Our school was probably the oldest building not only in the village but in the whole of Kazakhstan. My grandfather, my father and I studied there. There were many legends and scary stories about our school in the village. Ghosts are wandering there at night and everything like that. But I never believed in those stories. The only actual spooky event happened over fifty years ago. A girl hanged herself in one of the school’s classrooms at night. But that was so long ago that even that story is believed by some and not by others.  

I had recently returned from the army and couldn’t find a job for a long time. The director of the school was a lovely woman. She remembered me as a pupil and treated me well. She said our gym teacher was retiring soon, and I could take his place later. In the meantime, in order not to sit idle, she asked me to work as a night guard. There was nothing to do, so I said yes. Oh, if I had known what nightmares awaited me at that school, I would never have agreed to work there.

Working as a night watchman was not complicated for me. After joining the army, I was used to discipline and did rounds all night. The headmistress told me that the school had a couple of living rooms for teachers, but until they arrived, I could sometimes sleep there. But I always took my work responsibly; I never slept at my post. It was the middle of summer when I was doing another night round. As I approached the emergency exit, I noticed that it was open. Strange, because I hadn’t opened it. So someone had broken into the school. Then I heard children laughing. It was coming from down the corridor.

– The kids must have snuck in to tickle their nerves,” I said.

I quickly headed down the corridor and started checking all the offices. Strangely, I couldn’t tell where the children’s laughter and voices came from. Finally, it was my turn to reach office #17. I pulled the handle, and the door opened. I saw a strange sight as I slowly walked into the dark office. The children were sitting on the floor around a candle. They were in some kind of trance and paid no attention to me at all. Their eyes were rolled up, and they had wide smiles on their faces. It was really creepy. I started shaking them to wake them, but the kids didn’t react. Suddenly, I heard an angry female voice.

– Don’t touch them! Get out of here! They’re mine!” someone shouted at me from the room’s darkness.

The second I started shining my torch in all directions, no one except me and the kids were in the room. I froze on the spot in fear, cold sweat running down my face. But then I quickly pulled myself together and started shaking the children even harder. Slowly, one by one, they began to come round. The children were confused and scared. In their eyes, I saw animal terror.

-What are you doing here at night? Quickly get out of the office! – I said to the children.

They listened to me silently, and we quickly entered the corridor. I felt creepy being in that office. After taking the children to the foyer, I immediately called the principal. She, in turn, called the students’ parents to the school. As the children and I stood in the foyer, I asked them why they had snuck into the school.

– We were playing; we wanted to summon a spirit,” said one of the boys, confused.

– Where is Abylai? There was another boy with us,” said another girl.

At that moment, the headmistress came into the school. I asked her to sit with the children, and I ran to find the lost boy. I went through all the floors and classrooms, shouting and calling his name. But I couldn’t find anyone. Soon, the district police officer and the parents of the pupils came to the school. When they called the ghost, the children said Abylai was with them in room 17. But then they all lost consciousness, and when I woke them up, the boy was not there. The police came and questioned me all night, but then they let me go. Eventually, the boy was reported missing and put on a wanted list. Rumours started spreading through the village that the school was cursed. It’s a pity there are no cameras in the building. I’d like to see what happened.

I went on duty the next day in a terrible mood. In the afternoon, while it was still dark, I entered room 17. After looking around, I still didn’t understand where the creepy voice originated. My intuition told me everything was connected here: the summoning of the spirit, the disappearance of one of the children, and that voice from the darkness. It told me to leave the children and that they belonged to her. I remember it precisely; my head’s okay so far. But everything in the study was normal; I couldn’t find anything suspicious.

As darkness fell within the walls of the school, everything felt different. I can’t put it into words. The air in the corridors was frigid. When I exhaled, I saw steam. It was just like being outside in the winter. As I was making my rounds, the lights in the corridor suddenly switched off. In all my time on the job, this had never happened before. I got a torch and went to the electrical box. But on the way, I heard children laughing. It made me feel uncomfortable, but I pulled myself together.

– Who’s there? Come out, this isn’t a toy! – I shouted into the dark void.

There was no answer. Then I heard someone running out of the darkness straight at me. I sharply shone my torch in front of me, but there was no one there. I quickly ran to the switchboard and switched on the light. I sat in the foyer the rest of the night with the lights on for the entire floor. I wanted to quit but didn’t want to let the director down either. In the morning, I noticed a few grey hairs on my head.

Now, I wear a warm jacket every shift. It was freezing in the school after sunset. When I was going on night rounds, I took a rubber truncheon with me just in case. At first, everything was fine. I walked along the corridors and floors, checking windows and doors. But when I started to approach room 17, I heard children laughing again. I became very scared, I clutched the baton tightly in my hands. I came closer and closer to the room, and the laughter became louder and scarier. Slowly turning the doorknob, I carefully opened the door to the study. In that second, the lights on the entire floor switched off.

