I froze, motionless, like a pillar of salt; and for a moment, I stood there in the pitch black. Terror crawled up my spine and seized my heart in its jaws. I stifled a scream and gripped the handrail with fear-induced rigor. It seemed to me then that a wave of rage pushed up the stairwell from the pit below. My knees quivered and threatened to give out, and a voice—my voice—steadily increased in both pitch and volume, a blood curdling scream in my mind until it beat inside my skull like a jack hammer.
And then, ever so slowly, grayness seeped into my vision as my eyes adjusted somewhat to the black. And just as slowly, the dark receded to that dull heavy gray that one sees late at night when no streetlamps are near. My thundering heart slowed to a weighty thumping and I found that I’d been holding my breath.
I exhaled and inched my way down the steps, continuing my death-grip on the steel rail. At last I reached the landing. To my left, the stairs continued downward into the darkness. To my right, there was another door, solid and nearly invisible in the shadows.
I fumbled for the knob then pushed open the door. Outside the stairwell, the darkness lifted a bit, the open parking level empty and lit by firelights. I stepped into the place and spied my car. As I did, a feeling of being watched decended on me, the observer malevolent in intent—or so my imagination told me. I looked about for my watcher, and witnessed nothing amiss that I could immediately identify. Nothing at all.
Mine was the only car left and no soul could be seen. No sound, but the whine of the elevator’s machinery which sent the floor beneath me to vibrating ina strange, surreal way.
I gripped my satchel closer to me and stepped lively toward my car, pushed along by the growing uncertainty about this unseen force. My footfalls echoed around the hollow chamber, like the beating heart of some monstrous creature from my childhood memories.
What could cause such anxiety?
A movement—a strange sensation brushing past me again. I felt it plain as anything—and no breeze down here in the garage on which to blame it this time. Yet, nothing was here. Strange breathing rushed on my neck from the emptiness behind me. It was warm and smelled of rot. I nearly vomited. Yet, when I turned, I still saw nothing.
I accelerated to a run. Goose flesh rose over my neck and arms. Whatever was following me felt closer. And closing fast. I stepped up my run, sprinting now.
Only twenty feet. Its breath was hot on my neck, and close.
Ten feet. Clawed hands scratched over my arms.
I fled faster. I dropped my case, my beath coming in short, violent gasps of air. I was suffocating with the fear. my footfalls hammered in time with my heart, echoing like a roar through the enclosed space. Oh God! Was I to die here?
The thought had no sooner crossed my mind, when at last, I reached my car.