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Jeff hadn’t questioned his duty. He only did what he was told to. After all, anyone would as long as they were getting paid.
Maybe that’s why he was chosen. Because he couldn’t resist the money. Because he would do anything to get it.
He contemplated all this in his small apartment unit where he lived alone for the larger portion of his life. He looked patiently at his wall clock, watching the hands inch slowly along. It was going to be time soon. Jeff passed the time by closing his eyes, recalling that night. A night that he would become accustomed to.
It was a hot summer night, the heat still burning in his room long after the sun had set. At around ten in the night, his old air conditioner broke down, sputtering out several waves of dust before finally dying out. An hour had passed and Jeff sustained himself through a dainty hand fan. Just as he was about to call it a night, the doorbell rang.
It’s a little late for visitors, if anyone wanted to visit him anyway, Jeff thought to himself. Whatever it was, he managed to bring himself to open the door. On the other side stood a green recycling bin. The one with wheels that could be careened around with.
Jeff’s first instincts told him that this was a prank. Just as he was about to kick the bin down, he realized the note stuck on top of the cover. “What? Don’t have the balls to say it to my face?” he shouted at no one in particular. It was only when he actually read the letter that he felt particularly insulted.
You have been selected as one of the very lucky winners! As of now, you are on your way to become one of the richest people in the world! All you have to do is deliver this recycling bin to the boiler room of your apartment before the clock strikes midnight and leave it there. Simple!
Your pay will be delivered after you complete your part.
- Do not fail.
- Do not look inside the bin.
- Do not move out from your apartment.
- Do not look for us.
- Do not stay in the room past midnight.
At this point, Jeff was ready to ignore the whole thing and go get some well-needed sleep. However, he liked easy money. And the boiler room was in the basement of the next apartment building. Even if this was a prank, he felt that there would be no real harm. Walking in to take a sip of some cold water, Jeff decided to fulfill this stupid request for the heck of it.
Propping the bin up, he found it was much heavier than he expected. So, he took the elevator and went on his way. Even late in the night, there were still residents mulling about. Most gave him the inquisitive stare that he would get used to. He realized he was sweating profusely, though whether it was because of the weather or the onlookers, Jeff wasn’t sure. Maybe both.
A dirty, stray cat came up to him, sniffing the bin before snarling with disapproval. It then hurriedly scurried away before Jeff could have a say. That got him thinking what was inside the bin, but he decided to follow the instructions of the note and not look. He felt a little silly but he decided to play along. Also, it didn’t smell that bad. In fact, it didn’t smell like much. At the time, it wasn’t too suspicious, at least, not enough for Jeff to care.
He finally arrived at the underground boiler room where he did as he was instructed, leaving the bin in the middle of the room for whatever purpose. It was definitely a strange sight, something so obscure that did not belong there. However, he decided not to linger on, as he realized it was almost twelve o’clock. Again, he felt ridiculous, following the orders of some shady note.
While walking back to his unit, Jeff could swear he felt something following him. And he was sure it wasn’t just another curious tenant or a stray cat. However, every time he looked back, there would be nothing there and he’d feel the presence leave if only for a moment, resuming when he let his guard down.
Nonetheless, he made it back without any particularly interesting events. Guzzling down some more water, Jeff called it a night and fell asleep.
The next morning, Jeff knew he was involved in something out of this world. Still thinking last night’s farce was nothing but a dream, he was not prepared for the mysterious letter on top of his sheets. Nor was he ready for its contents. 5,000 dollars sealed within an envelope was a little too much to handle. He then understood that yesterday’s events were not only real and dangerous, it was also rewarding. Just to be sure, he walked down to the boiler room to check if the recycling bin was still there. It wasn’t.
At that moment, Jeff wished that this would be his real job. And after the sun set, he had his wish granted. At about the same time as the previous night, the doorbell rang and he found himself face-to-face with another green recycling bin. Whether it was the same one, he couldn’t be sure.
However, this one did not have a note on it, so he decided to just repeat yesterday’s happenings. Mostly, he was just hoping that the reward would repeat itself as well. There was only one way to find out, right?
And he was right. Waking up to another 5,000 dollars, Jeff felt like the happiest man on the planet. And this happened every night. As strange and shady as this all was, he didn’t really find himself questioning any of it to an extent. The money kept him content enough to know that whoever was delivering these recycling bins meant business.
However, supernatural happenings began once this started. One of which was probably just his paranoia and not paranormal activity but it was strange nonetheless. Sometimes for no reason, he’d hear things fall over inside his apartment unit, only to find everything in its proper place. Other times, he’d hear someone whispering his name when he was sure he was alone.
The strangest occurrence was the dwindling number of residents. When he consulted the apartment manager, he told Jeff that they had all been abruptly informed that they would be leaving for greener pastures. While neither Jeff nor the manager really found any of it odd, considering that any place was better than the apartment in its current degenerate state, something still felt out of place.
The worst were the nightmares. He hardly remembers any of them. All he recalls is the screaming. The terrible, endless screaming. He only knows he wakes up sweating, unsure of himself. As if he had lost a part of himself in the dream. Nonetheless, he shoved them aside.
Of course, he was still just human with mortal curiosities. After some time, he felt his questions needed answers. And so, some rules had to be broken. All he hoped was that his employers don’t find out.
‘Do not look for us?’ As many times as Jeff had tried, he never saw the bin delivery man. Every time he kept a lookout, there would be something that happened to distract him long enough for the recycling bin to appear out of nowhere. Whether it was his wine glass falling or even the blink of an eye, the bin would be there at eleven o'clock every night like magic.
