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Short story 25

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by inayat, Mar 30, 2020.

  1. inayat

    inayat Head Game Master Moderator

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    When I first saw the ad, I didn’t think twice.

    Earn up to 80$ per night with our simple job as a night guard. No prior experience required.

    The ad said and I submitted my resume as fast as I could, fearing it could disappear or be taken by someone else at any moment. Not two hours after submitting my application, I got a response on my email that I’ve been hired and can start working from tonight.

    It struck me as odd that there was no job interview and that I needed to start working right away, but hey, maybe they urgently needed someone. I’ve been jobless for over a year now, so I naively ignored any red flags and was just happy to have a job.

    I went to the given address at 8 pm and it turned out to be an office building.

    “Hello?” – I called out when I entered, but no one responded.

    The hall I was in was engulfed in darkness and the only source of light was coming through the pane of glass on the door which had the name SECURITY on it. I knocked on the door, but there was no response.

    I decided to open it and sure enough, it was empty. On the desk was a note, left clear as day for me to read. It said:

    To the new night guard,

    Your shift starts at 8:04 pm and ends at 4:04 am. When you arrive to the building and relieve the other guard of your duty, you can stay in the security room as long as you want, but you have to use the elevator to get to the top floor once at any time during the shift. Once up there, you have to proceed to the end of the attic and flip the switch on the wall. That’s it.

    If the other guard is not in the security room at the time of your arrival, make a report in the notebook and we will inform his family.

    As for your duty:

    It’s very likely that when you push the top floor button (25), the elevator will go past that floor and you may see that it stopped on floor 33. If this happens, do not try pushing any of the buttons, since it will not work.

    Go forward through the hallway. Note that the flashlight may not do much to illuminate the area, but still bring it with you (there’s a spare in the drawer).

    Some people report hearing or seeing office employees working at their desks, coming from any of the adjacent rooms. You may see them doing something like typing on a computer which isn't turned on, or typing one word over and over on the screen. Ignore them at all cost. It is currently unknown if the employees are real or a manifestation of the mind, but ignoring them should keep you safe.

    Turn left when you reach the end of the hallway. You may sometimes see a man standing in the middle, blocking your way. He will do you no harm, so long as you maintain eye contact with him. You have to get past him, so put your hand on the wall to your right (or left) and slide it across as you go through to avoid stumbling and losing eye contact with the man.

    He will keep following you with his gaze and try to distract you. Reports indicate he may point behind you with a look of fear on his face to try to get you to look away. You may also hear loud crashing sounds or voices right next to you, but ignore them.

    Once you reach the end of the hall and round the corner (and not a moment sooner!), you’re safe from the individual. When you reach the exit which leads to the staircase, proceed down. Make sure to note what floor you are on and if any of the floors start repeating on your way down, immediately go back up to floor 33 and then start descending again.

    If you see any of the other stair doors open, proceed carefully, especially focusing on the ceiling (or underside of the stairs). You may start to hear footsteps coinciding with your own behind you. Don’t stop to listen and don’t turn around, just proceed as you normally would. If you feel that the footsteps are getting closer, go faster, but try not to arouse suspicion.

    If you hear a high-pitched scream coming from above (it usually sounds like a mountain lion), run down to floor 25 as fast as you can and pray you are faster than the thing chasing you .

    If you are forced to continue going down despite the floors repeating, enter the closest floor. You will find yourself back in the hallway of floor 33, so simply repeat the steps from before.

    Once you reach floor 25, you are in the clear. First, call the elevator and jam the door to keep it open. Press the floor 1 button and go back to the switch. After flipping the switch, the lights will go out. At this point, you will start to hear screams all around you, similarly to the one described before. Run to the elevator as fast as you can and enter it, while unjamming the door.

    If you did everything right, you should have at least five extra seconds to close the elevator before the entities of the building reach you.

    You should be back on the first floor of the security room once the elevator stops. You may spend the rest of the shift however you desire, so long as you don’t leave the property between 8:04 pm and 4:04 am. Note that leaving the building at any given moment between the mentioned times will put you back on floor 33. Also note that not flipping the switch before 4:04 am will result in you not being able to leave the building.

    Thank you for performing your duties!

    Management

    It’s 1:24 am right now and the elevator doors just opened on their own....

