced on Maw’s skin.

At about the same time, Pipi was in the restroom, getting ready to go into one of the stalls. Pipi’s hand hovered above the door’s handle as a pungent stench filled his nose. A stench so warm it almost felt like a warmth enveloped the room. Reluctantly, the door swung open and revealed an empty stall. Upon closer inspection, and sitting down on the seat, a cold breath grazed Pipi’s cheeks. A similar air spiraled up Pipi’s spine. Shooting upwards, Pipi looked into the seat to catch a glimpse of an object scuttering back down into the toilet through the pipes.

Lunch came around, with Maw and Pipi chattering about the events earlier in the day. Kyle, silent as ever, kept writing in his notebook. Maw had his curiosity piqued, and he snatched the book from Kyle’s feeble hands. 

“What a bunch of chicken scratch, dude,” Maw hollered as he tossed the book back into Kyle’s arms. 

Pipi, with a bit more respect, asked what Kyle was writing in his book. Kyle had then let out the first words he had spoken in a good while, stating he was planning on writing a news story about the weird happenings here.  

“I just need actual evidence, instead of rumors and stories,” Kyle softly uttered.

So, just like that, Maw decided to make the choice for the trio. “Well, every story we hear in class is always talking about the basement. Might help to look there.”

“Main problem being we’d need to actually get in,” Pipi said, “After hours or during lunch would be our best bet.” All the teachers are either in the cafeteria or in their rooms.”

The three decided to give it no extra thought, and marched to the stairwell leading to the basement. Luckily for them, the school does not bother locking the basement door, as no students ever really go near it.

There they all stood, examining the aged and obviously unkempt basement door. Each step closer to the door gave way to heavier scents and colder air. Pipi was about to piss himself, but that was in character. Like statues, the boys stared at the doorknob, waiting for the other one to open it. Before a decision was made, the door creaked open. The smell of mold and iron filled the air. Maw entered, turning on his phone’s flashlight.

Kyle readied his camera. With no hesitation, Pipi let out a shriek after taking a couple steps into the room and bolted out and up the stairs.

The door slammed shut, any light from the hallway being blocked and leaving the two boys with a dim phone flashlight. Particles in the air floated about. The air, so dusty and humid that Maw couldn’t see his outstretched hand in front of him. Suddenly, a row of mop buckets came into sight. Seemingly being the source of the scent, Kyle approached the buckets demanding more light. Maw crept forwards, keeping an eye on the floor in front of him. 

Maw’s light shone upon the water, reflecting a dark red hue. Kyle inspected the buckets’ front ends and noticed writing. ‘LISA.’  ‘GEORGE.’ ‘BILL.’ The names went on and on. Maw held in the urge to vomit as he spoke. 

“What the hell is this?”

“Bodies,” Kyle said in a very deep tone, poking at something in the bucket with his pencil.

Eventually, a blood-soaked orb floated up to the surface. The orb spun a bit before the blood dispersed. Two milky-yellow eyes sparkled against the light, and Kyle snapped a picture of the head. All the while, Maw began to scream. The phone slipped from his hands into the murky blood bucket in front of him. 

Both boys stood in the dark, and Kyle resorted to using the flash on his camera as a light source. The boys crept to the door with each flash, focusing on the light poking through under the door. After two or so more flashes, the light faded. Kyle held his breath, readying another flash. His hands were shaking violently.

Maw began to pray to whichever God would care to help him in this situation. Heavy footsteps echoed through the basement. Kyle finally grew the brain to click the flash once more, and only caught the image of a bloodstained jumpsuit in front of his lens. 

Pipi, on the other side of the door, sat and waited for the two to return. A muffled yell emitted from behind the door, hands pounding and scratching from inside the basement. Pipi frantically tried to open the door, but ultimately the fear was too great, and he fled back to the cafeteria.

Weeks had passed since that day, and Pipi had tried to tell teachers and administrators of the event, but nobody believed it. Walking by the same stairwell leading to the basement, Pipi noticed a photograph in front of the door. Hesitantly, he stepped down and examined the photo.

Kyle’s mangled body floated on the surface of a blood-filled mop bucket, and what was assumed to be Maw’s hand was seen in the corner of the photo. Pipi did not know what to do besides try to run from the door, but bumped into a wall on the way. At least, what he thought to be a wall. Picking himself back up from the impact, he gazed up to see a bloodstained jumpsuit and a mop. 

“You’ve ruined my beautiful floors,” the graveled voice spoke. Before Pipi could scream, he was grabbed by the hair by the cold rotted hand. Dragged into the basement, the door slammed shut behind the two. 

Nothing more was ever heard of Maw, Kyle, or Pipi. After that day, the floors were never tarnished again by the three.

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