the eyes tearing open your soul pt 1

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
Sam Warren is a independent contractor who paints buildings for a living. He has ran out of work and needs a job badly. He gets a call one morning about a future job opportunity. The job....to repaint a basement in a old warehouse that has been covered in graffiti. Sam thinks it will be a easy job, but little does he know he going to be pulled into a world of insanity and chaos.

Submitted: February 26, 2015

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Submitted: February 26, 2015

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I got the phone call in the early morning on October 8. I was still asleep and didn’t answer on the first couple of rings. I finally rolled over in my bed and answered it on the 5th ring.

"Hell....hello?" I said in a groggy, sleepy voice.

"Is this Sam Darren?"

"Yea"

"Sam this is Bob Pinch. I know you don’t know who I am or what I am calling about, but are you busy right now?"

"No, I'm not busy right now, what's up?"

"I got your business card from Neil. I was calling you in regards to a possible job I need done. Neil recommended you, because you did such an excellent job re-painting his house."

"Oh yea, Neil... I remember that job." I said and sat up in my bed.

"Well that clears up what I’m calling about then...I have a job I need done, as soon as possible. How is your schedule looking? Do you have a lot of clients now?"

"No, no my schedule is pretty open right now. I’m available as soon as you want me."

"Ok that's just what I wanted to hear. Can I see you at 3:00 pm today?"

"Yea no problem."

"Good, good, that's just what I wanted to hear. Imma switch you over to my secretary now. She's going to give you the address. Hope to see you soon."

I grabbed a pen and pad off my nightstand and listen as his secretary gave me the address and wrote it down. I hung up the phone a minute later and got up and walked to my bathroom. I took a shower and got my clothes out, so I could iron and press my shirt and slacks.

Thank God, another job. Right when I needed it, I couldn’t ask for nothing more. I'm sure you're wondering, by now, what I do for an occupation. I am a commercial painter. I have been painting for 15 years. Hard finding work sometimes, in this field. Sometimes I have my hands full with clients and at other times I can't find work anywhere. But I love to paint. I have always loved to paint. It something about rolling that new paint over old dirty wall that gives me a good feeling inside. I take a lot of pride in my work and work hard at perfection. I make sure this is not even a tiny speck of paint is in the wrong place. Since I am an independent contractor, my prices for a typical job are very reasonable. I usually charge by the size of the job and amount of paint I needed is included in the price. I remember the job I did for Neil, as I ran the iron of my dress shirt. He had me paint the interior and exterior of a new garage he had built about a month ago. I did a really good job and worked hard for long hours to get the paint just right. Neil was so pleased when I had finished the job; he had offered me a bonus on top of my regular price. I took it, and thanked him. He said he would recommend me to his friends if they had work available. I thanked him for that too but in the back of my mind, didn’t think he would do it so fast. Well count your blessings, because when it rains it pours, and I needed the money. I finished with my clothes and put them on. I took one good look in the mirror to make sure everything looked ok. My brown hair was a little messy so I ran a wet comb thru it quickly to straighten it out.

There, I looked fine now, ready for business.

I arrived at the job at 2:45 pm. It’s always good to show up to a job early. It shows that you are a dedicated person to being prompt and on time, sets a good impression. I looked around at the surroundings, as I got out of my car. It was a small warehouse. It had a brick exterior and a loading dock against the side of it. It had a couple of small trucks that were loading and unloading at the dock station. I could hear the familiar sound of forklifts and men's voices, as they worked loading or unloading the trucks. I walked toward the front entrance of the building. It had a glass door. I grabbed the handle and opened the door. A small bell on the door jingled as I entered the lobby. It was a small lobby. It had four chairs lined up against the wall and a small coffee table with some magazines scattered across it. A desk set close to another back door. John's secretary, I presumed, sat behind the desk typing on a small computer. She stopped and looked up at me.

"Can I help you?" she asked.

"Yes, I’m Sam Darren, the painter; I have a 3 o'clock appointment with Bob Pinch." I said, trying to sound as professional as I could.

I was never a good speaking business type man. I specialized more in my work and small talk or conversation was never one of my good attributes in life.

She smiled and said, "Oh yes...Mr. Darren. Please have a seat. I will let Bob know you are here."

I sat down in the chair I was closest too and folded my hands together in my lap. I was feeling a little nervous. I hated waiting. Waiting to me, just builds anticipation and that can make you even more nervous. I tried not thinking about anything.

What would I say?

What if I started stuttering and didn’t get the job?

What if he didn’t like my first impression?

I tried to clear my mind and force those thoughts out of it, but I couldn't. They kept bombarding me and making me even more nervous. Probably one of the reasons why I seek perfection at every job I do, is I’m a bit obsessive, and with obsession comes a mind that has thoughts that overrun it.

Wish I had an off switch for nervous thoughts running wild, but I don't. Instead I started twitching my foot. This was a habit I picked up when I'm nervous.

The secretary didn’t notice. She was busy dialing John Pinch extension. She waited a few seconds on the phone and then he must have picked up.

"Yes Mr. Pinch...your 3 o'clock appointment is here for you."

She paused for a second, listening for his response and then hung up the receiver.

"He will be with you shortly." she said. She looked at me

Did she see my nervous leg twitch? Is she noticing it? What is she thinking? I thought

But she didn’t seem to notice anything and went back to working on her computer.

I was overacting as usual. Overacting from being nervous.

Just relax, I told myself.

The minutes slowly crept by. It had only been about 4 minutes that passed but it seem too me like an hour. Finally, I heard footsteps as someone approached the back door behind the secretary's desk. I sat up straight in my chair. My palms were beginning to sweat and I wipe them on my pants leg. I knew I would have to handshake. I didn’t want me hands too clammy. Too clammy meant you was too nervous about getting the job. I wanted to seem confident.

The door opened and a short white man with glasses walked through it. He barely even glanced at me . He walked over to his secretary and said somethin under his breath to her. She nodded and look in my driection and nodded her head. He turned and looked at me. I could tell by his gaze that he was sizing me up and noting a first impression. He made a small casual smile then began to walk over to me. I stood up out of my seat and put the magazine that I had picked up down. I hadnt even looked at when I was sitting. I hope my palms were not sweaty. He reached out his hand to shake mine as he approached me. I grasped his hand and gave him a firm shake..

