The office is quiet, quieter than I have ever remembered it being. My breath is shallow and comes out in small clouds.
I am hiding under the mahogany desk, listening for whomever was walking through the cubes a moment ago. I had been alone.
It isn’t usually this cold, and self-preservation with a stranger in an empty building struggles against my shivers.
I stare into the glass window backed by the black of night, trying to see where he is. I realize how absurd this is.
What was I thinking? It was probably a maintenance guy or a janitor, lots of people are in offices late at night…
Just when I think whoever was there has gone, I hear the door of my office open. It is not a creak but a whisper.
The sound of leather shoe soles tread slowly over industrial Berber carpet, creeping towards my hiding space…!
I cringe away, hoping that the lip of the desk is big enough that he will not see me. I try to see him in the window.
I’ve seen him before, he works in the office. He is young, crisp dark pants and a neat white shirt, an inoffensive tie.
He seems to be looking around, maybe looking for me. His feet move back a little, he leans down. I hold my breath.
Our eyes lock. He is a good-looking boy, blonde and blue-eyed, clean cut. He does not look menacing at all.
He looks shocked, then scared, then he starts screaming and falls back, trying to back away in sheer panic.
I am confused. I am the one who should be scared! Why is he…
I look down, and I am covered in something stiff and sticky. I have a run in my stocking, my skirt is disheveled.
My shirt is no longer white, and I don’t know how it came to be this color. I reach up to find out what is staining it.
My hand is covered in blood. I would like to be scared, but I can’t find that feeling, I am not sure whose blood it is.
I look back at the young man, he has soiled his pants and is gibbering, still backing up against the office windows.
It would be terrible if he succeeded, I think to myself, we’re an awful long way up. I crawl out from under the desk.
He scrambles away, makes a dash for the door. I must look a fright, maybe he thought he was alone. It *is* very late.
I stand up and try to dust myself off, and I catch sight of my shoe, still under the desk. I am given a moment of pause.
It really seems that my foot is still quite in the shoe – a very expensive Italian piece – seems to be horribly stained.
I peek under the desk.
Well, that explains it.
Whoever has murdered me has done quite a messy job of it, and no wonder that poor boy was so terrified.
Wait… I have been murdered.
Maybe I hadn’t been as alone as I thought I was…