    I barely made through the building and it was mentally agonizing beyond words.

    At 2 am I entered the elevator, which had been opened for almost an hour prior to that. I took the note with me and followed all the rules written there. The elevator stopped on floor 33 despite my hopes. There was the sound of typing to my left and when I peeked through the shattered glass I saw a guy in formal attire sitting by an old PC layered with dust (which wasn't even turned on) and typing away vigorously. He’d even glance over his shoulder and call out to his imaginary (or invisible) coworkers, saying things like: ‘Cindy, do you have that report ready?’ or 'The client said we should meet at 2 pm.'

    I tried not to look at him as I tip-toed through the hallway and turned left. A tall man in a coat stood in front of me and he was staring right at me. I knew I had to maintain eye contact with him, so I slowly went past him. The entire time he tried to distract me by pretending he was about to hit me and hoping I would flinch, pointing to things behind me in a very convincing manner with a look of horror on his face, etc. I swear at one point someone even screamed ‘watch out’ right in my ear.

    Luckily I made it unscathed and going down the stairs to floor 25 was uneventful. I made it to the end of hallway on 25, flipped the switch and rushed back to the elevator as blood-curdling screams echoed all around me. The elevator doors closed just in time for me to hear something heavy slam into it with full force. Luckily, the elevator started descending and the screams slowly faded.

    It stopped on floor 1, but the door wouldn’t open. I pressed the open button in vain and then… the elevator started moving down. I slammed the number 1 button over and over, but the elevator failed to respond. It went down for an impossible amount of time, descending by my estimation at least 15-20 floor down. And then it finally stopped and the doors opened. In front of me was some kind of a waiting room, with a sofa and lamp table next to it. There was a door opposite of the elevator.

    I pressed the buttons over and over, but there was no response. It was clear the elevator wanted me to step out on this floor. Sure enough, as soon as I did, the doors closed again and the elevator went back up. I cursed, frustrated and scared shitless.

    I inspected the room and just then realized there was a hastily written note on the lamp table. I picked it up. Here’s what it said:

    If you’re reading this, that means you fell for their trap, just like me. The good news is you made it through the first task on floor 25. The bad news is there is no job and you aren’t gonna get paid. Whoever these guys are, they’re running some fucking experiments on us like some lab rats. We need to get the fuck out and get to the police.

    Read this next part carefully, because your life will depend on it. When you go through the door on your left, you’ll find yourself in a mansion of some sorts. You need to make it to the third floor, but it won’t be easy. Follow these rules:

    FLOOR 1

    Go through the hallway, but whatever you do, don’t fucking look in the mirror to your left. You may see with your peripheral vision the reflection not mimicking your own movement or just facing and staring at you, but DO NOT look at it. Close your eyes if you have to.

    Once you’re past the mirror, turn left and go straight. You may hear the toilet flush in the bathroom to your right at this point. If this happens, hide immediately. There’s a closet close by. Hide inside and don’t make a sound until the old man comes out of the bathroom and is gone. Wait at least one full minute before going out.

    Once you’re in the clear, climb the stairs in the main hall to the second floor.

    FLOOR 2

    Turn right and take the second door to the left (blue door). I have no idea what will happen if you take the other doors or turn left. Once through the blue door, you’ll find yourself in a big room full of mannequins. Dozens of mannequins will be on both sides. You may hear giggling, and some of them change the direction of their gazes and their positions or poses when you don’t look, but I think they won’t harm you if you don’t disturb them.

    If any of the mannequins’ heads drop to the floor and roll in front of you, run as fast as you can and close the door behind you once you’re out. You should be close to the stairs again now. Follow the hall how to winds and don’t worry about any voices you hear from the adjacent rooms, even if they beg you to come help them. If you hear or see any of the doors opening, hide again. The old man might seem someone you can overpower easily, but don't even fucking think about it. Once he's gone, climb the stairs.

    FLOOR 3

    Remember that man from floor 33 who you had to keep eye contact with? He might be here again, but he’s gonna be more aggressive this time. You’re gonna hear someone scream something like ‘I got you now!’ right behind you, but ignore it! You will also start feel a stinging and burning sensation in your eyes. Do your best not to blink. If you have to blink, try not to keep your eyes closed for more than a second. Maintain eye contact with him and go through the hall until you can turn left (left from the original position! That means your right as you’re facing the man backwards).

