Night at the Office

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
A man awakes to find he has fallen asleep at the office.

Submitted: April 15, 2014

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Submitted: April 15, 2014

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~Night at the Office


December, 1986


 My eyes shot open.  I awoke to the foggy view of my computer screen and fluorescent cubicle lamp.  The overhead intervaled lights across the tiled ceiling were shut off.  My exhausted eyes made their way over to the clock on my computer screen.  1:34 a.m.  “God damnit”  I spoke softly to myself shaking my head.  My boss had been demanding I stay late to catch up on work due to so many people quitting recently and Christmas coming up.  “We need to spearhead this project so get it done by the end of the week numbnuts." His words kept repeating in my head.  “What an asshole" I whispered to myself.  All the overtime had caught up with me and I had finally passed out at my desk.  I was the last one in my section of the office and the janitor that comes in late had already passed through my area, leaving no one else to wake me.  I adjusted my glasses and glanced over at the phone.  I picked up the receiver, no dial tone.  There must be some sort of I.T. maintenance going on tonight I thought.  I leaned back in my chair and stretched my legs which were very sore from sleeping upright at my desk.  I turned my chair and looked at the darkness of the office.  It was almost completely black with the exception of power lights on computer towers which had been left running overnight.  There was also the dim orange glow of street lights in the distance entering the office windows and falling upon the floor.  I put on my thick winter coat and walked over to the window in my co-worker’s office.  “Wonderful”  I muttered, looking down from our ninth floor office.  I watched as thick sheets of snow fell silently from the sky down onto a barely plowed parking lot, and on the woods that surround our office building.  I looked over to the side where I always park in the morning.  One of my co-workers seemed to have taken pity on me for working late and brushed the snow off my car, although it was beginning to pile up again.  I turned, took a deep breath and sighed walking past our sea of gray walled cubicles.  In the silence I thought of the murmuring of our employees against the background noise of keyboard tapping, adding machines, and the whirring of office computers, printers, and copiers.  I imagined all of their exhausted faces, hands on their foreheads awaiting their beloved 5:00 p.m.

I made my way out of my work area and down the connecting hallway with the glass wall to my right overlooking the parking lot and the other office rooms to my left.  I gazed inside at the lifeless work area and was left with the impression of just how eerie this place becomes at night.  I continued down the hall another ten seconds or so until I reached the elevator.  I pressed the button with the down arrow expecting the yellow light to blink on as I removed my thumb, but nothing happened.  I pushed it again, still nothing.  It must be deactivated during the night I concluded.  I pushed up my glasses to rub my weary eyes as I turned and faced the gray metal door to the stairs.  Looking through the window on the door I could see that the stairs were pitch black.  I turned the knob and entered the square staircase letting the heavy door slam closed behind me with a loud thud.  I felt my way to the railing, grasping it in my right hand and proceeded to descend the staircase.  I counted each door I passed on my way down, keeping tract of which floor I was on in a pointless exercise.  Listening to the tapping of my uncomfortable office shoes against the stairs, I longed to be home in my bed.  Sixth floor.  I’m going to call out sick tomorrow I thought, amusing myself at how angry it would make my boss.  Serves him right for having me chained to my desk.  I looked upward into the center of the staircase where had it been lit, I could see all the way to the top levels.  But in this pitch blackness I could not make out anything.  I began counting the steps to distract myself from the unpleasantness of moving around in this darkness.  22, 23, 24 steps between each floor.  Third floor.  I wondered how I was going to spend my day tomorrow.  After I sleep in, maybe go to a movie and grab a bite to eat afterwards, thinking of the new restaurant that opened down the street from my apartment.  I was almost at the bottom of the stairs, halfway between the second and first floor when I was halted in my tracks by the distant creaking of an opening door several floors above me.  My eyes widened and my palm grew sweaty against the rail.  I looked up again into the darkness not making a sound.  I heard the echoing thud of the door closing and footsteps making their way steadily down the staircase.  There should not be anyone else in the building at this time I thought to myself nervously.  Lowering my foot, I tried to make my pacing down the remaining stairs quieter than before to avoid the attention of whoever else was in the staircase.  Then, reaching the level one door, I turned the knob and with a loud creak, I realized that I had made my quiet treading pointless.  I quickly entered the door shutting it quietly, though I’m sure whoever was in the staircase had heard the grating of the hinges on the door. 

