Tough Job. Short Story.

Ok, so this weekend was pretty mad/intense, still feeling the after affects today, so I didn’t get a chance to do guess what, so I’ll make Fridays one extra long in return. Its been a pretty long week in general. Also, closing in on the end of the college year. 6 essays due in 3 weeks or so. Once that’s done I have one exam and I’m done. That’s right, I’ll have a degree. Isn’t that scary?

Yes, yes it is, that’s the correct answer.


Tough Job.

He slid the key into the lock, then began twisting it. The lock clicked once, twice, then a third time, he removed the key and pulled down the handle. He opened the door slightly and wedged his foot in the crack and carefully placed the key around his neck. The cord it was strung on was old and battered, but it was strong. Once the key was securely in place, he opened the door and stepped inside, as soon as it closed, it clicked three times, locking itself again. He stood in the darkness and counted slowly. 5…6…7…8…9…10. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, he could see the flickering lights through his eyelids, great white flashes. They paused, then became constant. He opened his eyes, always expecting to wince, and looked around. The room was empty, as it should be. That was something at least. The last few times he was here, someone had left junk lying around. It was dangerous and against the rules, which made it deadly. They were strict about the rules here. He counted another ten, then to five, just to be safe and walked to the second door. It opened smoothly and he breathed a sigh of relief. He had heard stories, rumours really, of when people would come in and find the second door locked, the first one too, then a count down would start. No one knew what happened when it ended, but it couldn’t be anything good. He stepped through the door and begun the short descent. It was slightly darker in this room and he always worried about falling down the stairs. His hand trailed along the cool hand rail, steadying himself should something happen. He reached the bottom of the stairs and paused again, steeling himself. Finally he opened the last door and stepped through.

It was the smell, every time, that awful smell. He shut his eyes and tried to breathe through it, thick, heavy, rancid. When he was sure he wasn’t going to wretch, he opened his eyes. It was the first thing he was taught. Don’t look at it and smell at the same time. It was chained up, it had to be, large metal links straining against its dark red bulk. It pulsated slowly, contracting and expanding. He thought it was testing the limits of the chains. They didn’t know what it was, only that it couldn’t be let loose. He walked past it, keeping his distance and went to the supply cupboard. He filled the bucket with its food, then went back outside. He climbed the stairs carefully then stood at the railing, praying he wouldn’t fall. he upended the bucket and watched as the entrails fell onto the creature, they sat on the surface for a few moments, gleaming dully, then the disappeared. It was instantaneous. They were there and then they were gone. He stepped back from the edge, then went back down the stairs, leaving the bucket back in the supply cupboard, he left the room, pleased to get away from it. It was their security guard really. People were curious and they seemed drawn to the creature, especially if they didn’t know what the hell it was. When he started, he didn’t think it was necessary, you needed the key to get in, then there were the body scanners, but apparently people were able to get around them. He’d seen it once, on the security feed. He didn’t need to watch it but did out of curiosity. It was gruesome. It knew someone was in the room, it also knew the person was fair game. She approached it warily, but she wasn’t wary enough. She got into its range and she was gone, nothing left in her place but blood and bones. They stayed in her shape for a few moments, he didn’t know how it was possible, but they did. Then suddenly, as though a bubble had been burst, the blood crashed outward in a wave and the bones collapsed to the floor. It was the last time he watched the security feed. There were other break ins, but he couldn’t stand to watch them.
The second room was where they were headed, Jake was sitting behind the desk, feet up. He was supposed to be there in case someone got passed the creature, he was obviously watching the security feed. “Morning.” “It’s night time.” “Oh right yeah. I can never keep track.” He wondered if Jake ever left the building. Jake lifted up a cup of unidentifiable liquid and took a long drink. He went passed Jake and found his desk, they moved them around sometimes for the fun. He sat down and dug through his desk, searching for a pen. An alarm started blaring. Jake leaned forward and switched it off. “It’s your turn.” “It’s always my turn.” Jake shrugged. “Fine. Christ.” he stood up from the desk and prepared, grabbing a gun from his desk. They were supposed to be trapped, but sometimes they escaped. He walked to the door with the flashing light and stepped through. He waited in the air lock, then felt his ears pop as the pressure changed. The door opened slowly and he stepped through, wary of what might be in the corridor. The hall was empty, he walked down it slowly, checking each room through the viewer before finally reaching the one with the flashing light. He slid back the viewer and peered in, Prisoner 231 was still there, staring at the wall, lost in his own mental prison. The machine must have malfunctioned. He took a breath, trying to still his beating heart. He hoped the rest of the day would pass sedately. He had so much work to catch up on. He turned from the door, something stabbed into his back. It was over quickly, the blade tearing through everything. He collapsed to the ground, writhing slightly, manic firing of electrical impulses that weren’t aware they were already dead. Prisoner 231 stepped over the body. The holographical projector had taken him twelve years to perfect. He moved down the hallway and into the air lock, already trying to decide exactly what he would do first now that he was free.


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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2 Responses to Tough Job. Short Story.

  1. I need to read more of this! If there is more…

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