She must have missed the memo. There was no one on her floor. It was completely still. Silent and empty, only the slightest sound of the heater cried. The doors began to slide shut. Greta held them. She was there, after all. She would work for a few hours, make up for yesterday, and leave. She stepped on to the floor.
An odor reached her nose. It was pungent; awful and ripe, it was nothing she had smelled before.
“Oh, god,” Greta said. She wondered if the fridge broke, but even that could hardly be reconciled as the cause. It wasn’t worth it, not with this smell. Greta promptly turned back to the elevator and furiously pressed on the button.
Greta caught something out of the corner of her eye. No. She felt her stomach drop. It was the feeling of hearing a lamp break at three in the morning, only a billion times worse. For a moment she felt frozen. She could feel her brain telling her to do things, reminding her of episodes of crime dramas, of forwards of basic safety, of things she read on the internet about self defense, but all she could do was stare at the elevator while looking at her peripheral.
She was dead. She was so dead. Greta turned her head just so she could see the person. Immediately she regretted it. It came before she could feel it coming. Greta rushed for the first place she could find, a desk. Not exactly a waste bin but still better than her shoes. All of the disgust, shock, misunderstanding, and a little bit of her breakfast, came up with two big heaves. For what reason even she couldn’t say, Greta wiped her mouth and looked back at the victim.
She couldn’t tell who the woman (if it even was a woman) was, she was so bloodied and torn apart. What kind of thing does that? It looked like an animal attack. Viscera was strewn about. Fluids leaked from her body. Her face was ripped up and mangled, her thighs appeared torn apart, bitten even. There was hardly any form of tissue left in the stomach. She was missing a neck. A neck.
Greta ran back to the elevator and pushed the button more furiously. What does one do with an entire neck? That’s not her problem. Let the police find the psychopath.
She heard a noise. Probably the heater. Nevertheless, Greta pushed the button more, but quietly. Somewhere distant there was a crash. It’s always a crash. Greta couldn’t find the courage to turn her head, so what crashed is a mystery. Maybe a window broke, maybe a desk was pushed, maybe a lamp fell, but the sound was too indiscriminate without a picture to be known.
There was another crash, this time closer. Greta stopped pushing the button and turned around, looking for a hiding place. There were cubicles and more cubicles, inside of which there were desks, not exactly the ideal place to hide.
She could hear it, whatever it was, getting closer. It wasn’t exactly graceful. She couldn’t hide in the cubicles. She didn’t have time to do a fancy air vent maneuver or the like. Was this how Greta died? It was only two days ago that she contemplated it. Why was she so scared? At least this way there was no shame. She might even be hailed a martyr.
She could hear it getting closer. She could take her chances with the cubicles. Or she could stay here and die. Its footfalls were getting louder, the crashes even more so. Greta creased her brow, it was odd that in such peril she would feel so calm.
The office! Her boss had a wooden desk and his doors lock. It was really the best choice given that the thing sounded only a few feet away.