Thought you all might enjoy an older WIP I came across this morning:
The sound was distinct, yet unnerving in the context of a nearly empty room. The lone occupant, an overworked, underpaid freelance graphic designer, slumped over his keyboard. The desk, the walls, the ceiling were spackled and dripping with rivulets of red, interspersed with bits of gray.
In another city, another state, a solitary accountant became immobile in the space of a second, a miniscule amount of time, and landed, reposed, in the same manner.
Nick looked up at the sound. He was alone in his office, desperately trying to keep his mind on his latest manuscript as he carved out a rare half-hour to actually write. He shook off the tension racing up his spine, speeding like an inchworm on meth, and tried to ignore the screeches and squeals from the hallway.
After a short moment, he slammed his hand on the desk and jumped to his feet. He was going to explode if he didn’t get out of there, move around, run in circles, anything to stop this feeling of exasperation and imminent explosion.
As he jerked open the door, he stopped dead in his tracks. His boss lay on the floor, gray skirt soaked red, pale blue blouse wet and clinging, dripping with unidentifiable something . . .
Nick rubbed his eyes. Not unidentifiable. Not at all. What the—
A scream echoed down the corridor. Nick ran. He crashed into the far wall, failing to negotiate the turn into the large room that housed the administrative staff. He clawed desperately at the slick wall to remain upright, and kept going, sliding to a stop.
In the far corner, three secretaries huddled together, eyes wide, gaping at the mess. The youngest, a pretty, dark-haired girl, was the screamer. She was gearing up for another round when Nick approached and grabbed her by the shoulders.
“What the hell is happening?” He roughly shook her as her head bobbed back and forth. She gasped for breath, but made no discernible sound.
Nick glanced at the others. Susie, he knew her name, and another woman, older, who seemed the most calm. “What’s going on?” he repeated, still holding the girl.
Martha took off her glasses and squinted as she wiped them on her blouse, leaving pale red streaks on the cloth. She took a deep breath.
“We heard a . . . a pop, I guess you’d call it. And then blood and . . . and stuff . . . just spattered. Everywhere. The first one was Jane, the desk right next to me; and then Harold. And it just kept . . . happening. All of them.
Susie reached for the dark-haired girl and put her arms around her, shielding the younger woman’s face from the dripping mess all around them. “This is only Maggie’s first week,” she explained, as though this . . . whatever it was . . . would have been okay had it just happened, say, during Maggie’s third week on the job.
Whatever. Nick shrugged. No time to worry about Maggie and her employment history at this point in time.
Dammit. Now what? Nick turned toward the sound and heard three more in rapid succession. He pointed at the three women. “Stay here. I’ll be right back.”
He made his way gingerly through the room, trying to avoid headless bodies and more gore and gunk that he’d ever seen in one place. Well, to be fair, he hadn’t actually seen a lot of this, but he did write about it. His imagination was pretty active, but this—
He opened a door and peered inside. Same mess. He went to the next door and the next, ditto.
He came back to the admin room. The women were still huddled in the corner, but Maggie was standing on her own now and seemed to be taking in the whole scene, minus her earlier hysterics.
“I haven’t checked all the offices, but the partners are, well . . . dead. Yeah, pretty sure of that.” Before anyone could react to that bit of news, Nick continued. “We need to get out of here, for starters; I suggest we go down the stairs and at least to the lobby. We’ll call the police from there.”
The four of them moved as a unit to the stairs and shakily descended. They were alone in the stairwell, but when they reached the main floor, all hell broke loose.
As one, they stopped and stared at the chaos.