Indirect Sequel to Dead Flowers.
Chapter 1 – 11/14/15 – 11:45 AM
No one went into Room 37-B.
It had seemed a pretty simple rule to Emily. It was just a single line in the packet they had given her when she had been given the job. No stealing company supplies, no smoking during work hours, room 37-B is off limits.
Looking back, it was a bit odd, considering that there was a page earlier in the packet that dealt with what rooms her keycard could open, and what rooms she would have to call in to have opened if something came up, and nowhere in there had it mentioned 37-B, but even if she had noticed she would have shrugged it off. It was probably where they kept the money or something. Not really something she would have worried about, had she even noticed in the 28 page employee manual.
It came up again the next day during her training. It was a cold and crisp November morning, with the factory Foreman showing her around the place. It was pretty simple, storage rooms, the factory line, not a whole lot to see. Of course, she wasn’t going to be a factory worker, but rather a graveyard-shift security guard, so she needed to see more of the place than most. It was the oddest part of their tour, when the Foreman passed the little grey door and told her she wasn’t allowed in.
“Why, what’s back there?” she had asked, raising an eyebrow. If she was going to be watching the place, that seemed a bit odd to have places she couldn’t go to in case of a break-in.
“Dunno,” he shrugged. “They say I’m not supposed to go back there either.”
Odder still. It was her first day, and even as a security guard there might be places she couldn’t just wander freely… but he was her boss. “But you run this place, right?”
“Yeah,” he nodded. “But it’s the suits who own the place, I just make sure you lot do your job.”
“Oh.” That made a little more sense, but not much. “So… what do you think’s back there?”
He shrugged again. “I wouldn’t know. They send people down here once in a while to make sure everything’s going good, write reports, that sort of thing, and they sometimes go in there when checking the place out. I bet it’s just some storage room or something. Could be that they make copies of their reports and keep ‘em in that room so they have backups, and don’t want us to mess with ‘em.”
It was a little weird, but she’d worked in places worse than that, and it didn’t seem too terribly important. This was a place that manufactured children’s toys, it wasn’t like these people made guns or chemicals, something that could be worrisome.
The job was easy, and the pay was good. Sit in some office, flip between the channels of cameras, make sure no one was breaking in or something, ten bucks an hour. Not too bad for being just out of High School, trying to save up for college. She figured she could do this for a year or two, save up money and take online classes at night when she got off from this. She had complained to her parents once that it sucked to have to do it at night, but she knew it could have been worse. They even let her bring headphones so she could listen to music on her phone, that was how little she had to do.
It was the end of the tour that really worried her.
“Now, I know this is gonna be concerning.” he started, and she knew this was going to be unpleasant. “But I don’t want you to worry. If someone does break in, what we need you to do is call the police, and watch whoever it is on the cameras till they get here. But if someone gets in, and you feel like you’re not safe...” He opened a locked shelf in her office, and revealed a TOZ-34, a double barrelled shotgun.
“Oh my god!” she gasped, but he waved his hands.
“Really, this is just a formality! I promise, you’ll be okay. What we want you to do is call 911 in an emergency, really. It’s just, in an extreme situation, we don’t want you defenseless, that’s all.”
“Is… this even legal?” she asked tentatively. Of course, she shouldn’t judge this job by the worst-case scenario, and she was security, it just seemed… ten bucks an hour wasn’t worth getting killed over.
“I’m sure it is.” He nodded. “We’ll get you some training on how to use it when we get a chance, but all you have to do is point and shoot.” Seeing her obvious discomfort, he smiled and put a hand on her shoulder. “Don’t think too much of it. Just know that if you feel like you’re not safe, you got this here to back you up. If you do have to stop someone, just pointing the damn thing at them will probably scare ‘em enough to give it up.”
She nodded, and bit down the concern. Of course she should’ve known that being security detail would mean being prepared in case… well, in case of anything.
- - - - - - - - -
Chapter 2 – 11/15/15 – 10:12 PM “I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name...”
