The Day the Office Floor Hurt

A short scary/suspenseful story

He ran through the drenching rain. His feet splashed on the sidewalks, sending the grotesque mixture of mud and grim onto his blue, Armani dress pants. He didn't care. He kept running, reaching for the doorway of expensive stature that was his office building with desperate hands. He slipped on the smooth, cream tile, but kept running until he reached the elevator's shining doors.

It took him only seconds to reach the thirty-sixth floor, though days could have elapsed in that time. He struggled for air, chest heaving, and burst through the sliding doors as they opened. He knocked several secretaries out of his way, apologizing, but no stopping. Just a few more feet to his luxury office on the corner and he would be safe.

He burst into the glass office; everything was left as it had been hours before his departure. The desk still held up the disorganized stacks of files and reports to be completed Monday. The computer was still dark and shut down, even the pencil rested where it had dropped. He slumped into his chair, relishing its cushions.

Then his eyes focused in the dark room and his heart sped up its pace. He felt that if he forced himself to look away, then it would clasp him in its horrible grasp. He wasn't ready to die; he wanted to live quite a few more years. He had a life to live and children to raise. He couldn't fathom how it had arrived here before him when it had been behind him when he started out. The office was supposed to be safe.

By the far wall, in front of all the family photos, the horrible being crouched, cloak pooling around it. The figure was shrouded in ebony depths of black material, hiding even the face. Ebony wings filled the wall, unable to fold completely behind it. It was a black image of horror, no man wished to see.

He wheeled backward, slamming into the wall behind him, several pictures and diplomas crashing down. He opened his mouth to scream, but no sound moved out.

The shroud stood, revealed a decidedly feminine figure, just recognizable under the layers of material. Wings folded slowly and almost clumsily behind her or it, he wasn't sure.

He kicked his foot out, connecting with the metal desk and sending it toppling, everything crashing onto the floor in a vain attempt to prevent it from coming closer. This couldn't be happening. He wanted to live. He wasn't ready, not ready. He needed more time. Should he not have been prepared? Should he have been told? He had loose ends to tie up.

The figure moved towards him, feathers dragging the ground. Cold, slender hands set back the hood of the impossibly heavy cloak. The figure's face was delicate, beautifully cold with markedly bright eyes and ebony, long hair. She mirrored Death itself, should Death be a woman.

The figure's lips moved and a few moments later, in an eerie echo, the sound came. The whispery voice wafted through the air. "It is time. Death awaits."

He trembled. He didn't want to go, not now. The delicate hand extended toward him, white against the black sleeve. A force unseen pulled him forward, drawing him towards her lifeless clutch. He tried to resist, but his feet moved towards the cold image of Death. He grabbed at the desk, crumbling to his knees. Tears were rivers along his face.

"No, don't take him!" His wife's voice echoed in the doorway. The figure's head snapped her direction and cocked her head with a slow smile. The cold, outstretched hand shifted to reach for his wife's hand.

"Leave her be, you… You, monster!" He screamed, struggling to reach his wife who was dead pale with terror.

The figure looked at him once more; eyes blinked slowly. "You know not what a monster is. Leave be, mortal man, leave be."

He watched his wife struggled against the figure's drawing gaze and palm just as he had moments before. He struggled with new vigor, desperate to reach his wife before the creature. Let the being take him, but leave his wife alone.

"Run, Marie, get out of here! Resist!" He screamed his voice harsh and softened with each syllable, a force quieting his vocal chords. Marie kept her advancing dance and the figure continued.

He shot himself forward and with all he had and his fingers grasped the hem and hooked like fish hooks. A cold pain raced through his arm, but he endured it, he had to endure it. The figure looked at him sharply and with unforgiving eyes. A wing flared open and brushed him off as if he were simply a fly. He smacked against his own desk, feeling the stabbing of hitting a sharp corner with his shoulder. He was sure it bled.

"Death comes for you all. It is not your place to resist, man." She hovered over him for a moment. "Better to welcome it; it makes my job easier."

He was taken aback by the strangeness of the figure's last words. There was a hint of humor there. "Take me! Take me!" He pleaded, desperately. The figure swung away from him and continued her approached to his wife. Her hand extended and his wife raised her hand to reach for Death, a trance placed on her.

"Marie, no!" He screamed and launched himself at the winged horror in a last attempt to save his wife. Marie clasped Death's hand. He watched as he fell closer, in a slow motion. If he could distract Death, he could save his wife and they would go home and be happy and live a few years more.

Pain shot through his body as he landed on the cold office floor. Alone.