This horrible story was told to me by a close friend of mine. I have known him for over ten years and am sure he is not lying. I will tell you immediately that he is a man without bad habits: he doesn’t smoke, drink, or dabble in substances. The rest of the story will be told on his behalf.

I’ve been working as a construction worker for a long time and even formed a small team. There are three of us: Daniyar, me, and Meiram. Primarily we work in the city. Usually, we do the turnkey repair of flats. But sometimes, we received significant orders from the districts. This time, my uncle called me and said they needed cosmetic maintenance in one of the district hospitals. It was winter, and at this time, in the city, there was very little work. I consulted my friends, and we agreed because we had to feed our families. The following day, we packed our tools and some food for the road and drove by car.

– Is there such a big hospital there? – Daniyar asked.

– Yes, it’s a neighbourhood hospital. There’s an unpleasant moment, guys: my uncle said that the morgue also needs renovation,” I said.

– We might not end up in the morgue ourselves. Look what a storm has started,” said Meiram excitedly.

It took us more than five hours to get there. We were fortunate to get there without any accidents. My uncle met us at the entrance to the village.

– How was your trip, guys? I am glad you are alive and kicking! Let’s go to my place, have some tea and warm up. Follow me! – shouted happily to us uncle.

In 15 minutes, we were already sitting in a warm house and eating beshbarmak. At the table, Uncle explained the plan of work at the hospital. The whole renovation was to take about a week. The pay was perfect.

– Guys, tomorrow you will start early in the morning and go to bed. You’ll sleep at my place tonight,” my uncle told us sternly.

– We don’t want to disturb you. We’d better sleep at the hospital,” I said.

– There is nothing to do in the hospital at night. As soon as it gets dark, go home at once! – Uncle said firmly.

There was nothing to do, so we agreed. It was for the best because who would want to spend the night in the hospital?

The next day, we started work. In a week, we had to make repairs in the right wing of the hospital and the morgue. The plan was simple: change the linoleum and doors and paint the walls. The left wing of the hospital worked as usual. Only one thing was strange: when we entered the right wing, it became clear that someone had already worked before us.

It’s strange, but the walls in the GP’s office have already been painted. And there is a new tile in the toilet,” Daniyar said with surprise.

– The previous team started the repair and didn’t finish it. Probably they disagreed on the money,” Meiram said, thinking.

– We have less work to do. If we stay overnight, we can finish it in a couple of days,” I told my friends. I didn’t want to spend the night at my uncle’s house. He and my aunt had a small house.

The work was going well. In the evening, all the staff except the doctor on duty and the guard went home, so nobody distracted us, especially Daniyar. He always ran to the left wing to chat with the young nurses.

At about 8 p.m., I got a phone call from my uncle.

– Where are you? I told you not to work at the hospital at night! – he shouted at me on the phone.

– Uncle, I’m sorry. Our work went well. We’ll probably spend the night at the hospital,” I said calmly.

– I’ll come and pick you up myself,” he said and hung up the phone.

My friends and I were amazed. There was no choice, and we had to gather our tools. Suddenly, my phone rang again.  I thought it was my uncle calling again, but it was from Meiram.

– Why are you calling me? Are you dialling with your arse? – I shouted to my friend.

– No, my phone is on the table,” Meiram replied.

A second later, Daniyar’s phone rang!

– Hey, now you’re calling me! – he shouted at me.

Immediately after that, Meiram’s phone rang. The call was from Daniyar. Our phones were ringing on their own. We stood there, not knowing what was going on.

– Was it a glitch or something? I’ll pick up the phone now,” said Daniyar.

Suddenly, the room door opened, and an uncle came running in. He shouted at us to get out of the hospital quickly. At a loss, we did as he said. When we got home, I asked my uncle why you can’t work in the hospital at night.

– I can’t tell you exactly. You may have noticed that there were construction workers before you. The first crew left the first night. They didn’t explain anything or even charge me for the work. Then, the second crew came. The same thing happened to them. With great difficulty, I persuaded them to work only during the day and stay at my place overnight. But after a few days, they decided to stay overnight to finish the toilet repair faster. It didn’t work out so well,” said my uncle.

