Getting past the sight of the iron bars outside the window, we reached the main entrance downstairs, but the double door was bolted with chains. Oh, and the best part? The chains with the padlock were placed from the inside!
What kind of twisted joke is this? I thought when I saw it.
"What are we going to do now?" the girl asked, with a worrying tone in her voice.
"Don't sweat it, okay?" I said, placing a hand on her naked shoulder. "We'll find a way."
She pressed her lips into a thin line, not convinced, but still nodded in agreement. A dark rectangular shape, right across the entrance, caught my attention. Another door… and it was open this time.
When we reached it, I blindly scanned the cold wall inside the room and pressed the switch. Under the (slightly brighter) light of the two lamps hanging from the ceiling, I saw a desk in P-form with its chair and a line of archives behind it, which covered the small window near the ceiling. Sheets of paper were scattered everywhere, as some of the drawers laid on the floor. The place wasn't as dusty as the other rooms, a fact I dismissed at that time. Maybe the opportunity of a secure resting place had fogged my mind. As the girl followed me in the secretary's office, I only dreaded on the disappointment of getting either of us out of this place.
There has to be something around here to open the lock. Then something occurred to me and I struck a fist on my open palm. A key, that's it! Maybe the secretary had an extra.
After a thorough check of the deck, I found myself scanning the archives' contexts; files with scorched edges (some even had water stains) and yellowed papers. The letters indicated they used a typewriter to write these medical records, but none had a date or proper names. Every patient was listed as a Latin-I think-number, with a brief description of his or hers appearance. The rest where…
Someone pulled my shirt and I nearly jumped out of my skin. Taking a deep breath, I looked up at the little girl. She didn't have to say anything. Anxiety was written all over her face.
"Yeah, this won't unlock the padlock for us," I said and stood up, while brushing the dust from my pants. "You'll stay here, like a good girl and I..." I hesitated for a moment. "I'll go find something to open the lock. If you hear anything strange or someone who isn't me comes in, just hide under the desk. Okay?"
She nodded and climbed on top of it, as I left the room. Closing the door behind me, I paused with my hand still clinging to the knob. Although it felt wrong to leave her alone, it was better to risk myself than to drag her along into the danger. She would slow me down anyway.
My options to get out of the entrance hall were limited, one being the corridor we just came from and another unexplored one to my left. I chose the latter, hoping I wouldn't run into any surprises.
There were several doors with empty name-tags in this corridor, meaning several rooms, which also meant I had to check each one of them separately. Well, the chances of actually finding the specific key were pretty close to zero. The least I could do was search for a tool to break the lock, so I hoped I'd find the storage or a supply room.
After searching the fifth and full of cardboard boxes room though, I started having second thoughts as exhaustion made my limps heavy.
Why it's so hard to find a storage room? I thought, while swearing under my breath. Would they mind putting it closer to the front door? Now I have to go...
I stopped on my tracks. A tingling sensation spread on my shoulders, as a dark shadow appeared on the floor. Someone was behind me!
Turning my head, quick enough to hurt, I glanced over my shoulder.
No one was there, just the empty hallway. My eyes darted from wall to wall.
That's weird. I shrugged and continued my search. It must have been my imagination. However, the feeling something was watching me never left.
At the nineteenth… or was it the twentieth? Whatever, it's not that important. At that moment, I finally managed to find the storage. Nothing sophisticated about it; it was just a closet. Metallic objects glistened in the corners of my vision, as shadows engulfed the rest of the place. I took a few steps into the dim closet and head-butted one of the keys, hanging from the ceiling.
Did they read the 'Feng Shui for Dummies' wrong? Which person in his right mind would hang tools from the ceiling? I thought, while rubbing the new formed bump.
Thank god, I wasn't obligated to open anything else at least. A long crowbar leaned against a toolbox in front of me. It was the perfect item; a stupid key wasn't necessary after all.
As I stretched my hand to grab it, the sound of heavy footsteps echoed throughout the corridor. Peeking around the safety of the closet's frame, I saw… nothing again. All of my senses screamed danger and combined with my heavy breathing, things looked bad.
We have to leave this place, as soon as possible!
With worry twisting my insides, I scurried back to the secretary's office. The little girl was alone for quite a long time. However, the pain in my chest lightened as I rushed in to see her, safe and sound, spinning on the secretary's chair. The moment she noticed me, the chair came to a halt and the little girl rushed to my side. She hugged me with force by the waist, to which I responded by stroking her head. After the happy reunion of a hug, I crouched down to her eye level.
"Are you ready?" I asked. She nodded, beaming with confidence. "Alright then. Time to open this bloody door!"
EDIT (03/14/14): This chapter has been re-written.