Psycho Thrill - Girl in the Well
Psycho Thrill - Girl in the Well
"I am evil." The woman's whispering voice explodes into the receiver. Controlled, emotionless, and still you can make out the struggle it was for her to take this step.
Many turned to Johanna in this way, but they were rarely so direct. And even more rarely were they so ... cool.
"Hello, this is Johanna Ebeling with the witch archive at the Ethnological Institute in Hamburg. How can I help you?" Johanna asks, building trust, seriousness.
There is a pause.
Johanna hears breathing on the other end and sees her colleague Henning come out from behind the bookshelves. Calls are always something special.
"I am evil. I need to come by. Can I come by?" Scared and demanding at the same time. And, again, Johanna feels the inner conflict in the stranger's voice. How haunted. Maybe, as is so often the case, mental illness is the only reason for the call.
"Of course you can. We are open every Tuesday and Thursday from eight to four. It would be best if you made an appointment with ..."
Click. Johanna looks at the handset.
Even Henning can hear the dial tone in the quiet rooms of the Museum of Ethnology. He shrugs.
Johanna shakes her head and hangs up. This is also not a rare occurrence, since they offer telephone consultations. It's just one call among many, which Johanna and her colleague Henning Lambertz quickly forget.
August. During the break between semesters, the quiet of the institute is overwhelming. Occasionally, they hear Mrs. Kramer clearing books from the shelves in the museum library next door and the sound of tennis balls being hit in the adjacent spaces for the sports academics at Rothenbaum. Henning has opened all the windows, but there's still a stifling humidity, even within the otherwise relatively cool walls. Johanna is transcribing an interview with a tenant of the Grindle high-rises about a ghost sighting; Henning is entering the typed witches' logs into the computer. A fan rests on top of a pile of books between the two screens, providing a cool breeze at head height, but without blowing around any loose pages. Johanna stops the playback, her fingers hover over the keyboard, but, instead of typing, she leans forward and sets the fan so that it only blows on Henning. She's got a chill.
"What's going on?" Henning looks at her.
"It somehow got kind of cold, don't you think?" He looks up searchingly and shakes his head. Turns back to his manuscript and pauses.
"Yes! I think you're right." He turns off the fan and looks at the window. Johanna looks at the door that leads to the hallway.
"It's coming from there." She nods toward the door and feels the cold flowing toward her from there. Not the type of cold that's caused by a gust of air. Another type of cold.
"Yes," Henning whispers. "It feels like ... like ..." He doesn't have the words to describe it, his eyes lingering on the door as if he were expecting someone at any time. Or something. It's the same for Johanna. And it gets worse. Her stomach is in knots, her heart pounding in her ears. This is fear , she thinks, but doesn't know of what.
"Johanna, what is it?"
She can't answer, the fear is choking her, the panic is rising, both of them stare at the door and feel surrounded by an icy coldness. The doorknob starts to turn, Johanna's heart races. The door opens. A woman is standing there and looks around nervously.
"I called. I said I am evil," she introduces herself.
Johanna and Henning remember.
She sits stiffly upright on a chair in front of them, puts her purse on her knees, and clasps her hands together on top of it in her lap. Her eyes