    If you see a woman in patient’s gowns standing in front of the elevator, facing away from you, just stand next to her and wait for the elevator. If she asks you to come inside the elevator with her, politely decline. If she doesn’t say anything, you can step inside with her, but don’t talk to her, just stare in front of yourself.

    Once you’re in the elevator, you’ll see that there are no buttons inside. The elevator will start going up on its own. When the elevator stops, wait until the woman steps out and stay inside until the elevator starts moving again. If she asks you if you’ll come with her, politely decline again. Once the door closes, the elevator should go up a few more floors. Now if the woman was not there at all, but then you took the elevator and she enters when the doors open, exit immediately. I don't know where you will be and I have no idea what you need to do there, so you're on your own. Hope you don't run into her.

    I came back to give you this warning, compiled from my own and other peoples' experiences, so chances are I either made it out or I’m dead somewhere else along the way.

    If you manage to get out, expose these fuckers and don’t let anyone else get fucked over.

    Good luck,

    Guard who came before you.

    You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me, was my first thought. Ten minutes later though, I was in the clear and managed to get to the elevator by following every rule the guard laid out. I was lucky though. Aside from the old man in the bathroom, no one else bothered me. I heard a giggle and a set of footsteps in the mannequin room, but neither the staring man nor the patient woman were present, so I managed to safely take the elevator, my heart thumping the entire time so fast I thought it was going to burst out of my chest.

    The elevator started going up and I prayed I would be back at the reception. My hope was short-lived, because when the elevator stopped and the doors opened, I was in an advanced security room with a bunch of camera feeds across the entire wall.

    On the desk on top of the keyboard was another note.

    I sat at the desk in front of the camera screens, because I felt like I really needed some respite after the ordeal from before. I was so tired and scared. On the one hand I felt really vulnerable without a weapon, but on the other hand I was glad I didn’t have anything that I could potentially use to end myself. I tried not to think that suicide could prevent a far worse fate.

    I glanced at the camera feed. It seemed to be covering some sort of run-down hospital. No one was on any of the cameras, except for one. That patient lady from before was peeking around the corner of one of the cameras, as if she was waiting for someone to give them a jump-scare. I looked down at the note in front of me. It said:

    Still alive? Good.

    You’re gonna need to follow an even stricter set of rules in order to get past this area, especially making sure you do things according to specific times. First off, no matter when you enter the room, the alarm clock on the desk is going to say 3:19 am.

    I glanced at the small clock in front of me. 3:19 am and it just turned into 3:20. I continued reading.

    You need to follow these rules according to the times and DO NOT be late nor early anywhere, this is the most important part.

    First off, take a look at all the cameras and see if the staring man is anywhere on them. If he is, you’ll see him staring directly at the camera. Turn off the camera and then turn it back on again. The man should be gone. If he’s not, repeat until he is.

    Take some time to rest and prepare. At exactly 3:35 am, go out and conduct a patrol around the building as if you were on regular guard duty. You need to check every room on floors 1 and 2 and you need to be back in the security room by 4:00 am.

    While you’re patrolling, you may see a doctor in one of the rooms. He usually just appears out of nowhere, the room is empty the one moment and then you turn around and he’s there, performing surgery on a mangled corpse. If you see him, back away slowly and try to exit the room without being noticed. If he calls after you, don’t ignore him. He’ll ask you to assist him by giving him surgical tools from the tray, so just do what he asks. Try not to give him the wrong tools, otherwise you might be the one he's going to dissect on that table next.

    You probably saw the woman peeking behind the corner on the camera by now. Don’t worry, she’ll be gone during your patrol.

    Once you are done with your patrol, get back to the camera room. You may sometimes see another guard sitting by the desk when you return. You can talk to him normally like you would to a friend or coworker. Do not try to talk to him about your current predicament. At 4:15 he'll say he needs to conduct a patrol and as soon as he leaves the room, lock the door behind him.

