(2 minute read)
by Roland Gray
Annabel peered out across the open plan office. Dark holes left by the emergency lighting were ideal for sheltering monsters. “I don’t believe in monsters,” she quavered loudly enough to believe her words.
She was a child again, in the loo at the top of the stairs. Her mother’s words echoed, “Always flush the toilet when you’re done. Then wash your hands.”
What about the toilet monster that gets loose every time I pull the chain?
“Can’t you pull the chain for me?” she’d asked.
“Don’t be silly.”
Annabel stretched as far as the chain would allow. One tug and release, miraculously landing at the bottom of the stairs without touching a step.
Twenty years later, she was still in thrall to dark creatures.
A brightly lit office was a lighthouse across the sea of office furniture. A couple of deep breaths and she set off at a sprint.
Things with horrible teeth lunged as she passed. Savage talons grasped the air where she had been a split second before. Running in six inch heels was not something she practised. Halfway across her foot slipped, sending her crashing into a partition. Annabel closed her eyes and waited for the attacks to start. She could hear their approach, almost smell them.
“Are you okay?” a man’s voice asked.
Realising the lights were on, she looked up into the eyes of VP for R&D, Brian Redfern. He took her arm and helped her to her feet.
“Have you been drinking?”
“N-n-no,” she stammered, “it’s the heels on these shoes. I was in a club and didn’t have time to change.”
“So you have been drinking!”
“No! We don’t all need to get off our heads to enjoy ourselves. I love the music and the dancing.”
“I was only joking! Have you sprained your ankle?”
“Let’s go to my office and discuss the job I’ve got for you. You were highly recommended.”
With the lights on and the tall, confident escort, she was beginning to feel safe, though she would not relax until she was in his office.
As the door closed behind them the lights went out again, recreating the caves.
Fifteen minutes later, the office door opened again and Brian appeared carrying a female form in his arms. Casually, he tossed the body out into the gloom, “Come and get it! Leftovers for my little munchkins.”
There was a scrabbling of claws accompanied by growling and snarling. For a thankfully brief second, Annabel opened her eyes and realised her nightmare wasn’t in her imagination after all. Her drained state would not allow even a token struggle, just a whimpered “Mummy!” as teeth sank into her. Then oblivion.
Copyright © 2022 – Roland Gray. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Roland is father, grandfather, carer, dog’s servant, chauffeur, answering to “canyoujust”, “wouldyoumind”, “Grandaaad” and pleading looks with only the occasional grumble.
His introverted mind is cursed with hyperactive imagination forming so many alternative worlds that coming back to reality is chastening.
Hence lots of cynical short stories, but no novel.
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