"Sam Darrren?" he asked and I nodded my head in acknowledgment. He continued

"Im Bob Thornton."

He release my hand from the handshake.

"Well, lets go back to my office and talk." He turned around and faced his secretary.

"Shirley hold my calls until I'm done talking with Sam."

"No problem Mr Thornton."

He turned back to me and signaled with his head to follow him. I walked behind him to the door he had came out of earlier. He open the door and I walked into a long hallway. It had a small bulletin board on one side and it was cluttered with papers and invoices. I also saw the state minimum wage poster posted next too it. The hallway had a old office smell too it. The building must be at least 15 years old, my estimate. I heard forklifts outside backing up and moving around probably unloading the daily inventory. We reached a line of small doors near the end of the corridor. Bob opened a door that had his name on a gold plague on it. It said

Bob Pinch

Office Manager.

He walked in and I followed. He went around to his chair behind a wooden desk. I closed the door behind me and he pointed for me to sit in a chair in front of his desk. He pulled out a small folder and looked over some papers inside. I sat in the chair and looked around the office as he looked thru the papers. I saw a small coffee maker sittin ontop file cabinet. I also saw some of his family pictures, wife and a daughter, in some nice picture frames. He stopped looking thru the papers and looked up at me.

"Sam, no need to waste your time with small talk. I got a job for you to do and wanna know if your interested. I heard how good you are from Neil like we talked about. I have a basement in this office building our company bought last week. Its a pretty big job, lots of nicks and crannies to get too. Are you busy with anything else right now?"

"No, Im free to start whenever." I said.

I didnt wanna sound to anxious but I also wanted him to know Im a hard worker. Neil already pretty much sold him that I was the man for the job, so I dont have say much.

"Good…Good…We need to get the job done by this Friday. I trust you have all the equipment. We have the paint already. Im goin out on a limb here, but Neil says u good and the right man for the job, so Imma trust his judgement."

"Yes sir, you wont be disappointed." I said.

"Well that does it then. You are hired. We will discuss the pay when we take a look at the basement first."

He stood back up and shook my hand. I saw a small flicker in his eyes.

what was that? It looked like fear. It couldnt be fear. Maybe my imagination.

He glanced away quickly and the flicker was gone as soon as it came. He gestured toward the door and I followed him as we exited his office. He lead me back down the hallway and back toward the lobby. He opened the door to the lobby and walked toward the entrance. Shirley looked up from the computer she was typing something on. He opened the front entrance door and turned back to Shirley.

"Shirley, Sam and I are going to take a look at the site. I will be back in about 20 minutes."

She nodded her head in acknowledgement and we walked outside into the fresh morning air. I saw the forklift I had heard earlier stop by with a load on it. The rider nodded at Bob and said

"Good morning Mr. Pinch."

"Good morning Todd, how are u doin today?"

"Not bad, finished off a whole truck, starting on another now." Todd said and sniffled. He wiped his nose on his sleeve.

"Good, good, well dont let me hold you up."

Todd nodded his head and started moving the forklift in the direction he was heading before he had stopped. Bob turned too me.

"Guess you are wondering what we do hear, well we’re in the computer business...mainly just shipping. We load smaller loads into these trucks and ship them where they need to go. Here come with me this way...." he pointed at a small grey building across the street from where we was standing. All of a sudden, a chill ran up my spine as I looked at the building.

Something was wrong, something was not right here. I had to leave, I have to leave now. I thought of just walking to my car and driving off without saying anything, but I couldn't. I needed the money, isn't it always that way. You do things that you dont want too when you need money and my bills were not getting any smaller. Im probably just feeling a little anxious about doing this job thats all. But as I looked at the grey building across the street, I knew in my heart that there was more too it than that. I was in denial, somethin was wrong and I knew it but I didnt wanna think about it. I ignored and push that thought away. Everything will be fine, everything will be fine.

We started to walk toward the grey building. As we approached it, it almost felt like it was alive and breathing, towering high in the sky, reaching out too me, to swallow me alive. Bob seemed unaware of this madness and kept talking

"The business we do has started to grow... Growing so large that we needed more space. The building we are going to now was vacant a few months ago. We decide to buy the property and use it for our larger inventory. This company out of France owned it. They didn’t even give us a high price for it. We practically took it off their hands for pennies…what a deal. I don’t know why they were so eager to get a rid of it and I thought there has to be some catch involved. There wasn’t any catch…Helluva a deal, except..."

He stopped because we reached the front entrance. He pulled out a set of keys from his pocket and unlocked the front entry door. The door opened slowly. It was pitch black inside. The air had a weird sweet smell too it, hard to describe. I hadn’t smelled anything like it before...maybe similar to mustard mixed with honey.

Bob reached inside and flick on a light switch. The building overhead lights came on. Some of them paused in their sequence and flickered but came on eventually. I was looking at the inside of a huge dusty warehouse. I could tell by the looks of it, it hadn’t been used in years. Bob motioned me inside. I couldn’t move. For a second, I stood there, frozen in the entry way looking in. Bob motioned again, this time with a little frustration in his eyes. I was finally able to place one foot over the threshold and enter the building. My footsteps had a hollow echo on the cement floor of the building. I could hear the wind echoing outside. Even with all the lights on, I was still spooked. I didnt know why.

Why was I scared? It’s just a empty warehouse with the lights on, it wasn’t dark at all. You could see every corner and every area. What was wrong with me?

Bob walked around me and shut the entry door behind us.

I turned back too him and asked,

"You said, u got a helluva a deal, except??"

"Well…come with me, I'll show you." Bob said and walked in front of me. I followed him to the back of the warehouse. The back had a old wooden door in a corner.

"This here is the basement. I don’t know why they would have a basement in a warehouse, still asking myself that question, maybe just a place to store extra goods is all I can come up with." He pulled out his keys again, found a different key and inserted it into the lock on the door. The doorknob creaked a little as he turned it. It seemed that maybe the building had shifted in its foundations because when he pushed the door forward, it was almost hard for him to move it. The bottom of the door scraped aganist the floor. The scraping sound made a echo in the empty warehouse like nails on a chalkboard. I jumped at the noise. Bob caught the jump out of the corner of his eyes.

"What's the matter? You not scared?" Bob asked me.

"No, it’s just the echo. I didn’t think it would be that loud. "

"Come on, you got to see this."