    From 4:15 to 4:30 you may hear knocking on the door and rattling of the knob, but you’ll see no one on the camera covering the outside of the security room. Ignore the knocking and rattling, no matter how incessant it becomes. Even if you hear desperate cries for help in the voices of women or children or the guard from before, don’t open the door. They can’t get inside if you don’t let them in, so you should be safe.

    4:30 – 4:40 you have a break, so take a moment to recuperate. Do not take a nap!

    From 4:40 am you should focus on the cameras. You will start to feel really sleepy. No matter what you do, you must not fall asleep. As you get sleepier, you will also start to notice movement in your peripheral vision or start to feel like someone is in the room with you, standing right over your shoulder and breathing. Just focus on the cameras, no matter how vivid the presence becomes.

    At 5:00 am, if you hear raspy breathing coming from the ceiling, DO NOT LOOK UP! Close your eyes and count to 10. You will feel cold fingers touching you and the raspy breathing will be in your ear, but whatever you do, keep your eyes closed until it all stops completely. Continue focusing on the cameras until 5:29, but do not leave the security room under any circumstances.

    At exactly 5:29 am, get ready to move quickly. As soon as the clock ticks 5:30 am (and not a second sooner!), unlock and open the door and run for it. Just run straight into the elevator at the end of the hallway and ignore the growling behind you. Don’t look behind, because you need every second here. The elevator door will be open and it will automatically close and take you out of there once you’re in.

    I’ll be waiting on the other side. Good luck, brother.

    Guard who came before you.

    I placed down the note and exhaled sharply. It was 3:24 am. I glanced at the cameras. The staring man was on one of the cameras. I restarted in and sure enough, in less than a second while the camera was off he just disappeared.

    At 3:35 am I went outside, conducting my patrol carefully, but still doing my best to hurry up. I glanced at my watch every minute or so.

    As I finished the last room and was about to exit, I heard someone humming behind me. I turned around and saw a surgeon in blood-stained clothes dissecting a corpse on the table which was not previously there. I froze, but the doc was transfixed on the 'surgery', humming more violently as he sawed through one of the corpse’s arms.

    Seeing this broke me out of my trance and I slowly backed away, reaching for the door. As I turned around to face the exit, I stopped dead in my tracks.

    “Ah-ah!” – the doc exclaimed and I turned around, heart ready to explode.

    “Almost forgot to take care of this.” – the doc grabbed a scalpel and continued cutting the corpse, paying no attention to me.

    I silently exhaled in relief and left the place slowly. As soon as I was at a safe distance, I sprinted back to the security room. The room was empty, no guard in there like the note mentioned.

    I locked the door and continued following the agonizing rules on the list until 5:29 am, ignoring anything else in the room until then. As soon as the clock ticked 5:30, I heard a growl behind me. I opened the door and ran faster than I ever knew was possible, while the growl behind me turned into something that sounded like demonic barking. It kept getting closer and closer.

    I ran into the elevator, practically ramming the backside with my shoulder. I turned around just in time to see a pair of red eyes staring at me from the hallway before the elevator door closed.

    The elevator started going up and stopped shortly after. When it opened, I found myself in an empty white room with an electronic door on the other side. The only two things that contrasted the white walls and floor were a monitor mounted on one of the walls and the silhouette of a person in a dark uniform. He had the sign which said ‘SECURITY’ on the back.

    “I finally found you!” – I smiled and stepped out of the elevator.

    The guard looked at me with a confused expression, so I tried to explain who I was and thanked him for leaving the instructions behind for me. He shook his head:

    “What are you talking about?” – he asked.

    “You said in your note that you’d be waiting on the other side.” – I said.

    “What note? Look bro, I’m just trying to find my way out of here. Been trying to find a way to open this door for ages.” – he looked even more confused by this point.

    “Look man, I’ve been following these notes you left, because you said you’d be here, so just cut the bullshit.” – I took out the note and presented it to him.

    He inspected it with a serious look on his face and then looked at me and said:

    “Afraid you got the wrong guy, bro. This isn’t my handwriting.”

    "Well if it wasn't you, who was it then?" - I angrily remarked.

    Just then, the monitor on the wall turned on and a message flashed across the screen.

    WELCOME, NEW RECRUITS.

    The message on the monitor displayed before disappearing. A new message replaced it and the guard and I had to get closer to read what the wall of text said.

