The 13th Floor

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A man's final battle with the number 13.

Submitted: July 19, 2012

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Submitted: July 19, 2012

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I am not superstitious. The company decided to put everyone together and the 13th floor is what was open. Perhaps they purposely built this floor out last, because who would want to start on the 13th floor if they didn’t have to? There is nothing I can do about it, this is where my cube was moved to and I guess I must do as I am told. So what, it’s just a number. How much harm can a number do? Then again, with so many people fearful of 13, maybe there is something to all the talk?

Day in and day out I come to the office, pass through the security turnstiles, and walk past the first bank of elevators thinking about how nice it was to work on the 6th floor. Reminiscing the days of only having to worry about the task at hand and not the terrible shadow that looms over our heads now on the 13th floor. There was no reason to worry about 6. 

As I walk, images of me rebelling, going back to my old desk and working there, making a stand, getting the work done, what could they possibly do? Drag me back up to 13? There is no reason where I get my work done should be important, there is no reason it has to be on the 13th floor. Why can’t it be back on the 6th floor or 8th? 

As time goes on the mind starts to recognize patterns in your surroundings. Subtle changes that go unnoticed by most, but I started to see them. 13 starts to have its way with you and it’s power starts to show itself. Pretty soon that its not just the 13th floor that holds that title but things within as well. There is no way it could be coincidences, no possible explanation other than the power of 13 is ever reaching. There are 13 steps it takes to get from my cube to the bathroom door. To fill up my coffee cup takes 13 seconds. If you don’t count the top step there are 13 stairs down to the 12th floor. There are 13 thumbtacks on my bulletin board. There are 13 pennies in my change jar. The more I look the more I see 13 consuming me from every direction. For what purpose? What could it mean? How can it be so obvious to someone who is not superstitious?  There is a message that is trying to be told to me but I don’t know what. 

My co-worker's infection is obvious. The way they glance in my direction, the whispers behind your back, the behavior change when you come around. It gradually eats away at you. Counting out loud 13 this and 13 that. You can’t escape from it.

Eventually you have to scratch the itch before it drives you mad. 

I decided to fight back against the 13th floor. I was going to destroy it before it consumed me. I spent 13 weeks planning and plotting. It had to be perfect, there was no room for error. Waiting until the most powerful day of the month where 13 was it’s most potent, a Friday. The next Friday the 13th occurred in August, the 8th month. It wasn’t the 13th month, there is no such thing, but if you add 5 to 8 you get 13. Its grasp was tightening, I had to move quickly.

With the 13 bricks I acquired I proceeded to the basement of my office building. Carefully setting up the solution, wiring everything together, I set the timer to 13 minutes. You can only kill 13 with itself. 13 demolition level bricks of explosives set to 13 minutes on Friday the 13th. Heading out of the building I counted 13 lightbulbs, 13 plants, 13 stains on the windows, 13 times I counted the tiles. It knew it was in trouble and was fighting back. 

I retreated to the most obvious location to witness 13’s demise, the corner of 1st and 3rd. Together they made 13. The anxiously waited for the minutes to countdown. Closer and closer. Then the ground shook as the 13 bricks exploded, loosening the foundation, shattering the glass, and bringing the building down in a cloud of dust and with it the 13th floor. 

A sense of calm settled over me. It was gone. I was free.

That’s when I glanced at my watch and screamed out in horror when I saw the time... 13:13.


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