The date was the 17th of March 2012, I found myself alone in the cold empty room of the Anderton Centre. We had recently set off on a week away with work, as a training exercise to help build teamwork skills and to increase the bonds with our colleagues. But nobody realized quite how close we would become.
It was a sunny day, clear skies lit up the countryside around our dorms. It was a beautiful site to see, the trees rustling in the wind accompanied by the soft chirps from the local birds. Ahead of us in that day we had a long mountain bike ride and a walk. I was excited for the day to come as I sat there eating my jam on toast for my breakfast, the toast was a clear golden brown with the butter and jam mixing to create an exquisite flavour that danced on my taste buds.
The mountain biking part of the day was rather uneventful, I had a great time out with the team but nothing amazing happened. However the afternoon walking session, in the forest across the lake, was where this day began to turn…
At around 5pm the majestic blue, clear, skies turned a sour grey in what felt like an instant. Clouds filled the open air and a single bolt of lightning struck. I was on my own at the time searching for a task objective on the walk, fear ran through my body as I felt a cold shiver run down my spine. I heard the cracking of a tree branch in the distance; I swung around to look in the direction of the sound to find myself staring at a cloudy white wall of fog. The hairs on my neck rose as I felt an ice cold sensation pass through me. Struck with fear, my natural impulses kicked in and I started to run as fast as my legs could carry me. The dense misty air made it an almost impossible task to see where I was going; I tripped and fell hitting the hard cold ground. As I fell I yelped out in shock, then to my greatest relief I heard a familiar voice in the distance shouting my name…
“CRAIG!!!” the voice shouted “CRAIG!!!” I scurried towards to sound as I struggled to stand up. Finally a figure became visible, it was Brad. Brad was one of my closer friends at the time and I was so glad to see him, I knew out of all my friends at work he would be the one that would believe me when I told him what had happened. We shared a similar belief when it came to the unnatural. As I finally reached him, gasping for breath, he worryingly asked me “Craig, what’s wrong? Where have you been? You’ve been missing for hours!” As I looked around and tried to get my bearings I suddenly realized where I was. I had reached the anderton centre; confusion filled my mind as I struggled to work out how I had seemingly traveled so far in seconds.
I was ushered back into the dormitories by Brad as he took me to my room; I had a lot of questions to ask and apparently so did he. The sound of a walkie talkie buzzed whilst Brad got in contact with the others in my team to let them know I was ok. The team I was with where looking for me for all this time and Brad had come back to the centre to check if I was there. As I led down in bed, Brad began to explain to me what had been happening. From what I though was a few minutes after 5pm, was in fact over 3 hours. Shocked and confused, I didn’t know what to say. When I was finally able to string enough words together to form a sentence I asked him “Did you see anything in the forest, anything out of the ordinary?” Pondering the question, he sat down against the wall and began to think. “No, I can’t think of anything. But now you mention it, for a brief second I thought I saw you with someone as you where running towards me… but that’s silly right? Must have just been a tree in the mist”. I was too tired to go deeper into this, but it did play on my mind.
Waiting for the rest of the team to return we spent the rest of the time in silence, both of us where obviously trying to think of logical reasons for the events that had previously unfolded.
Later in the night the team returned, looking out the bedroom window we could just barely see the forest across the lake. The fog had become even thicker now, and nothing was clearly visible more than 5 yards in front of us. Matt and Lewis where the other members of the team, they had stuck together in the forest as they searched for me. It took a while to explain to the team what had been happening, understandably they did not fully believe me at first but this was all about to change.
As the darkness began to settle, with nothing but a faded moonlight in the gaps of the clouds to light up the outdoors, we all decided to go to bed. As a team we where all sleeping in the same room, this was just another part of the team bonding experience. After today’s events it was comforting not to be sleeping alone in this atmosphere. Midnight struck and it was clear by the tired body language of the group that we would all go to sleep. I closed the curtains and turned off the ambient bathroom lighting, as my bed was right outside the door. This is where it all began…
I was awoken by the flickering of a light; un-aware of the time and very drowsy I was quite confused. My eyes managed to gradually focus on the scene around me and then that’s when it struck me, the bathroom light had turned back on. After an already nerve racking day for me I quickly woke the rest of the room to ask if they had been to the bathroom at night, they all replied with perplexed “no?”
Trying to convince myself that this was just a strange coincidence, I turned the light back off and closed my eyes attempting to get back to sleep. *hummmmm* I could hear the familiar sound of the fluorescent bulb buzzing in the bathroom. Too scared to open my eyes I led there for a few moments hoping it would stop. After some time I plucked up the courage to slowly prize my eyes open, again the lights where on. I quickly woke the rest of the group. One by one they all noticed the light was on again, and a petrifying aura filled the room.
This time we decided to leave the light on as we attempted to come to a rational conclusion as to what had been happening. Before we could even get close to creating a legitimate reason for the previous events, Brad suddenly let out a gasp as he pointed towards the curtains. We all bolted to the opposite end of the room when we all saw that the curtains where widening themselves. Inch by inch they slowly revealed more of the misty outdoors, until eventually the whole moonlit forest was the only thing visible from where we were all huddled.
To all of our horror, the thick, dense, creamy fog started to part. Leading up from the forest we could see a clear gap forming, like something was passing through it. It came closer and closer to the window until it finally reached us and a clear path to the forest could be seen. There was a terrifying silence for a few seconds as the tension built in the room….
Suddenly the window burst open and a ferocious gust of wind flew through the room, the lights in all the rooms began to flicker on and off as the curtains blew wild and unruly. Scrambling towards the exit, we all ran to the lounge area slamming the door behind us. We slumped into the sofas where I armed myself with a rolling pin; it was the only thing within my reach that I could think to use for self defense. I don’t know what I thought I could use it for, but fear had taken over my rational mind.
Once again the room was filled with silence, this time in anticipation. We where waiting for something else to happen, we didn’t know what, but we all knew something was on the horizon. I saw a flicker of light through the gap in the curtains across the hall, curiosity had taken over my sanity and I found myself walking towards the light. As I came closer I nervously stretched out a trembling arm and opened the curtains. The light disappeared instantly.
That’s when I saw it, frozen with fear I stared straight towards it. A silhouette of a young girl staring back at me, I couldn’t stop looking at her. This time I was literally frozen with dread. I tried to let out a shout for help, but I was unable to speak. The figure started to come closer and I finally managed to unbolt my feet from the floor and scamper away. Crawling backwards on my hands and feet I bumped into something, I swung my rolling pin to hit the object to find that it was just Lewis. I looked back and the figure was gone. I kept shuffling backwards until I reached the corner of the room; I curled up there shaking with panic. The rest of the group where in shock with the state I was in and rang for help from some of our other sleeping work mates. Nobody was answering; we where all alone scrunched up in the corner, petrified of what was happening to us.
Finally, to the relief of the four of us, we saw the sun starting to rise over the landscape through the window. The warm orange glow starting to fill the room. But it wasn’t over yet. We looked down the corridor and we all saw her again, stood in the fire escape exit. A jet black figure. When the sun started to shine more brightly through the window and the rays reflected through the cold dark corridor onto the figure, she lifted a weak hand. She gestured a waving motion as she turned and walked through the fire escape, she slowly faded away into the morning light and it was all over.
In pure fear and disbelief of what had happened none of us moved from the safety of our corner. The work mates we tried to ring earlier in the night came through to find us all frozen together in the lounge. We explained what had happened, but they where all very skeptical to believe us. In fact, nobody believed us.
To this day Brad, Lewis, Matt and I have shared a special bond from that night. But we’ve never seen the girl again.