I walked through the corridor at a swift pace, but slow enough to take in any details that I passed; it was as bare as the last, and I was contemplating why it was so empty. Leaning into one closed door, I could hear the muttering of male voices; I could not make out their words, though, as their intonation was steeped in silence.
At the end of the corridor was a large staircase winding to the skies in dark steps. There was only one way up- or down- although a pair of lifts sat looking to the stairs. One had an ‘out of order’ sign on its doors, but I guessed that this find would be the only thing that would be chaos in the company.
Looking behind me, I looked back into the past, checking that no-one would have seen me, and ascended the stairs swiftly. I wouldn’t deny that my breathing came more often, to mist up the chilling air, and that my heart was beating more and more with every step. It was logical to be afraid in these circumstances.
After thinking a while whilst I climbed the stairs, I concluded that it would be more appropriate to start investigating from the top floor and head downwards. No doubt, the top floor would not hold many secrets, and the rooms would be quick to search.
I looked to the wall as I turned through another floor. A solitary numeral ‘3’ was bolted to the blue double-doors that seemed to lead into the next row of offices and conference rooms.
Just two more floors to go.
There was no floor plan, but I looked up to see two more flights which I still had to ascend.
There was a noise. Just a slight footstep and the rattle of a doorframe, but it made me jump, nevertheless. I looked to the floors behind me, but could see no trace of any movement.
You’re worrying at nothing, Bella; it must have been the building itself creaking.
So onwards (and upwards) I walked.
The top floor was an echo of the ground floor. As I walked, I noticed it shared the same metal flooring and beige walls with open doors to the offices tucked into them. Each office was the same: a two-metre-squared table in the centre of the room, two wooden chairs at one corner and two more made of tacky blue fabric gathered close to the opposite wall. Each room had a window directly opposite the door which overlooked the bare plaza outside, and a small framed slogan, printed in black, hanging above the blue chairs:
‘Oppression to women’.
It was in reaching the end of this corridor that I started to notice changes; instead of a winding parting of ways, followed by more corridors, this corridor was wide and airy, with windows either side instead of offices. There were no rooms at all and, although, the walls had made no improvements, the floor had turned to light wood panels. As I walked past a set of lifts, oddly placed, I could see a set of blue double-doors beside an ovular, silver mirror.
It was walking up to the mirror that I saw him. In the reflection the tall man was dressed in black with a balaclava mask shoved over his face. I didn’t dare to concentrate on the details though, as my gaze was firmly cemented on the large rifle he held, pointing at me threateningly.
My thoughts were running all over the place, but that seemed to be the only possession of mine that was. No matter how much I willed myself to push through the doors, my arms and legs would not comply. All I could do was stare into the cold man’s steel eyes, frozen by them.
And then his rifle fired a bullet in a puff of black powder.
I screamed as the mirror above me shattered into a thousand falling piercing stars.
The man advanced, and I closed my eyes, not wanting to see the end. It would be mere seconds before he would cock the gun again, and I would be ‘eliminated’.