Caimiléiri san Coláiste by Cormac Larkin Mar22


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Caimiléiri san Coláiste by Cormac Larkin

It was a fine day in late October and in Coláiste Ghobnatan serious business was underway. A dare contest was unfolding between two very different lads. One, Liam “Booter” Lynch, so called because of his GAA exploits, was the cockiest fella this side of the Lee, but was probably the finest corner forward that Naomh Ábán had ever produced. He was playing Junior B at only 15 years of age! The other was a timid wee boyeen called Johnjoe Murphy. Booter, ever the gentleman, let Johnjoe go first. He dared Booter to yell “I’m stupid” at the top of his voice. As you may well imagine Johnjoe didn’t get out much. He was a bit of a nerd. In fact he owned the first ever computer in Ballyvourney. Anyways, after Booter unceremoniously complied with his demand, he laid down an equally idiotic dare. He dared Johnjoe to declare that technology was nothing but a load of bullshit, which Johnjoe didn’t particularly fancy for previously explained reasons, but to preserve his dignity he made the declaration.

This type of headbanging was continued by this pair of dodgers, escalating until Booter made the ultimate dare (in Ballyvourney at least). This was to break into Coláiste Íosagáin on Halloween, and spend the night there. Coláiste Íosagáin was a derelict former boarding school that had been defunct for over twenty years and was now dilapidated. The source  its infamous reputation was a rumour that a pupil was beaten to death by one of the brothers in the fifties, and that the boy’s ghost haunted the school. Many others had attempted to spend Halloween night in there, but every time it ended the same way, with a group of terrified teens fleeing the building in the wee hours of the morning. All their stories were the same: they had seen a ghostly youth of about 12 years of age and he had tried to take them to “suffer with him”.

Johnjoe hesitated – he knew that he’d almost certainly never manage it, but also that if he refused he’d be called a coward for the rest of his school life. He became pensive momentarily, then said slyly “I’ll do it…on one condition”.
Booter replied cheekily “What condition? That your mammy can come with you?” The crowd of onlookers erupted in a tidal wave of laughter. Johnjoe’s response shocked everyone. He said “No, that you come with me”. The crowd became silent instantly. This was a direct challenge to Booter. The crowd anxiously awaited his response. He then said those fateful words: “You’re on, four-eyes.”

With this statement, he made it clear that himself and Johnjoe wished to be the first people to spend a whole night in there since 1989. They became the talk of the entire school-would this pair finally succeed where so many had failed? or would they join the ranks of all the other hormone-crazed teens who failed miserably, fleeing in terror at the first sign of paranormal activity?

The evening of October 31st was fast approaching. Several days beforehand, the pair had a discussion over what gear would accompany them on their adventure, and also on their entry plans. They decided to pack as if it were a mere camping trip, minus a tent obviously. They also decided that they’d break a window to gain entry.

On the night of the 31st of October, a crowd gathered at the gates to wish them well (and to hopefully see them flee like a pair of five – year – olds). One of the lads, Mick, said to the duo “Good luck lads, oh and by the way, Bull sends his regards, but he wasn’t able to make it tonight,” which was greeted with sniggers from the great unwashed. Blissfully unaware, they continued up to the front door…

Bull McCarthy was Booter’s best friend, but was a true headbanger at heart, if truth be told. He liked nothing more than pulling Booter’s leg, and this was a golden opportunity he wasn’t going to miss in a month of Sundays. Along with a friend, whose name was Pádraig, they conspired to give Booter and Johnjoe a “right shcare altogether”.
As the clouds parted to reveal a full moon, Booter tried the front door. To his total surprise it opened with a ghostly creak. He said “Johnjoe, this’ll save us a heap of trouble with the window.” He didn’t know that later, those fateful words would ring hollow in his mind.

36 hours previously:
Bull and Pádraig gingerly made their way up to the door. They unpacked their bag of tricks, which included a professional speaker-microphone system from Pádraig’s dad (it’s handy to have a filmmaker for a father), a bucket of pig’s blood from the local victualler, a sledgehammer, a hick hemp rope and an effigy. On the door, a rusty padlock greeted them, but after a blow from the sledgehammer, it was no more. They positioned the speaker fastidiously so as it couldn’t be seen from the door. They tied a hangman’s noose in the rope and fixed it over the dummy’s neck. They then tied it to a roof beam and sat the dummy on the beam and affixed a small rope around the effigy so that its descent could be triggered remotely. In addition, the pig’s blood was splashed liberally just behind the front door.

Booter and Johnjoe entered. The first thing they noticed was the foul smell, a musty odour emanating from within. Suddenly Johnjoe froze. He muttered, “It’s not real, it’s just your imagination”. Booter sneered: “What’s wrong, little fella? Lost your mammy?” Then he realised what the issue was. He looked down. There was blood everywhere. They both screamed. Then the dynamic duo heard a creepy voice cackle loudly: “You can run, but you can’t hide! MWAHAHAHA!!
They attempted to flee, but to their horror, it wouldn’t open! They were left with no other choice but to run into the heart of the building. Then, in front of them…

Bull and Pádraig hid in the bushes and they perceived two shadowy figures making their way up the lonely path. They waited until they entered, and then applied the padlock to the door very stealthily. They heard terrified voices, and then Pádraig pressed the microphone to his lips and uttered those immortal words. Ten seconds later, Bull pulled the rope and removed the padlock swiftly.

Booter and Johnjoe gaped in terror. A body had dropped in front of them. They made an abrupt about-face and returned the way they came. They made a renewed attempt to open the front door, and miraculously, it worked! They fled down the path, wishing they had used the window, and reached their “fan club”. To tell the truth, they weren’t much of a fan club as it was really a schadenfreude, wishing misfortune upon them.

Bull and Pádraig ran over to the defeated duo and explained to them what had really happened. They then went to retrieve the speaker. As they approached their objective, Pádraig asked Bull, “You don’t really believe in ghosts, do you?”. He replied saying “Don’t be silly, ghosts aren’t real”. At that moment, a white figure leaped out in front of them and yelled “BOO!”. The lads fled as their victims had done previously. Seeing the boys run, Pádraig’s dad removed his disguise, an old bed sheet, and recovered his prize piece of equipment. He then went over to the group and explained to them what had happened, and they had a laugh, when once again there were truly Camiléirí san Coláiste.