William tapped his foot on the counter to the beat, his earbuds stuck in his ears as he flipped through channels on the camera feed. Storage 1, Supply Closet, Office 2… nothing out of the ordinary. Hallway 1… 2… there it was, Hallway 2. He had a new co-worker today, coming in for her first night, and he’d been hoping to find her on the feed before she showed up. He pulled out his earbuds and paused his music, then sat up.
“Oh!” She put a hand over her mouth as she opened the door, to find him standing at attention. “I-”
“You’re late,” he said sternly, narrowing his eyebrows angrily at her.
“B-b-… I-I thought… you see-”
He laughed, sitting back in his chair. “Relax, I’m just teasing ya. I heard we had a new girl coming on-board, thought I’d scare ya a little.”
“Oh,” she sighed in relief, smiling and closing the door behind her. “I… it worked, for sure. Er, uh, hi, I’m Emily.”
“William. But call me Bill.” He smiled, gesturing over to the fridge in the corner. “I tossed some sodas in the cooler to celebrate your first day, help yourself.
She smiled and opened it, grabbing herself a Coke and sitting down with him. “I… uh, thanks-thank you. So… I’ve never done anything like this.”
“Relax.” He smiled. “This is the easiest job in the world, if you can get used to how unsightly the uniform is.” He laughed loudly, and she gave a nervous titter. “So, I’m sure the boss-man scared you to hell with his talk of intruders, and showing you our gun.” She nodded emphatically. “Let me set ya straight there. What we do, is we sit here in these nice, soft office chairs, we listen to our music, we check the cameras every five minutes, and then we go home with an extra 80 bucks. We go and buy snacks and drinks for the fridge, write it off as a business expense, then we do it all over again the next night.”
Emily nodded, then bit her lip. “But… we’re here to guard the place, right? What if someone tries to break in?”
He shook his head. “No one’s tried to break into this place since the 90’s. I mean, think about it: People don’t break the law for no reason, and why would they want to break into this place? All we do is make toys for kids, we don’t handle any money here except on payday, and that’s in the daytime. But, if they did break in, we’d just lock the doors and call the cops. The doors in this room are tougher than anything, no one’s gettin’ in here.”
She nodded again, then relaxed a little. “This… seems a little easier than I was expecting. The Foreman… kinda scared me.”
“That’s just his way.” He chuckled. “Hell, if you feel like taking a nap at any time, I can always cover for you. If, of course, you’ll do it for me too.”
“Of course.” She smiled, and opened her Coke. “So… how long have you been doing this?”
“Two months.” He nodded. “Was at a bakery for a while, but this place paid a lot better, and I don’t have to lift any doughnut boxes here. How about you? What’d you do before this?”
“I was at a convenience store for a while.” She smiled. “But, I… you know, had to deal with a lot of… erm… odd people, when I was by myself.”
“Lots of people staring at your chest?” She nodded enthusiastically. “Yeah, I get that. We had a lot of girls get weirdos on them back at the bakery, and more than once I had to drag someone out when they got a little handsy.”
“Not to mention the stoners and people who looked like they were on the run...” She shook her head. “You seem a lot nicer though.”
“Thanks.” He smiled back. “Here, this monitor? Always shows a camera feed. You want to check out the cameras? There’s fifteen feeds, use the left and right arrow keys to cycle back and forth between them.” She nodded and took to it, checking every single one and spending several minutes on each feed, analysing every detail of all of them, before finally turning back in her chair. “Nothing?” She shook her head. “There you go. That’s all we’re ever gonna see.”
- - - - - - - - - - -
Chapter 3 – 11/28/15 – 11:56 PM “Hey, Bill? Bill?”
He took out his headphones, pausing his music. “Yeah?”
“I think something’s up.” She shook her head, showing him the camera feed. “Look at this.”
Bill sighed, and sat up, looking over her shoulder. It was grainy, green coated video footage of an empty hallway, just like it always was. “I don’t see anything.”
“Look at this.” She pointed, and a bit of paper floated through the far right side before floating back through to be out of view.
“Stuff gets in the vents sometimes.” He shrugged. “I’ve seen papers, sticky notes, a couple of cigarette butts, stuff like that come floating on out.”
Emily shook her head. “But the heat isn’t on right now.”
