"Grave Shift"

Introduction


I was working as a part-time janitor at my community college. It wasn't glamorous, but it paid well, and I needed something to help pay the bills. The folks were nice, but the other students never truly appreciated our work… Here I am, making it sound like a work of art. You see some strange things during the day. Not every day a student breaks down from a work-overload, or a break-up or the like… the drama can be as tedious as it is thrilling. But after that last assignment, I'm going to have to say, the drama can't compare to what happens here at night.

It was April 23rd, my best friend's birthday. I had gotten him a gas card and a few collector's cards. Yeah, I know… I'm a poor gift-buyer. Normally for a twenty-first birthday, I'm supposed to be buying him booze at the local town bar, like everyone and his brother. Just some cards and some gas… well the gas card I suppose was a necessity nowadays, but seriously. Besides, I didn't tell him I had a shift that night… it was my first night on the third-shift… the night shift. And as I said… you wouldn't believe the crazy stuff that goes on.

My supervisor, Paul, had instructed me to do rounds in my own residence hall. He's a good guy, that Paul… he had maybe three times the years I had of breathing the same smoggy air. He liked to take things laid back, but no matter what, whatever needed doing got done under his watch. He wanted to ease me into the new shift and hoped he got me a sweet gig.

Chapter One


Location: Ferdin Hall Date and Time: Sunday, April 23rd - 11:12 PM.

Darkness. I should be sleeping right now under six comforters… this place is so dead at night. My mini-flashlight attacked to my keyring could surprisingly light up a good area ahead of me. I sigh as I begin my work, flicking on the light… Strange… I fidget with the light switch, but the lights refuse to come on. I sigh, irritated. Those kids up on second floor must've shattered another light fixture or something…

…But then why would it keep the other four lights from coming on?

I shake my head and carefully head into the maintenance closet. My flashlight dims a moment, but I'm more focused in finding the right florescent bulb. I kneel down and find the right watt bulb, but as I pull it out of its case, I hear a scratching coming from inside. Careful not to damage the bulb further, I crouch down to ease it out.

"SCREEEEEAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHGH!"

Jumping back, holding the bulb in hand, I reach for my flashlight, only to shine it to nothing but a closet space. A hand appears in my field of vision, gesturing to help me up… though I didn't think I could have been more startled than I was.

"Paul, quit it, man! Someday I'm gunna tell Ray about all the shenanigans you put me through." I smile and sigh in relief. I take the hand graciously and shine the light at Paul as he pulls me up.

"Alright, next time I won't help you up, kid," Paul grimaced, "Especially if you treat our bulbs like that. You know how much those cost?"

The bulb was not only scratched, but shattered. I would have guessed a nail of some sort, but that noise I heard couldn't have been that… It was more like a screaming… child, I guess. I shivered, "Sorry about that, I guess I got a little too enthusiastic. Any idea who's been tinkering with the lights?"

Paul raised an eyebrow and flipped the light switch. The entire floor became illuminated, causing me to cover my eyes in the sudden brightness. I open them to a room of blood and gore, with Paul's lifeless corpse hanging from a hook attached to the ceiling. I blink in a panic, only to find my imagination's running away with me again… Paul smiled at me from behind the Resident Assistant desk.

"Ready to get started, Johnny?" He grinned, "Start off with the basement, with the washers and dryers, someone spilled detergent. After that, pretty much the plan is to die of boredom… nothing much to do after that."

"Oh, joy…" I remarked, "Well, this place isn't going to clean itself. Let's get started."

Chapter Two


The thick stench of mold and bleach entered my lungs as I made my way to a back room, a half-flight of stairs toward the basement. One of the other employees I worked with had this area before, and didn't no how to properly take care of his equipment. A nervous shiver sent me hesitantly away from his work-station after remembering the others joking about him having something living in his mounds of mold and build-up. I figure I'd have better luck finding rinse-water elsewhere…

The light-switch for the downstairs worked at least… an old flickering light fixture slightly swaying back and forth as if there were a calm breeze pushing against it. Every now and then, it gave a rusty creak that didn't help make the place any less creepy. Looking to the ground, sure enough, the floor drain was clogged. Something caused a thick half-inch floor-wide pool of this red detergent of some sorts. It had a strange odor to it that I couldn't place and was thick and concentrated enough to be molasses. This stuff could wash the color out of skin… And nowhere in sight was a mountain of bottles that could fit all this liquid, yet a small crate ould possibly…

Looking to my direct right, I spotted the jackpot. An entire palette of cardboard boxes, the bottoms oozing with detergent. As I stepped near, the thick odor vanished, masked under a completely new and horrifically repulsive odor… it smelled like… death. Decomposition to be exact, suddenly remembering the same smell from some oozing project back in my High-School Biology class… but nothing like this! I felt contaminated just for breathing in the fumes…

I took two steps to run upstairs to report the origin of the mess when I found my left leg suddenly restrained. looking down, I spotted that the detergent was beginning to gather… and build. I tried without success to shake it off, as the ooze began to crawl up my leg. I made little progress upstairs, but a light switch was just a hand's distance away. Okay, I'm willing to believe anything, now… if this is how desperate I have to be…

The slime passed my knee and on one side, reached up to try to pull at my hip. My hand hit the light switch just as I slipped on a oily stair and fell backwards into the slime. I landed with a sort of splash, lights fully illuminating the basement now, the detergent very slowly vanishing into the floor drains. Whatever I did, unclogged it. I looked at my leg and shivered. There was no denying something attacked it: slime was everywhere… and not the good kind of slime that could be washed out with water and a good rinse cycle. I didn't know what to make of this kind…

As I shuddered at the sheer grotesqueness of what had happened, I marched upstairs to change. I passed Paul along the way and told him the drained were unclogged, and a good rinse is all that was needed to do.

Chapter Three


((Coming Soon!))

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