It was pitch black inside the doorway, just like the warehouse, when we had entered it. Bob did the same as he had done before. He reached for the light switch and the flourscent lights came slowly on, chasing away the darkness. I saw a small flight of stairs maybe 20, before we reached the basement floor. Bob shuffled down the stairs and I followed behind him. The smell I had smelt earlier was strong now and…wait a minute, it sounded like a small hum was coming from down here.

Was it coming from the overhead lights? I looked up at them but they didn’t seem to be producing this noise.

Where was it coming from?

A soon as the sound had started it stopped.

Was I hearing things? I rubbed my ears. Bob glanced at me with a puzzled look.

 

"You sure you ok?"

"Yea"

Bob turned back around and walk forward. I followed behind him a few feet then he stopped. I saw him look toward the back wall of the basement and I follow his gaze with my own.

MY GOD...I thought.

The back wall of the basement had graffitti artwork covering the entire wall. It was graffitti different from what I have ever seen in my entire life. Monstrous faces with horns and eyes everywhere. Multiple colorful faces some in laughter, some in anguish. But what really stood out was…

The Eyes.

The eyes everywhere looked alive. It was almost as if they were staring right at you, hypnotizing you. U could feel the insanity in them. They say the eyes are the light to the soul, and what I saw in those painted eyes was evil. I began to sweat, I tried to tear my vision away, but I couldn’t. Panic cold hand touched my spine mixed with fear. The eyes were piercing my soul, screaming insane thoughts in my mind. I wanted to kill myself in the moment, kill myself and end it all. I never thought about suicide in my life tell this moment. Can a painting make u go mad? Is there power in the eyes, that drive somebody insane? I wanted to run, run as fast and as far as I could, but I couldnt move. My feet and legs felt like jelly,

Please, please...please, let me look away.

Bob spoke

"Crazy graffitti ain't it? Looks like some kids broke in here maybe around last year and messed up the place."

I snapped out my trance as soon as I heard Bob's voice. It almost felt like I wasnt even in trance at all.

I asked myself again, what's wrong with you? The graffitti wasnt alive. The eyes were not piercing my soul. It was just normal graffitti on a basement wall, nothin special. It actually look pretty silly. Maybe some young kids with a couple of spray cans did it. The magic I saw early was gone.

Bob didnt seem to notice, he didnt even flinch when he showed me the graffitti when we first start looking at it. It was almost as if he was totally unaffected by it.

This made me question my sanity?

Im not goin crazy am I?

Bob didnt notice anything why did I? or did I see anything?

This was the worst feeling I felt in my life, not bein able to think you can trust your own mind. So I did what felt right, I black out the memory. I was in denial that it ever happened. Maybe just something I ate this morning. I had been feel strange all morning.

"So not a big job, but we need to have the whole basement including this wall painted by this next week. We got a large shipment coming in and we wanna make sure we can use this space for extra storage. I dont want some of my guys coming down here and gettin spooked by these drawings and then no coming to work no more. I dont scare easily, not the superstitous type, but I can see how these drawings, might freak somebody out...all these eyes and such."

I swallowed and tried to clear my throat and answered him

"Yea"

"So when do you think you can get started?" Bob asked

"Today, I can start today, if you want." I answered.

"Good, good I love enthusiasm and I had a good feeling about you when I first met you, I knew that you were the right man for the job. How long do u think it will take to re-paint it?

"Not long, maybe 3 days at the most."

"Sounds good, well I gotta get back to the office. Come on." Bob said, he turned and walked back toward the stairs.

We walked up the stairs together. I kept feeling those eyes staring heat onto my back. I told myself not to look back, not to turn around, but I had too. The temptation overwhelmed me.

One last look…one last peak.

I turned my head around slowly. My imagination playing scenarios thru my mind. Those horrible faces and eyes would be alive, staring deep into my soul... Piercing my logic mind and turning all my thoughts insane.

But nothing....nothing was there.

The graffitti was still there but no magical evil eyes and faces was alive. It looked like
some crude cheap drawings.

What was wrong with me?
It must been somethin I ate. I turned back around and followed Bob through the door. He closed and locked the door behind him.
"So I'm give u a key." Bob said. He reached in his slack pockets and pulled out one bronze color key and handed it over too me.
"Hold on to that, it's my only copy right now."

"I will and I pulled out my own personal set of keys."

I slid the key onto my key ring along with my other keys. Bo.mb watched me do this
for a second then looked back up my face.
"Well any questions?"
"No I'm good. I got my equipment out in my truck. So I'll get started asap."

We walked to the outer door of the warehouse and exited outside into the bright sunlight. Both of us had to squint our eyes at first to let our eyes adjust from the dark gloom of the empty warehouse to the bright sunny outside. Bob pulled out some sunglassses and put them on
"Nice sunny day," he said. He turned to face me.

"Well I gotta be going. I got alot of invoices to work on. If you need me, or have any problems, you know where to find me" he turned to walk in the direction of his office. He stopped short after 5 or 6 steps and turned back towards me
 

"And remember keep this job between me n you, like I asked before. Don't want any of the employees spooked about that old graffitti,"
 

"Discretion my middle name, don't worry" I said back too him and nodded.
 

A little bit of ass kissing helps sometimes, especially if you get a bonus for a job.
Bob smiled a small smile then turned back and walked off. I let out a sigh of relief, I was alone now, I could think and analyze the situation more clearly. Now that I thought back on the whole thing, it seemed really silly. My mind couldn't process why I was scared so I
rationalize that I wasn't scared. I told myself not to dwell on a
situation I couldn't logically explain.

Why worry?