– What happened? – we asked him.

I can’t say for sure. They took the money for three days and said they couldn’t work any further. And I have a facility to complete; the deadline is burning. Only work in the daytime, guys. If you leave, too, I’ll be finished.

We listened to the uncle but didn’t believe something in the hospital could scare us.

– We don’t believe in ghosts; I promise we’ll finish the repairs on time. Don’t worry, uncle, – I answered.

– Don’t let me down. You are my last hope,” he said.

The next day, the work went well. After a hearty lunch, we went out to smoke on the porch. While we chatted, two orderlies carried the body covered with a sheet to the morgue. The orderly in front tripped over a rock and dropped the stretcher. The sheet flew off, and we saw the body of some grandmother fall to the ground. Daniyar immediately vomited. He was our youngest and probably hadn’t seen anything like that yet.

A couple of hours later, we finished laying linoleum in the corridor. Suddenly, Daniyar came running in from the left wing.

– Guys, a nurse told me that that old woman was the local witch. Turns out she died tonight. Now, everyone’s afraid to go into the morgue! A long time ago, her son died here in the right wing. It was some car accident or something. She blamed the doctors for not saving her son and cursed the hospital. Since then, devils roam in the right-wing at night,” Daniyar told us.

– Stop telling tales. You’re more of a nurse than a worker,” Meiram told him sternly.

Don’t grumble. It’s just funny that the locals believe it. That is no one to be afraid of, especially an old woman,” Daniyar grinned.

Suddenly, my uncle came into the corridor. We were shocked because he had not told us he would visit us today, and we didn’t hear his footsteps.

– We should have been afraid. You know that whoever laughs at a dead man will be tormented in his dreams. A dead man will take revenge until the person who laughed at him goes mad,” said my uncle calmly. There was no emotion on his face.  We had no time to answer him, but he just left silently.

– Your uncle is strange,” Meiram said.

– Honestly, I don’t know him very well. Let’s finish the repairs in the corridor, and tomorrow, we have to start work in the morgue,” I said to the boys.

We finished the repairs deep into the night, then went to bed in one of the offices. All night, I had nightmares, as if an old woman walked near us and looked each of us in the face, at about 4 a.m. Meiram and I woke up to a wild scream. It was coming from the corridor. Daniyar was not with us. Without thinking, we ran out of the room. The scream came from the toilet at the end of the corridor. When Meiram and I ran in, we saw Daniyar huddled in the corner of the room.

– Hey! Why are you shouting?! – Meiram asked him.

– I had to go to the loo. When I was washing my hands, I looked in the mirror. And this old woman is standing right behind me, whispering in my ear. She said she’d stay there forever! – Daniyar screamed loudly and then cried. After an hour, he calmed down. Meiram and I were worried about the guy. Daniyar certainly wouldn’t play a joke on us like that. But we had no choice. We had a job waiting for us at the morgue, as we had promised our uncle to finish the repairs. Daniyar flatly refused to go there because that old woman’s body was still there. But Meiram and I managed to persuade him. During the day, everything was fine; we had almost finished tiling the morgue. Daniyar even joked sometimes. He seemed to be getting better.

By midnight, the work was done, and we agreed to do the rest of the small things the next day. Daniyar wanted to get out of the morgue as soon as possible. We were about to go outside when we heard strange sounds. And then there was a sharp and frightening scream. It came from the refrigerator where the old woman’s body was lying. We were numb with fear. Poor Daniyar screamed in fear and ran out into the street in a panic. We ran after him. Without waiting for us, Daniyar got into Meiram’s car and drove off towards the motorway.

– Quickly call your uncle, and I’ll go to the police. He’s out of his mind; he’ll crash! – Meiram shouted.

But we didn’t make it in time. Half an hour later, we learned that Daniyar had lost control of his car and hit a pole at high speed. He died instantly. His body was taken to the morgue, where he wanted to get out as soon as possible.

Daniyar’s body lay in the morgue with the old woman’s body all night. At the funeral, I asked my uncle why he had then said that dead people should not be laughed at.

– I didn’t come to your hospital that day,” he replied in surprise.

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