His fingers tapped against the cheap desk like a drumroll. He yawned for the twelfth time since his shift started.
Bill sat in the small heated office in the parking garage. The desk in front of him was cluttered, but he had cleared away the papers, candy wrappers, and magazines for enough room to lay his arm down. It looked like he had been placed there before the clutter, and it had simply grown around him.
A small array of security cameras were in front of him. Entryways, exits, elevators, stairways, and the V.I.P. section for the customers paying a little extra. They were still. It was 3AM.
With this shift, it was mostly a fight against sleep. The coffee would wear off at around this time, but his shift still had hours to go.
Only an hour left until three hours left, he thought.
Breaking up time into manageable chunks was the only thing that kept him going.
It was a good gig. He was lucky to have a cushy job, but nothing happened.
On this particular night, he had forgotten his book at home. After being late several times in a row, he had rushed out to work, forgetting everything except his uniform and coffee.
He would have to make a game.
Bill found some paper and folded it to a triangle like in his grade-school years. A small triangle, meant to be “kicked” like a field goal in football. The monitors had a small amount of space between them, and he figured it would be a long time before he would manage to flick this paper triangle through the small space.
Flick. It bounced off one of the monitors, falling into the pile of clutter.
Bill leaned forward, rooting through the trash, picked it up and lined up his target. He froze.
On the V.I.P. monitor there was a figure. Person-shaped and person-sized, but as still as a stone. It seemed to be darker than everything around it, almost like it was absorbing the light. Its eyes were pure white, like two burning flares.
His heart pounded, his breathing was speeding up.
It stood right where a passenger would be, if a car were in the parking spot.
Bill stared, eager for something to change. If it moved, he would call the police. Was it in his head? Was it a prankster?
His head shot around the barren parking lot like a frightened squirrel. Nothing, no movement.
After looking around, he swallowed hard, and then looked back at the monitor.
The figure stood. Waiting. Unmoving. Unblinking.
Bill’s mind raced. It was his job to confront this person. He had mace, a nightstick, a police radio. There was no reason to be so frightened.
But something about it was unnerving. Everything in his body was telling to run, except one thing: duty.
He stood up, keeping his gaze on the monitor, knowing he had to do his job.
Bill was out of shape, overweight, and passive by nature. He readied himself to make the call to the police.
As his hand raised, headlights swept across the small office. A sedan pulled up to the window and lowered the window. This was an unusual time for anyone to arrive, and almost no one requested the attention of him.
A man waited in a shiny, new, expensive car for him to respond. Bill slid the window open to talk to this person, hand on the police radio. He took one glance back at the monitor, and the figure remained.
“Hello,” Bill began.
The man stretched his arm out to him, cash in hand. It was a large sum, meant for only one thing: bribery.
“I was never here,” the man said.
There was a scowl on his face. He had facial hair that was unmaintained, and sunglasses on.
“I…” Bill started.
“I was never. Here. Understand?” the man thrust the money further towards Bill.
“Alright,” he said, eager to end the interaction.
He grabbed the money from the mysterious figure, and reached a hand to slide the window closed.
The man stopped the window from closing, and revealed a pistol in his other hand.
Bill might have wet himself, but this figure on the monitor had strengthened his resolve.
“Delete the footage after I have left,” he said, moving the gun in his hand.
“Understood,” Bill nodded.
“Good,” the man nodded back.
He placed the gun in the passenger seat, and raised his tinted window as he drove off.
Bill could not move. He could not speak. His hand was on the police radio, but a morbid curiosity kept him from pressing down.
On the monitor, headlights swept through the figure. Light ignored it, as if it were not there at all. The car pulled up and passed into the figure. It slowed, and the only movement bill ever saw of that dark, person-shaped thing was to turn and sit in the passenger seat of that car.
Bill’s eyes remained locked on that monitor. Time slowed.
After a few long seconds, the car screamed into reverse, hitting the truck next to it, scraping the side. It left the spot in a hurry, but continued back in a straight line, coming to a stop as its rear collided with the front of another sedan.
The alarms echoed to Bill. His hands went to his mouth.
Back on the monitor, lights flashed at different intervals on three different vehicles. Alarms sounded.
Bill held onto the mace, and he left the comfort of his little office. He stood in the middle of the driving path, looking down the long stretch of blacktop, the lights of the alarms reflecting off the concrete walls.
He stood, waiting.
All at once the alarms stopped. The lights stopped reflecting.
Bill took a step back towards the outside.
From the crash-site, the overhead lights began to dim. In a straight line to him, they dimmed until they grew dark.
It was coming.
He ran, for the first time in a long while. He ran out of the parking garage, into the barren streets.
Bill grabbed at the police radio, nothing but static.
Downtown, he thought, I have to get downtown, there’s people there.
As much as his body allowed, he ran, jogged and powerwalked towards the city center.
But the streetlights were cut out. Darkness fell, and his body was never found.