It doesn't solve anything. I focused my mind off of the situation and tried to focus my
mind on more pleasant things

We walked up the stairs together. I kept feeling those eyes staring heat onto my back. I told myself not to look back, not to turn around, but I had too. The temptation overwhelmed me. One last look, one last peak. I turned my head around slowly. My imagination playing scenarios thru my mind. Those horrible faces and eyes would be alive, staring deep into my soul. Piercing my logic mind and turning all my thoughts insane. But nothing....nothing was there. The graffiti was still there but no magical evil eyes and faces was alive. It looked like some crude cheap drawings. What was wrong with me?
It must been something I ate. I turned back around and followed Bob through the door. He closed and locked the door behind him.
So I'm give u a key
Bob reached in his slack pockets and pulled out one bronze color key 
and handed it over too me.
Hold on to that, it's my only copy right now.
I will and I pulled out my own personal set of keys. I slid the key onto my key ring along with my other keys. Bob watched me do this for a second then looked back up my face.
Well any questions?
No I'm good. I got my equipment out in my truck. So I'll get started ASAP.
We walked to the outer door of the warehouse and exited outside into the bright sunlight. Both of us, had to squint our eyes at first, to let our eyes adjust from the dark gloom of the empty warehouse to the bright sunny outside. Bob pulled out some sunglasses and put them on
Nice sunny day, he said. He turned to face me.
Well I gotta be going. I got a lot of invoices to work on. If you need me, or have any problems, you know where to find me... Bob said and turned to walk in the direction of his office. He stopped short after 5 or 6 steps and turned back towards me,
"And remember keep this job between me n you, like I asked before." 
Don't want any of the employees spooked about that old graffiti Bob 
said
Discretion my middle name, don't worry I said back too him and nodded. 
A little bit of ass kissing helps sometimes, especially if you get a bonus for a job.
Bob smiled a small smile then turned back and walked off. I let out a sigh of relief.

I was alone now.

I could think and analyze the situation more clearly. Now that I thought back on the whole thing, it seemed really silly. My mind couldn't process why I was scared so I rationalize that I wasn't scared. I told myself not to dwell on a situation I couldn't logically explain. Why worry? It doesn't solve anything. I focused my mind off of the situation and tried to focus my mind on more pleasant things
Just think about the paycheck, and think about all my bills being paid 
off.
I walked to my work truck parked in front of the building and pull down the rear gate. It creaked and slammed down. It was an older work truck and had some rust, dirt and dents in the bedding. I started to pull out my painting tools. Most of the tools had been used on previous jobs and had splatters of paint on the handles. The brushes were clean; I made sure of that before I start any new job. I pulled out all the stuff I needed for the job, closed the rear gate to my truck and picked up my tools. I headed back toward the empty warehouse. I enter the empty lobby area. It was so eerily quiet in here when I was alone. My palms started to sweat.
Don't get nervous, just get this job done quickly and get paid.
I walked back toward the closed door to the basement. I saw something scurry past me out of the corner of my eye.
I jumped and screamed, dropping most of my tools.
A small beady rat sat 10 feet away from me.
Lil' sucker... You lil bitch, I thought.
You just scared the hell out of me! I yelled at it.
It open his mouth and show its teeth.
Was that a grin? Was it laughing at me? Whatever it was, it didn't seem afraid of my voice. I grabbed the tools from the floor as it watched me.
When I had grabbed all my tools, I lunged toward the rat. It turned and ran away from me.
”Yea you running now!” I yelled at it.
It continue to scurry away toward some small dark hole next to the loading docks. It stopped short of the run when it was safely in front of the hole and looked back at me. It's beady eyes gleaming in the dark deserted warehouse. It grinned it evil smile one last time as if saying...
You too slow for me old man...and soon...soon you will be dead.
What? Where did that thought come from? I thought
The rat turned and disappeared into the hole
Did that rat just speak to me in my mind? I asked myself
Couldn't be, that's crazy talk and you are not crazy.
  But with all the stuff happening today, I wonder if I was wrong
I turned back in the direction of the basement door. I walked over to 
the door and removed the key out of my pocket. I moved my hand to 
insert the key and realized I couldn't. My hands were trembling
What's wrong with you? Get ahold of yourself. There is nothing down 
there but a empty basement and some old bad graffitti. I forced my 
hand to stop shaking and inserted the key into the lock. I opened the 
door. It creaked on it's hinges. Evil fearful imagesof those painted 
faces, rushed thru my mind. I was terrified to go in there but I was 
in denial.
What if those painted faces were alive? What if those evil hideous 
eyes look at me again, piercing my soul. What if the horrible sharp 
teeth come alive and come off the wall to devour me?
Nonsense.
I flicked in the light switch and shuffled down the stairs. For a 
minute, I couldn't look up, So I stopped in my tracks and forced 
myself to look at the back wall of grafitti once more.
I let out a sigh of relief. The eyes were not alive. The faces look 
old n silly. I laughed at myself. My laugh echoed off the walls and 
sound eery almost insane.
I didn't care. I was just glad that this painting was nothing. Nothing 
more than some crude graffitti on a basement wall. I opened up my 
toolbox and began to assemble my rollers and brushes. I removed the 
masking tape I used to cover up any splatters on edges and corners and 
laid it outside.  I also began to spread out a plastic tarp I used so 
no paint splatters would hit the floor.
Ok all my tools are here and ready to...
My cell phone rang in my pocket. It's shrill ring scared me and made 
me jump.
U gotta stop gettin spooked. I told myself
But my nerves were bad from earlier. I pulled my cell phone out of my 
pocket on the third ring. It was my girlfriend Shirley calling. I 
clicked the answer button and put the phone to my ear.
Hey babe, I said
Heeey, babe I was just thinking about you, she said. I heard some 
papers shuffle in the background. She was still at work
Are you ok? She asked
Yea, why? I asked back
I don't know, just had a strange feeling that somethin was wrong with 
you. I'm glad you ok.
Yea, I just landed a new job today.
Oh, that's great. We can go out tonite and celebrate. She said. Her 
voice had some excitement in it. I had been with Shirley for a couple 
of years now. We had a up and down kinda relationship. She was 
constantly pestering me to get a regular pay check job instead of doin 
contract jobs here and there. I promised her I would settle for a 
stable job one day. I squashed her hopes that this would be that day.
Not a big job, should be finish in a couple of days. I said
She was quiet for a minute and I waited for a response.
When you gonna get a real job?
Shirley we already discussed this. I will soon.
Have you been looking?
Not yet....but this job should be a big payoff.
She let out a sigh. I could hear the disapointment in it.
I mean aren't you happy I found some work again? My bills were adding 
up and you know I hate to ask borrow money. I'm glad that this job 
came thru for me at the right time. It's kinda of a strange job but 
the money will be good.
Strange? She asked. Her curiousity overcoming her disappointment. 
Curiousity can be a woman's weakest nature.
Well the job is just repainting the basement in a empty warehouse.
How is that strange? She asked
Well, the black wall of the basement has all this weird graffitti on 
it. Lots of evil looking faces wit sharp teeth….and the eyes.