I moved quickly down the hall too scared to take in the view of the empty offices beside me and made my way for the front door.  I reached the main section of the ground floor, my footsteps echoing loudly against the black decorative marble flooring.  I made my way past the open door of the kitchen with its high glass walls, then the boardroom.  Each open door I passed intensified my fear as I imagined my presence was being observed.  Then as I closed in on the front door, my eyes fell upon something that stifled my sprint to a full stop, and a chill gripped my spine and limbs.  In the dimness of the main hall, I saw what appeared to be chains with a large padlock across the bronze bars on the large double doors, not for the purpose of keeping someone out, but rather in.  I moved over slowly to see if my exit had truly been blocked.  I reached my hand across the cool bronze bar and pushed.  The door did not budge one bit, the chains were tightly wrapped around several times.  There was no doubt in my mind that I was now in danger.  Knowing it was only a matter of time before my location was identified by whoever else was in the office, I looked around seeking a place to hide, my closest options being the kitchen or the adjacent board room.  I figured that my best option would be to obtain a knife from the kitchen for self defense and move to the board room as the kitchen’s transparent glass walls would not provide the best of cover.  Entering the kitchen door I moved past the tables towards the knife block situated near the sink, grasping the large butchers knife in my hand.  I took a moment to look at the glass walls of the kitchen that faced outside.  It was very thick green tinted glass and breaking through it with a chair would certainly give away my position requiring repeated strikes with a chair, and there is no guarantee I would even be able to break through it.  I ruled out this plan and turned to head towards the boardroom when the creaking of the staircase door several yards away shot through my ears, nearly causing me to fumble my knife which I caught by the blade end right before it hit the ground.  Realizing there was no way I could get to the boardroom now without the stranger in the office hearing me, I resolved to hide behind a far back table so that the legs of several chairs would obstruct the view of me.  I put my knife in the right side of my belt, so as to be ready to draw it at any moment.  I kneeled down and then laid flat on my stomach with my cheek pressed against the cold marble floor, still staring through the glass of the kitchen observing the main hall.  Then as if thrust into some surreal dream, terror flooded my mind.  Looking between the chair legs out into the dim main hall, I saw something that I could not have imagined in the worst of nightmares.  Reflecting the faint light coming in from the street lamps outside was the outline of a hideous figure.  It was a man, but bearing vaguely canine characteristics.  His mouth protruded far more than any human, this I noticed first.  This elongated muzzle-like mouth was open as the thing looked about.  I could make out rows of large sharp teeth as it’s lips pulled back as if smelling the air, trying to sense something.  I prayed that this monster did not have the acute sense of smell like that of a dog or I would be no doubt be a dead man.  It’s nose seemed to be more human-like stretching uncomfortably along the muzzle.  Strangely, it was wearing office clothes.  Was this.. thing a person who works in the building, hiding this hideous transformation during the day?  I thought shuddering.  It strode upright like a human, but slightly hunched and it’s strength looked quite immense.  It’s upper body looked human but was abnormally large in proportion to its lower half.  As it lumbered forward, I knew there was no doubt that I would have been overpowered if I were to try and fight.  I could also make out hands that while at first glance seemed normal, they had long curved nails, almost claw-like.  There were also thin grotesque patches of what looked to be fur on various areas of it’s body.  I felt like I was going to faint, surely I was not actually witnessing this.  How could this be real?  I watched as the thing moved past the kitchen door and into the board room across the hall thanking the heavens that I had not followed through with my initial plan.  I needed to think of a way out as it was only a matter of time before this half-man creature had found me.  Then I realized on the roof there is a ladder on the east side of the building leading to the ground.  I see it every morning when I drive in and once down it would only be a short distance to the parking lot.  I could reach the roof via the staircase I had previously came down.  There was fourteen floors to our office building, with the fifteenth being the roof.  It was risky but I did not see any other options.  Still lying flat to the ground I slipped off my shoes as the echo of them walking across the main hall would surely attract unwanted attention.  I moved my knees forward and sat up.  My right hand was trembling as I touched the knife handle, making sure it was still fastened tight in my belt.  I looked over at the black opened doorway of the boardroom, then in a tiptoeing sprint I made a dash across the dark hallway towards the staircase door. 

