Chapter 6:

Corporate Gallow

A Place between There and Now

I woke up and immediately jumped up. my nose, throat, and lungs were full of water, and let me tell you, you don't want that water anywhere in your body, it was like it was burning me from the inside.

The situation I die in was something I didn’t think about until now, but I should be more cautious, waking up inside the black water while painful was still only a minor problem. If I would for example jump into a spike pit, because they totally exist outside of Indiana Jones, I would be impaled to death over and over again until the end of time.

I remembered that soon the four shadows would arrive and so made my way across the bridge, to the lighthouse to not have to deal with them. I leaped into the water, it was much thicker and colder than I expected it to be, but I swam the last hundred meters regardless. I needed to know what was inside that building. I could quite literally die for a good mystery, and this sparked my interest like few things ever did.

I leaned on the stones and got out of the water, which was harder than I thought. The fog seemed to float around the island the lighthouse was standing on like a donut. After I noticed that I walked the last few steps until I was standing directly in front of the entrance door. It was way bigger than I thought, so big even that it made the lighthouse look like a five-story building in comparison. The door was painted in a beautiful dark red and the handles seemed to be made of gold. A small sign was taped to the right-wing of the door. On it was a stop sign and two words: Staff only.

I didn’t even bother opening the left wing as opening only the right was already a slow and exhausting task. After I pushed it just enough, I quickly slipped through.

I found myself in a white room, so white in fact that you couldn’t tell where it ended, like an infinite white void of nothingness, well, it would have been an infinite white void of nothingness if not for two things that broke that illusion. First was a door at the other end of the room, about 20 meters away from me. And second, more importantly, about 2 dozen shadows, that stood in two lines, one to my right and one to my left, the space between them creating a path that led directly to said door.

They all stared deep into my eyes. I immediately reached for my jacket’s right pocket; it was closed. in panic I tried to pull down the zip, but it was stuck. I finally got my knife out of my pocket and looked up, they all bowed before me, I could hear some of them giggling as if this was nothing but a sick joke to them, but those who giggled all seemed to be on the right side. The shadows on the left didn’t show any sign of emotion.

I slowly walked through the middle of them towards the door while waving my knife around wildly so that none of these beasts would try to stab me in the back. Luckily, they didn’t do that for once. I safely arrived at the door; it was a grey steel fire door with a blurred plexiglass pane in the middle labeled “Server Room”. You couldn’t see anything but a few blinking blue lights through the pane, besides that, pure black.

I looked behind me one last time, the shadow still just stood there and watched me silently. I opened the door and stepped into the server room. Like the last room, this one was an infinite void of nothingness, just in black you know. I reached for a wall but didn’t seem to be able to reach it, so I just turned a round and reached to the side of the door but nothing there too. I slowly walked into where the wall should be. 1 meter? Nothing. 2 meters? Still nothing. I turn around and saw that if walked past the door and could clearly see it from behind. I walked closer to the door, I was now standing exactly where I stood before I opened it, with no shadows in sight. We can safely ignore the fact that there was nothing at all in sight.

I looked through the plexiglass pain, from this side and saw another room, with a wooden or at least brown floor and something cube formed like a desk at the end. I walked around the door twice just to make sure that I wasn’t missing any wall, but I was now 100% sure, there was no wall, I was effectively in something like a Tardis. I walked back to the center of the room where the blue light came from, it was an old commodore 64, though blue glowing cables sprouted out of it and went into the table it was standing on, well if you wanted to call it like that, it was way more a giant black box, much like the c64 which was painted in the same black.

On it played an estimated 3-second clip of a horrifyingly detailed animated Hangman chocking to death over and over while smiling into the camera. This gave me the same vibes as that low-effort creepy pastas the internet couldn’t shut up about in the 20ths.

I didn’t know how to use keyboards, I never asked my grandfather about anything like that and couldn’t see any of the buttons in the dark, so I just left the computer alone and went back to the door and walked around it. I still wanted to check out that other room I saw earlier so I opened the door and walked inside.

It was warm, someone must have turned the thermostat higher, I didn’t mind it, after walking through that cold foggy city, through constant rain, the warmth was a nice change. I looked around, it was an office room, there was a desk standing at the opposite end of the room and some pictures were hanging on the walls, on them was an older man I had seen before, it was the hangman. I walked over to the desk there was a single piece of paper on the table, technology seemed to get progressively worse I thought. When I was in elementary school, they were still teaching kids how to read, so I still had the basics. I looked at the paper and there were four words printed on it, “Look out the window.”

I followed the order and walked around the desk and looked out the window. I saw the city below me, I seemed to be in the lit room which I saw for the first time 2 days ago. I somehow got here without climbing a single flight of stairs but if infinite rooms and bloodthirsty shadows are a thing why not this too. For the first time, I got a good view of the city through two things were, there were no shadows and most importantly, the city was whole. But something was off, there was nobody, nobody lived in this town, nobody lived in my town, nobody, nobody ever did.

I turned away, I had seen enough, but understood too little. I walked back to the door and walked straight through it.

The hangman waited for me, but he somehow left his screen now hanging right there where the computer stood just minutes earlier. His face was covered in black, but he was still smiling. I had enough of this and walked back into the completely white room or the lobby if you want to call it like that where I met the shadows earlier, but they were luckily for me all gone.

The Big red entrance door was still open the same way I left it, so I quickly slipped back out of the tower to hopefully never return.

At that very moment a shadow, supposedly one from earlier tried to backstab me but was only partfully successful. While he was able to stab his knife into my back, I still had mine out from earlier and I thrusted it directly into his heart. We both collapsed but this wasn’t a tie, no not in my eye, this was my first victory, I had just slain a beast, a monster. And it felt incredible.

- booting #007

- repeat