18 Jul Night Shift
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"Night Shift"Written by Teddy
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Estimated reading time — 8 minutes
I’m woken up by the sound of my phone going off, I open my eyes to see my cheap apartment covered in the dim light of early day. Sighing, I sit up and slap my hand down on top of my phone, dragging it off my nightstand and on to my face.
“Hey, Matt, it’s Ashley.”
Not even one sentence and it’s obvious what she wants, but I ask anyway,”What do you need?”
“Well, my friends and I sort of have plans for tonight so I was wondering if you could take my night shift?”
“Fine, I need the hours anyway, rent is due soon,” I add the last part more for my sake than hers, luckily I’m not working at all during the day, so I get to stay in and watch tv all day.
One cheap sitcom marathon later I’m gathering my work stuff and heading out the door. I work as a lifeguard at my apartment building’s pool. It’s a great job, all I need to do is take the elevator down and then I’m there. Like everything else in the building, the pool is run down and poorly maintained. It’s also oddly located, actually under the apartment building, completely underground and devoid of sunlight.
Exiting the elevator I walk down a short hallway and reach the plexiglass doors that lead to the pool. Inside, I see the familiar pale green tiles of the pool deck. What I do not see, however, is a lifeguard. Even though the pool is supposed to be open, and supervised, twenty-four-seven. Normally someone abandoning the pool is to be expected, but not during the peak hours of the evening. Which is another odd thing, I check my watch and it’s seven p.m; there are almost always people here at this time. I shrug and dismiss it as a lucky break. No people means no need to watch the pool.
I walk over to the lifeguard chair and plop down, ready for a very boring night shift. My eyes are caught by something on the chair handle, there are a few drops of blood. The previous lifeguard must have had to deal with some kid that had a bloody nose. That thought reminds me to check who the previous lifeguard actually was, the boss would be pretty pissed to find that someone had left the pool unattended. After consulting the schedule I’m surprised to find that Joe had been working. He’s the one person who I would not expect to leave without telling anyone, nothing that can be done about it now though.
After getting some disinfectant wipes, I go back and wipe the blood off of the chair, it’s not looking like anyone will show up so I allow myself to be lulled into sleep by the quiet drone of the fluorescent lights.
I have no idea how long I was asleep for, but I wake up to the sound of children laughing and giggling. I’m still so groggy from sleep I barely open my eyes, the pool is empty, no drowning kids, nothing to worry about. I’m content with this thought as the warm and humid air of the pool pulls me back into sleep.
The next time I wake up it is to the sound of silence, this time I check my phone and find that it is three in the morning. I had been asleep for over seven hours. That thought reminds me of those few groggy seconds when I had woken up, only now did it dawn on my how odd it was for there to have been children in the pool so late. The pool seemed to be devoid of children now, so it seems fine for me to go back to sleep. As I begin to shut my eyes my attention is once again drawn to the chair’s arm. There is more blood, I could have sworn that I had wiped it off, but apparently not. Getting out of the chair I notice that the floor is wet, there’s a trail of water leading from the pool right up to where I had slept. What had those kids been doing? I shrug it off and head to the supply closet.
A few minutes, and Clorox wipes, later the chair is clean and I head over to the trash can. As I throw the Clorox wipes in something at the bottom catches my attention. There, in the can, were the wipes I had used to clean off the previous blood droplets.
I knew that I had cleaned the chair, but where did the new blood come from? It must have been those kids, as the watery trail to the guard chair proved. The chair, however, tells a different story when I get back to it. There, on the armrest, are a few drops of blood.
A quick scan of the pool reveals that it is still empty, there’s no way any kids could have done it this time. It dawns on me, the blood is in little droplets, like it fell onto the chair. I slowly begin to look upwards and there, coming from the ceiling, is a very small, red, stain.
The ceiling is one of those paneled deals, with large sheets that can be pushed up to reveal the electrical and pipe work of the building. The blood is coming from the edge of one of those sheets. Sighing, I consider calling management, but I know it will take them weeks to do anything about it, probably some dead rodent, or maybe someone’s cat. Either way I don’t want disease ridden blood dripping on me, so I pull one of the plastic tables positioned around the pool under the dripping and climb on top of it.
I pull on some gloves, ready to clean up whatever it is, and then push the ceiling tile upward and slide it out of the way. I fully extent so my shoulders are completely in the ceiling. Only now do I realize I have no way of seeing anything in the dark, so I climb back down and get my phone. On the table again, I use my phone to light up the space. I see nothing at first, but as I turn around the light catches on something pale. My eyes widen in realization, it’s Joe, but this isn’t the Joe that I knew, this Joe is cold, pale, and very dead.
His entire throat is gone, torn out by who knows what, and on his face, is a small, bloody, handprint. Frantically calling for help on my phone, I stop when I hear a sound below me. Fear prevents me from moving as I hear giggling children and splashing in what had been an empty pool. I’m positive that I did not hear the pool door open.
The sound of splashing stops, it is replaced by the unmistakable sound of someone climbing out of the pool, followed by wet footsteps slapping on the pool deck. I’m stuck, frozen with fear, looking into the face of my dead co-worker as some unknown creature approaches me from the pool.
