Jason and his co-worker Phil, were making their way to their job. As they passed through the tall glass doors of the hardware store they were stopped at the glass doors that were locked after closing.
Jason always found that peculiar. Like they were doing something illegal by staying there so late. However no thought like that crossed his mind that night. All that was on his mind that night was his deceased mother‘s horrible grin.
That moment replayed though his head over and over until it made him nauseous. What made it worse was his boss walking over to the front doors scowling. Like he knew Jason was drunk and could smell him through the glass doors. Like a bloodhound separated by a thin layer of glass, threatening to tear his throat out.
Once he opened the doors he slid them open, holding one back as they passed through. I caught him catching a whiff of me as I passed by and felt all the worse.
I looked back at him and he looked as menacing as a bridge troll with his furrowed brow and bald head. I decided to try and ignore him for the rest of the night and went right to the employee break room. I undid my locker and took out my gloves and utility knife.
After doing so I put my pack of cigarettes away and slam my locker shut to see my boss on the other end with his arms crossed. I gulp and dread the words that may come out of his mouth.
He says in a cool authoritative voice, similar to my fathers whenever I was in trouble.
He sighs and uncrosses his arms.
”Look, I know it has been hard with your Mom being sick and all but come into work drunk one more time and I will fire you.”
”Yes…uh, yes sir.”
”Good, now get to work.”
He vanishes without another word and I make my way out of the break room. Once I am outside I walk to the end of the cash registers and stop right before a colossal beast passes in front of me.
My overly sensitive ears bleed as it passes by. He leers down on me. I always hated him.
”Watch where you’re going!”
I take a deep breath in and move down the aisle that consequently was never lit. We kept complaining about it to management but it always got lost in translation.
It gave me the creeps and it didn’t help that I couldn’t get that image out of my mind. To make it easier to pass through I start to whistle a song my Mom used to play on her record player. Of course it was way beyond my time but it comforted me all the same. I bury my hands in my pockets and continue on.
Especially when I can home in the morning after my shift to hear it echoing off the walls in the living room. I always trudge through it to my Mothers bedroom upstairs to find her in bed asleep with her oxygen tank hooked up to her like some sci-fi villain.
It always scared me too. The fact that it was the only thing keeping her alive at this point. I always feared coming home to her taking a long rest, with the device letting out it’s perpetual death shrill.
But what I feared even more was how she got it on in the first place. I mean, she couldn’t leave her bed without getting injured, or worse dying.
So how the hell could she get up, go downstairs and turn on the record player without leaving a trace.
Unlike most mornings, tonight it brought me no comfort. In fact it chilled me to my core.
As I continued down the dark aisle, the death song seemed to reverberate back at me. Like someone else was whistling the same tune.
Once I reach the middle of the aisle I stop whistling because I cannot take it’s eery lingering presence any longer.
I take my hands out of my pockets and notice the melody does in fact linger. My heart stops, as do I in my tracks
I seek out the source of the evil melody but cannot make it out. I look to the ceiling and stare at the ceiling fans that seem to move faster than usual making a horrible sharp cutting sound as it roticerates. Deep shadows paint the ceiling and cover the unlit portions of the store.
I look down at end of the aisle, expecting to see some coworker whistling the tune. However, I see nothing. I turn around and see no one behind me either.
The whistling stops and look around me frantically.
I look to my side at the adjacent aisle and my eyes rest on what looks like my reflection. I tilt my head to the side and it does the same
I itch my head and it mirrors this. I consider in my head if I truly was starting at my reflection but I feel a chill run down my spine as I recall that the mirror asile is on two, not six.
I lean side to side and as expected it does the same. I turn around and whip my head back to stare at the terrible silhouette of myself.
I start to walk down the hall again and glance to my side and see it is doing the same. My heart beats faster as my walk turns into a sprint.
Panting, I look to my side to see him running as well and my eyes grow as large as an owl in the nights.
Sweat pours down my brow as I run, despite me being in shape.
I look to my side but for some reason my reflection can disappeared. I brush back my hair and turn around and continue to run despite this.
Once I am a couple feet away from the end of the aslie, the sprinkler system suddenly turns on. I come to a screeching halt at the end of the aisle and almost come crashing into the same forklift from earlier. “What did I tell you Jason!”
Ignoring him, I look up at the sprinkler and it pours water out onto my face. I look down and push back my soaked hair.
I turn around to see my boss at the opposite end of the aisle.
“Something set of the alarm. Come on! Lets get to the break room. That means you too Micheal!”
“Come on boss. I just got out the forklift!”
“I don’t care! Bring it back and meet us in the break room!”
He groans and starts to back up the forklift. I turn around and sprint back to my boss who has already turned around. Now making his way to the break room…
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- Matt Gorrell (creator of mattgorrell.com)