“What about the eyes?”
”Nothing, they just umm look scary, that’s all.”

“Oh come on now, Sam. Really? Don’t tell me you scared of some painted eyeballs.

“I’m not scared, Im just saying the look scary.” I said, tryin to hide the fear in my voice and swallow the lump in my throat.

Truth is…those eyes did scare me.

Scared the shit outta me. But I was in denial, and also I’m not gonna let her know I was scared. I had to be macho.

“Well who you think did it? Wait…I know probably some teenagers. They must have broke in and was high on acid and 
painted the wall, no big deal.”
”Nah. Don't think some amateur doped up teenager did this. Looks more 
professional.”

“How would you know? You never once went with me to the art gallery.  You said art was boring remember?”
”Whatever. This is different.”
”Well, before u paint over it, why don't you take a picture of it and send it too my cellphone. I wanna see it.”
”I don't think that's a good idea. I was told not to tell anybody about  it and I'm already telling you.”
”Awww please? I do that thing u like tonight when you get off of work.” 
She said in a seductive whisper
”Get outta here, that's not gonna work this time.” I said. But, I could 
feel my dick getting hard in my pants. I couldn't believe it. Why was 
I thinking about sex after this crazy day? I guess a man's urge for sex never falters, no matter the circumstances I thought.
I knew she was gonna win, I knew I would give in, but I wanted to hear  her promise and beg a lil more. Even though a woman's promise for sex can change in a minute, especially if the mood has changed or you have said the wrong thing....but still, I like to hear it from her lips.
”Come on, I promise I will do it, and I will let you tie me up. Pleeeeaaase.”
My dick shot rock hard at this statement. I like the thrill of a woman being total submitted in the bedroom. It was freaky.
”Ok Imma send a pic, but promise me you will keep it to yourself.”
”Ok I promise.”

She said. But, the words didn't sound sincere.

I didn't care, all I was thinking about was her naked sexy body tied to my bed
”Ok well I love you and I will see you tonight.”
”Love you too Sam.” she said and hung up.

I took my cell phone and scroll thru the menu to the camera application. I clicked on the icon and the screen of the phone light up the display. I aimed the camera phone at 
the graffitti wall. All of a sudden my hand that was holding the phone 
started trembling. I couldn't keep it still. Fear crawled up the back 
of my spine. The drawings were alive, the eyes looked at me. The faces 
laughed hideously at me. I was paralyzed. I couldn't move but my hand 
was still shaking. It was if the graffitti was breathing. Breathing in 
and out. Taking away parts of my soul then blowing the parts back to 
me mangled and dirty. Then as soon as the feeling came, it passed.
Don't take the picture.
Just repaint the walls and don't take a picture.
But I went aganist that voice in my head. Partly because I wanted to 
believe that there was nothing there. Partly because I wanted someone 
else to see it and say that this is nothing. Nothing but a dirty wall 
wit cheap graffitti in a basement. I wanted to hear them say that too 
me. Then I could sit back a few days from now with my money and laugh. 
I forget about this whole experience within a week maybe a month. I 
held my cell phone steady now. My hand did not shake. Even though the 
overhead light was dim in this basement , I was fortunate. My cell  phone camera had a flash. I push my finger on the take button and took  the picture. At first, nothing had happened. I thought maybe my finger  didn't push down hard enough. I tried a second time. This time my cell 
phone produce a flash and a familiar click noise that a picture had 
been taken. I looked at the image on my phone and didn't understand. 
The image was completely dark. I know the flash had worked, so why no 
image? I thought. Then I blinked and just like that the image appeared.
Strange...
Oh well, I'm not gonna think or worry myself about it, I thought. I 
loaded up my contacts and scroll down to my girlfriend shirleys name. 
I created a txt message and added the picture to the message.
Well here goes nothing.
I pushed the send button and the cell phone started to send the pic
Stop it, stop it before it reaches 100 percent. You still got a 
chance. Stop it then erase it from your phone memory.
But I didn't stop it. I put the phone down and started gettin my tools 
ready for the job. The paint cans were easy to open. It was a light 
greyish color paint, not a loud color, standard wall paint. I poured 
the paint into my roller tray, taped off the corners and edges of the 
wall and dipped the roller into the paint. I put thepaint dip roller 
aganist the surface of the graffitti wall. I almost expected somethin 
strange to happen. My muscles had tensed up, as if expexcting a 
electrical shock or something. Nothing happened. A feeling of relief 
filled me. I started to roll the paint on the wall erasing the eyes 
and hideous faces forever...or so I thought.


I was about halfway done with the back wall about a hour later when I 
heard the door to the basement open. I turned around to see who it 
was. Bob stood at the top of the stairs looking down at my work.
I see you already got started. That's good. I was just coming by to 
check on you before I head out. I got a large order to take care of 
across town and won't be back till the end of the day. I will catch up 
with you tomorrow, if your ok?
I'll b fine, I said
Good good. Well the key I gave you also fits the lock to the entrance 
door.  They will be finishing up in the other warehouse around 5 pm. 
So just lock it up around that time and I will see you tomorrow.
Ok sounds good, I said and continued to roll the paint onto the wall. 
The paint  cover another set of evil twisted eyes. I was feeling 
better and better now that the graffitti was disappearing from my 
vision. The quicker, the better, I thought. I heard Bob close the door 
behind me. I worked quietly the remaining hours of the day. I had 
finished up painting over about 75 percent of the graffitti when I 
looked at my watch.
4:45
Damn how the time had flown by. I lost track of it. I was so consumed 
and focused on my work. I packed up my tools, headed up the basement 
steps, switch off the lights and exited out the door. I found the key on my key chain in the dim lights of the empty warehouse and lock the 
basement door.
Somebody was watching me
I could feel the heat of a cold stare on the back of my neck. I spun around and saw that rat…

that ugly rat…

The same one I had seen earlier sitting 10 feet away from me.