The footsteps stop, the only noise now is the low buzzing of the fluorescent lights, that and my terrified breathing. I don’t know how long I stand there, staring into the face of a dead man, too afraid to move. I’m pulled out of my terrified daze by something cold and wet grabbing onto my ankle. I freak out, I rip my leg out of whatever is holding onto it, but in the process I lose my footing. Falling onto the table I smack my head, as everything gets fuzzy and begins to fade into blackness I make out the silhouette of a child looking down on me. Unconsciousness rolls over me before I can do anything about it.
My eyes open and I’m still lying on the pool deck. The only sound is the continuous hum of the florescent lights, the initial grogginess wears off and I remember what happened. Rather than trying to stay and find out what happened, I do what I consider to be the logical thing and book it out of the pool. I sprint to the door and yank on the handle, it doesn’t budge. It’s not locked, the mechanism isn’t jammed, the door just refuses to move.
I’m thoroughly freaked out now, I walk back over to the lifeguard table, the ceiling tile is still pushed to the side, and there’s a significant puddle of blood near the lifeguard chair. Aside from making me gag it also makes me wonder how long I was out. A quick look at the wall clock reveals that it is seven in the morning, which means my replacement was due an hour ago. I lean over the schedule and read it to find that Ashley is supposed to be here. I think back to the phone call that brought me into the mess, which reminds me that I have my phone, how was I so stupid? I reach for it and hope to god that I can call for help, before my hand grasps the phone there is the sound of laughter and splashing in the pool behind me.
I really don’t want to turn around, that pool had just been empty and with all the crap going on I am quite positive that what I see in that pool will not be good, but curiosity wins out over fear, so I take a deep breath… and turn around.
The pool is empty, yet I still hear the sounds of children playing. The pool surface seems calm at first, but after a few seconds I start to make out a ripple in the center. The sounds of children grow louder, and as they do the ripples become more rapid. They keep getting louder and louder, the sounds of fun begin to turn to terror. The children’s screams no longer sound joyous, but horrified, blood boiling, like nails on a chalkboard. All the while the pool water becomes more disturbed, it’s no longer a ripple it is violently thrashing, starting to throw water onto the pool deck.. An impossible whirlpool begins to form in the pool, I stare in terror as a figure begins to rise out of the center.
At first it appears to be a child, but I instantly realize that’s wrong, it isn’t even human. Sure, it resembles a human, but it lacks any sort of color or distinguishable features, the figure is such a dark black that it almost seems to be two dimensional. I take an unconscious step back, my body desperate to be away from the creature, but my mind too captivated by the horror, and impossibility, of it.
Then it’s gone. No poof or anything, the figure that was in the pool is just gone. The screaming is gone, and the pool is no longer convulsing. I stand in shocked silence, eventually my mind recovers enough for me to move, again I decide to try the door. I turn to face it and I scream.
Something is coming through the door. “Holy shit, what is wrong with you, man?” Ashley says, staring at me like I’m crazy.
“You… The pool… Joe…”
“Damn Matt, the hell is up with you? Breath. ”
All I can think to say is, “You’re late.”
“Yeah man, so what, chill. It’s more money in your pocket anyway,” she says distractedly as her phone starts to buzz. She picks it up, “Hey, sup? Oh! Joe, you can take my day shift today? Hell yeah man! I owe you.”
How can she be talking to Joe? I turn to look back at the pool. Everything is normal, the pool deck is dry, there’s no blood dripping from the ceiling, even the table I had moved was back where it normally was. I’m pulled out of my daze by Ashley, “Yo, Matt, I got Joe taking my shift he should be here any minute. So I’m gonna head out. You should get some rest man, look like you seen a ghost or some shit.”
I just nod as she leaves, still staring dumbly at the very normal pool. A minute later the pool door creaks open behind me, “Hey Matt, how’s it going?”
He is alive, turning around and seeing him there made everything seem just a little bit better. All I can muster is to give him a nod and say, “Fine, I’m fine, Joe.”
Returning to my apartment I go straight to my bed and flop down face first. I must have had one hell of a dream, except it was so vivid. The last thing I do before I fall asleep is set my phone on the floor next to my bed.
Due to the fact that my phone is lying on the floor I do not notice it buzzing, just a text and first. Then multiple, then phone calls. It is not until eight hours later that I get up and check my phone to discover what is on it. Five new texts, all from Joe.
“Hey man, any idea where all these bloody Clorox wipes in the trash came from?”
“Matt, I know this sounds weird, but would you mind coming and keeping me company?”
“All right, there is some weird shit going on, I don’t know if this is some prank, but it ain’t funny man”
“Yo what the fuck is this? Answer my calls damn it, I know you’re doing this shit somehow”
The last text was from five hours ago. I get ready to go downstairs to try to check on him, a pit forms in my stomach as I see flashing red and blue lights in the parking lot. Three minutes later I am told by a police officer in the lobby that Joe was drowned in the pool and then seemingly had his throat cut. The only lead they have so far is a small, bloody hand print on his face.
I move to the other side of the country the following day.
Credit To – Teddy
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