I creep through the dim hall seeking what hides in the shadows before it can catch me unaware; every muscle in my body tense. Making my way, step by wary step, to the next hallway where the light switch is.
I hate being the only one in the building this late with everything locked up and the common area lights off. Anyone can sneak in and hide before the doors lock for the night; lying in wait in a dark office until they hear the lonely soul left making their way to the copier then step out to claim their mark.
“One, two, Freddy’s coming for you…” comes to mind unbidden.
Fuck. As if I’m not scared enough already.
I shake off the cold shiver making me want to crawl out of my skin. My eyes flit around, vigilant. My pace, slow and deliberate. Papers crinkle in my grip.
I stop, take a deep breath, straighten, and smooth out the contract I need to copy for my meeting first thing in the morning.
Come on. Be a professional. No one is here. It’s all in your head.
I take one confident step before I hunch my shoulders and scan the hallway again. I tiptoe close to the wall without any doors. I crane my neck, peeking as I round the corner.
The next hallway. The light switch.
A few more steps and I stand in the doorway of the last hall. The blackest of them all. Ten steps to the switch.
I plant my foot in the hall and follow with the other, making the commitment.
Eight more steps.
One foot in front of the other.
The door to my left flies open with a large, dark silhouette standing in the doorway.
I let out a bloodcurdling scream, my feet rooted in place, and papers swirl around me.
The figure remains still. Silent.
Holy shit! I’m going to die!
Another piercing scream escapes me as my heart beats so hard it threatens to burst out of my chest.
“Sorry,” the soft male voice says.
Christ. It’s Hank, coming down from his office upstairs.
“No, I’m sorry. I had no idea I wasn’t the only one working late. Damn lights being turned off at six is a pain in the ass.” I flip the light switch and the fluorescents flicker on.
“It ain’t easy being green,” he says, grinning.
©Debi Smith, 2014