‘Do not move from your apartment?’ At some point, Jeff realized he had accumulated enough money to ditch this dump and live somewhere a lot better like all the other residents who had left. However, he had the feeling that he would lose this job if he moved. So he decided to stay and save up more, at least for now until he decided the next best course of action.
‘Do not fail?’ Jeff had worked in a small company before. It was the hard way to know that employers didn't tolerate failure. Enough said.
‘Do not look inside the bin?’ Well, that was probably the most intriguing part of the ordeal. Of course, Jeff wanted to know what exactly he was delivering. So after careening the bin to a shaded spot where he was sure no one would see him one night, he found what was inside the bin all this time. A human corpse. Due to the absence of smell, he concluded that it was fresh. While he looked only once, he was sure that this was what the bin contained each night due to the same weight.
Now at this point, Jeff started to question this whole thing. Basically, he was delivering dead bodies to a dark boiler room every night. From a logical standpoint, he would be arrested on the spot if anyone caught him. From a moral standpoint, it was wrong in every way. However, he continued despite all this. He wasn’t particularly afraid, nor was he religious. He was only slightly disturbed and carried on as usual. The only question was, why did it need to be delivered to the boiler room?
Nonetheless, Jeff got his answer a few days later when he felt particularly brave.
‘Do not stay in the room past midnight?’ After putting down the recycling bin a few minutes well before midnight, he hid behind a couple of boxes close to the door, in case he had to make a quick escape if anything bad happened. As his watch’s three hands struck twelve, Jeff awaited in anticipation. However, nothing happened. He waited a few more minutes and the silence, aside from the boiler, continued. Just as he was about to leave, it appeared. The being he’d know from here on as the Demon.
The Demon appears almost literally from the shadows, stepping out of the darkness as if coming into our physical plane from wherever it spawned. As dark as the shadows themselves, the creature’s black skin made it difficult to discern details other than the obvious. It was tall, standing at a towering ten feet high. The Demon had the limbs of a human that were about the same proportions, not horribly deformed as he had heard about many other creatures in horror stories. Instead of five fingers however, it had three sharp claws on its hands and legs, almost like a bird’s talons. But the most disturbing feature was on its face which was, regrettably, readily visible.
It had one eye. One giant, bloodshot eye, nearly the size of its entire face. And its smile. As if the Demon was always happy, its mouth seemed to be stretched into a permanent smile. It lumbered its way towards the bin, apparently unaware of Jeff’s presence. Opening up its jaws, the creature revealed its rows of sharp, canine teeth. Not just one, but instead multiple sets of horrendous teeth. It then flipped open the bin, dragging out the corpse within it.
The Demon stared intently at its prize, saliva leaking from its jaws before it decided to gorge itself. To begin its feast, it tore off the arms and sucked on them slowly, almost like a child enjoying his lollipop. After it felt satisfied with its pre-taste, the Demon bit off the hand. Jeff had never seen so much blood fly before. It monstrously tore the hand to pieces with its teeth, flailing it around as it pleased. Next, was the entire arm which went down in a single gulp, licking its cruel lips as it savoured its meal.
Needless to say, the rest of the corpse suffered the same fate. The pre-sucking. The noises it made reminded Jeff of the time he had to babysit his infant nephew, who enjoyed sucking on his pacifier. Then the flailing that caused the body’s crimson blood to splatter everywhere, staining the walls and the floor of the boiler room. How it was all cleaned up by the next day was anyone’s guess. Then the feeding, then the licking. Jeff still has chills.
By the time the Demon was done, its mouth was covered with blood, so much so, that it looked like it had just stuffed its face into a bowl of tomato sauce. The smell, however, was much worse. The creature lumbered around the recycling bin, as if hoping for more food than it could see. After it was sure that there was no more to be found, it started to dissolve back into the shadows from whence it came. And just like that, it was over. However, Jeff wouldn’t leave from his spot until he was sure it was safe, a few hours after.
The whole ordeal had lasted for a good hour. Throughout, Jeff had wanted to scream, puke and run all at the same time. But he kept himself rooted to the spot out of pure fear, not having a single breath escape or a single sweat drop. He saw what the Demon could do and he was afraid that if it caught him, he’d be more than just a little worse for wear. It had glanced sideways from time to time, occasionally towards him, but it never showed any sign that it was aware of his presence.
Like the opening of the bin, he would only break the rule once. Out of fear, mainly. Jeff could not confirm whether the Demon was the same one every night, but basing off the recycling bin, he could only assume so. And so, he would continue to feed this thing for the next few months.
Just as his eyes opened back up, he heard the doorbell ring. It was a little late for visitors, but not for this particular one. On the other side of his door stood the green recycling bin.
Propping the bin up, he found it was much lighter than he expected. Nonetheless, he took the elevator and went on his way. Late in the night, there were no more residents up and about. No stray cats either. At least, that’s what it felt like. As he went on his way, the only sound throughout the night were the wheels of the bin rolling along the old, concrete floor and the crickets. He realized he was sweating profusely, though whether it was because of the silence or the paranoia, Jeff wasn’t sure. Maybe both.
He finally arrived at the boiler room where he did as he was instructed. However, his curiosity got the better of him. He had to know what was in the bin tonight that made it so much lighter. And his answer was… Nothing. The bin was empty tonight.
It was only when he heard the door behind him lock, when he understood the situation. Checking his watch, the time was one past midnight. Crouching down, Jeff did something he had never done before. He prayed. He prayed to a God he didn’t believe in.
Jeff hadn’t questioned his duty up until this point. He only did what he was told to. After all, anyone would have as long as they were getting paid, right?