Texas Chills – by Bob Corpening

“Hey, look at who we have here!” Ramon shouted to his friends. “It’s Ciego Miguelito. Just as blind as always, aren’t you, Miguel?” Ramon kicked at Miguel’s cane as the blind boy tapped the floor and learned. Slowly, they circled around him.

“Please, Ramon, just let me go home,” Miguel begged. “I gave you my lunch money already today. Just let me go home.”
“Oh no, Ciego, you’re not going anywhere!” one of Ramon’s friends yelled.

Somebody grabbed Miguel’s cane and pulled it out of his hands. “I’ll be keeping this, Ciego. You won’t need it anymore,” they said. Somebody else grabbed Miguel, and held him tight. Miguel struggled, but he could not move. It felt like at least three of them were holding him still.

“Let’s lock him in the closet!” someone said.

“Won’t somebody come help him?” a different voice asked.

“Who would help him?” Ramon laughed. “And anyway, everyone already went home for today. It’s just us and him.” Everyone else laughed along with Ramon, and Miguel felt himself being dragged away.

A door opened behind him, and they shoved him in. He stuck out his hands to stop them, but it was too late. They slammed the door on him, still laughing. It clicked shut, locked.

“I heard there’s a ghost in that closet, Ciego,” Ramon whispered through the door. “I heard it loves little blind boys like you, too.” Miguel shook from fear, and felt goosebumps pop up all over him. “Maybe you’ll finally have a friend, before you choke to death in there, eh, Miguel?” Everyone laughed.

“Let me out of here, Ramon!” Miguel pleaded. “I never did anything to you! Don’t leave me alone in here with some evil ghost.” Miguel slumped down against the door and listened as their footsteps grew quiet and they walked away, leaving him alone.

Miguel groped around for the door handle. His hand touched the cold metal and he pushed down, but it wouldn’t budge. Maybe that wasn’t the door handle at all, Miguel thought. Maybe that was some sign of the ghost.

He moved his fingertips over everything around him, hoping there was some other way he could get out, but there was nothing. Just a few cleaning supplies and a braille sign that told him this was a janitor’s closet. Nobody was ever meant to be inside here.

Suddenly, he felt something damp and stringy, like wet hair. He shrank back, terrified. That could be a dead body of one of the ghost’s victims!

As Miguel sat there shivering from fear, pressed tight against the door and completely alone, he remembered the cellphone his mamá had given to him for times like this. He dug through his pocket for the phone and pulled it out, his finger finding the bump that told him where the ‘5’ key was.

Just before he could dial the number mamá gave him, he heard Ramon and his friends shouting way off down the hallway. One by one, those voices turned into screams, and then… silence.

Miguel shrunk away from the door. The hairs brushed against his head, and he froze, goosebumps springing up all over his skin. The body. He’d forgotten the body.

Miguel started to scream, and clapped a hand over his mouth. Whoever… whatever had gotten to Ramon and his friends could still be there, waiting for him.

He felt something cold on the back of his neck, like a frozen breath. The ghost loves little blind boys, just like me, he remembered. It’s probably just waiting for the perfect time to drag me away.

He felt around for his phone, found it on the ground a few inches from his legs. He must have dropped it in his fright. He grabbed it up and dialed the phone number, but nothing happened. All he heard was a constant beeping. It’s not supposed to be doing this, he realized.

He pushed the phone deep into his pocket and struggled with the door knob. Suddenly, the door sprung open with a loud popping sound. He stood there, dumbfounded. He had a strange idea, and ran his fingertips along the bumps on his arm.

The goosebumps formed a braille message. “Do not be afraid, Miguel. They will not bother you again,” it said.

But that couldn’t be, he thought. It’s just a weird coincidence, right?

As he walked out into the hallway, something pushed its way into his right hand. It had a familiar weight, and made the same tap-tap sound as he hit the floor in front of him with it. His cane.

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