Okay! Don’t look now… but I just busted the lock on 388.
Yeah, yeah. Don’t be so shocked!
As if you never slipped! – With a bolt cutter. On a lock.
I mean, come on… We’re on the same side here, aren’t we? We’re havin’ a little fun! You ’n me… Little snoopin’ round, little snuffin’ out. It’s what I do for livin’. No, I’m a part-time jacker. I know it’s not so reputable, but I ain’t a reputable man. So don’t bother.
I make my living with providing and renting storage units. And doing some stuff round here like fixing, cleaning, changing some bulbs from time to time. Not overly exhausting. I’m not exactly the janitor here. Well, yeah – that doesn’t sound like I thought it would. So… I hatch the units, till the day they’re abandoned. I crack them open and sell what’s inside. I just have to be on my toes. You know, Jack of all trades device. So I get my hands on anything! Literally anything. You wouldn’t believe what some folks have in storage… I had once an old lady with thousands of porcelain dolls hanging from the walls. Really creepy stuff. Really creepy ancient stuff, and’s brought me a lot of chump change. Striking lucky – sometimes.
That doesn’t hurt. At least it doesn’t hurt me. A man has to earn his livelihood. And what’s better than sitting on it, like a hen on eggs. You can have an omelette every day…
Which brings us to 388. This room has been rented for five years. Occasionally someone coming by unloading big boxes. Three month ago, the payments stop. I’ve checked all the papers, no one claiming anything. No one to contact, wrong phone number, no address, no post box. No nothing. Suits me. I wait a bit, and get some nice leftovers. I’m the patient kind.
The door of 388 opens smoothly. Consumed air greets me, like a bat greets teeth. Stinks of plastic and paint… I throw the switch, ’n neon lights hum to life. Oh, what a piece of junk! Man, what a shame… What are those? Looks like a bunch of ancient computers. I don’t think anyone will buy such outdated stuff off of me.
A wall like heap of screens flicker on, one after the other. What the- What’s all this gutted electronics, cables jammed into one big Gordian knot. Did it just move? Are rats in here? Maybe I’ve got to call pest-control.
The screens buzz with white noise. Something I’ve imagined to be hearing down the corridors. There is one plastic chair in front of the monitor wall, coated with dust. It seems to be waiting. – Funny…
That sound is spine crawling! So annoying, the hair on my neck stands on end. Feels like the skin on my back is too tight… Like… Man, I can’t even turn around properly. It’s like there is a storm brewing in here… Or someone standing behind me. Behind me! Behind-
Ugh, bad taste… Tastes like navel-lint…Tongue dry. Bone dry. Licking the floor? Why do I kip on the ground? What am I doing down here? That sound…
The monitors still vomit that noise on me. If only the room stopped spinning… I’ll throw up if it doesn’t stop- That damned noise! „Stop it!“ Why the fuck is it so hard to breathe?
„Voice command identified. Analyzing… Command not valid.“ Tinny. Mechanical words vibrated through my skull. Not valid… Where did that come from? Ah, sponge legs, jello arms. Can’t breathe. I catch my head with both palms. Doesn’t help- Stop it. My head wants to leave. It wants to leave so badly. The room moves. Where are my feet? I need my feet.
„Stop it! Stop it!“ Come on, focus! I have to get out! Stand up! Come on, stand up. Up, I say. Where’s the door? Grab the floor. Hold on. Push.
„Voice command not valid. Remaining: one try.“ The voice plunges into my ears, pulls my brain out, and stomps on it. So hard… Blood. I taste blood. Stop- I think I’m gonna throw up…
„- Help…“ I need- I… have to move.
„Voice command not valid. Critical state reached. Initializing security protocol. Automated shut-down in all areas in 900 seconds.“ The door. Must- move… Can’t see…
„Shit…“ Words fall out – of my… thing… Stomach. So numb… face.
„Morning, Paulsen. What do we have here?“ The tall man asks the uniform taking photos.
„Detective! When did you get back? The body, Harry Brack, forty-two, male, caucasian. Coroner’s been called off, but he says most likely natural cause. Maybe heart attack, maybe stroke. He says that the blood pool origins from an excessive nose bleed due to high blood pressure… He was found by his girlfriend. She’s in his office…“ Officer Paulsen flashes his biggest smile. The detective turns and nods a little nod. He walks down the corridor. “Hey, detective!” The tall man stops for a moment. “… Good to have you back!”