It lifted it's nose in the air and sniffed at me.
”GET OUTTA HERE!” I yelled.
Startled by my loud yell, it looked at me and ran. It scampered into the hole. It ugly pink hairless tail twisting in the air outside the hole for a second then it disappeared.
Rat poison…

I could bring some rat poison tomorrow.
Normally I stick to my own business but 
there was something about that rat.
Something i didn't like.
I hated it. Hated it's beady eyes looking at me.
I wanted it dead.
I wanted to kill it.
”I'll take care of you tomorrow,” I spoke into the darkness.

It was still spooky hearing my voice echo off the walls of the empty warehouse. It had a insane sound too it. Almost as if I had step into another reality.

A hellish realty….and sound of my voice was echoing in it, speaking to the evil spirits 
here.

I walked at a fast pace through the warehouse to the lobby. 
Ready to be away from this place, I walked through the lobby.

My tools jingled against each other as I opened the lobby door and exited out 
into the bright day. I let my eyes focus again for a minute to adjust.

I turned around and lock the door behind me
Finally done with this place until tomorrow. Didn't even look scary or 
hellish in the bright sun outside, just a empty building.
A cold beer….the thought popped in my mind
A cold beer and maybe a pizza would be great at about this time. My stomach grumbled at the thought. I was famished. I had forgot to bring a lunch with me since I had started work that day and didn't eat anything.

I piled my tools into the back of my pickup truck and got in. I started the truck up, turned on the a/c on max and reved the gas. I rolled down the windows to let the heat escape and waited till the a/c starting blowing cold air then rolled the windows back. I put the truck in reverse gear, turned my head around to a back up and saw a gas powered fork lift heading toward the back of my truck.

It was gonna hit me, it was going too fast!
”HEY!” I yelled but the forklift operator couldn't hear me.

A mere second before the forklift made impact with my truck, it stopped. I threw the truck into park and threw my door open
"Hey u crazy fool! You almost hit me!" I yelled at the driver. I could feel my face hot and red with anger.
I wanted to fight this guy. Give him a piece of my mind.
He didn't even seem like he notice my rage and had a small smirk on 
his face that even made me more angry. He had shades on and a grizzly 
face that need a shave. He was sweaty and had some huge dirty hands. 
He wore some beat-up overalls over a white t-shirt. He swung his legs 
out off the forklift and stood up.
The anger inside me vanished and I became a mouse. This guy was huge. 
He towered over me at least 3 feet and I stood 6 ft tall.
He walked toward me in some old dirty work boots.
”Ummm hey, just a mistake. No damage done right, no big deal right?” I said. The rage from earlier in my voice had dissipated. It sounded timid now. The guy didn't speak. He just kept walking toward me. I backed up a few steps closer to the cab of my truck. If I was gonna get attacked, jumping into my truck and slamming the door seemed like the closest escape route. He stopped a few feet from me and just looked at me up and down. I waited for him to speak. It seemed like minutes had gone by
”Sooooo, we good? If you can just move your forklift, I will be out....”
”You’re the new guy they hired to paint the inside of that warehouse right?” He finally spoke. He had a deep country voice.
”Yea,” I answered.
”What they got inside of there?” He asked.

He scratched at his head
”Nothing….why you ask?”
He ignored my question
”You sure they got nothing in there?” He asked again
”Yea I'm sure. Why you keep asking me that?”
”Oooh nothing.”

He said and pull out a crumbled pack of malboros. He pulled one out of the pack with his mouth and put the pack back into his pocket. He pulled out a zippo lighter and flicked it open. He lit his cigarrette and took a few puffs on it.
”I was just wondering...(cough cough) excuse me, damn things gonna kill 
me someday. I'm Ernie.”
He extended a huge dirty oily hand for a shake. I didn't wanna shake 
his hand but I didn't wanna offend him, so I shook it. When I tried to release from his hand, he squeezed my hand tight.
”Heey!”
”You wouldn't be a lyin too me now?”

His eyes looking dead into mine. 
Cigarrette smoke came out thru his lips and floated away above his head.
LOOK, I TOLD YOU NO! NOW LET GO!
He let my hand go fast. I stumbled backwards a few steps. I wasn't expecting him to let go so fast.
Sorry, Sorry. I had to make sure, didn't want anything to happen to you. He said and turned to walk back to his forklift.
Yea whatever, I thought. This guy was a few beers short of a 6 pack. 
But curiosity overcame my mind
Hey I answered your question, why didn't you answer mine? I asked
He turned around to face me again
Huh? What question?
I asked you why did you ask me if there was something inside the warehouse?
Oooh, well probably nothing. I just wanted to know because the last two guys Bob hired to do the paint job never came back after the first day. I thought maybe, they got something inside that warehouse that they don't want anybody to know about.
The last two guys??
Well yea sure. What? You thought you was the first guy Bob hired to do the job? He said and let out a little laugh.
The first guy that came, think his name was George. I remembered him good because he had some wild red hair. He went in with Bob the first day he got here and came running outside screaming and babbling nonsense 10 minutes after he had gone in. He ran around the yard like some wild hyena then took off down the road. He left his vehicle parked right over there and never came back for it. Guess it didn't matter though since the police found his body bout 3 miles away in a highway ditch that next day. Damn crazy fool probably ran out into the highway and got hit. Bob had his truck towed away 2 days after that. 
Darndest thing…

I never seen anything like that in my life. Well u can imagine the talk around the workplace. Bob was tightlipped and wouldn't answer any questions when we asked him, just told us none of 
our business and to keep doin our jobs.
What happened to the second guy? I asked
He came here I say about a month before you showed up. Nice fella, 
always smiling and greeting everybody.
He stayed on the job for about 3 days then on the fourth day, he was a 
no show. Nobody saw him around here again. 2 weeks went by after that, 
then Johnny saw somethin on the news that night. I never even watch 
the news, more of a beer and sports guy myself, but ol Johnny in the 
warehouse watch the news faithfully every night. He comes in work the 
next day all excited like he had somethin to tell us. He waited until 
Bob was gone in his office and signal for everybody to gather around 
him. He told us he saw something on the news last night about the 
painter. He said he was about to turn theme tv off when he saw the 
guys face pop up on the screen. Apparently when the guy didn't come 
back to work that next day,  it was because he had gone home and 
killed his entire family before blowing his own brains out. Damndest 
thing. I couldn't believe it when he told me. The guy didn't seem like 
tha type, always friendly, but you know what they say these days. It's 
the ones you least expect that go off and do some crazy stuff.  I 
still didn't believe him tell I saw it in the paper that week. Wow, 
when that  story came out, that's when the buzz really happened. 
Workers here were comin up with all kinda crazy ideas at what was in 
the warehouse. Alien spacecraft, shit like that. A couple of guys 
planned to break in a week later. That's when Bob installed a alarm 
and squashed that idea from happening. He kept telling us nothing was 
in there. Nothin we had to worry ourselves about. So now you know, 
wasn't tryin to be rough with ya, I apologize for that
I was in a daze, barely heard his last comment. So that was the catch, 
that was why bob offered to pay so much money for a easy simple job, 
now the truth, I thought.
Hellooo? You there? Ernie asked snapping his fingers in front of my 
face.
Yea, yea I was just thinking too myself.
Don't you go flaking out like those other two. You seem like a pretty 
ok guy. If you need to talk about anything, let me know. Well I'm off, 
I'll see ya tomorrow, Ernie said, turned and walked back to the 
forklift. He backed it up away from the rear of my truck. I could hear 
the familiar beep, beep, beep sound that machinery makes when put into 
reverse gear. I was still thinking
What if I lose it?

