New Short Story: Flicker!
Damn it, I wish someone would fix this light, Jimmy thought as he washed his hands.
It was bad enough that he was forced to work out of the basement and use the crappy basement bathroom, but he felt the company could at least keep up on the maintenance like they do for the other minions just a few floors up.
He had smarted off to his boss, but because he was too valuable to the company, instead of firing him, they annexed him to a basement office for him to do his work and rot.
Granted, another employee had just committed suicide the day before by jumping out a window, and it might have been a little inappropriate to point out how cliché that was, but Jimmy considered himself a funny guy, so he thought he would get at least a chuckle.
Apparently, it was too soon, he thought, moving from the sink to dry his hands.
The light flickered more intensely, which aggravated Jimmy even more.
“I’m going to give these guys a piece of my mind,” Jimmy said, ready to storm off.
Before he could, the lights blinked off, and Jimmy’s screams filled the bathroom.
After a moment, the lights came back on, and revealed a bathroom covered in blood. It looked as if a bomb had gone off. A bomb of blood.
Sheryl showed up to work to find the entire entrance of her office building blocked by police cars, firetrucks, a couple of ambulances, and a coroner’s van.
‘What the..?’ she thought as she joined a group of her co-workers that were waiting to enter the building.
“What’s going on?” Sheryl asked.
“Apparently, Jimmy was murdered in the basement bathroom last night,” her friend Lucy, explained.
“Oh my god,” Sheryl replied. “Did they catch the killer? Why are the firetrucks here?”
“They think it was a bomb, so they’re checking it out before they let us in,” Lucy said.
“A bomb?” Sheryl asked.
She couldn’t believe this was happening. Two deaths in two days?
‘Maybe I should take the day off,’ Sheryl thought.
“I think they should just let us go home,” Lucy said, reading her mind. “Two people dying in the same office building in two days just isn’t normal.”
Sheryl said nothing, but agreed.
They all watched as the coroners carried the body out of the front door, and put it into the van.
Sheryl and the others looked on as their boss approached them.
“Terrible, what happened,” he said. “You all should go home. It’s going to be a while before they let anyone back in, so there’s no reason for you all to be standing outside the whole day.”
They all said their goodbyes, and walked away.
The next day they were allowed back into the building.
It was an eerie feeling walking into work. There was still tape up, and Sheryl got the feeling that she was walking into a tomb.
Though she didn’t know either of them, to think that two men in her office buildings died over the course of two days was unsettling.
She put her stuff down on her desk in her office.
Outside her window, she saw a couple men seemingly arguing in hushed tones. Noticing that people were starting to notice, they walked into an office and closed the door.
Seeing that the public display was over, Sheryl made herself a cup of coffee, and then got back to work.
While Sheryl was working on her computer, the lights began to flicker for just a moment, and then went back to normal.
When she looked away from the now normal light to her computer, she noticed that a new email had been created, but she didn’t do it.
Her eyes grew as she watched words appear on the email, as if she was the one typing.
“Help me…,” it read.
Sheryl didn’t know what she was looking at, but instinctively, she asked, “Who are you?”
“Megan Adams,” was typed on the screen.
The lights flickered again as Sheryl’s friend Anthony walked in.
“Sheryl, are you okay?” he asked, seeing the distraught expression she was wearing.
Before she answered, she looked back on the screen, and saw that it was blank.
She was afraid to say what she had just saw, but she also couldn’t forget it either.
“Who is Megan Adams?” she asked.
Anthony quickly closed the door behind him.
“What?” he asked, shock in his eyes.
“Who is Megan Adams?” she asked again.
Anthony looked afraid to answer. “What made you ask that?”
His eyes were darting around, as if expecting someone to be watching them.
“What’s the matter?” she asked, not wanting to try to explain what she had just seen.
Anthony looked around the office one more time.
“That’s not something you want to let anyone hear you ask, or mention,” he said.
“Okay, but why?” she continued.
Anthony looked miserable. She could tell he wasn’t happy to have been the one to have walked into her office right then.
“She’s a girl who died here,” he said, hoping that would be enough for her.
“Okay, but why are you acting all weird about it?” Sheryl asked. “We just had two other employees die, and no one is acting like your acting about her.”
She could tell he didn’t want to talk about it, but she didn’t care.
‘A freakin ghost just typed me a message on my computer’ she thought.
“Okay, fine,” he started. “She was a receptionist for Bob Turner, you know, our CEO?”
“Well, one day she was here, the next day she wasn’t,” he continued. “They found her body a few days later washed up on the riverbend.”
Sheryl covered her mouth with her hand.
“That’s terrible,” she said.
“I know, right?” he replied.
She could tell there was more.
“What else?” she asked, bluntly.
He stood, shaking his head.
“Why are you so interested?” he asked. “Nobody here wants to talk about it.”
She stood her ground.
“That is a horrible story, but the way you’re acting, I know there’s something you’re not telling me,” she said.
Hesitantly, he said, “Okay, full disclosure, there was a rumor going around that she was murdered by someone here, but no one knows who. The police asked all of us some questions, and then it just faded away. No one was arrested. No one was really suspected, so there’s really nothing more to say.”
She studied him, and then said, “Really suspected?”
“What do you want, Sheryl?” he asked. “Do want a list of suspects that people here thought it could be? Because that’s all you’re going to get. There were never any official suspects. Only guesses people around here made. Now, are you going to tell me what spurred all this?”
