“WHAT THE-?! DID YOU SEE THAaachkkkrrsshhhh-”
What? Cracking. What did he say? Screeching. A loud bang…
The walkie-talkie falls silent. Tssk. I hate it when he does that. The burnt down cigarette ash falls into the tray. Fingers sweaty. Why does it always has to be me?!
I scan over the surveillance monitors. All cameras working properly. Empty rooms and corridors – Nothing unusual… Except for Benny. Who’s not showing up – anywhere. Where did he go? On duty?
Taking a piss or something? This is just peachy… Here we go. Another night with Captain Bonkers! Hiding in some camera blind spots. I didn’t sign up for this! Isn’t it enough to watch the museum? Do I have to watch him too?
Such a moron! He’ll try to lure me out, and spook me. As he did with poor Bertram. Scared shitless that old geezer nearly had a heart attack… Why does he have to turn my shifts into trouble? The sip of hot coffee burns my tongue and palate. I take my feet from the table and shift with the chair, back into normal position. Dammit.
“Benny?“ After a moment, quiet static. I’m too old for this crap. Calm down, just breathe… “What’s up? Over.” No answer. Nothing.
He thinks the whole museum is his prop box… Switching name tags on the exhibits, loosening screws on other’s chairs, replacing sugar with salt… He seriously thinks he’s funny.
Last year, we had a Halloween incident, where he arranged a tea party – with mummies. I didn’t even notice him doing it, almost cost me my job. That blockhead is not allowed in the Ancient Egypt Section anymore…
Neither am I.
“Benny?!“ Nothing. “Where are you hiding?“ I wished he’d cut out that crap.
He has just started his sweep ten minutes ago. Cellar, depot, entrance. That’s his routine. Same time, same order. That’s the deal.
I take first to third floor, and the rooftop. “…Benny?!” Nothing. “Benny? You copy?“ No answer. Crap. This isn’t funny! I’ll be damned… If I get fired for some stupid stunt he’s pulling, I swear I- “BENNY! I swear, if you jump at me when I walk out of this room, I’m going to kill you!“
Statics. How can a single person be so annoyingly stupid? Still nothing on the surveillance monitors. Suddenly, the walkie-talkie comes to live.
“John…?” The voice is distorted, as if from far away… Strange – There he is! Second floor? What’s he doing up there? “Johhhoohhhkanyooooouushhhhhhhzzzshhhme?… John?” Benny’s hysteric voice filters through the statics. Something’s wrong!
He sounds – he’s going to freak out any moment. “JOHN! Stayayaytchstkkksssshhhhhh help me… krrrrchh…saiddd kchshsshhlllp me!” Silence. Over the screen, I see him waving and gesturing frantically. What is it? What’s he trying to say?
Something’s moving… A big fuzzy dot appears in the corner of the corridor he came from. What is that? What the devil is that? Dark and blurred. Four legs… Benny stops waving, turns his head, as if he heard something. He looks back at me.
Benny! Never seen him this terrified. This isn’t a joke! In a blink, a huge four legged thing tackles him. Both fly from the view field of the camera.
Mug falls. Coffee seeps into my shoes. The camera in the room picks him up. Thrashing. Fighting. That thing… It – it pulls him into the corner.
My feet know the way. They pump like my heart races.
What the hell is that creature?
Up the stairs. Gut twitching screams of pain and agony.
Oh God! Never heard anyone scream like that…
Those screams- they stop abruptly –
(to be continued…)