Story A Day Challenge – Day 6 – The Janitor

For today’s prompt, found here, I went for something a little outside my wheelhouse. As always I agonized over it, but I am pleased with the end result.

The Janitor

Murphy swept the halls. As he worked outside Mrs. Stone’s room he tried not to look in. As every day before, he failed. He only glimpsed her for a moment but she was the same as always, propped up in her bed staring out the window. Her blonde hair perfectly styled. Someday he would find out who brushed it for her.

He forgot her as he neared Mr. Beldin’s room. He pasted on a smile and swept faster. He waved at the other man who was already waving vigorously and moved on quickly when the clapping began. Mr. Beldin made him very uncomfortable.

He slowed again when he was almost to the room of the boy he called Sid. Murphy didn’t know Sid’s real name. No one came to visit him and there were rarely any staff members in the room. The kid was always strapped down and screamed if he heard Murphy come close.

Sweeping as quietly as he could he stepped carefully. Finally he finished the area and picked up the pace again. He was almost done and if he were fast enough he might avoid Miss Victoria. That woman just wouldn’t take no for an answer! He peeked cautiously in her room and found her playing solitaire and frowning. Feeling guilty he asked if she needed a partner. She informed him she didn’t have time for his foolishness today, never taking her eyes off the cards.

A little offended and greatly relieved, Murphy finished sweeping and left the building. He walked across to grounds to his shack and firmly closed the door behind him. He could hear the men hiding in the hedges talking but he didn’t care what they had to say.

“I can’t believe it! A real ghost,” exclaimed one.

“I told you. I wonder why he keeps sweeping a burned down asylum? Keep the camera rolling,” replied the other.

A few moments later Murphy came out of the shack, crossed the grounds and went into the building.

Murphy swept the halls. As he worked outside Mrs. Stone’s room he tried not to look in.

The Prompt

Write a story set in an abandoned location.

Like I mentioned, it’s a little different than what I normally write, which is probably why I fretted so much over it. I always complain about prompts that are too detailed. Today I was worried that it was too vague. I guess there is no pleasing me! Actually I enjoyed this one and have a few other ideas for abandoned locations. This challenge has really got my mind spinning, in the best of ways!

Rough draft 346 words


  1. Interesting. So interesting! I got so caught up I forgot the prompt was “abandoned” and I was thinking “Nursing home?” Your writing did what it is supposed to do! So perhaps, on the next read, part of the story is a nursing home and the ending is a shack on the grounds of the nursing home? The characters in the possible nursing home now remind me of the end of “The Haunted Mansion” at Disneyland — wanting to hitchhike out of their situation. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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