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Saturday, December 10, 2016

So It Begins.

Our building is very old. It has a past that is not entirely wholesome. People speak in hushed tones about the days it was used as a speak easy. Tales, awful tales, circulate about the time it housed the overflow from the local jail. Mythical, monstrous stories, of terrible and awful occurrences. All dubious origin. Nobody thought they were true, but everybody believed them.

Initial construction was completed in the late 1800s. Three additions were cobbled on to the original over the next 37 years, leaving dark corners, small dank recesses, and oddly shaped rooms scattered in unexpected places. The whole building teeters on the line dividing reality and the other places. Places where the darkness is more than the absence of light. Places where the darkness lives. Places where the darkness is so absolute it cuts a clean line at the threshold, even sound won’t enter those places. Places where people go and never return. Sometimes the body, the vessel, comes back, but the person doesn’t. There are lines in our building nobody should cross.

This too, has been a place of darkness
In the basement is the darkest place of all. It is up a small flight of stairs, with a small rectangular landing. There is a heavy gauge chain link fence with a sturdy gate, held secure by an imposing lock, that separates the two places. In there, the darkness is darker. If a person were to watch long enough, and that person would be a fool, the darkness will start to boil, and roll. Twisting, dancing, living. Occasionally a toy will tumble down the steps, landing at the fool’s feet. If the fool had any brains at all he would not touch the little ball, or truck. No, the best course is to finish your task in the less dark part of the basement, and get out, as fast as possible.

During those early days the company had developed a very workable relationship with several manufacturers in developing countries. They produced the components for several machines that were moving beyond planning to procurement and production. Transformative machines with enormous potential. It would take some time to gather all the pieces, and assemble the parts into the whole. All of those parts needed to be stored somewhere. Once the rest of the building was full we were left with only the basement.

As the final crate was pulled from the elevator and the ordeal was almost over there was the slightest movement from the darkness.  A darkness slightly darker than the impenetrable black. Stirring, shifting, fading, coming closer, moving away. It had a  sound, breathless, gasping, terrifying. We stood, frozen in terror, knowing our lives were over. All of the sudden the great price on all the needed parts seemed a terrible deal, a balance sheet that was going to be zeroed out with our deaths.

As we stood, waiting for the end, a small cup tumbled down the stairs, it had a delicate ring as it fell from step to step. At the bottom it landed gently on its base. It was spotless, and shone as though it had just been polished. The voice grew louder, clearer, and it sounded as if someone were clearing their throat. “Tell John🍺 our cappuccino machine is broken, please.” It said.

“Right away.” we said, running up the stairs, faster than any man had ever run.

🍺 John is the equipment manager.