Boxes Upon Boxes. Flash Fiction.

Sally gasped as she felt the thin paper bite into her skin. She quickly put her finger in her mouth, a faint taste of copper coated her tongue, she shuddered slightly, she always hated the taste of blood. She took her finger from her mouth and examined the paper cut, it was small, not too deep and already the bleeding was slowing. She looked at the boxes of paper that filled the office, really she was lucky that her fingers weren’t covered in the damn things by now. She sighed and looked at the pile of papers on the desk, she’d only been here for two hours and already she hated it and there were still another three months to go. She didn’t understand why they needed someone to go through all this paper and make sure it was in the correct order and location, there had been nothing out of place so far, it seemed like they were paying her well to basically sit around all day. She picked up a short stack of paper and started going through them, quickly scanning to make sure the page numbers matched. She reached down for another page and felt that same sharp pain on her index finger. She shook her finger angrily this time, she didn’t think she could deal with the taste of blood again, she was still feeling a bit delicate from the last time. She looked at the cut, it wasn’t bad, just a small one like the other. She didn’t notice the small droplets of her blood that splattered onto the carpet, nor did she notice as the carpet absorbed them, leaving no sign that they were there to begin with.

Sally continued working her way through the papers, she was not having a good first day. Already she’d gotten four paper cuts and the flickering overhead lights were starting to give her a headache. Everything about this place just seemed awful. Sally cursed as she got another papercut, the other ones were starting to sting as she moved her hands, this one was slightly deeper than the others, blood welled up and started flowing down her finger, fat drops of blood landed heavily on the desk and floor. She needed a first aid kit and probably a pair of rubber gloves to work safely around whatever nightmare paper the company had purchased. She stood, her legs feeling a little unsteady, bright spots of colour bloomed in her vision, a strange buzzing filled her ears, she reached out to steady herself against the chair, as her hand grazed its surface Sally fell to the ground with a heavy thud. The carpet around her rippled as her finger bled steadily onto it surface. There was a faint tearing sound then Sally began to sink into the floor. She moved slightly, she was feeling groggy and out of place. Sally reached out to push herself up but as her hand hit the thin, scratchy carpet it sunk through it, by the time she realised what happened she was already halfway through. She struggled weakly against the strange, sticky substance that was pulling her down but the more she struggled the tighter it seemed to hold her. She could feel the carpet enfolding her body, it was disgustingly warm and felt almost sweaty against her skin. She tried to cry out as it started to cover her face, carpet rushed into her mouth, smothering the noise. The carpet writhed for a moment, then it lay flat and perfectly still.

Three hours later someone opened the door and looked into the office, there were piles of paper and a few open boxes on the desk beside them, the new girl was nowhere to be found. Bob sighed, this was the fourth worker that just quit mid-shift without telling anyone, they were never going to get through all this crap. He shook his head and closed the door, personally he would just shred it all, it wasn’t like they even needed any of it. He walked away from the office, he’d have to let HR know and they’d probably ask him what he did wrong. Bob sighed, it was the last thing he needed today.


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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