The Factory. Short Story.

College starts back tomorrow, yay! Thought one problem, one tiny, large problem.

One of my classes we have to watch movies, easy right? they’re horror movies. This might be a shock to some people, but I don’t like horror movies. They scare the crap out of me. And I jump. Not just a little thing either, 5 feet in the air kinda jumping. Yeah. And there is 4 of them. FOUR.

Pretty much screwed if we watch them in class. What? Me? Shriek like a girl…no…that was…I uh…I got a paper cut? Wait…no…that’s not…I…*run*

I read horror novels, yes, but they don’t have the scare cords and jump factor going on. They have prolonged terror and I can deal with prolonged terror just not that AH! moments movies have. I have been known to jump if something unexpected happens in regular movies. Even if I’m expecting it. Like when people are driving and you’re thinking oh, car crash, real original, it’s so obvious that it’s going to ha-BAM car slams into them, I jump.

So this should be an interesting final semester.

In less horror orientated news, I got a gamecube memory card so I can play Windwaker, woo!

Also! I’ll have an announcement either later today or tomorrow, don’t want to make it until everything is ready, but definitely later today or tomorrow.

On with the show!

———————————————————————————————-

The Factory.

He paused, listening to the regular beating, it sounded like the heart of some giant, diseased and sickly with not much strength left before it stops its labours and rests forever. He shuddered slightly and moved deeper into the building. He had never liked the place, it had always unnerved him, so much metal, so many machines all groaning and straining at once, their cacophonous sound echoing through the building, growing as the sound layered on top of each echo, people wandering inside, screaming to be heard over the roar. Today the building was empty, was silent, except for that regular beat.

The building was empty, or was supposed to be, and the machines were powered off, all of them, but one. He wasn’t too worried, it happened sometimes, a machine starting suddenly. They had joked that the machines were alive, that they were trying to attack. The jokes stopped quickly after Rick was sucked in. His body was crushed and mangled and pulped before the machine could be powered down. He shouldn’t have been so close to the gears in the first place. The machine shouldn’t have started. He had no family, so it was kept hushed up and no one sued. Since then people gave the machines a wide berth, just in case. If the innards needed to be worked on, someone stood by the emergency stop buttons. Frank didn’t believe that the machines were alive, not normally, but sometimes he wondered. Mostly when he was alone like this, wandering around the factory floor, switching off machines that suddenly come to life. They had mechanics in to look at them, check for faulty wiring, but everything was fine according to them.

Frank walked slowly enough, there was no real rush, the machine wasn’t causing anyone any problems. He never liked turning them off when he was alone, the sudden silence was eerie. The building was cold, but he had a jacket. It was warm in the break room, which is where he usually waited. He wasn’t security, that wasn’t his job, he was just waiting for crap to be delivered. They all took it in turns, the waiting. Security wasn’t working weekends. The factory was shut up tight then, no one could get in or out, unless they had the codes and keys. It’s not like anyone would break in anyway, they didn’t make anything expensive or special, the machines were old and would need to be replaced soon. Spare parts were getting rarer.

The machine sounded like it was in trouble, an occasional whine or deep, grinding noise punctuated the steady beat. He sighed, inaudible due to the racket, and sped up slightly, it wasn’t his job, and if he wasn’t there the machine would go all weekend, but if he didn’t stop it now he’d be in trouble. A few people had suggested cutting power to the machines but they were shot down, something about costs and start-ups and other excuses. Frank didn’t really understand it, after all, it was costing management money. A few times they had come back to find the machines stopped or broken, something had fallen in and jammed the gears or they had sprung a leak, coolant or oil, and ground to a halt. He reached the machine, he’d never used it before, but all employees knew how to shut them off. Great arms moved up and down, metal dully gleaming in the low light. He stepped up to the control panel and pushed a few buttons. The machine kept going, it sped up slightly and the noise changed. Obviously he had hit the wrong buttons. He pressed a few more but nothing happened. Damn. He’d have to use the emergency stop. That could cause problems. Still. Not his fault the machine wasn’t responding. He pressed the button and the machine shrieked, stopping suddenly. He hated that. At least turning it off slowed it down, it wasn’t so bad, but the emergency stop was instantaneous. His ears rung and the absence of noise enveloped him completely. He checked his watch. Half twelve. The delivery was supposed to arrive at twelve, but they were always an hour or so late. He knew that, they knew it, even the bosses knew it but still he had to turn up at the given time. He turned from the machine and started the walk back. He went quickly this time, there was stuff to do in the break room, a few books, he could try to watch the old TV, though the signal didn’t come through half the time and when it did, you usually got picture and no sound. He’d stick the kettle on and have a cup of tea, that would warm him up. He’d meant to bring a book with him, but in his haste he forgot. It was probably still sitting on his desk.

He settled into the cold, hard plastic chair, there were a few with cushions, but they were never comfortable to Frank. As he waited for the kettle to boil, he looked around the room, scanning the posters and warnings. There was nothing he hadn’t seen before but it gave him something to do. There were a few books sitting around, but all were crappy sci-fi or westerns, he preferred non-fiction. He sat with the tea in front of him, sipping it every now and then. It was only fifteen or so minutes, another half an hour max and he’d be able to go.

He was startled out of his day dreaming by a deep grinding noise. Another damn machine started up. He stood, then glanced at his watch, delivery was later than usual Still, they’d be here soon. He walked quickly, the factory was freezing cold after the warmth of the break room. He stopped, surprised. The machine that was going was supposed to be broken. He shook his head, damn managers didn’t even know what was and wasn’t working. The machine sounded like it was in trouble, no wonder it wasn’t used. He fiddled with the buttons for a few minutes, he wasn’t sure how to turn it off. It’d been a long time since the machine worked, never mind started without warning. He turned to press the emergency stop when something hit him, white blinding pain filled his world before he blacked out.

Frank woke groggily, unsure where he was, he was cold, and there was a strange noise somewhere far away. He opened his eyes, everything was weird. It took him a moment to realise he was upside down. He was tied up, his hands were bound, he could feel something running down his face, could feel it dripping from him. As each drip fell the noise changed, it became stronger, more sure. He looked around, trying to figure out where he was. The factory. He looked around wildly, trying to see his attacker, as he was turning, what ever held him gave way, dropping him into the machine below. He fell face first, his brief scream drowned out by the noise of the machine, it halted, stuttered then started again, stronger than before.

Everyone was slightly on edge on Monday, Frank hadn’t turned up for the delivery, the managers were pissed and taking it out on everyone, he hadn’t turned up on Monday either. One of the machines was acting up. It was supposed to be broken but it was working fine now, thought it kept starting unexpectedly, far more than the others.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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