As the lights dimmed slowly in the small storage room, Archer, the elderly curator of the small curio shop and museum, looked at the door that led to the alley behind the building. He was positive that what he was looking at was some sort of apparition. He walked back to the light switch, hit it, and the room slowly illuminated. The apparition was gone, and Archer shook his head, assuming that he was just tired.
Archer hit the light switch and as the lights started dimming again, the apparition reappeared. Archer walked closer to the door and looked carefully. What he saw was a man who seemed to be dressed in the garb of an old-time sailor, complete with a cap, a sailor’s knot tie, and thick, black mutton chop sideburns. He appeared to be leaning on a table and had a scowl on his face.
“Who or what are you?” Archer asked. “Are you real or am I hallucinating?”
“You are, indeed, hallucinating, Archer,” the apparition said in what sounded like a thick, Bavarian accent. “But I am not a sailor and I’m not from Bavaria.”
“How did you know that was what I was thinking?” Archer asked. “I never said anything out loud.”
“Archer,” the apparition said, “I’m your hallucination, so of course I know what you’re thinking. And for your edification, I am Dutch, and I’m a musician. I teach students at a music school. Can’t you read the sign above this door?”
“Actually I can’t,” Archie admitted. “But more important, apparition, why are you here? Why are you haunting me?”
“Haunting you? Is that what you think I’m doing? That is not at all the case. My job is to escort you, Archer, to the other side.”
“The other side of what?” Archer asked.
“That’s the the alley on the other side of that door,” Archer said. “I don’t need some damn apparition to get to the other side of that door.”
“Actually, Archer,” the apparition said, “the alley is gone. The shop is gone. Turn around and tell me what you see.”
Archer turned, looked down on the floor and saw a body. His body. He gasped. “What is going on? Is that me on the floor? Am I dead?”
“Come open the door, Archer,” the apparition said. “All of your questions will be answered when you get to the other side.”
Written for The Haunted Wordsmith Daily Prompt from Teresa. For this challenge, we’re supposed to write a story that’s set in a museum, that uses the line, “The lights dimmed slowly,” and that illustrates the photo from PublicDomainPictures at Pixabay.