“Not here.” he reasoned. “I’m sure it runs through different parts of the factory at different times.”
“Keep watching.” she insisted. “It’ll take a couple of minutes, but I swear I’m not going crazy.” He sighed again, and kept watching over her shoulder.
Just as he was about to call it quits… sure enough, the same piece of paper floated in and out of frame. It had been four minutes exactly.
“That’s odd...” He trailed for a second, then shook his head. “It’s probably the heat again, vents probably came on again.”
“But our heat over here comes on every fifteen minutes, and lasts five minutes.” She shook her head slowly. “It’s weird.”
“Okay.” He shrugged. “So… what do you want me to do, call the cops over some paper?”
“Of course not.” she scoffed. “I think the camera’s on the fritz. It’s our job to worry about security, and that’s a security risk. We ought to tell the boss in the morning.”
“Alright, alright.” He nodded, thinking a second. “Look, that’s Hallway 2, just down the hall. I’ll go walk in front of it.” He grabbed a flashlight and one of the two walkie-talkies. “Keep looking at the cameras. I’ll radio ya when I get down there, and hopefully you’ll be able to see me on the camera. If you can’t, then we’ll know it’s broken for sure. I don’t want to waste the boss-man’s time if we don’t know for certain.”
“Fair enough.” She shrugged, reaching up to grab the other walkie-talkie that he tossed over to her. “Call when you’re almost there, so I’ll know to be looking closer.” He gave a two fingered salute in acknowledgement before leaving.
The hallways were dead dark this time of night, with little moonlight even coming in through the skylights. The factory went into low-power mode after 10, trying to cut down operating costs, so nothing besides the security-room and all emergency systems were running.
Turning on the flashlight, he headed on down the East Hallway and for the camera. Sure enough, the vents were running, though nothing was coming out of them at the moment but heat. He stood in front of the camera in question, and looked at the vent. No paper or anything.
“Alright, I’m here,” he called on the radio, only to be met by silence. “Hello?” He made sure he was in frame. “Emily, you there? Am I on the camera?” Silence. He waved a hand at the lens, still nothing on the other side. Shining his flashlight on it, he made sure it was on, and the batteries were in right, then tried again, to no avail.
“Fuck it.” He shrugged. There was nothing coming out of the vent anyway, and his eyes were starting to hurt from straining to see in the dark. The radio must be having issues, but surely Emily was watching the cameras enough to have seen him had they been working, so if she hadn’t seen him that was proof enough that it was broken.
A footstep came from behind him, and he whirled around, shining his flashlight to find nothing in the dark. “Hello?” He called out, the words echoing across the sterile steel of the walls. Frowning, he brought up the radio again. “Emily, you there?” Nothing. He sighed, and shook his head. “Fuck this, I’m going back. The two of us can split one of those microwave lasagnes, I’m starving.”
- - - - - - - - - -
Chapter 4 – 11/29/15 – 9:14 PM Seeing Emily drive up to park next to him, Bill waved up at her as he left his car.
“Hey,” she called out, getting out and locking it behind her. “You just get here?”
“Yeah. Would’ve been sooner, but I stopped to pick these up.” He held up a package of fresh batteries, and fresh snacks for their fridge. “Foreman said he’d take a look at those walkie-talkies, but I grabbed these so we can make sure they’re topped off.”
She nodded, sliding her keycard through the keypad on the door and then holding it open for him. “Good idea. Last night had me spooked.” There was no one at the lobby entrance, which wasn’t terribly odd, considering everyone was probably closing up.
Bill nodded. “Yeah, I don’t know what was going on. Boss said he’d have someone look at the camera, and the recording for the night.” Looking over his shoulder, he saw her tensed up, and gave a reassuring smile. “Look, the camera probably just froze up, and I don’t think anyone’s sprung for new batteries in those radios for years. I’m sure they just unplugged the camera, plugged it back in and everything was fine, and these fresh batteries will fix the radios up.” She smiled back, and they entered into the main floor.
The rest of the factory workers were crowded in a circle around something rather than their usual positions at the lines, and both of them looked at one another, sharing a confused look. Pushing their way through, Bill gasped just in time for it to be drowned by Emily’s bone-chilling scream.