What if I go crazy?

I already felt like I was  losing it earlier right?

What if I snapped and lost my sanity?

The  cold hand of fear and panic begin to touch my spine.
Get ahold of yourself, you too strong too lose your mind. Just bad 
nerves because of the change. A new job, a new environment, and it 
didn't help hearing those spook stories told me. For all I know, he 
coulda made up those stories. He might been jealous that I'm gettin 
paid so much for a job he felt he could do and was trying to scare me 
off.

Or it coulda happened right?

Good spook stories are hard for  people to keep to themselves. If anyone dies or gets murdered, the story is so juicy and exciting to tell...human nature.

We'll I'm not goin let some story, true or not ruin the rest of my day. I had my 
date with Shirley later on, I had to go home and get ready.

I drove home with my radio turned up loud. The loud music help to tune out any 
bad thoughts. By the time I pulled into my driveway, I had forgotten all about Ernie's  story and the job.

I jumped out my truck in a better mood, and walked to my mailbox. Nothing but more 
bills, but they were all about to get paid off now.

No worries.

I walked to my house and open the door. I walked in, grab a cold beer 
out the fridge and popped the top. I took four swallows…
God, that tasted good.
My nerves start to relax even more as I drank more of the beer. I finished the entire can in a few more swallows and reach for the second one.

I hestitated.

I didnt wanna get to plastered, what about 
my date with Shirley?

She wouldn't like it if I showed up drunk.

Well one more beer won’t get me that drunk.

I took the cold beer out the fridge and chugged it down.

There see, that wasn’t bad, not enough beer to get drunk, but just enough to take the edge off of my bad nerves.

I took off my clothes and head to my bathroom to take a shower.

 

20 mins later, when I was getting out of the shower the phone rang.

I grabbed a towel and wrapped it around my waist.

The phone was on its fourth ring when I reached it and picked it up

It was Shirley.

I kinda had a feeling it was her before I even picked it up. Kinda a telephone intuition power, I remember reading about that somewhere I don’t remember where.

“Hey Sam baby, you didn’t forget our date tonite?”

“Nope, I was just getting ready for it right now.”

“Well, Imma be ready in 30 minutes, I’ll see you then ok?”

“Yea, no problem. Talk to you then.” I said and push the END button on the phone.

I went to my room, pulled out a nice outfit and place it on my bed.

A date with Shirley is just what I needed, I thought

It would clear my head and maybe I would forget all those things I saw today.

Had I really seen anything today?

It almost seemed like early today was just a dream, nothing had happened.

I was just hired to do another paint job in a old warehouse basement.

Nothing more.

Yea that was it.

I started whistling to myself as I finished getting ready for my date.

 

 

I pulled my truck into Shirley’s driveway about 25 minutes later. I walked up here sidewalk to the front door and rang the doorbell. I could hear her footsteps as she approached the door and heard her unlock it. She opened the door and looked at me. We both smiled.

“Sam… Right on time.”

She opened up her arms for a hug . I hugged her for a minute then pulled back a few inches and kissed her.

Her lips were soft and tasted like cherries.

She opened her mouth slightly and flicked her tongue against mine.

Then she pulled away from the kiss.

“Enough of that, we wont go nowhere if we keep that up.” She said and giggled.

“Is that a bad idea?” I said and giggled a little back at her.

“Don’t worry, we’ll get to that later. Im starved and ready to go eat. Are you hungry too?”

“I could eat a horse.” I said.

She came out the house and pulled out her keys. She locked the door behind her and we walked toward my truck holding hands. I walked her to the passenger door and opened it for her. She let go of my hand and climbed in. I shut the door behind her and walked around to my side and climbed in

 

 

“Sooo…how did it go? I’m so happy for you Sam. My baby got him a J-O-B now.”

“Funny.” I said.

We was sitting inside of a booth at her favorite Italian restaurant. She loved Italian food and she was still skimming the menu, while she was talking. I don’t know why she even looks at the menu anyways since she orders the same food everytime we come here. I like trying new things and will try different dishes every now and then on the menu, but Shirley…nope, no sir. Same dish everytime for her. But still, it was kinda cute in a way, watching her pretty eyes look up and down the menu, knowing she was gonna pick the same thing. She like to pretend and imagine she was unpredictable…different and mysterious, but at the end of the day, same old Shirley….but that’s what I loved about her.

She put the menu down and the waiter walked over.

“Are we ready to order?” he said with a smile.

He was a young waiter, hardly twenty five if I could guess. Probably working his way thru college, I thought. He didn’t wanna be stuck doin this job at fifty, I don’t think anybody would.

Wait a minute…

I was busy judging him so hard, like most people do and I realized in that moment, I shouldn’t be. My life wasn’t that great either. I wish I wasn’t in the spot Im in, struggling to find jobs here and there and here I am thinking about how his life is not great doing a waiter’s job. I was thinking about these things so deeply I didn’t even hear Shirley finish placing her order and say my name. I had tuned her and the waiter out

“Sam…Sam are you listening?”

“Yes, I’m sorry. Did you order already?”

“Yes…you were not listening.” She giggled

“Oh, ok. I will have the spaghetti and meatballs with lots of bread on the side.”

The waiter wrote down my order.

