“Now, we’re leaving, buddy. Happy New Year!”Edwin said to Pierce with a big grin on his face, before heading out the door.
“Christ…” Pierce muttered to himself. This new year’s eve, he was to spend the night all by himself, sitting in the cold chair of the security room, with monitors flashing in front of his eyes — the same old tedious view of still objects in the laboratories.
56 year-old Pierce had gotten this job as a security guard at the Jefferson Scientific Research Center a couple of years ago, and he had enjoyed the numerous nights with his colleagues, playing card games during breaks and chatting at work. The job did not require much, only for him to monitor the laboratories through the screens, in case of a burglary, which had never happened before.
The night before, he and his colleagues were deciding on who would stay for the night on New Year’s Eve, and to Pierce’s dismay, Edwin and other colleagues unanimously agreed that he should do the shift, so that everyone else could go out for the New Year’s celebrations and parties. Pierce was disappointed and even had tried to reason with his boss on letting others take the duty, but to no avail. And there he was, alone, stuck with the lifeless equipment and their flickering lights, isolated from the rest of the world.
It was 16 minutes before Midnight, before the dawn of a brand new year.
Pierce was fidgeting in his chair with a magazine in his hands, he was feeling uneasy while watching the needle of the clock on the wall tick away every single second. He had never felt this nervous in a night shift before,
“It’s probably the freezing weather,” he said to himself, “why else would I fidget like never before?”
It was 3 minutes before Midnight, before the clock struck 12.
Pierce had dozed off in the midst of his feverish thoughts, and fell into a slumber. He felt more relaxed as he even smiled in his sleep, said “I’ll get my revenge, Edwin!”
Then the clock struck 12, happy new year!
There were noises outside the room, sounds of glass shattering, and water spilling, which echoed in the long and empty corridor. Pierce was roused by the disturbance. He rubbed his eyes and sat up in his chair. He immediately noticed that the lights had gone off, save the lights emitting from the monitors in front of him. He was shocked to find that monitors no. 3 and 12 went pitch black, he slapped the monitors to wake the machines, but it seemed that the monitors were functioning properly.
Realizing that there was trouble in the facility, Pierce grabbed his flashlight and pistol, and rushed out of the security room to check the laboratories. He soon found himself in complete darkness, with his vision shrouded by a light veil of smoke. He could not smell anything nor could he wade through the wisp of smoke. He turned on his flashlight and directed its gleam towards the unknown. He had passed a series of doors with numbers marked on them, and carefully he walked his way towards the door he had meant to find — Room number 6.
He reached out his trembling hand to grab the door knob and turned it as slow as he could. Before entering the room, he checked the corridor for the last time to make sure there was no sign of intruders.
Crack — as he walked into the dim blue-lit room, he stepped on a piece of glass on the floor, which made him almost leap into the air. He then saw opposite to him a giant glass water tank with tubes attached to it that had shattered into pieces. The specimen within it, supposedly gone, left a trace of gooey liquid on the ground that was not seen outside the room.
Pierce found it difficult to breathe as he contemplated on his career, he was to be blamed for this and be fired! Why would a group of burglars steal a piece of specimen of little value from the laboratories? And if so, he could not find the reason why the alarm was not set off when they broke into the lab. Was it really a burglary? Or was it something more unsettling?
Pierce searched through all nooks and crannies in the room for evidence of break-in. Yet there was nothing but translucent goo that stuck on the walls and floors, he had to cautiously tread over the liquid to avoid getting it on his shoes. And while he was struggling to pick a clean spot to step on, an alarm sounded and echoed across the corridor, red lights flickered violently in the mist. He immediately rushed off to the security room, where he found the monitors malfunctioning and behaviouring peculiarly, displaying footage from the past — of scientists conducting experiments in the very same room number 6 Pierce had entered just now. The scientists were experimenting on a humanoid with no face, nor any external organs. The creature shrieked as the scientists injected unknown chemicals into its body, its high-pitched shrill was ear-shattering and blood-stirring. Pierce covered his ears with his hands to try to block the distressing noise, only to find that the noise did not subside but amplified, as if it came from right behind him, approaching and creeping on him furtively.
Pierce suddenly felt a strange sensation that was icy and hot simultaneously — Warmth and chilliness merged and ran through his spine, like a pair of hands caressing his body. His hands and feet were numb and frozen, and his motionless body stood still helplessly. Pierce could not turn to meet his assailant, his fixed neck disallowed him to turn his gaze to his foe. He felt that his tongue was burning, and it was as if he was breathing fire through his trembling nose. His mind went in a spiral, which knocked him into a feverish confusion. He knew the creature in the footage had caught him, for a gooey and sticky liquid ran through his skin, and engulfed him entirely. He felt his skin was being chewed on, his bones gnawed, he could feel his strength being drained away from his body, until eventually, he lost the sense of touch, and fainted into eternal unconsciousness.
The next day, when Edwin and his colleagues returned they found Pierce’s body lying motionless on the floor, almost unrecognizable for all that was left was his bones and his torn uniform.