Chapter 12:

Bug Report

A Place between There and Now

The bright neon lights hanging from the white ceiling dazzled me. I closed my eyes again but could still see the light through my eyelids. Thankfully it seemed to be getting darker and darker until I could just barely see it. After even that was gone I only saw black, pure black. I opened my eyes in panic, I never wanted to see that black again, I was sick of it. I stared into the neon lights, my eyes felt like they were drying up but it was still better than closing them. I wouldn’t have noticed it if not for a single tear that flowed down my cheek, I hadn’t blinked in minutes. I didn’t feel what I would have called pain just two weeks ago. I was foolish and ignorant to use those words without even knowing their meaning.

I crawled to one of the pillars, straightened up and leaned against it. I looked around the room and noticed that the right door next to the reception was missing. I was pretty sure that this was already the case yesterday and I just hadn't noticed it during my encounter with the shadow.

I stood up and walked over to where I remembered the door to be and hit the wall with full force but unfortunately, the wall was solid so the only damage I caused was to my hand. Blood was dripping from my knuckles but I barely felt anything. I took out my knife but I didn’t even get further than the wallpaper which covered what seemed to be a giant steel plate. I walked behind the reception desk and scratch a hole in the wallpaper. But what I found was not steel but pure concrete. I scratched a line from the hole behind the desk all the way to the one where the door was and it seemed that door was just replaced with a giant steel plate or brick with a layer of wallpaper on top to hide it.

This didn’t bring me anywhere, so I put my knife back into my pocket and walked over to the other door. It was a large two-winged dark red door with golden handles and a stop sign on its right-wing that red “staff only.” While way smaller this door definitely reminded me of a door I wasn’t opening ever again or at least not as long as there was at least one other way I could go.

I walked a few steps back into the centre of the entrance room. I looked down the two hallways, the right one was decorated with the same white wallpaper and neon lamps that were hanging in the lobby and a two-winged steel door that looked a bit like a kitchen door in a restaurant. The walls of the left hallway on the other hand did not appear to be wallpapered, instead, you could see the grey concrete, which could also be seen under the carved-out areas. The lights also seemed to be either turned off or broken which made it so I could only see about 10 meters into the hallway at most.

I had no interest in walking through the dark the same way I wasn’t interested in opening that door so I decided to go through the right hallway. I noticed that neon lights were way dimmer and flickered. I could even see a few cobwebs between the iron bars on the ceiling from which the lights hang. the nylon floor was filled with dust and the smell of disinfectant, dust stirred up like in a library and PVC plastic filled the air.

I was standing in front of the door, it indeed looked like a kitchen door. It was two-winged and made of what I believed to be aluminium, with a push-pull handle and a porthole in both of them. I grabbed for the handles to swing the door open but my hand phased right through it. I tried touching the door but I couldn’t, it was like a hologram.

- closing  #013 connection

- booting #013a

I was lying on the floor. I neither could remember why I was lying on the floor nor what happened. I got back up and walked over to the door and I slowly moved my hand toward it. The metal was cold and the surface smooth. I could touch it. I neither knew what just happened nor did I care. I swung open the door and walked through it.

I found myself in a large hall, it seemed to be a warehouse though it wasn’t nearly as big as the building. I was standing on a grid floor which ran in a circle around the whole warehouse from which a staircase branched off and led to the floor which was about eight meters below me. To my left was a light switch I turned it on and the floodlights that were hanging from the ceiling all turned on simultaneously. They were shining so bright I couldn’t see a thing. It was as bright as the explosion I caused back at the black lake. I held my hand in front of my eyes but it just shined right through.

- closing #013a connection

- booting #013b

I was lying on the floor. I neither could remember why I was lying on the floor nor what happened. I got back up and looked through the warehouse. The floodlights were shining in a perfect white which illuminated the warehouse. It happened again, whatever it was, but it changed something, and thankfully it did it for the better.

I walked down the staircase that led down to the floor and the shelves. It didn’t feel particularly stable and held on to the railing with both hands. One stair tread at a time I slowly made my way down to the floor while the metallic creak of the stairs under my feet echoed through the hall.

I felt a sigh of relief when I finally had solid ground under my feet again and I wasn’t looking forward to walking or more so crawling that staircase back up. I looked through what looked like thousands of shelves over to the end of the warehouse. I walked over to the shelves. They were all filled with similar if not identically sized cardboard boxes.

I pulled a box out of the shelf, it was surprisingly light. I opened the box and found out why it was so light, it was completely empty. I pulled another one out of the shelf, empty again. Another one, empty. I walked further down the row of shelves picking a single box from every shelf I walked past and opening it. After 28 shelves full of empty boxes, I gave it up and instead decided to walk to the other end of the warehouse to look if the shelves were maybe just filled up from back to front.

I heard a loud sound and everything around was black. The lights had turned off. As I grabbed my knife I heard steps around me. I closed my eyes and tried to focus on where they were coming from but was too stressed. I opened them back up. I could hear something behind me. I turned around and saw black, pure black, even darker than the rest of the warehouse. I couldn’t tell where I was nor where the shelves were but I knew where it was, I could see it right before me. I jumped to my right and could just barely avoid its knife. It immediately turned around and started swinging its knife toward me.

I could feel something underneath my shoe, it was a piece of cardboard. I pushed it with my foot in its direction and walked a few steps further backwards. I heard the piece slip from under its foot and although it did not fall, it effectively stood on one leg for a fraction of a second which made its position much more precarious. I used the chance and charged toward it. I stabbed my knife somewhere in its chest and we both fell to the ground. I immediately pulled my knife out of its body and rolled to the side to avoid a final swipe of its knife.

My gaze wandered away from Its lying body upwards to the ceiling of the warehouse, but I didn’t see the ceiling, no, I saw black, black eyes that stared at me. A shadow was standing in front of me, I rolled directly into it without noticing. As I heard the shadow next to me caught two last times the other shadow fell with its knife in its hands on top of me and stabbed it directly into my heart.

- booting #014

- repeat