A few seconds of darkness and the emergency generator kicked in, but something wasn’t right.
The 15 departmental computer screens emitted an eerie green luminescence, shrouding the desks in a sort of half-light. Just then, a snarling cackle rang out mockingly, underlining the fact that the choice of whether or not to work was not in the secretaries’ gift.
“That’ll be Helena,” wheezed old Bethany, the mother hen of the team. She’s unhappy about something.
The team of under-25’s looked at Bethany, quizzically, their faces demanding an explanation.
“They say Helena worked here as a secretary in the 1980’s but got the sack, just as she had paid for herself to go on a secretarial course, so that she could get closer to her boss.”
“It seems the love-struck old girl didn’t see it coming and jumped in the river in shame at her sacking.” They never found her body, but her soul comes to visit us from time to time when she senses something is wrong.”
“But what can she sense that is wrong?” asked young Gill.
Before Bethany could answer, all the plants flew off the filing cabinets, forcing the girls to duck under their desks.
“I don’t know what’s upset her,” said Bethany, “But we’d better call for the Pitman.”
“Who’s the Pitman?” They all chorused?
“He’s the only one who can talk to Helena about her secretarial course,” She answered, slowly punching a number in the phone’s keypad.”
Another screeching cackle rang out and the office doors locked themselves fast. Each of the girls tried them but it was to no avail. And by now, everyone else in the office would have left. How were they to get home?
They heard Bethany mumble into the phone: “It’s Helena. She’s back.”
Fifteen minutes later, the Pitman arrived and somehow the door unlocked in his hand, allowing him to enter before it slammed shut behind him, relocking itself.
He slowly laid down a mat and opened his deep satchel, his long white beard falling over the collection of ten books he took from the bag.
“These will be the key to quietening her down,” he explained to the girls, “But please don’t touch them, for within their covers are decades of information to which Helena thinks she is entitled.”
The girls could see from the books’ covers that they were a type of instruction manual covering all kinds of touch typing, Microsoft Office and other topics.
“Come to me Helena, Said the Pitman, “And if you could be civil for just a moment, explain what has roused you.”
Suddenly one of the manuals, Word Advanced, flew up to the Pitman’s head height, opened itself and the pages began to tear from the spine, being screwed up and tossed on the floor.
“Helena, we’ve had this before.” You must let go of the fact that you didn’t complete Advanced Word and find peace. You no longer need a secretarial course where you are. Please leave this place.”
The Pitman’s words seemed to anger the spirit who manifested herself in all her dripping glory. A pool of river water gathered on the office floor.
The spirit lifter her crooked arm, pointing at the Pitman and screeching: “I want my diploma. I want my diploma!” It was the missed qualification that was troubling her.
The Pitman turned to the girls and apologised. “I’m sorry ladies, there is only one way to end this nonsense and it won’t be pretty. As you know, the doors are locked and we can’t get out. So please just get under the desks and close your eyes.”
Young Gill, of course, couldn’t help herself from watching as the Pitman picked up an aerosol from his satchel, pressed the button and lit the spray with a lighter.
A toxic, burning spray issued forth from the aerosol and he turned it on the spectre which melted onto the carpet.
But he wasn’t quick enough and some of the melted ghost splashed onto the Pitman, causing him to scream in pain as he too melted onto the carpet.
The spirits of both the ghost and the Pitman were now permanently melted into the fabric of the building.
Foul smelling fumes began to smother the girls, just as the fire brigade arrived to break down the doors.
Although the girls all survived, the office did not. It burned to the ground and was rebuilt some years later and was taken over by another company.
And every Halloween, the workers in the new company feel their blood run cold as the terrible shrieks of Helena and the Pitman ring out, accompanied by a foul smell.
If you’d like to find out about taking a secretarial course without the ghosts, visit http://www.holborntraining.co.uk/courses/secretarial-diploma/ or call pitman Training:
London Notting Hill – -020 7792 5214
London Holborn – 02 7025 4700
Central Manchester – 0161 923 6814