Second Hand Chair

This is a story about old furniture, and why I don’t like to buy second hand items. It happened a few years ago, when I was working for a SME, we had just moved to a new office last week, on the second floor of a storehouse, and most of us had backlog to clear due to the shifting.

That night I decided to stay back and clear as much as I could, with the project already months behind time due to my predecessors, I was eager as their replacement to prove my worth. As the rest of my colleagues left for home one by one, my team lead walked over and ask me if I was going home. I replied that I was trying to clear some of the work and will be staying late. He gave me a strange look, and started to say something before he caught himself, and gave me his classic “I’m smiling because I can’t say anything” smile before saying goodbye and left.

I was puzzled by that look but soon forgot about it as I continued on with my work. The room grew colder without the rest of the company there, and I pulled my wind breaker tighter around me. Hunger was getting to me as I haven’t had dinner but that only motivated me to clear up fast and go for my meal.

Then I felt it, the feeling of someone staring at me behind my back, someone angry, almost furious. I can’t accurately describe in words how that stare ‘felt’ like, only that it was icy and piercing, and the feeling immediately made all my hair stand. At the same time, I noticed the familiar feeling of the air around me turning still, cold and damp, like a wet, transparent blanket thrown onto me. My body frozen up and fear grabbed my mind like an iron claw.

Slowly, I was able to think again, and forced my fingers to type a bit of gibberish to calm myself down. I remembered that my back was facing the meeting room door, and it was left open when my colleagues went to turn off the lights. Trembling, I whispered “Brother, I’m just trying to finish my work, relax OK?” The staring continued, and I was panicking in my seat.

At that point, I suddenly remembered my talisman, and reached for it to check that it’s there, only to realized that I left it at home that day! The air around me felt heavier suddenly, and there was an unnerving feeling that whatever was staring at me was slowly creeping forward.

In desperation, I started chanting every mantra I can remember off the top of my head. The weight around my body suddenly lifted and I could feel whatever was staring at me back in the shadows, I quickly packed up and ran off.

The next day I came late on purpose, and stole glance at the meeting room before I sat down. After a while my team lead leaned over and ask me if everything was OK last night, I spilled everything that happened last night as he listened intensely. After I finished, my team lead paused for a long time before telling me that the other team lead also had an encounter in the office. He was also the last person in the office, and he was walking to the pantry when he saw a woman walking towards him. Thinking that someone had walked into the office when he didn’t notice, he was going to call out to her when she suddenly vanished.

I shuddered, and decided to hurry my work so that I don’t have to be the last to leave that night. Later that day, my boss called a meeting and we had to go into the meeting room. Nervously, I sat through the meeting, looking around the room the whole time. After the meeting ended, I left in a hurry and when I got back to my table, I realized that I left my notebook inside.

As I walked in to take my notebook, I felt a tint of the sickening feeling in the air I felt last night, and noticed that it was coming from the two old chairs left behind by the previous tenant. They were old, hand-made chairs that was painted over with cheap paint, one in green and the other red. Grabbing my notebook, I rushed out of the room.

For a week or so after that day, I made sure to leave early and to always wear my talisman to work. One day, I came to work and noticed that something felt different. I checked the meeting room and noticed the chairs were gone. Eventually, I heard from the boss that the previous tenant had came to take it back. I didn’t believe him.

Whatever the truth is, none of us had any “encounters” after that. I refused to buy any second-hand furniture since.

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