It's the summer of 1986. You're thirteen years old, spending a week at the University of Oklahoma for a summer linguistics program. It's your first time away from your parents, and you've made new friends that you're ready to explore the campus with.
[[It's time for lunch.]]You and your friends, buzzing with excitement after one of your first linguistics crash-courses, walk to Cate Cafeteria for lunch. After your trio of friends — you, a girl named Margot from Edmond, and a guy named Jack from Houston — is done munching on sandwiches, Margot has an idea.
"Let's go to the basement!" she exclaims.
You look at Jack, who shrugs. You might as well go along, you decide.
[[Go to the basement.]]The hot, sticky August air in the main floor of the cafeteria gives way to cooler, damp air and darkness.
The ceiling is low, and even this trio of not-too-tall thirteen-year-olds struggle not to bump their heads. It's loud — machinery and freezers buzz and hum.
"We shouldn't be down here," Jack says.
"C'mon, it's fine," Margot says.
Now, the choice is yours:
[[Go back upstairs with Jack.]]
[[Keep exploring the basement with Margot.]]You and Jack head back upstairs, leaving Margot in the basement by herself.
You sit again in the cafeteria, each sipping on a soda from the fountain, and chat about what's next on your schedules after lunch.
Suddenly, you hear a scream from downstairs — it pierces through the whole building. It's Margot, you're sure.
[[Go find Margot.]]You and Margot walk around the basement as Jack goes back upstairs.
"What a scaredy-cat," Margot laughs, and you laugh along too, not mentioning that you think this basement is *super* creepy.
You and Margot come across a dumbwaiter — it looks like a tiny elevator, big enough for boxes but not much else. A small person could squeeze in, *maybe.*
"Dare you to climb in," Margot taunts you.
[[You climb in the dumbwaiter.]]
[["You're out of your mind, Margot."]] You and Jack scramble downstairs, scanning the basement for Margot.
Suddenly, you stumble across a terrifying scene — Margot's head is trapped in the dumbwaiter, there's blood pouring from her neck, and she's unconscious.
You nearly faint, sending Jack upstairs to call for help. You crumble onto the floor, wailing. If only you could've saved Margot.
[[About this story]]"No way," you tell Margot. "We've got to get back upstairs — I have a bad feeling about this place."
She sighs and rolls her eyes, but you both go back upstairs.
Jack's been waiting for you.
"Thank God you're back," he says. "That basement gave me the creeps."
Margot glances up at the clock and realizes you three have only a few minutes to get to the next activity for your linguistics camp, and you're off.
[[About this story]]At Margot's urging, you try to squeeze yourself into the dumbwaiter.
"I don't really think I fit in here," you say.
Margot urges you: You can do it. Keep trying. It'll be fun.
Fine, OK, you think. You're almost all the way in — just your head is sticking out now.
Suddenly, the dumbwaiter lurches. It starts to move up, and you try to clamber out, but you're too slow.
Margot screams, and you do too. The dumbwaiter keeps rising, and your head is trapped. The pressure increases, and you lose consciousness — lights out.
[[About this story]]Author's note: This story is adapted from a ghost story as told in Jeff Provine's "Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma." In the original story, a young boy at a linguistics camp at OU in the summer of 1986 decides to explore the basement after lunch one day in August. He climbs into the dumbwaiter he finds in the basement, and he is decapitated when the dumbwaiter is called upstairs. Depending on your choices in this story, either you or Margot is decapitated by the basement, or you avoid the basement woes altogether.