Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Short Story: Deadline

Welcome! I've got a fun little jaunt of a story for everyone this week. I hope you enjoy it! 


Karl rolled his eyes and did his best to tune out the blaring alarm. Just a few more minutes was all he needed to verify the numbers on his report and send it off to the analysts. The building wasn't going to come crashing down that quick.

"Four, Nine, what's this three doing over here?" he mumbled to himself.

Someone ran down the hallway, screaming. Bob, from three cubicles over it sounded like; It was hard to tell when people were half-crazed with fear. Karl only huffed and continued scanning for numbers that didn't look right.

He didn't know what all the fuss was about. Seattle was a big city, after all, and their office building wasn't near the docks. The monster would take some time to crash its way up the hill, and there was no way to tell which way it might turn. It made no sense to him to panic and dive down into the bunkers the moment the beast made landfall.

One more page. Bob ran past again, still screaming. Apparently he had lost his mind, otherwise he would've been hopping down the stairs two at a time, or more, considering the frenzy the man was in. The pull of the alarm automatically locked down the elevators and unlocked all the stairwell entrances and exits. Stairs could almost always be safely used. As opposed to elevators which had a tendency to speed up obscenely going down during building-breaking emergencies.
Bob again.

"Would you shut the hell up out there!" Karl hoped the guy would just trip and curl up under some desk. "Where was I? Fuck. Oh, right here. Okay..."

The report had to be in by the end of the day, giant monster or no. He had a reputation to uphold. Out of everyone on the 19th floor, he was the only one to go an entire year without turning a report in late, or asking for an extension. A stupid little paper award they'd given out at last year's Christmas party.

"This is good. This is good. Annnnd....this is good. There. All done." He smiled and sat back, zooming out on the document and giving the whole thing another once over. Attaching it to the waiting email was quick and easy, and it was off. Right on time.

He leaned out of his cubicle. The floor was quiet.

Karl stood up and stretched. He was going to take his time collecting his things and heading down to the bunker. No reason not to, with everything looking like yet another false alarm.

His computer powered down, overcoat pulled on, and briefcase in hand, Karl finally headed towards the staircase to join the rest of the office in the basement.

The building shook, a very slight tremor that only lasted a few moments. He paused at the exit and looked back across the floor and out the windows that faced toward the water. The building shook again. Harder. Longer.

Karl couldn't help himself, he'd never seen one of the monsters in person. His curiosity pulled him over between the cubicles to stare out the window. The building shook more, once for every four steps he took himself. The windows rattled in their panes and some of the cubicles started to lose the knick-knacks their users had spread around. He watched a Richard Sherman bobble-head bobble right off a desk.

He pressed his face up against the glass. The waterfront looked pristine, no toppled buildings, no fires raging out of control, no giant reptile looking for snacks. The shaking intensified, until with one heavy boom, every chair on the floor rattled. Then the impacts stopped. He peered out the window, straining to scan every bit of the horizon.

"Wonder if some dumb bastard got himself seen."

He shrugged and turned away from the glass.

The giant eye looking in the windows on the other side of the building blinked, its slit pupil widening as it took him in.

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Don't be seen. That was one of the basic tips. The monsters were predators, looking for food. If everybody stayed quiet and out of sight, they might wander through the city and wander right back out again leaving nothing but some slight damage. If they found people though, the hunt was on, and they would smash buildings to rubble trying to get at the soft little rice grains.

Karl froze. The reptilian head spanned the whole width of the floor, taking up every window. The eye watched him, blinking; the nictitating membrane sliding across it. Maybe if he just didn't move, it wouldn't recognize him as food. The beast might just walk away.

Bob streaked through the office. Karl stared as the naked man ran up to the window in front of the giant eye and slapped the glass, yelling incomprehensible noises at it. The head turned, looking at the strange man straight on. Even facing the building, it spanned at least six of the window panes. Nostrils big enough to walk into flared, steaming up the glass before the mouth opened and Karl found himself staring down its throat. The opening was lined with teeth bigger than he was, and the resulting roar the creature loosed was enough to crack the glass and drown out even the roucous alarm.

Then the head rose up out of sight, quickly replaced by a massive clawed hand that swung towards the windows. Bob answered it with both of his middle fingers.

"Bob! You're a fucking asshole!" Karl could barely flip Bob off himself before the monster's claw gutted the building. 


  1. That's the quidencial dilemma all Geminis are facing. Am I going to be Bob, or Karl. :)