There lay a dead body.
“Oh my god!” Bill shouted, covering his mouth. “W-what the hell?!”
“W-who is that?!” she shrieked, unable to control her voice. “I… wha...”
One of the other factory workers shook his head, looking away. “James came running in here, screaming and slurring on into nonsense...” He lowered his head. “He grabbed his arm, and fell over. I guess he had some sort of a heart attack. Someone tried CPR on him, but…” He sighed, trying not to think about it.
Emily covered her eyes, shaking, and Bill looked away, biting down on his lip until it bled.
“You two didn’t see anything,” the worker asked. “Did you?”
Billshook his head. “No. We’re the night watch, we just got here.” A long silence fell, before he looked up. “W-what did James do here?”
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Chapter 5 – 12/7/15 – 12:14 AM “I can’t get it out of my head.” James hadn’t even taken his headphones out to speak. Emily hadn’t seen much of him without them since the incident, trying to drown out what he had seen. “The… poor kid… just sitting there… staring...” He shook his head. “I might have to quit, Emily. It’s… hard to sleep, knowing what happened here.”
“I know what you mean.” She nodded, staring blankly into the camera. “Everytime we pass the main floor, I can’t stop staring at where we found him.” She looked over at him. “But… I looked into it, and I guess he had heart problems. I asked the foreman, and he said that James had two other heart attacks here. I guess they were pretty severe.”
“I couldn’t even look into it.” He shook his head. “I heard the rest of the workers got invited to the funeral, but I just…” He looked over at her. “I know we need to move on, it was just… I can’t stop thinking about it.”
A few minutes passed before Emily swore out loud, making Bill jump. “What? What is it?”
“The camera.” She pointed, then slammed her hand into the table. “Damnit, they didn’t fix it! That paper is back.”
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Chapter 6 – 1/13/16 – 1:47 AM Things had been, more or less, quiet for the last month. It was disquieting, seeing what had happened, but things got easier every day, and eventually Bill stopped talking about wanting to quit. After all, it was a terrible accident, but he had a good job and that was a lot to give up over an accident.
How he would come to regret he hadn’t taken the chance when it came.
“Hey, I’m gonna pop something else in, I’m starving. You want to split anything?” he asked over to Emily, who pulled down her headphones, and looked away from her laptop.
“Go with the chicken and rice,” she called over, and he saluted over to her, putting it into the microwave.
“What’re you working on?” he asked as he turned back to face her, leaning against the counter.
She shrugged. “History paper. I’d wait till morning to do it, but my professor’s a real hard-ass about deadlines, and even though I’m making more here, I still probably can’t afford to retake this class anytime soon.”
He shrugged. “Oh, it’s not like I can’t cover for you. Here, you wanna take a look at the feed for me while I wait for this to cook?”
She shrugged, and put her laptop aside, looking over at the monitor for anything abnormal, the frowned a second later. “Hey, something’s up.” Bill looked over, concerned. “Hallway 2, the one that’s been buggin’ out… it’s down entirely.”
“Wait, what?” Bill moved over, looked at the monitor himself to find only darkness on the screen. “Oh fuck me. The boss-man’s not gonna let us live this down.” He shook his head. “What now?” Emily shrugged helplessly. “Okay… fuck.” He glanced over at the table. “Okay, I’ll go take a look, same as before. I’ll make sure it didn’t come off the wall or some shit.”
Emily nodded, taking her walkie-talkie and watching the camera feed. “Are there any cameras that overlap view with that one?” Bill shook his head. “Damnit. What’s the closest one?”
“Supply Closet B.”
She nodded, then switched it over. The door in the closet was open, so she could see some into the hallway. “Okay, I think I can at least kind of see the area that the camera’s in… but I can’t see it at all.”
He shrugged, grabbing his flashlight and walkie-talkie and headed off.
The hallway was still dead dark, but he felt a little better with his torch of light filling the place up. It was a cloudy night, no moonlight whatsoever, and everything outside the flashlight’s cone of light was a cloak of darkness.
