A Breath in the Darkness

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First off my name is john and I worked for a company that was located on the state docks that would assign jockey trucks to the local longshoremen. If you are not familiar with jockey trucks, they are the funny looking trucks that are tasked to unload and load container ships when they are docked at a port. The longshoremen drive these trucks to the various “stacks” or areas of containers to be stored until such a time that another container ship arrives to pick them up or an over the road truck will pick them up and take them to their final destination. I started working for this employer that also built these jockey trucks and also serviced them, by checking tires, fluids and any minor repairs and fueling and parking them.

For the first month of my employment here, i worked on first shift. Working first shift i was to work 10 days straight with 4 days in a row off. I thought i had a pretty sweet deal i thought because 2 days off just isn’t enough when you have a such an exhausting job like i did. Anyway, after i had been there for about a month or so, the first shift supervisor asked me if i would like to move to 3rd shift which was 11:30 p.m. To 8 am. I said that i wasn’t particularly thrilled about it actually. He then told me that the third shift guys were quitting next week and that he needed someone to cover the shift. I kind of groaned and asked if there was a pay raise involved and he said yes and that there would also be overtime that he would sign off on. I said to him that i would do it and would start when he needed me to.

So, i started the night shift the very next week and the guys that were leaving kinda showed me the ropes as to what was expected on the night shift. I trained with them until saturday morning that week and come sunday night i was all by myself. I was the entire 3rd shift! We had a soda and vending machine on site but the port had a vending machine with better snacks and a pepsi machine. So i would often drive our service truck down to their breakroom whenever i needed something for snack.

The breakroom was located at the end of a long warehouse building with several truck loading/unloading bays. This building was only used during the day as that particular area did not have a 2nd or 3rd shift, so there would be no lights on in that building or the one next to it which was the same size but was more or less t-boned into the building with the break room i would frequent. By the time i would arrive for work, the lights in these two buildings had been off for hours and nobody should have been there during my shift.

One of my duties on 3rd shift was to record the hours of each jockey truck on the port. This is really the easiest part of the the job. Hours were recorded once a week along with their location. Sometimes, it would be easy as copying the hours down from their last service. I would normally do this between the hours of 3-5 am depending on how much work i had to do prior to recording the hours. I would park all of the trucks and trailers and check the fluids one by one until i was done and then i would take my lunch break. I’m still working by myself mind you and have to respond to any break down or any type of mechanical problems. That meant that i would have to leave the yard which altogether, was about the sizeof two and a half to three football fields wide. At this time the operations office where i worked was in the company break room. Anytime there was an issue with a truck and or trailer, i immediately had to stop what i was doing, hook up a spare truck to the wrecker and go to where the issue was.

That meant i had to leave the yard unattended. I did not like doing this because at that time there was no locked gate so almost anyone could come in off the street and do whatever they wanted while i was gone or they could be waiting for me when i got back with only god knows what intentions. At this point i had been working on 3rd shift for about two months and besides how eerily quiet it was after i was finished servicing the trucks and checking tires, i actually liked the quiet peacefulness that would begin to set in at around 3:30 a.m. It was late october and it had finally started to bring cooler weather, which meant that we would experience very thick fog between about 3 am until the sun would burn it off around 9 am.

It was just about time for my break at around 4 am so i jumped in the service truck and drove to the warehouse that had my favorite snacks and pepsi. The warehouse was parallel to my yard so i drove to the far end of the warehouse and drove up the ramp and pulled my service truck next to the break room. Like i have stated before, there were no lights on in this warehouse. No light except the light that the vending machine gives off that is. I turn off the truck and walk into the break room. Dead silence. More like deafening silence. Something didn’t feel quite right. I don’t scare easily and I’m a big guy at 6’1″ 280 lbs. I am more than capable of defending myself and have caused an unlucky few, serious harm.

I stick my head out of the break room and call out, “is anyone there?” i wait about 10 seconds and repeat the question louder this time and listen for a response. Nothing. Dead quiet. So i turn my attention back to getting myself a snack. I sit down at the picnic table in the break room there for a moment and suddenly, i’m not sure what happened to cause it but, all the hair on the back of my neck stood up all at once. I grabbed my snack and my pepsi and stood up and looked out the window of the break room into the warehouse to see if i could see anything or anyone that wasn’t supposed to be there. I stared intently into the darkness that, to me, seemed to swirl and morph into shapes that really had no shape if that makes sense. That window being plexiglass and heavily scratched as well, i figured that my eyes were kind of pixelating i guess would be the correct word for it.

I opened the door and all or the swirling and morphing shapeless shapes stopped. I was still just a bit on edge because if there is something there, how can i defend myself if i don’t see it? After all it is late october and halloween is right around the corner. I call out again, “is anyone there?” i wait to hear an answer…..nothing again. I dismiss it as nothing once again and turn to get in my service truck. Then i hear someone or something take a deep breath. I stand frozen for a few seconds to see if i hear it again………nope. However, i do hear someone…..or something dragging something metallic on the concrete floor of the warehouse!! I said to myself ” fuck this shit!!” i cranked up my service truck and called port police. They were there within 2 minutes. After an hour long exhaustive search they found an old scythe about 15 feet from where i told them i parked my service truck. This happened to me in my early 20’s and it still creeps me out to this day. I worked 3rd shift for 3 more years at the same place. This was not my only creepy experience working there. I have a few more holy shit what the fuck moments.

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