    You’ve done well so far. You’re not far from reaching your goal, but know that your tasks will get harder from here on out and you will have to work as a team to survive.

    The door will open in 1 minute. You will see a guardhouse to your left. Enter it and read the note.

    As soon as we were done reading, the monitor turned off and the electronic door opened with a loud hum. A cold gust of air hit me in the face instantly and as we stepped through the door, I realized we were outside in some sort of park.

    “What the fuck?” – the other guard said – “Hey maybe we can just run for it. I mean, fuck their rules, right?”

    I shook my head:

    “Gotta be a catch. They wouldn’t just let us leave. This probably isn't even real. Let’s check the guardhouse, first.”

    We went inside the guardhouse, which had a desk and chair inside. The note was on top of the desk next to a clock which read 00:05. The note said:

    Out of all the rules there are three main rules you need to strictly follow at all times. The first rule is never, EVER go off trail. If you do, getting lost will be the least of your troubles.

    Never stay together for too long, because it attracts them more easily to you. That is the second rule.

    Ending with the first two rules, the third rule is, whenever the guards reunite, they should use code phrases (example: guard 1 asks ‘where does the cat go?’ and guard 2 answers ‘to the alley’. Note that the code must be recited exactly how the code is agreed upon, word by word.)

    Moving on to the rest of the rules, one guard should stay in the guardhouse, while the other patrols around the park (patrols take about 10 minutes). For the guard patrolling:

    Under no circumstances is the guard allowed to leave the trail when patrolling (see rule 1). Turn left at the crossroads and you will come back full circle back at the guardhouse. If you happen to hear the other guard’s voice coming from the trees, calling for help, ignore it. You will hear his voice on a loop, usually repeating the same phrase with the same intonation over and over. Pay attention to the sounds of animal life, too. If the park suddenly gets quiet, finish your patrol normally, but do not look behind or glance at the trees. During your patrol, every 5 minutes or so, loudly shout a simple word like ‘hello’ into the air. If your voice doesn’t echo, run back to the guardhouse immediately.

    Should you, see a hiker in the middle of the trail, keep the flashlight pointed at his face at all times. He will ask you to move it away, stating it’s too bright, but don’t listen to him. He will also tell you he understands your situation and will tell you to follow him since he knows a way out. Decline his offer. After this, he should leave. Do not take the light off him until he steps off the trail. For the guard in the guardhouse:

    To stay safe, keep the door and window firmly shut at all times, save for when the patrolling guard comes back. It may get annoyingly hot inside, but do not open anything. You may take off your jacket or shirt to alleviate the discomfort.

    Do not pay attention to any tapping on the windows. If you hear or see droplets falling on the desk in front of you, slowly stand up and leave the guardhouse. Stay outside for 2-3 minutes and the droplets should be gone when you go back inside. If they are still there, exit again and wait for another 2-3 minutes. When the patrolling guard returns, ask him the code question while avoiding eye contact. If he doesn’t respond or responds incorrectly, exit the guardhouse while avoiding eye contact and then return inside. The fake guard will be gone.

    If you survive until 1:00 am, both guards should proceed together to the end of the trail and turn right at the crossroads (do not do this before 1:00 am). At this point, the forest life will be completely quiet and the only sound surrounding you will be occasional hurried footsteps coming off the trail. They can only approach you in the dark, so do your best to train your flashlights on them, even if you can’t see them clearly. Guards should divide to cover both sides with light.

    End your task by reaching the end of the trail with a gate. That is your exit point (make sure to take this note with you, you will need it).

    “Dammit.” – the other guard said and we sat in silence for a moment.

    I scratched my cheek and said:

    “Alright, I’ll take the first patrol. What should be our code?”

    He thought for a moment and then said:

    “Shit man, I dunno. How about this? I’ll ask ‘What should these fuckers do?’ And you can say ‘let us go’.”

    “You got it. What’s your name, by the way?” – I asked.

    The guard said his name was Sam and I introduced myself, as well. I left for the patrol with the flashlight and stuck strictly to the trail. Nothing major happened, no sounds off the trail, etc, but I did run into the hiker mentioned in the note. He seemed friendly and all, but I followed the rules and kept the beam pointed in his face, declining everything he asked.