“I just came across her name,” she said, trying to think of a rational reason. “I was going through some old employee files, and came across her name, and didn’t recognize it.”
He didn’t believe a word she was saying, but didn’t want to talk about it anymore. He wanted to just get out of the office, and never bring it up again.
“Whatever,” he said. “Just don’t bring it up to anyone else.”
“Why not?” she asked.
“Because this is something they will fire you over,” he said, seeing the surprise in her eyes. “I gotta go.”
Before she could say anything, he was out the door.
While the email was a cry for help, she didn’t know what she was supposed to do.
She fell into her seat, and watched as the two men who had been arguing earlier, separate, and go in different directions.
One of them made eye contact with her as he walked past. She shivered.
Josh didn’t like the way Sheryl was looking at him. He didn’t know her well, but she was looking at him as though she knew what he and Ben had been talking about.
He took the elevator up to his floor, and settled in his office. He had an important proposal he had to work on.
After everyone had walked out of the office space for the day, he pulled out a bottle of scotch, and poured a glass.
He jumped a little when the lights in his office flickered.
He swallowed the last of his drink, and headed to the restroom.
As he walked out into the common area, the lights began to flicker. He froze.
It wasn’t a slight low voltage flicker. It seemed menacing.
He stood still, as the lights continued to flicker.
With the hairs on the back of his neck raised, he slowly made his way to the bathroom, but when he reached for the door, it shocked him.
He jumped back.
He looked around as the lights continued to flicker more aggressively. He took notice that the lights within the individual offices were not flickering at all.
Across the room, a form solidified, and Josh’s heart sank. Standing before him was Megan Adams.
He turned to run, only to stand facing her once again, only feet from where he was standing.
She was blocking his path to the elevator, so he turned and ran to the bathroom, slamming the door behind him.
He was breathing heavy, as the lights went off in the room.
His loud scream was cut short, and when the lights came back on, the bathroom was covered in blood, as once again a bomb had gone off.
When everyone was allowed to enter the building a few days later, the floor Josh had been in was closed.
Sheryl stared at her computer screen, expecting to see a repeat of the email for help that she had seen before, but it didn’t come.
She looked out her office window, and saw the man Josh had been arguing with, pacing in his office.
She couldn’t shake the feeling that he had knew what was going on.
When she saw Anthony walk by her office, she called out to him.
“Anthony!” she called.
He stopped and walked back to the entrance of her office.
“Yeah?” he asked.
Who’s that guy pacing around his office over there?”
He turned to look.
“That’s Ben,” he replied. “He was friends with Josh. Why?”
“No reason,” she said, playing innocent. “Just curious. Thanks.”
He nodded, and seeing the conversation was over, he walked off.
At the end of the day, she noticed that Ben was still in his office.
‘He looks stressed,’ she thought.
She gathered her things, and headed out for the night.
When she got to her car, she realized that she had forgotten her keys, and sighed, knowing she had to walk back in.
As she stepped off the elevator, she jumped as the lights around her were flickering erratically.
She heard a scream, and immediately began running to where it came from.
When she rounded the corner, she saw Ben looking at the far end of the office and screaming at whatever he was seeing. Sheryl strained to see what it was, and then she saw her.
On the other side of the room was a silhouette of a woman. It was as if she was standing there, with an opacity filter turned down. Not only could Sheryl see her, but she could see through her.
“Ben!” Sheryl called out.
He turned, and when he saw her, he ran to her.
“Let’s get out of here!” he yelled, and they both ran for the elevator.
He pounded on the elevator button when he realized it wasn’t working. They both turned and saw the woman standing at the end of the hall. They ran in the first door that they saw, which was the women’s restroom.
Once inside, Sheryl slid down the door, hoping her body weight would keep the spirit out. Ben was in the middle of the bathroom pacing.
“I told them we wouldn’t get away with what we had done,” he said to her as much as to himself.
“What did you do?” she asked. “What did you do to Megan Adams?”
At the mention of Megan’s name, he snapped to face her.
“How do you know about her?” he asked.
Sheryl wasn’t going to play his game.
“What did you do to her?” she asked again.
He was shaking uncontrollably.
“We were just having fun, you know?” he started. “One night, Josh, Tim, Jimmy, Megan, and me got stuck one night working on project late, when we started having drinks to help us get through it.”
Sheryl guessed that the man who committed suicide, and the man that died right after, were Tim and Jimmy. Josh just died, so that meant Ben was the last man standing.
“Josh had some coke on him, and convinced us to try it out,” Ben continued. “None of us had tried it before, but we thought, ‘What the hell?’, and did it.
“After some coke, and alcohol, we started getting frisky with Megan. I thought she was into it, but once we got started, I kind of blacked out. I’m not sure what exactly happened after that, but when we all came to in the morning, Megan was dead.”
“Luckily it was a Saturday, so no one came in the office. We all freaked out. None of us could remember what had happened.”
“So instead of going to the police,” Sheryl said. “You all got rid of her body.”
Ben fell to his knees weeping.
Sheryl was enraged. She wasn’t going to let Ben get away with it.
Before she could say anything, the lights began to flicker in the bathroom.
All of sudden, the lights turned off and Sheryl heard Ben scream.
It felt like someone had thrown water at her, but when the lights came back on, she realized that she was covered in blood and so was the bathroom.
A co-worker, who had heard Ben scream, came running into the bathroom.
His heart froze when he saw the bathroom covered in blood, and Sheryl huddled in the fetal position, weeping uncontrollably.
Published on January 24, 2018 10:20
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