Where the Dead Still Walk

The man completes his last interview just shy of 3 pm. He watches JC exit the building, then walks the hallways, shutting off lights, closing closets, and locking up. As he passes the Primary room, he notices the lights on. Katie is working on the seating arrangement and some room decorations.

“Oh, hey, Katie. I didn’t realize you were still here. I’m just locking up,” he says.

She turns. She is blonde and in her mid-thirties, the wife of his executive secretary. “That’s fine. I’m almost done. I have a key and can get the last door if you don’t get it.”

He shrugs. “I’ll lock it. No big deal.”

She nods. “I’m gonna put a sign up to ask the cleaning people not to mess with the room arrangement. Think that’s okay?”

“It’s mostly just Frank in charge of it. I’m sure he can skip this room for one week.”

“Oh right,” she says. “I can call him. I’m taping down markers for all the chairs, but since I have everything here for now, I’d rather not come back Thursday and do it all again.”

“Good by me,” he says.

“So I guess it will be just me in the creepy building for the last half hour or so,” she says.

“It is a dark old building, huh,” the man says. He touches the heavy wood door and runs his fingers around the grain of it.

Katie unfolds another chair, puts it down, and starts to place tape around it. “I was here Thursday night putting up some displays. I was by myself, and all the doors were locked. I turned around, and there was an old man standing in the doorway where you are right now. I said, ‘Oh, I didn’t realize anyone was here.'”

“Huh,” says the man. He spins the Church key ring on his finger. “Facilities guy?”

“That’s what I thought too,” she says, standing back up. “The guy doesn’t answer, just smiles and walks away. So I go out in the hallway to see what he’s doing, and he’s gone. I finished up a few minutes later, go to my car, and there’s no other car in the lot, and the Church door has not been unlocked.”

“Well, that gives me goose bumps,” the man says with a smile.

“I’m not saying it was a ghost,” she says. “But I’m not saying it wasn’t, either.”

A minute later, the man wishes her well and heads home.

When he arrives, he enters through the back door and into the kitchen. Grant yells, “Daddy!”, sprints to him, and crashes into his legs. Lauren has Lucia in the front room, and they are lying on the couch together, resting. The man walks into the living room, lays his coat on the sofa, and sits on the big red leather chair. The cushion sinks way down because Grant has jumped on it so much that he has knocked out the firm bottom. He loosens his tie and unbuttons the top button.

Lauren stirs. “How was Church?”

“Oh, you know,” the man says, and he rubs his temples as a headache sets in.

“You’re pretty late,” she says.

“Was seeing JC again,” he says.

Lauren rolls from her side to her back and puts Lucia in the middle of her chest. “She comes in a lot, huh.”

“Has a lot of troubles,” the man says. “Wouldn’t want to have her problems.”

Lauren yawns. “So get a load of this. I’m in teaching Relief Society, and Mary from the Nursery comes running in. She signals to me, and I have to stop my lesson to see what’s going on.”

“Yeah?” says the man.

“I go over and she says, ‘We need you to come quickly. Something’s wrong with Grant. We think he might be having a seizure.'”

“A seizure?” the man says.

She nods and pats Lucia’s back. “Yeah. So I hustle over to the nursery, and just guess what Grant is doing.”

“No idea,” the man says. “My head hurts and I’m hungry.”

“He’s standing in the corner, red-faced and grunting.”

The man laughs. “Seriously?”

“Yeah. I said, ‘Mary, he’s pooping!’ And Mary says, ‘Oh! I’ve never seen a kid do that.’ Mind you, she has two of her own and has been the Nursery leader for two years.”

The man smiles. “Well, Grant is a particularly intense pooper.” He stands up, and Grant comes zooming in from the kitchen with a Batman toy. “I’m gonna get a snack and then lie down.”

“One other thing,” Lauren says. “You were talking to JC today, right?”

“Right.”

“She assumes that you tell me everything she says to you.”

“Of course, I don’t.”

“I know,” she says. “But I’m coming into the chapel today as the prelude music is playing. I’ve got Grant’s hand in one hand and I’m carrying Lucia on my hip with the other. JC is sitting on the back row, and as I pass by her, she reaches out with her hand, stops me, and says, ‘I died this week.'”

The man sighs heavily. “Yeah, I heard all about her death experience this week.”

Lauren licks her lips, and Lucia stirs, but turns her head over while keeping her eyes closed. “I mean, I’ve got a kid in each hand, and Grant is pulling like crazy to get away. What could I say?”

“What did you say?”

She half smiles. “I smiled at her and said, ‘And you still made it to Church! That’s great!’ And I went to sit down.”

The man laughs. “Perfect. That’s perfect.”

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