    Eventually he left and I finished my patrol and returned to the guardhouse. After we confirmed the codes, Sam left for his own patrol. I followed the set of rules until he came back, confirming the code with him. By the time I finished my third patrol, it was 01:03 am and it was time to go.

    We quietly walked the trail, focusing on our footsteps and the deafening silence around us. And then the footsteps off the trails started.

    It sounded like someone was frantically running from one tree to another, stopping for a few seconds in between. This recurred over and over as Sam and I did our best to focus our beams on the source of the sound, but no matter how quick our reactions were, we never seemed to be able to catch whoever ran there. I caught a glimpse of a nude, emaciated man or woman here and there, but they always seemed to be just out of reach, either hiding behind a tree the moment I shone my light or disappearing into the dark altogether.

    Finally, Sam and I reached the end of the trail and entered a fenced area with a gate on the other side. There was a pedestal in the middle and an object on top of it. When we approached it, it became clear it was a gun, with a note under it.

    Sam took the note and read it aloud:

    “Read the first letter of each paragraph of the previous note."

    We both looked at the note and read the letters silently together. And then as the realization hit us, we scrambled for the gun. After a moment of wrestling, the gun was in my hand and I held it pointed at Sam.

    “Don’t do this, man. I have a wife and young daughter, please.” – he begged.

    I held my finger on the trigger, intermittently looking at him and the gate. I had to get out of here. I've had enough of this bullshit. I looked at Sam's pleading face one more time. A moment later I lowered and then dropped the gun on the ground and said:

    “I’m not gonna play their game. I won’t become a killer for their entertainment. We can find a different way out, I'm sure.”

    I went towards the gate to inspect it and then heard Sam’s voice behind me:

    “I’m sorry, man.”

    I turned around and saw him pointing the gun at me.

    “What are you doing, Sam?”

    “You read the note, man. One must die. There’s no other way.”

    “Put the gun down, dammit. We can both make it out of here alive. We just gotta work together.” - I didn't believe my own words, but I'd be damned if I'd murder another human being for these sick bastards' entertainment.

    “I’m sorry. I have to get back to my family.” - Sam said.

    “Sam, no!”

    He pulled the trigger, but the bang never came. Instead, there was a click and Sam dropped the gun, holding his hand in pain.

    “What the fuck, something just pricked me!” – Sam shouted.

    He and I stared at each other and then all of a sudden, Sam’s eyes rolled behind his eyelids and he fell to the ground, convulsing and frothing at the mouth. I ran over to help him, but I didn’t know what to do. He stopped moving completely a moment later and his eyes closed, as his breathing stopped along with the movement. I shook him and called his name, but it was too late. He was already dead.

    Just then, the gate started to open.

    I knew I couldn’t afford to waste any more time, so I went through the gate, leaving Sam’s body behind. I listened as the gate closed and the ground beneath my feet started moving. Then the lights came on and I realized I was in a big elevator which started descending. Part of me had somehow come to terms with the fact that I was probably going to die here, but for some reason when you’re in a situation where your life is at stake and you desperately want to get out by any means necessary, your body defies your wish to give up and pushes you to fight on.

    The elevator stopped and the gated door opened, revealing a damp, dark room in front of me. There was a little cart next to the door on the other side. A folder lay on top of the cart. A circular logo with the name ‘THE COMPANY’ was on the front. Below was the motto ‘Your safety is our success’.

    When I opened the folder, I saw Sam’s face. It was his file. In it I saw everything about him, including age, family and even behavioral patterns observed by these freaks. And then the next page was my file. They knew everything about me. Not just my age, nationality, etc., but also my ways of thinking and everything I have been through during the test so far. They even had predictions about my behavior before I even did something. They knew my every move. The last page underneath my file was a note. Here’s what it said:

    Congratulations on surviving this far!

    You have only one last task to complete before you earn your reward, which is to reach the elevator on the other side of this area. The list of rules for the final part is as follows:

    Once you are through this door, proceed straight through the corridor. Do not look, get close or touch the glass on the left and right side, despite the irresistible urge. Don’t stop for longer than two seconds at a time. During the entire time, you will hear whispers coming from the other side of the glass. If the whispers suddenly stop, run as fast as you can do the door.