A minute later, he arrived at the camera. It was still on the wall, no sign of damage or anything, at least from where he was standing, shining light on it. Sighing, he put his finger on the send button on his radio. “Hey, Emily, I’m here. You seein’ anything on the feed?”
“Emily, I’m at the camera.”
He cursed. The radios had been working just fine, at least since last time…
Then an idea came. He went and walked in front of the camera in Supply Closet B, and waved. That one had been working.
“Emily, I’m at the Supply Closet. Come on: Do. You. See. Me?”
Bill felt like punching a wall. Something was off, just like last time. What was going on? He almost headed back to the Security Room but, hating himself, he went back to the Hallway 2 Camera, and pushed over a box, standing on it to get a closer look on the Camera. There wasn’t any damage or anything, but he’d learned it had a reset button on the back of it. Reaching up and around, he held the button for a few seconds until it beeped at him.
There, that might help. He called out one more time to Emily on his radio, to the same effect, then sighed. Whatever, he had done all that he knew how. If the boss wanted to get mad at him for not being a tech, that wasn’t his problem.
A footstep came, and he looked around, his flashlight a sterile bright blue beam in the darkness… nothing. His heart beating in his chest, he swore out loud, and shook it off.
A cold, emotionless voice spoke something he couldn’t recognize, and he jumped, dropping his flashlight, whirling to face a figure in the darkness.
- - - - - - - - - - - - Chapter 7 – 1/13/16 – 1:50 AM -> grantsystempermission User:User
Please input password.
Initial Password Recognized, Please input Auxiliary Password.
System Permission Added: Admin Permissions for User: User.
shape.troj initialization complete.
-> forcequit emergencyexit.exe
-> terminate connection
Connection Terminated. Have a nice day.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Chapter 8 – 1/13/16 – 1:51 AM Tapping her foot, Emily sighed before trying the walkie-talkie again. “Hey, Bill, you almost there?” Nothing. “I’m still waiting on you, soon as you decide to pick up.” She looked back up at the camera feed, only to see that little piece of infuriating paper come floating by. “Damnit.”
It was the worst thing. Of course she shouldn’t be worried, it was just a faulty camera coupled with a cheap old walkie-talkie… still, it formed a tight, constricting ball of anxiety in her chest. She would feel a lot better when Bill came back, knowing she’d have someone to talk to instead of waiting here in a mute darkness.
There was nothing on the Supply Closet camera, and found nothing still. Could she even see where he would be standing?
Eager to have something to do, she went over to the cabinet and searched for the floor plans, all the while making sure her radio was working and nothing had changed on the feed.
Soon enough she had a small map of the place, and looked over it, finding the Hallway 2 Camera. Bill hadn’t been kidding, it really was just down the hall, maybe not even a minute away. It had been more than long enough for him to go there, come back… twice over.
“Bill, come on, I’m getting worried,” she called into the radio… still nothing. She switched its channels and called out again, repeating it for every channel until she’s come back to where she started.
Nothing. Nothing on the Hallway Camera, the Supply Closet… she was trapped in a blind, mute hell.
Looking back down on it, she figured she could make it there and back in a minute or two… making up her mind, she grabbed the spare flashlight and took to the hallway, lighting up the hallway without seeing Bill. Sighing internally, she headed off.
A minute later she was at the camera in question, with Bill nowhere in sight. The vent was blowing heat, but no paper coming from it.
“Bill!” she called out, her voice echoing several times before falling silent. This was strange. Had he taken the chance to go home? That wasn’t like him. Was he trying to scare her? Because it was sure as hell working.
“Bill, I’m heading back to the room!” she shouted. “If this is a joke, it’s not funny, and I’ve got all the snacks back in the room anyway.”
Then she turned and ran. Something about the desolate, lifeless factory was getting to her, and she would feel much better in the brightly lit security room.
Making it back, she found, to her horror, that the door was locked.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Chapter 9 – 1/13/16 – 1:57 AM
-> forcequit globalai.exe
globalai.exe cannot be closed at this time. Please contact your system administrator.
-> forcequit globalai.exe
globalai.exe cannot be closed at this time. Please contact your system administrator.
-> forcequit globalai.exe