The Rail Girl

Having a talent for acting early on, I didn't so much want to become famous as I wanted to entertain. Not only did I want to act, I wanted to know the workings of the whole shebang. Just as much as an actor remembering their lines, lighting was important, cues were important, and generally, forming the correct environment for pleasant viewing happened to be part of what I wanted to learn.

The stage at my college was built long ago, and to be honest, I’m not quite sure when. It's located inside a place called "Shilling Hall" in the university I attended. I do recall mention of it being renovated in the 1953. It’s very old fashioned, though, and it is meant to host live performances. There are rows upon rows of seats and above it all is a huge balcony for other people to watch from. I've never seen the place packed, but I’m hoping the next time I act, it will be.

There are all kinds of rumors that this place is haunted, but of course, I've never seen any evidence, and being the type of person I am, I won’t believe anything until I see it. Previously, I’d seen people going up onto the balcony and leaving a few pieces of candy on the rail for this “ghost”. I honestly think the cleanup crew would just pick it up and toss it, so it was a waste of time in my opinion.

Now see, this “ghost” was described as a little brown haired girl, about seven is what most people guessed, with her hair cut into a bob. She wears a white dress with a pink tie around it. She is simply called “The Rail Girl” due to appearing near the balcony rail to those who have seen her. I didn't used to believe in her, but I certainly changed my mind after a few events.

A friend and I were chatting over lunch one day, and he, being quite superstitious, believed in the paranormal. He was yammering on about why that girl might be there. Like she could havee been a victim of rape or murder and she was built into the walls, or she might’ have fallen from the balcony to her death. I rolled my eyes. I highly doubted there was a ghost at all, so I told him, quite simply. “Ryan, shut up and eat your sandwich,” and he proceeded to with a sheepish grin. He knew I didn’t believe him, but he always came to me with his harebrained ideas.

As time passed I worked in the auditorium, cleaning things up and checking the stage. I preferred the role of an actress, so I wanted to see how things worked and operate things just in case I didn’t land a good role in the play or one of the newbies needed a guiding hand. I was sweeping up the stage, although it wasn’t really that much of a mess, but I wanted it looking great for the next performance. I thought I heard footsteps. I’ll note that these were not those typical “heavy footfalls” that you mentioned in most scary stories. It sounded like a child running. I stopped for a moment and heard nothing. I couldn't discern which direction it was coming from, so I assumed that Ryan had left a tape player on behind the curtain to give me some of that evidence that I would require to believe any of this. I didn't hear the sound anymore, but I still checked behind the curtains and in other areas where most wouldn't lend a glance to for a source of the sound. I found nothing.

I spent a few times in that theater alone, cleaning up and simply surveying the area for anything being amiss. Most nights were mundane. Nothing happened, and any ideas of The Rail Girl left my mind. I did, however, realize my cellular phone went missing. I gave an annoyed little huff and started searching for it. I DID know where I left it, and it wasn't’t there when I checked. I only found it when it began to glow and vibrate from a text I received. It was sitting on the arm of one of the chairs in the auditorium, and I knew that’s not where I left it. That’s not where the weirdness ends, either.

One night, when I was going to get my things out of the dressing room after a rehearsal, I heard weeping. I froze in my tracks, only looking around to see if I could find the source. I shouted in anger at whoever was the cause of the sound. “Stop it! This isn't funny!” I admit it, I was a little scared. The weeping stopped, but I still had that awkward feeling of being watched.

Ryan and I were working together on the stage later. We were setting up for another play’s rehearsal. He left a few pieces of candy on the rail. I laughed to myself, viewing it as some sort of ritual sacrifice. As we were setting up, the fog machine started to run by itself. Ryan’s eyes bulged and he ran to turn it off. It wasn't even on. Furthermore, it wasn’t even plugged in. He decided that maybe three pieces weren’t enough and scurried over to leave her half the bag. Needless to say, I wasn't giggling anymore.

A few nights later, I got on stage to practice with the others in the play. Ryan, who mostly just played minor roles and made props, as he was creative in that way, just spoke up to our leading lady. “Hey Karen, did you bring any candy for The Rail Girl?” I didn't say anything. I had a sneaking suspicion that she was real, not that I would give Ryan any of that glory of knowing. Karen just laughed scornfully after a scoff. “Why would I leave candy for a stupid ghost? I bet it’s not even real!” I kept quiet. That’s about the same way I felt a couple of months ago. The rehearsal went mostly as planned. I had no idea why they picked Karen for the leading role, but I figured (as bad as it sounds) that she got it by coercing our teacher in the most lewd of ways. She was rumored to be a slut. I did manage to keep up with my actions and lines, despite her emotionless acting. Just as she was getting off the stage at the end of the rehearsal, I almost let out a frightful cry. Two pale hands reached through the steps and she didn't even notice as their fingers curled around her ankle until it was far too late.

Those little fingers tightened around her ankle and she stumbled in attempt to get free of them. Her feet were pulled from under her before she could utter a single sound and all I could do was stand back and watch. As she fell, I saw those tiny pale hands retreat into the wood of the steps and vanish without a trace. I heard a sickening crack as her head connected with the solid floor. I was terrified. Although I didn’t like Karen, I didn’t want her hurt, or even worse, dead. Fortunately, I saw no blood pooling, but I could tell by the way her hands landed that she had tried to catch herself. After being looked over by one student that wanted to be a doctor and was simply acting as a hobby, he noted that she was just knocked out. She came to a few minutes later, rattling on about how someone tripped her. I could have sworn I heard a little giggle, but perhaps it was just my imagination…

After Karen’s injury, she said she wouldn't return to the theater, so I was to fill in for her role. I was happy about that much. Not so disturbed by the ghost, but made somewhat nervous, I still practiced with a strange feeling of someone watching me. A few thoughts ran through my head. Should I have brought candy? I didn’t let it disturb my practice. I had most of my lines memorized and I could ad-lib some things with decent success. It was moments before a little girl just peeked her head in the back door of the theater and looked around and fled. She fit the descriptions I had heard, but I continued to act. I dug around in my purse and left a small bag of candy on the rail before I left. I did the same thing the day of the play and all went smoothly.

Weeks later, I was working in the balcony control room, messing around with the lights and whatnot, simply figuring out how they worked. I was also reading a book and studying in there, simply because the girls that I shared a dorm with would probably be loud, drunk, and obnoxious at this hour. I told a few of my friends where I would be, so as I heard a knock on the door, I went to answer it, thinking I might be needed for something. I opened the door and saw nothing at first, until I looked down. A little girl with short brown hair peered up to me, as if expecting something.

“Can I help you?”

She stared at me, swaying back and forth in her white dress. She gave me a simple answer. “No.”

She vanished before my eyes. I was spooked. I didn't go there alone after that.

I still go to that theater some days, and occasionally even act there, but every time I remember The Rail Girl and I make sure that I leave her a bag of candy. I can’t say I don’t believe in ghosts anymore, but I can certainly say that she made my time in college quite interesting.