The Basement of Building 101
I work in an office building. It’s not much different than most, eight floors of corporate extravagance located in the heart of a bustling New Jersey office park. There’s eight floors in my particular building, shared by three different companies. For some strange reason I have never been quite able to figure out, there are no stairs. At least, there are none that I have ever seen. However, it’s never really caused any problems besides a lack of good exercise.
One late evening I was leaving the office around 7:00. Nearly everyone had already headed home for the weekend, but I had a conference call with coworkers in a different time zone, requiring me to stay later. Once it was wrapped up, I gingerly slammed the phone down on the receiver, packed my things and headed for the elevator. My mind was on other things. Deadlines, relationships, what I was having for dinner… I stepped in and quickly punched the floor button without thinking, and accidentally tapped the ‘B’ button. I cursed aloud and selected ‘1’, then checked myself out in the mirror as the elevator descended.
Only seconds later the beep of the elevator informed me that we were making one quick stop. I looked at the screen. Third floor. Home to a big time investment bank filled with high powered business men and women. As the doors opened up, a woman stepped in. The name on her ID badge read ‘Sara’, and she was beautiful. Only a few inches over five feet, she had long, midnight black hair and dark eyes, coupled with an olive skin color that suggested Italian heritages. She was wearing the usual business attire, tight-ish black pants and a button down shirt. In my unlimited bravado, I smiled awkwardly and stepped to the side as she walked in.
She quickly glanced over at the buttons and furrowed her brow when she noticed both ‘1’ and ‘B’ were selected. As the doors closed, I smiled and said “It’s Friday, I’m clearly not thinking.” She smiled at me shyly and giggled right before the elevator dropped like a bad habit.
In a matter of seconds, the beep, beep, beep of the elevator informed me that we had skipped right past the first floor, and with a thud, landed in the basement. Luckily, the drop had only been three floors, and I was alright. I turned to Sara and noticed she had fallen over, but she gingerly got to her feet and dusted off the dirt from the floor.
I looked at the buttons and groaned when I noticed, next to the ‘B’ button lit up all in red, was a printed out sign that said ‘Basement out of order.’ I quickly leaned forward and punched the ‘Call’ button in the hopes of contacting someone to get us out, but I was only greeted by static. I turned to Sara and shrugged right before the elevator doors swung open.
The site that greeted us was, at first, a little eerie, but nothing too out of the ordinary for a basement. It wasn’t finished, and there was a constant drip of running water landing on the cold, solid floor. Directly in front of the doors was a long hallway, that stretched down for what seemed to be fifty to sixty feet, and each side was lined with solid metal doors.
After a few seconds of punching the call button and cursing my stupidity, I turned to Sara
“Maybe we should see if anyone is in these rooms, and has a key or something?”
First, she hesitated, then quickly reconsidered and appeared embarrassed for looking scared. “Oh, yeah sure, there’s got to be somebody in one of these rooms. “
“HELLO??” she shouted.
Almost in response, a voice cackled from a previously unseen loudspeaker. “In five minutes, the building will be closed for the weekend. Please make your way to the exits.” After this, a noise sounding quite like air being released from the vents permeated throughout the basement, then stopped.
After pausing for a minute, I cursed again and shook my head. “What is this place, a mall?”
Sara giggled again and shook her head in agreement as we stepped out of the elevator doors. Immediately, the doors slammed shut behind us and the beep, beep, beep signaled that the elevator was on its way back up. I stared stupidly in disbelief for what must have been an entire minute, before Sara tapped my shoulder lightly and suggested we see who’s down here.
We walked down the hall as a light bulb flickered over our head, revealing miniature windows placed on each door. I peeked into one and noticed that a TV was blaring an old black and white movie. Plopped right in front of the TV in a wooden chair, was a man facing away from us. He was wearing old fashioned overalls, the type you would normally see on a farm, with a straw hat perched on the top of head. Shrugging my shoulders and finally sensing a little bit of luck, I swung open the door and Sara followed me inside.
“Hey man, we just got stuck down here and the elevator ditched us. You wouldn’t know if there were any stairs down here, would you?”
The man sat unmoving as the television played a slow song. Recognizing the tune as one of my favorites, Velvet Underground’s ‘Heroin’ I started to speak as Sara gasped aloud.
In the movie, or whatever it was, was a man in an all-black jumpsuit standing over a woman lying on the ground. In his hand, he had a long sharp Bowie knife, the type you would normally take on camping trips. The man and the woman were looking at each other, directly into one another’s eyes, as the man repeatedly stabbed her in the stomach with the knife. She let out a sickly choking sound each time it entered her stomach, but she seemed to still be alive despite the incredible amount of blood surrounding them. Then, as the man continued to stab the woman, he looked up at the camera.
The first thing that jumped out at me was his eyes. They appeared normal on first glance, but that was because they were largely hidden by an old fashioned bowler cap. His eyes looked as though someone had taken his pupils and cut them up eight different ways. Like a fly’s. Then, I noticed his hands were not that of any normal human being. They were dark, veined, caked with blood and curved into long nails that closely resembled claws. With a grin, the creature opened his mouth and let out a sickening screech as the television abruptly turned off.
Snapping back into reality, I shouted loudly at the man in the chair. “What in the hell is wrong with you man!? Why would you watch that?” Sara was crying quietly behind me as the man let out a dry cackle and started to turn around.
Only, he didn’t really turn around. At least, not in any normal way I had ever seen. His entire torso shifted around on his body. From his hips up to his head, his body faced me, while his legs remained forward.
His face was hideous. Wrinkled and scarred, he had cold white eyes that seemed to burn a hole directly through my own when I looked at him. He opened his mouth to reveal a toothless grin, and where his teeth should have been were worms that were growing out of his gums and falling to the floor with a sickening wop, wop. The man started to stand up, his legs still facing forward as he shuffled closer and closer to us. Paralyzed in fear, Sara and I slowly started to back up as we bumped against the door handle and tried to push it open.
The man was now inches from my face, and I could smell his heavy, rotten breath on my skin as he rasped breath after breath. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the long, sharp Bowie knife we had seen in the movie. His grin was horrifying, the worms seemed to be growing out of the decay in his gums as he moved the knife forward, his eyes never leaving mine.
Suddenly, the television flicked back on. The man smiled again and slowly started to shuffle back towards his seat, his torso still facing us as the rhythmic beat of Heroin pounded through the speakers. I looked towards the screen to see both the man and woman on the screen were, impossibly, staring right at us. The man sat down, and turned his torso to face the screen as I heard a click, which inspired me to roughly kick open the door.
Sara and I bolted down the hallway. In each door’s miniature windows, we could see the television screens showing different horror scenes as we ran bye. In one, a woman was hanging from the top of a building. In another, a man was tied to the train tracks as the locomotive passed over him, ripping him to shreds. As we reached the end of the hallway, we looked up and saw the red ‘FIRE EXIT’ illuminated. I kicked down the door and grabbed Sara, pushing her up the stairs as we hurried out of that dark corridor of Hell. When we opened the door again, we found ourselves in an empty main lobby.
Sara grabbed me and hugged me, crying uncontrollably as we sat there in silence and utter disbelief. Finally, we decided to make our way to the door. Right before it shut, I heard a voice come on over the loudspeaker.
“You’reeeeeeee my herooooooooooiiiiiiinnnnn”. It was followed by that same horrible screech as I held Sara and slammed the door shut.