    Once you reach the door, you will find yourself outside on a wide bridge. There will be one person aimlessly wandering there. He may look weak and drunk, but don't underestimate him. Only move when he is not looking at you and when he faces you, stand as still as you can. If you see him stop all movement suddenly and go silent, he may have sensed you. The best thing to do is to stand still and not breathe. He may approach and inspect you, but do not move a muscle until you see him calmed down and facing away.

    Do not even think about making a break for the door when you’re close to it and him being a distance away. If he sees you, he will catch you no matter how close to the door you are.

    Close the door behind you and you will find yourself in a dormitory. You will see pebbles on a wooden plate next to you. Put them in your pocket and make sure to always have at least one ready in your hand. Proceed through the next area as quietly as possible, especially if you hear footsteps and sniffing close by (be especially aware of creaking floorboards). If you assume you may have attracted its attention, toss the pebbles at a distance to distract it (do not run while it is distracted). Do not go for the exit yet, as the creature is standing in your way.

    Look for room 109. By this point the creature will most likely be aware of your presence, so get inside the room and lock it as fast as possible. You will see that there is nowhere to hide, since the room is empty. That’s not a problem, since the creature is blind. Run to any corner of the room and stay there as quietly as you can. Try to remain calm as the creature screams and rams the door.

    Once it is inside, it will inspect the room and sniff the air. You’ll be safe as long as you make no sound. After a minute or so, the creature will leave and you will be able to get to the next exit safely. Exit the dormitory through the back door and close it. When you turn left you will see-

    The rest of the note was unintelligible, save for a few words and the signature 'The Company' below. I narrowed my eyes, scanning the page over and over, but no matter how many times I read it, the text remained the same. I cursed loudly and put the page in my pocket, inhaling and exhaling deeply. Final stretch. No matter what happens after this, it would be over and I knew it.

    I opened the door and as soon as I did, the whispers came from both sides. It sounded unnatural, as if whoever was on the other side of the glass was mocking me with their friends behind my back and trying to be quiet, but failing. I proceeded for a whole minute before the whispers suddenly stopped. And then loud slamming on both sides of the glass started. Handprints started to appear on the glass. First one, then two, then ten, a hundred, a thousand, all within the span of ten seconds or so.

    I sprinted across the corridor and rammed the door with my shoulder. I turned around to close it, but the corridor was calm again. No sounds and no handprints. I took no chances as I closed the door behind me.

    I turned back and faced the sight before me. I was on a wide metallic bridge in the middle of nowhere. There were street lights on it, illuminating the entirety of the area. A very frail-looking person stood in the middle of the bridge, hunched forward and looking like he could barely hold his weight on his own legs. I couldn’t see below the bridge, because it was too dark, but I was definitely somewhere that looked like outside.

    Slowly, I started to cross the bridge, making sure to stop whenever the person on the bridge looked in my direction. He seemed completely oblivious to my presence when I stood still, since he cut in front of me a few times without even looking in my direction. It wasn’t until I was close enough that I could hear the wheezing sounds coming from the person, as if he had difficulty breathing. Could he really overpower me?

    Nevertheless, I carefully crossed the bridge and closed the door. As soon as I entered the dorm, I took the pebbles and perked up my ears. No sounds yet.

    Hastily, I found room 109 and as soon as my hand touched the doorknob, a blood-curdling scream echoed throughout the hallway. I quickly entered and locked the door and then rushed into the corner, standing as still as possible, doing my best to steady my breathing.

    The door started to rattle violently as whatever was on the other end rammed it over and over. I could see with my peripheral vision that the door was about to give way and soon enough, it fell straight from the hinges. A naked, skinny-looking creature with no eyes and a sharp row of teeth burst inside, jerking its head in all directions, looking for me. It then started to intermittently sniff the air and stop to listen.

    I had to clasp my hands over my mouth to stop myself from whimpering. Soon enough, the creature left the room. I waited for a whole minute before peeking out into the corner, still scared shitless. No one was there and I proceeded to find the exit. After opening the back door, I found myself in another hallway. I turned left and braced myself, ready to face whatever was there. In front of me at the end of the hall was an elevator. But between me and elevator stood none other than the staring man.

