That evening I was the last one on the whole floor to leave the office. Some time before, dusk had turned to black, the overhead neon lights had kicked in, and the office had gone quiet without me noticing. My eyes felt dry from staring at the computer for so long.
Maybe an hour before, Kathleen, the friendly girl from the accounts, had popped by in my cubicle, already in her scarf and coat:
– Hey, haven’t they told you not to stay all night? Scary things happen around this office at night, she’d joked.
– Scarier things will happen to me in broad daylight if I don’t finish this project on time! I said, still staring at my red mailbox.
I turned around to propose a lunch at the canteen, but she’d already disappeared.
As I finally shot down my computer and stretched, I realized how late it was. Somewhere in the building, Hoovers were humming: the night cleaning shift was already on patrol. The large office floor was eerily silent but for a sputtering fax. One could hardly believe it had been bustling with activity for the whole day. It was like one of those horror movies where the entire population is suddenly wiped out by a disease or a disaster.
I swept my access card and called for the elevator, still absorbed by work. There was someone in the elevator when the doors opened, but I didn’t register it at first. I just mumbled a perfunctory “good evening” and stepped forward, automatically hitting the ground floor button. The doors closed, and I let out a sigh. At least someone else in the building was as miserable as I was and working as late. That thought made me smile and I turned around to see who it was. As I looked up, my smile froze and my heart skipped a beat.
(To Be Continued…)
PS. English is not my mother tongue, so I apologize in advance if some sentences sound clumsy or strange (scary doesn’t count — it’s intended ;)!) If I need to do corrections, drop me a line!