I moved out of the main hall into the section close to the staircase, my pace nervously accelerating.  As I made my way past the first floor office rooms and reached the staircase door I looked behind me.  I saw nothing in the long hallway, though my vision was severely hampered by the darkness.  I faced the door and turning the knob I pulled gently, trying to reduce the creaking as much as I could.  I pulled it ajar just enough so that I could once again slip into the pitch black staircase and shut it quietly behind me.  I began my ascent feeling my way to the steps with my feet, now covered only by a a pair of socks.  I grasped the rail with my left hand and started running up the stairs with wide strides propelled by fear.  I rounded the square staircase several times.  Fourth floor.  I was beginning to hyperventilate both from fear and from being horribly out of shape from my sedentary office lifestyle.  Fifth floor.  I passed by the door to the fifth floor and started rounding up towards the sixth when I heard from the bottom floor of the staircase, the door which I had recently entered swing open.  Before it was even able to creak close, I could already hear the tapping of shoes coming up the steps.  With my survival instincts beginning to take hold I began to bound up the steps to escape my pursuer.  The steps from the being were coming at a menacing pace, faster than a walk and increasing in speed.  I was consumed with terror as they closed in on me.  Up almost to the eighth floor, the beast couldn’t have been more than two floors below me.  Knowing that I was being easily outpaced and completely losing my breath, I crashed through the eighth floor staircase door and ran as fast as I could towards the cubicles in search of a place to hide. 

I had definitely given away my location by opening that staircase door, but it needed to be done.  I could not outrun that thing and there is no way I would have made it to the roof without it catching me.  I fled down the hallway making my way to the eighth floor cubicles.  As I reached them I felt dizzy and began to stumble wondering if I was hallucinating.  I grabbed on to the side of one of the cubicle walls panting.  “What the hell is that thing?”  I thought to myself searching for a place to hide.  Then I was snapped back into the urgency of my situation by the slamming of the staircase door from down the hallway.  Horrified at the speed in which the beast was pursuing me, I lunged under the closest cubicle desk I could find.  I tried desperately to slow my breathing and regain composure as I sat there curled up waiting.  It wasn’t long before I heard the soft sound of footsteps on the office carpet, making their way down the row of cubicles behind mine.  I could hear the low animal-like breathing as it walked past the gray cubicle wall that my back was pressed against.  The half-human thing was getting closer, rounding the cubicle walls and nearing the section where I was concealing myself.  It seemed to know my general location without being able to pinpoint it exactly .  I listened as it came nearer making a disgusting sort of grunt cough occasionally mixed with a low quick growl.  I needed to take action very soon.  Then across from me, I saw the glow of the parking lot lights creeping around the entrance of an open office door.  Perhaps I could make a break for the room, lock myself inside and hope that the thing would not be able to break in as it would surely see or hear me make a run for it.  Then I heard more grunt-like vocalizations coming from the cubicle directly to the left of mine.  It sounded like papers and office supplies were being tossed around, followed by a coffee mug hitting the floor.  He seemed to be getting irritated that he was unable to find me.  Seized with terror at how close the monster was I realized that I needed to make a decision right now.  I looked at the open office across from me, slowly stood up, grabbed a stapler off of the desk that I was crouched under and hurled it into the room.  A loud crash was heard as the stapler knocked trays of papers and framed family photos off a table in the room.  It roused the beast’s attention and it swiftly ran to the office investigating the noise.  I wasted no time hanging around, and fled from the cubicles as quiet as I could when I observed it enter the office.  I was running faster than I ever have in my life down the connecting passage back to the staircase door.  As I stopped to open it, my legs swayed with fright.  I opened the door closing it as silently as I could behind me and once again meeting the blindness of the staircase, dashed shoe-less up the steps towards the roof. 

