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grn_bt.jpg (687 bytes) March 26, 1995 - Sunday

Sunday had been uneventful. In essence, everybody took a day off to recover from the shock of the weekend. Tiffany spent the day with her parents in Westminster. She didn't reveal to them what her condition was. It was written of a as 24 hour cold. Jarrod hung around the campus trying to catch up on the papers he had procrastinated doing until the last minute. Alan went home to his wife and kids.

Ryan spent the weekend at his father's ranch in Pennsylvania. No one was there and this gave Ryan the opportunity to spend some time with himself, alone and undisturbed. He was trying to figure out what his feelings and intentions toward Tiffany were. It was the incident in Webb's office that started the downward spiral with Ryan's emotions. Having her practically naked on top of him with her breasts in his hands was just too much for one man to handle.

Unless you were Austin Webb!

This thought did not sit well with Ryan. He was jealous, and could not believe Webb would bed someone young enough to be his daughter. Ryan wanted to protect Tiffany from what he and the other guys were doing to her, trying to connect her with two murders. The thought of Tiffany in trouble hurt him in a way he couldn't describe.

Tiffany just was not the killing type. She had a certain amount of intelligence to her, but for the most part she was pretty flighty, as Bob the rent-a-cop put it. Ryan needed to talk to her. He felt this little investigating he was involved in was a form of betrayal, as if he were stabbing Tiffany in the back. He called her only once that day to see how she was doing. Tiffany was exhausted, and spent most of the day in bed watching TV.

Every time Ryan thought about Tiffany and these kinds of things, his thought drifted back to Webb's office, or the motel room where Tiffany kissed him on the lips. Ryan wanted to be with her, he wanted to be by her side through this whole ordeal. He thought he might actually be falling in love with her. Not just sex driven lust, but real true love.

He tried to dismiss that theory, it would only complicate things. They had been friends to long and if the feeling was not mutual, it would screw up the friendship. Tiffany needed support, not more hassles.

Ryan would soon find out just how bad she need support.

Most of the day was spent reading the book Haunted Places in Carroll County. The book itself was actually very fascinating. There were several places mentioned in the book that Ryan knew of and had actually been to. One of them had been his alma mater, South Carroll High School. It was said that back in 1969, a teacher suffered from a heart attack in one of the rear storage room while doing inventory. As that area of the school is rarely ever visited, it wasn’t until somebody noticed the stench a week later that the body was discovered. Since then, reports of paranormal activity have been reported in that particular storage room of the high school. So much and badly so, that access to that room is prohibited and it is rumored that only the principal of the school has the key.

Ryan in his four years at the high school, never knew that. This information would definitely get a section in his latest story. He knew of students at W.M.C. that had graduated from South Carroll.

More specifically in the book, Ryan read up on the spirit of Alumni Hall at Western Maryland College. This story had been a sketchy one, as no one knew of any deaths on campus since the college’s inception back in 1867.

However, there were rumors. Some speculated that there was a house that used to sit where Alumni Hall is now, and that the spirit is somehow associated with that old house.

Another rumour is that a man was killed in the lower level hall. A very flimsy story that a black man had been brutally slaughtered and left for dead. However, no body or remains were ever discovered and it is thought that the rumour was just started by racially motivated kids.

The mystery of the Alumni Hall ghost will always remain just that, a mystery.

Ryan thought it was a pretty lousy article. He considered taking a trip to the courthouse to see if there were record of a house that used to sit where Alumni Hall is now. The Land Records department should have that information, if there was anything to find.

Ryan returned to the college late in the evening as there was class the next day. Up at eight in the morning to be at class by nine. Before returning to his dorm, Ryan stopped by Alumni Hall to get a better look at it from the outside, and from the inside.

Outside, there was nothing special about it. It appeared to be an ordinary building, with age to it. The only thing that caught Ryan’s attention was a water spicket sticking up out of the ground behind the building. It sat about three feet away from the back wall in the middle of the grass. Certainly an unusual location for a water spicket.

Inside, it was creepy. Ryan was not as concerned with the upper auditorium as he was the lower. The lower auditorium was dark and haunting. Even with the lights on, the room hung heavily as if there was great sorrow here.

Ryan walked down the aisle towards the stage. Still nothing unusual, with the exception of the aura of the place. It was chilly in the room, when there was no access to the outside, except through the door at the back of the room that led upstairs to the front door of Alumni Hall.

The stage was nothing unusual. It extended away from the wall and out into the auditorium, as if at some point, somebody wanted to make the stage bigger and said, ‘lets extend it outwards.’ It was a solid wood structure, sealed completely up.

The cold chill passed over Ryan again.

"I know you’re here." Ryan found himself saying. Then he realized the silliness of the situation. "Wait a minute. l don’t believe in ghosts!" Ryan walked up onto the stage and looked around for these so called objects that this alleged ghost scatters around. The stage was empty and clean. Ryan turned around towards the extended part of the stage and faced the area where Todd had tripped and fallen down a few days ago. He was about to walk out that way when he stopped him self. "What the hell am l doing? This is silly!"