“and that will be all?”

“Oh what the heck…let me get a bottle of some of your best wine as well.”

“Saaam…are you sure you want too?”

“What you mean? We are celebrating. I just got a new job remember.”

“O….Ok, I guess.”

The waiter took both the menus and walked back toward the kitchen.

“Sam I don’t think you shoulda order that. I mean you just started that job, and you might need to budget the money. It might be a while before you get another job you know.”

“I know, but relax, Shirley,” I said and took hold of her hand.

“I have a feeling, that everything is about to work out just fine. After this job, I just feel like a lot of opportunities will open up for me. I don’t know how to describe it, but I feel like things are gonna change.”

“I hope so, I love you Sam.”

“I love you too, Shirley. I think you crazy to stick with me thru all my financial struggles. That’s how I know you are the right woman for me. You never give up on me, thru the bad times and thru the good, and one day, when I get a permanent position doing work for a big company, I think we can be together, you know marriage. I just wanna make sure I can provide for not just myself, but you as well. You mean so much too me.

She was blushing and smiling at me. It meant so much too her, too hear me speaking from the heart. But I had meant every word I said. This woman Shirley did mean so much too me. I didn’t want to lose her and I would do anything to keep her in my life.

We made small talk as we waited for the food. Twenty minutes later the food arrived at our table steamingly hot. The food was so good. Maybe it was the long day at work, that made it taste so good. I was starving. I ate so much food, I felt like my belt was about to bust from my pants. Shirley didn’t hold back either. She ate a lot and finished almost all of her plate of chicken alfredo. I washed down the last part of my plate with the fine wine he had brought us with the meal

Uh-oh

I felt a burp coming up. I had to stop it.

It would be so rude if I belched out hot air with the smell of spaghetti and garlic bread onto Shirley.

I swallowed the burp back down my throat, hoping she didn’t notice the gesture.

She was too busy finishing her plate and didn’t see the gesture.

“Man this was so good. I swear, Mario’s restaurant has the best chicken alfredo here in town, probably the whole country.” She said with a small giggle.

“Don’t get too full, you will have no room for desert.”

“I already think I don’t have any room.”

I let out a laugh

“Yea….me too.”

We both laughed.

She pushed her plate away from her.

The waiter must have seen her gesture from the corner of her eye. He walked over.

“All done over here?” He asked.

“Yes thank you so much, it was delicious.” Shirley answered.

“Good, would you like for me to bring a dessert menu or anything else, some more wine possibly?”

“No….no I think we are stuffed…Just the check please.” I said

He picked up the plates from our table and returned to the kitchen area.

“My stomach is so full now, hey about earlier…that pic txt you sent about your new job…”

A bolt of fear shot up my spine.

I don’t know why, but I had forgotten and didn’t wanna talk about that. I didn’t wanna even think about the job now.

“Whaaa….what about it?” I stammered.

“Sam…are you ok?”

“Yea…..why?”

“I don’t know, your face went pale for a second. Was that spaghetti good? Hope they cooked the meat right.”

“Im fine. There is nothing wrong. The food was great.”

“Oh ok, well back to what I was sayin….the pic txt…

“Can we not talk about that now?”

The waiter stopped our conversation before she could reply. He brought over the check printout and placed it flip side on the table in front of me.

“Whenever you are ready, sir.” He said and walked off to attend another table.

I flipped it over, expecting to see about a 50 dollar bill. Instead I saw 150 dollars on the ticket. The wine I had ordered was a 100 dollar bottle

GOOD GOD!

I never paid for a 100 dollar bottle of booze in my life.

This was too much, must be a mistake…

Shirley must have seen my eyes light up when I was looking at the bill.

“What? What is wrong?”

“Nothing.”

“No there is something wrong, Sam. Your eyes got big when you looked at that bill.”

“No, nothing is wrong.” I said and pulled out my wallet. I put my bank card down onto the tray with the ticket and signaled for the waiter to come back over. While I was in the process of doing this, Shirley sneaked a peek at the bill receipt.

“Oh my God…now I know. I told you Sam, not to order that bottle. Wow.”

“Look its nothing…we are celebrating right?”

“Yea but I know you don’t have that much money now until that job pays off, here let me pitch in on the bill.” She said and reached into her purse.

“NO….Shirley, no I wont let you. That would not be gentlemanlike. Plus I was the one who ordered it. Let me pay for it.”

“Stop being stubborn, Sam…really its no big deal.”

She rummaged thru her purse and pulled out two twenty dollar bills

“I’m not taking that, I told you Im paying for this bill and that’s final.” I said

She shook her head and put the money back into her purse.

“Men….you men and your egos. That’s what got us into war all throughout history.”

“You might be right about that one.” I said

The waiter came and took the check with my card and went to run it.

I was hoping and praying I had enough money in my account for the damage. It would be so embarrassing if I didn’t. We sat there for a minute in silence until he returned. The card had cleared, thank God, and he had a pen with a paper slip for me to sign. I signed it and gave him a 10 dollar tip, the highest tip I had ever paid in my life. But, I thought it wouldn’t be right giving a small tip on a 150 dollar bill. I was told 10 percent or was it 8 percent?

Oh well, doesn’t matter.

We slid out the booth and exited to the restaurant. I walked with my arm resting around her

shoulder toward my pickup truck. She spoke first

“Earlier when I brought up that pic txt deal, I don’t know why you looked upset?”

“Oh I thought we wasn’t gonna talk about that?”

“I know but it’s been bugging me, kinda eating away at me.”

“Well… I don’t know why, it was just a pic of the job I was doing. I shoulda sent you another one and showed you how much work I did. I covered at least near a quarter of that wall with new paint today.”

“That’s good Sam, but what I was trying to tell you is that the txt…well, the picture was blurry, I couldn’t see the image real clear. Were you shaking the camera when you took it?”

“What? No…I was standing still and holding my phone right.”

“That’s not all though. I had saved that picture and here is the weirdest part…the thing that’s been bugging me.”

I stop walking for a second turned to her and asked,

“What?”

“Ummm, I don’t know how to say this, you might think I’m silly or tripping or something.

“Shirley, I’m not gonna say nothing, just tell me.”

“Well at first when you sent the picture early that day, it was blurry, but then when I looked at it later on, well, the picture was clear.”

I laughed.

“It


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