Short Story – State of Fear

State of Fear

They all sat in the storage closet listening for a noise outside of the pitch black room.  Charlie the janitor rested the side of his head on the door to better hear something, anything. There were two other people in the closet with him- some female secretary and a hot shot corporate executive with a huge office down the hall. Charlie’s breathing became steady again, but he was still covered in sweat. He could hear the girl sniffling, trying to hold herself back from crying.

            “Shut up,” Charlie whispered in a barely audible tone.

            She continued sniffling but muffled the noise in the suit jacket of that corporate executive guy. Charlie never had time to find out his name.

            There used to be five of them. Charlie wasn’t sure what happened to the two. No one was. He couldn’t decide if what he saw was real or not. But deep down, he knew the truth. He knew that something horrible was on this floor of the building.

            They continued sitting in the darkness. Maybe for ten minutes, maybe for an hour. They had no sense of time in their paralytic state of fear. Then they heard it. The same noise Charlie had heard after the power went out. A heavy, but silent thump shook the carpet they sat on.

            The Creature was near.

            Charlie felt the color drain from his face. His body became limp. The thumping was becoming progressively louder. He could hear its breathing on the other side of the door. It sound like… like it was trying to smell them.

            Then that woman- that stupid woman- let out the tiniest whimper.

            The thumping stopped. Charlie’s heart must’ve skipped two beats, but he didn’t dare make a sound. He heard the creature sniffing the air for a scent.

            It must’ve picked up their scent, how could it not? Charlie could smell their expensive cologne and perfume from where he was.

            But as quickly as that creature came, it left. The thumping grew duller and smack against the hallway wall reverberated back to the closet. Then it became silent once again.

            “We have to get out of here,” whispered the man in the suit. His voice was shaky, filled with panic. “We’re going to die if we stay in here. My office is down the hall. If we can get my cell, we can call for help.”

            Charlie shook his head, though no one could see. “I’m not leaving this room, man. I’m not going out there.” He was convinced that thing knew where they were. It was just waiting…

            “Suite yourself, jumpsuit,” the man said. “But get out of our way.”

            Charlie slid away from the door to the back of the closet. He heard the man feel for the doorknob. Once he found it, he turned it, and a sliver of light peaked through the opening. The light was blue- it must be coming from the vending machine down the hall. It didn’t register in their minds that only the lights were off, nothing else.

            The man and woman slid out of the door as quietly as possible. Charlie saw that the woman left her high heels in the closet.

            Charlie continued staying in the back of the closet, half expecting them to come back. He was almost in denial about the whole thing. Raul, his coworker, was still alive, the office was still filled with people, and he never heard all of those screams. Charlie’s body jolted when he heard it. His legs tried to scoot his body farther into the closet. His heart was once again pounding to a nearly audible level.

            He shuddered as the screaming of those two went from screams of terror to screams of unimaginable pain. He heard that noise in the past few hours more than anyone should in a lifetime.

            Then there was that grotesque sound. That wet, squishy sound. The sound of the creature eating.

            Charlie knew he had to move now. He was able to sneak by the creature earlier when it was eating. He opened the closet door and ran towards that man’s office to grab his cell phone. He nearly fell over when he turned the corner and saw the creature… feasting. But it paid no notice to Charlie. He tried not to look at the corpses or gag at the sight.

            He crept into the man’s office with the door just fifteen feet in front of that…thing. His whole body shook with fear. He slowly went into the office and accidently shut the door a little too loudly. He paused, frozen, trying to listen for any signs that the creature noticed. But he could still hear it outside.

            He then frantically searched for the man’s cell phone. He kept searching in and around that man’s desk, but couldn’t find the phone. His heart skipped another beat. Everything was silent. But that was the problem- the horrible noise coming from the creature outside was gone. Charlie’s breathing was uneven. He listened for anything to assure him that the creature was still eating. But it was still silent.

            Then he heard something hit the door.

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Published on May 13, 2009 at 6:08 pm  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Ouch! I can’t decide if the cliff hanger is too much or not….

    You did a great job maintaining the tension and suspense here! When you do your final revision, you might go back through and shift some of your word choices to be less passive, though I know you generally choose words intentionally. (Check on the little ones that don’t mean much, but could.)

  2. very intense. good job keeping the intensity up through the entire story. your ending sucks. in a good way. 🙂

  3. this was an excellent cliff-hanger, you were able to keep the tension going throughout the story, i like to see you continue it a little further.
    one thing, i might want to consider giving the man and the woman names, to make it a little easier, so you dont have refer to them as the man or the women

    othe rthan that great!!!

  4. very good, the fact that you never described the monster lets people make their own image and i liked that, your word choices were good too and really expressed the situation instead of just an emotion

  5. I really like this story… it kept your interest throughout the entire thing. You did a really good job.

  6. Really good! And short 🙂 I like the cliff-hanger; I think that if you would have gone on for awhile more it would have taken away from the story. I also like how you did not describe the creature… it’s good to let people draw their own conclusions in suspenseful stories. I also like how you didn’t call the man and woman by names. You kept it impersonal with them and it was a good effect.


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