Ryan took a step forward, focusing his attention on the spot where Todd had fallen. Then another step, and another. Slowly, one step at a time. Just as Ryan was about to cross the path of the tripping point, Ryan was startled by a voice yelling at him.

"Hey, what are you doing here!" It said.

Ryan yelped out in surprise and horror. He looked up at the rear of the auditorium. It was Todd standing in the doorway by himself. "Jesus Christ Todd!" Ryan snapped. "You scared the fuck out of me!"

"Sorry. Ryan? Isn’t it?"

"Yeah, at your service." Ryan answered completing the step.

"What are you doing here?"

"Alan Kittridge sent me." Ryan answered. "He wanted me to investigate these so called ghosts in Alumni Hall. I heard your story, about being tripped, twice apparently."

"How did you know about the second time?" Todd asked, approaching Ryan as he walked down the aisle.

"I was here, l saw it."

"You were?"

"Yeah, L had stopped by to talk to you about this so called ghost, but you were busy rehearsing, so I just watched. Funny thing is, right before you tripped, l felt the room go cold and a chill pass over me. l was standing in the back of the room when it happened." Ryan explained.

"Yeah, L believe it." Todd said. "Strange shit has been going on here all spring."

"Like what?" Ryan asked.

"Well, the tripping you saw Friday for one." Todd replied. "Stuff falling over backstage. Things scattered around the floor overnight. Cold drafts, chills. Your typical haunted house stuff."

"Any bed sheets with two holes cut out for the eyes?" Ryan asked with a touch of sudden sarcasm.

"Hey, don’t be a smart ass!" Todd defended. "I ain’t making this shit up. It really happened."

Ryan stepped down off stage. "Yeah, I know. I was here. I saw. I just don’t really believe in actual ghosts and haunted houses and poltergeists and all that kind of paranormal stuff."

"Well, you say you felt the chills, explain that."

"It just could have been air leakage in the structure of the building." Ryan offered.

Todd snorted sarcastically. "Yeah, right. You should spend a little more time here."

"I’m not here to be convinced Todd. I’m just here to do a story for Alan, ghost or no ghost. You don’t mind if I use your name and everything you’ve told me do you?"

"I don’t care, just make sure you spell my name right." Todd answered. "We’re getting ready to have a rehearsal, so, if you don’t mind?"

Ryan looked at him doubtfully. Todd, was not a tactful person. "I was just on my way out."

"If anything else funny happens, I’ll let you know. Oh, bye the way. I know Webb was one of your instructors, there are no Sociology classes that Webb taught tomorrow, if you haven’t heard already." Todd called out as Ryan started to walk away.

"Thanks Todd. If you get anything new, leave me a message at the newsroom." Ryan called out as he walked out of the auditorium and up the stairs.

Jarrod was still fast at work on his papers when Ryan returned to the dorm room. Ryan threw himself down on the bed and watched Jarrod type in a kind of awe. He was very fast and very accurate. A true talent.

"Can I ask you a question Jarrod?" Ryan asked his roommate. Jarrod stopped typing and looked over at Ryan.

"I suppose so. What’s up bro?"

"Do you believe in ghosts?"

Jarrod looked dumbfounded. "Why would you ask something like that?"

"Just trying to get another opinion I guess." Ryan replied. "Alan wants me to do a story on the haunting of Alumni Hall, if there really is one. I stopped by there Friday and felt a cold chill. I also watch Todd Matheny trip and fall on stage. The thing is, there was nothing there for him to trip on."

"Weird." Jarrod said, still looking at Ryan. "I guess in a way I do."

"How is that. Either you do or you don’t"

"Well, I don’t think ghost come hiding under bed sheets and say boo, if that’s what you mean. Or any of that silly stuff about little girls disappearing into their closet and talking through the TV. That’s all make believe. I do think that some people have restless spirits. Take Webb for example. he was murdered viciously right outside our building down in the stadium. It was not his time. His life was taken from him, by force. That would make him a tortured spirit, theoretically. Personally, I believe that if a spirit is tortured, he is not ready to move on to whatever is next after this life. Therefore, he would remain in a sort of halfway world, where the spirit is felt and not seen. If Alumni Hall is actually haunted, maybe there is a spirit there that was wronged in this life, who is, well, pissed for lack of a better word. He or she is just making life hell for the rest of us who are still here, because they were robbed of something they wanted, which, is life in this world. Does that help you any?"

Ryan stared at Jarrod for a few second. "That was deep bro." Ryan admitted. "You really feel that way?"

"I suppose so."

"Interesting."

Jarrod turned back to his laptop and continued to type. Ryan leaned back in his bed to ponder the Tiffany situation some more. It was a big internal conflict, trying to connect Tiffany with Webb and Porter’s murder, while having these strong feelings for her.

After a few minutes of these thoughts, Ryan found himself extremely tired. He took his shirt off and slipped under the covers of his bed. The hypnotizing sound of Jarrod typing put Ryan to sleep in a matter of minutes.

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