Laurie sat at her desk, her finger running down the list of volunteers. Her watch read 7:30pm and she wasn’t any closer to filling that last-minute volunteer assignment than she had been six hours earlier when the office was humming. She sighed, thinking about the night before. She’d gone to the midnight showing of Halloween with her friends and giggling, they ate popcorn and jumped when Michael Myers’ got back up again and again.
Yawning, she laid her head on the desk for just a moment. Suddenly, the lights went out. Her computer screen flickered off. It was pitch black. The stillness was unnerving. Laurie looked around, trying to adjust to the dark. As she blinked, the hair on the back of her neck rose. In the corner she could see a shape forming, its wispy outline undulating. Terrified, she watched it drift towards her, a watery face forming in the mist.
Heart thudding, she pushed back away from the ghostly specter, her chair scraping the floor. Its dead eyes fixated on her. “Why Laurie,” it whispered and the icy voice brushed her hair. “Why did all these volunteers leave?”
One by one, transparent faces materialized, hovering in the dark, surrounding her. She recognized Juan, who never had the time to come to orientation. She saw Millie who couldn’t find a job that suited her. In the corner was Yuki, who quit volunteering to care for her sick mother. The faces bobbed and the specter hissed, “What could you have done to keep them? Now they’re gone.” Slowly, the faces dissolved.
The lights popped back on and the computer rebooted with a whir. Rubbing her eyes, she couldn’t tell if she had been dreaming. She shivered, a cold tingling running down her back. Was there still a mist hovering near the door?
The phone rang and Laurie jumped. It was a volunteer returning her call, telling her that he could do tomorrow’s assignment.
Laurie stuffed the volunteer list back into the top drawer and grabbed her purse. “I’m not afraid anymore!” She said aloud as she got up and headed home.
What is our volunteer manager equivalent of the things that go bump in the night?
- The Vampire Volunteer who sucks the life out of us?
- The Frankenstein Assignment where none of the pieces fit?
- The Freddy Krueger Department who keeps shredding volunteers?
- The Wolfman Staff who turn on us when volunteers won’t clean closets?
- The Mummy Marketer who keeps all information under wraps?
- The Episodic Gremlins, who run all over doing more damage than work?
- The Corporate Dementor Group who must have contact with clients so they can suck their souls for a feel good experience?
- The Ghosting Volunteers who just disappear?
Some volunteer management areas can be scary. But when that cold spector breathes its icy voice of doubt into our ears, just remember: The reluctant hero in the monster movie always prevails.