    Our eyes locked and I knew what I had to do. I heard screams in my ears and felt things brushing against me from behind and touching my neck and face, but I didn’t take my eyes off him. I hurried up to the elevator, and it opened on its own. I entered and continued staring at the man and just before the door closed, something unexpected happened.

    The man nodded and looked away.

    The elevator started ascending this time. I had no idea where it was going to take me, but before I could process that thought properly, it opened again. In front of me was a room engulfed in darkness and only a small beam of light shone in the distance ahead. Hesitantly, I stepped out of the elevator and started walking towards the light. And then more lights turned on from the ceiling, blinding me for a moment and illuminating the entire room.

    “Excellent work.” – a voice in front of me said.

    It didn’t take me long to realize that I was in some sort of control room and the voice was coming in front of me, from the place where the beam of light had previously been. There was a big rotating chair there and whoever was talking was facing away from me, so I couldn’t see them.

    “You have successfully completed your assignment.” – the voice said again.

    “Who the hell are you? What do you want from me?!” – I shouted.

    The chair swung around and a man in a suit revealed to be sitting in it.

    “To congratulate you.” – he said – “I usually don’t like to go out on the field, but this is a special opportunity.”

    Anger started to boil in me when I saw how nonchalant he was about this whole situation. I started to stride towards him, but then heard the distinctive sound of a gun being cocked behind my head.

    “It’s okay, Sam.” – the man said.

    I turned around to look at my assailant. It was Sam, the security guard, alive and well.

    “Sam?” – I asked – “I watched you die. What the hell is this?”

    “Sam is an amazing actor. I’m starting to think he should've gone for a different career.” – the man in the chair said.

    “You were in on this the whole time? I don’t believe this.” – I asked and then faced the man in the chair again – “ Well your test is complete, right? Time to kill me?”

    The man threw his head back in laughter and said:

    “Kill you? Don’t be silly. This was necessary for evaluation. We have to go through a very strict hiring process, because we hire only the most suitable candidates. I know the test was stressful, but you passed with flying colors! Forget that whole 80$ per shift thing. The money we’ll be paying you will cover all your debts, medical bills and then some.”

    I let out a chuckle at the absurdity of the situation and said:

    “Hiring process? This was what, some kind of job orientation the entire time?”

    “Well… yes. What our company deals with here is not ordinary guard duty, as you saw back there. And this is why we need to make sure our candidates don’t do something to endanger themselves… or others.”

    "So all those things back there? They weren't real?" - I asked.

    "Oh they're as real as they come. And you were in actual danger the whole time. We have intervention always ready, but sometimes... accidents do happen. This is the process candidates are subjected to. And out of 43 applicants, you were the only one to make it to the end!"

    “So you want me to work for you?” – I looked at Sam, who had a neutral expression on his face and then back at the man – “What if I refuse?”

    “Then you get a slightly higher compensation than was mentioned in the ad and you go home and look for another job.” - the man shrugged.

    “I could go to the police and rat you out.” - I replied.

    “You could. You could tell them everything. But you’d find that the police found no trace of anything you mentioned. No ghosts, no monsters. Not even an ad listed by any company you mentioned. In fact the company itself is not registered anywhere. There's nothing, except an old abandoned building.”

    He motioned for someone on the side to come. A woman approached me with a paper and pen. She handed them to me. At just one glance I realized it was a contract for the company as a security guard and the compensation was shocking, to say the least. The amount they paid would cover all my bills and I could finally move out of the shithole I live in now. The man continued:

    “You could walk away and go to the police. Or you could work for us. Help the world and the fragile residents by keeping them safe from the horrors you witnessed. Because their safety is our success.” - he smiled.

    I frantically clicked the pen over and over, looking at the man’s smug face and then at Sam. He nodded subtly to me as I looked at the contract once more. So much money...

    Before I could change my mind, I signed the contract and handed it back to the lady. The man smiled widely and then stood up and shook my hand as he said:

    "Welcome to The Company."
     
    colder, Intelli, Atox and 3 others like this.
  2. Kefflar32

    Kefflar32 Well-Known Member

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    happy u start posting stories again. ty I enjoyed reading
     
    inayat likes this.
  3. xdritz

    xdritz Member

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    Was a great read, kept me on my toes throughout the whole thing.

    Thanks.
     
    Kefflar32 likes this.
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