– Get out of here! Get out of here! – I heard a familiar female voice from the darkness.

I sharply shone the torch into the darkness, but I wish I hadn’t. Instead of an office, I saw a huge dark cave, and in it stood a tall, thin woman with long hair. Her face was unnaturally long, and her eyes were huge. She was unclothed, and I could see her scary, skinny body. She screamed at me so hard that I grabbed my ears. Without thinking long, I ran from there as fast as I could. The rest of the night, I spent outside. It wasn’t until the sun came up that I returned to school. I carefully checked room #17; in the light of day, everything was fine there. I didn’t think about what happened during the night and decided it was better to forget what I had seen.

On the next duty, I remembered the living rooms the director told me about. I made my rounds while it was light and locked myself in the room all night. So I did a few tours of duty, and no ghosts bothered me. But now, at night, I heard eerie sounds from Room 17: children’s laughter, crying, sobbing, or animal growls. But I didn’t go near it. I realised that the whole damn thing was going on near that room. My hair began to turn grey very quickly. But the worst was yet to come. Eventually, I began to wake up at night because someone was pulling my hair. Terrified, I jumped off the couch and looked around. But there was no one in the room. Even in the living room, it wouldn’t leave me alone. I didn’t know what to do. But then I got used to it.

Before the beginning of the school year, a new teacher came to the school. His name was Erzhan, and he was supposed to live in the neighbouring living room. He and I talked a little about life, and then I went on my rounds. I felt much calmer because I was no longer alone in the school at night. On this particular day, the principal decided to stay and work late. I went on my nightly rounds as usual. There were two other people in the school besides me, and it gave me so much courage that I decided to check out room №17.

That night, I didn’t even switch on the lights on the floors; I walked by, shining a torch in front of me. As I approached office #17, I heard the sound of heels in the corridor. It must have been the director who came out of her office so late.

– Gulnar Bahramovna and you are late today,” I said softly so as not to frighten her. 

There was silence in response, and the sound of heels came closer and closer. And then it stopped abruptly. I began to suspect something was wrong and wished I’d turned on the floor light. Shining the torch, I saw a boy about ten years old standing about five metres away from me. His eyes were rolled up, and he had a big smile on his face. It seemed to be the same boy who had been lost.

-Abylai, is that you?” I asked in a trembling voice.

But the boy was silent. I slowly lowered the lantern beam and saw that he had hooves instead of feet. All this time, I heard not the sound of heels but the sound of hooves. Suddenly, the creature ran straight at me. I screamed at the top of my voice and ran down the corridor. Without turning round, I ran to the living quarters, to Yerzhan. When I got there, I started banging on the door as hard as possible until he opened it. Once inside, I locked myself in and sat on the sofa to catch my breath. Yerzhan looked at me with surprised eyes.

– What is it? What happened to you? – he asked me.

After ten minutes, when I had regained my senses a little, I told him about Room 17.

That night, I slept in Yerzhan’s room. The next day, I already doubted my adequacy. I felt unwell and had to go outside to get some fresh air. While walking, I saw a car drive up to the school; a guy got out of it and went to the school. As a security guard, I approached the car and asked who they were. The driver replied that he was bringing a new, talented teacher to the school. Not appreciating his joke, I, too, went inside the school. To see if I was crazy, I walked through the corridors. When I reached classroom #17, I walked inside and closed the door behind me. After looking around the room, I didn’t find anything suspicious, as I had thought.

– What the hell is going on here? – I almost shouted.

When I left the office, I bumped into the new teacher. He seemed to be eavesdropping on my conversation with myself. I quickly made my rounds, went to my room, locked myself in, and slept until morning. Tomorrow was the start of the new school year.

In the morning, I was awakened by a child’s scream. Quickly getting out of bed, I ran down the corridor. Near classroom №17, I saw a frightened crowd of schoolchildren and a new teacher. They said that a girl from their class had just disappeared in the classroom right before everyone’s eyes. The principal and other teachers came running, and then the police arrived. We searched the whole room, the whole school. I and the other teachers were interrogated all night. But it was me that the investigators kept until morning. I aroused a lot of suspicion, so I had to sign an undertaking not to leave. Already sitting at home, I was reflecting on what had happened. That night, the children were not just playing; they had accidentally summoned someone from another world. Now this thing is living in the school. It used only to show itself at night, but now students have started disappearing even during the day. Someone from our world must get there to appear in this world. If a girl disappeared yesterday morning, someone from another world has come to the school.

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