I was already over halfway there, I had to make it.  Eleventh floor.  As I rounded the steps not stopping I heard a loud bang of the eighth floor door being thrust open with incredible force, slamming the wall beside it.  Then came the rapid sound of shoes upon steps from my pursuer.  As they grew louder, closer, I panicked letting out a half whimpering cry dreading the superior physicality and carnivorous anatomy of the monster.  I was losing ground rapidly.  I could hear its excited breathing, like an animal closing in on its prey in the wild.  Its grunting and snarling seemed to be right behind me.  I started to scream in an eruption of fear.  It seemed to only strengthen the thing’s resolve to catch me as it closed in even faster.  I reached the thirteenth floor and opened the door hoping to find another spot to hide.  I tried to run through the doorway and shut the door behind me but before I was able, I was caught by my right arm.  Another scream left my throat but this time the fear was coupled with immense pain surging from my trapped limb.  I looked behind and with the dim light coming in from the hallway I saw the monstrosity had sunk its teeth into my arm.  The only padding separating its teeth from bare skin was my thick winter jacket and office shirt.  Up close I could see it was even more disgusting than I was able to perceive at a distance.  Atrocious breath like that of rotting meat.  Yellow tinged skin with gray bits of fur in almost random places as if ravaged by the affects of mange.  It moved its muscular jaws left and right trying to make me lose my balance and pull me to my death in the black abyss of the staircase.  I pulled with all my strength but I was no match for it.  I was dragged forward but with one hand on the doorway I managed to buy myself another moment.  Then with my left hand I reached across my body, drawing the knife I had obtained from the kitchen out of my belt and sank it deep into the beast, where its shoulder and neck meet.  It let out a stomach lurching growl, unlike any canine I have ever heard.  Not letting go I dug the blade deeper.  Blood poured down its repulsive body and finally its bite weakened enough that I could free my arm so that its teeth were merely buried into the fabric of the winter coat.  The creature’s savage growl changed to a snarl jumping several octaves from my defensive strike.  It moved a few paces backwards, concluding with a misplaced step, not sensing the stairs behind it and I spun around letting it take my coat down with it into the darkness.  I flew up the steps with tears of terror in my throat.  I was barely even holding on to the rail anymore as I hurried up the remaining steps to the roof.  Finally rounding the last few stairs, I kicked the door open and stumbled out on to the roof falling forward onto a sight that stood every hair on my body on end.

What I had fallen forward to see, in the snow on the rooftop were the open eyes of the janitor, looking straight up at me.  The lower half of his body completely torn away, eaten, staining the snow red with a twisted look of horror frozen upon his face.  His eyes reflecting the pain and fear he felt in his final moments.  He must have been chased to the rooftop and hunted down before he could escape.  Handprints were left in the snow next to his body as if trying to pull himself away, indicating that he was being devoured, while still very much alive.  I leaped from where I had fallen, every bit of my body and soul trembling.  I trudged forward towards the ladder in my thin black socks against the frigid rooftop snow.  I was finally at the ladder, my way out of this nightmare.  I grabbed the icy cold metal bars and began my climb downward.  I was only about three rungs down when a strong gust of wind and the still falling snow nearly threw me from the ladder.  I continued my climb as quickly as was safely possible.  I could not feel my hands and feet from the glacial temperatures but this was of no concern to me right now.  Downward I went until my feet were finally on the snowy ground. 

I plodded my way across the building through the area that had previously been plowed, scanning around me for any movement in the light of the parking lot.  Moving past this section and into the unplowed area of the parking lot where the snow was a few inches higher I at last reached my car.  As I hurriedly brushed the snow off my drivers side window, I once again glanced around the parking lot and at the office windows.  Not bothering to clear off any of the others due to my nervousness, I jumped in the car, locked the door and started the engine.  I turned on the windshield wipers and felt my frozen numb foot press against the brake pedal to put it into drive.  Luckily the wipers were just strong enough to remove the heavy accumulation of snow on the windshield.  This would have not been the case if one of my co-workers had not generously cleaned it off for me earlier.  As I reached for the shifter, something caught the peripheral of my left eye.  Gazing out my drivers side window I was met eye to eye with the otherworldly monstrosity.  The familiar terror of the night rushed back into me as I looked into its dark red, almost black irises.  It slammed its face against the glass of my driver’s window leaving a nauseating streak as it pulled away.  From me escaped a scream which devolved into a manic crying laugh, my emotions and mind completely scrambled and delirious.  I floored the gas pedal only to have the back end of my car fishtail in the deep snow.  The creature struck again at my window.  My small car’s engine roaring on and off desperately as I intermittently floored the gas pedal trying to get to the area of the parking lot where the snow was not as deep.  I edged closer to it with the beast repeatedly striking at my window with its claw-like hands, and trying my door handle.  It’s intelligence at trying the handle only amplifying my fear.  Then with one effective and forceful strike, a crack formed down my window.  I fell silent and stared straight ahead stomping as hard as I could on the gas pedal.  The monster relentlessly smashed its fists against the window and the crack grew deeper, extending the entire length of the glass.  My wheels squealed as they dug into the snow.  Finally with one more strike from its fist, my drivers window smashed apart, glass falling on my lap.  The beast lunged towards me with a snap of its jaws coming through my broken window an inch from my face, when at that second my wheels caught the traction of the shallow snow.  My engine roared and the vehicle pulled forward thrusting the monster away from my car.  I carved my way through the snow, past the office complex buildings, laughing with tears rolling down my face as I escaped into the night.

 


© Copyright 2020 Scott Perrin. All rights reserved.

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