A short story
Read the Fine Print Before Accepting a Job Offer That You Read in The Newspaper That Was a Week Old
A Short Fiction by Parker
When Benjamin first moved into his new office, it seemed like he had little to worry about. Although he would be secluded for the entirety of his time at the top floor of the sixty-three-story building, he had constant means of communication with the world below through his radio which was set to operate at around 600 kHz with an effective radiated power of 1 kW. This would be enough for the other workers in the building to effectively communicate with him in an emergency.
The room was cramped with little ventilation. Sometimes when Benjamin was working on a project, he would imagine the walls slowly closing in on him and suffocating him to death. There was only one square window, about 3 feet wide, in the confined area. The only way to enter or exit the room was through a loft ladder in the floor directly underneath his desk.
Since it was the middle of summer, the room would become quite hot and Benjamin often found himself sweating uncontrollably in his seat. The floor was made out of wood which appeared to be decaying. It was not clear, even to him, what exactly his job was, since the details were not made clear to him from the beginning. Last week, his boss told him, "I have something I need you to do for me."
"What is it?" Benjamin asked.
"Well," he said, "think of it as a kind of experiment. We're trying out some new things here."
"Well, I just got here. Are you sure that I'm the person you want for this?"
"Oh," the boss replied, "I'm sure". The first week went well for Benjamin. He was able to complete all of the work that his boss gave him with ease. However, at the beginning of the second week, he happened to notice some unsettling aspects relating to his work environment.
The first day, the boss gave Benjamin his work like usual and he climbed up the ladder to the room where he worked. Just after he had started working, he heard some strange noises. They seemed to be coming from all directions outside of the room. It would be best to describe them as a sort of scratching sound that pierced the soul. Nonetheless, it wasn't until the next day that he began to worry.
This day was especially unusual from the moment he arrived at the office building. Instead of assigning him work, his boss sent him directly up to his office. "Today I just want you to go to your office," the boss told him, "consider it a day off".
"Why don't I just go home then?"
"Just do what I tell you." the boss answered back, "Okay?"
Utterly confused, Benjamin continued up again to his office. But with nothing to do up there, he quickly got bored. When he reached down for the ladder he was surprised to find that the hatch on the floor was locked. He tried for it a couple more times, but he was still not able to pry it open. "Oh ----!", Benjamin realized. "Hey, can someone come and help me?".
It was already too late. The building was completely unoccupied. Desperate for help to escape, Benjamin reached for the radio transmitter. After he held it up, he was shocked to find the battery compartment totally empty.
With these circumstances, Benjamin was now more despondent than ever, and it was not long before he attempted to break through the window. Grabbing his chair by the seat, he thrusted one of the legs at the window, eventually succeeding at shattering the glass. At the top of his lungs, he yelled at the window "HELP ME!!!, I NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE, I'M TRAPPED! PLEASE SOMEBODY HELP!!!!". Despite his frantic yelling, the traffic below him was unresponsive to his pleas for mercy.
"Where the hell is that coming from?"
(silence) Scared for his life and shaking uncontrollably in the corner of the room, Benjamin could only hope for a quick and painless death, as whatever was trying to get into the room was slowly, but steadily succeeding. The scratching had returned. After one horrifyingly extended minute, claws coming from the wall opposite the window were visible. They were large, long, and curved. They appeared to be about 5 feet long in length or so. The fear overtook Benjamin once again as he awaited his inevitable and excruciatingly painful end. The length of the claws had almost reached him and he could make out how incredibly sharp they were. Still, the only thing visible from the side of the wall was claws. Nothing else could be discerned about the features of the creature that was about to tear his flesh to shreds. He could see it already. The unidentifiable creature would embowel his unidentifiable body. It would take him apart bit by bit before viciously biting into his skull. He felt the talon against his skin begin to tear into him. Blood was already seeping out and it was not long before he could make out the creature's face.
It was the most sickening thing he had ever seen. The beast's face made him want to vomit into his own wound. If someone attempted to take an inbred raven and an inbred human and have them reproduce, the product would still not be as disturbing as what Benjamin was now looking at in front of him.
The creature had just taken its extended talon out of Benjamin's mangled flesh, giving him the opportunity to scramble to the other side of the room where the window was.
Only one thought ran through his mind.
As he leapt out of the window to escape the imminent danger behind him, all he could see while looking down at the ground 700 feet below him, was his life flashing before his eyes. He would rather die on his own terms than have his severely disfigured corpse torn apart by a being more hideous than the imagination. With the wind accelerating against his limp body he uttered his final words. "Okay, that was epic." before hitting his concrete grave. Benjamin "Ben" Shapiro was no more.