Hello. My name is Alex. To describe my life first and foremost, it sucks. Today on my terrible job as a demolition inspector, I get to go out and examine this old apartment complex (Birchwood) that has been abandoned for a year or two. You can imagine how fun that is. I wake up around noon in an apartment of my own. I start off my day waking up to this annoying old alarm clock. BEEP BEEP BEEP. I then go the door of my small bedroom. My room has a computer desk in the corner, and the walls are an ugly tan color. My computer screen flashes, alerting me that I have an email. It’s from a restricted address that I don’t know, and it says “DEAD BEFORE DAWN”. Probably a group of kids prank mailing me.
I go downstairs, have a quick brunch of cereal and toast, and leave the apartment complex. I get in my SUV (a CRV) and start the half an hour drive to work to meet the only decent human being I know. It’s my work partner, Zach. He is around 23, and is kind to everyone he meets. He is short, has brown eyes, and dirty blond hair. Working with him makes my job a lot better. As soon as I walk up to him, he greets me with a smile.
”Hey Zach” I say.
“Sup. Did you hear about why the Birch-wood apartment complex got shut down?”
“Nope. How’d it happen?”
He gives me a smile; the kind someone gives when they thinks what they’re saying is funny.
“Numerous disappearances, supposedly by a creature sorts. I think it’s just an excuse because they ran out of money”.
After talking for a while, our boss, who is a major jerk, walks up and says in a lecturing tone “Get moving idiots, you don’t have all day!” We get in our old company owned truck, and head towards the Birch-wood apartment complex, ready to work the day away together.
An hour and a half later, we arrive at Birch-wood apartments. The complex is a 7 story group of condemned apartment buildings arranged in a U-shape, with above and underground parking in the center.
“Looks kinda scary don’t it?” I say to Zach.
“Yeah. It does. I can already feel the creature watching me”, he says in a teasing tone.
It did look kind of scary, with the broken windows and balcony rails tinted brown with rust. In the slight wind, you could hear the building creaking, and the skittering of leaves on the ground.
We get on with working. We have to make sure the place is OK to demolish. If we deem at least 66.6%, or 2/3, of the crumbling complex safe, then it is safe to demolish in a months time. As we go through the first building, Zach and I hear skittering and scratching noises. We put a note of mice or other rodents in the building. Shouldn’t effect the demolition plans. All of the first building is deemed safe by regulation standards. No toxic or flammable fluids or materials, loose metal, cadavers, etc. As we progress through the second building, the sounds begin to pick up. There are faint bashes and crashes. As we turn the corner, at the end of a long hallway, we thought we saw a flash of movement.
“You see that?” I ask Zach.
“Yeah, it was probably just a raccoon. No need to panic. We do need to hurry though, the sun sets at 8:30-ish, and its 7 already.” He says with a rushing tone.
His phone rings. It’s a call from the boss. I hear the boss say something about regulations being different due to the age of the building. Apparently we have to check at least 90% of the building. Zach and I decide to split up to cover more ground, and to try and fish our job before nightfall.
“You get the top half of the 3rd building, I’ll get the bottom” Meet me in the middle of the 4th floor when you finish your portion” Zach says.
I go my separate way to check the last building. Same room after room, with the single bedroom, small bathroom, and closet. So boring. I’m halfway down the 4th floor, checking the last room. Apartment 7. The air feels thicker in this room, as if it was full of a gas of some type, like the kind they use at the dentist. My mouth hangs open in shock when I see the corpse. Its bones are the only things left. The bones are shattered and scratched. The wall behind the corpse it spattered in dark dried blood. I pick up my walkie to call Zach, but I feel so tired…so tired… as if I couldn’t move another inch… I see the bed in the corner and think, what a nice place to rest for awhile… I’m asleep before my head hits the moth eaten pillow.
I awake to a bloodcurdling scream. It sounds as if it was in the hallway, right outside my door. I begin to realize through my muddled and confused mind that Zach, my best and near only friend, would be standing in that spot. He was also the only other person in the complex. As I slowly comprehend this, the door slowly creaks open. “SSSSQQQQUUUUUEEEEEAAAAKKKKKK”. There is a skittering sound in the darkness. I feel as if I’m being watched. I pull my flashlight out and turn it on. My heart almost stops. At the foot of my bed, there is a horrifying creature. The creature has a thin skeletal frame, with tan, tightly stretched skin. Its eyes are crystalline black, and its claws are sharp and gleaming red. Spattered with crimson blood. Zach’s blood. It climbs onto my bed. It opens its large maw, and clacks its sharp teeth. I know this is the end. Its large hand closes tightly around my throat, and I black out.
I wake up. The sky is streaked with hints of pink and orange. It’s right before dawn. The time where the world is silent, and the birds and squirrels are just beginning to wake up. I’m lying in a pool of shining blood. I look for the source of the intense bleeding, and it’s a gaping hole in my chest. I can see my rib cage in the faint light before dawn. I feel strangely peaceful, and I don’t question the fact that I’m on the roof. I feel no pain, despite the extent of my injuries. I hear skittering behind me, and I know I will be dead before dawn.
Original Author: TheDarkness