Greta pressed the door shut, slowly and gently. The door made a soft clank as it met with its frame. She held her breath as she turned the bolt, each rotation seemed to echo the whole building. As she made the final rotation and the bolt entered the wall, with a rush like a wave crashing on the beach the magnitude of her situation came flooding. Greta faced the room with conviction, resolved to leave the building alive.
“Oh—” Greta covered her mouth, hoping nothing had heard her outburst. She plastered herself against the door and, though the thing was solid, kept trying to move backward. The office was drenched in blood and viscera. The ceiling was dripping some indiscriminate fluid. Intestines were strung about like some grotesque garland. Atop some papers lie a neck, as though it were a paperweight.
Outside and too close for comfort, a crash along with a grunt sounded. Greta startled and jumped away from the door. “What have I done?” Greta whispered, stepping over torn and maimed carcasses in an attempt to find shelter. Her hiding place was the beast’s lair.
The door handle shook. Everything in the room became a tunnel as her eyes met the shaking knob. She was frozen, terrified, and mesmerized by the knob. There was something on the other side of that door shaking the handle. The same thing that tore apart all the bodies, stripped them of their viscera and god knows what else. That thing wanted in, it wanted her.
She shook her head, focusing away from the shaking knob. There was no place to go, no where to hide. Bodies were strewn everywhere. In piles. Greta was center in a graveyard and she was the only live thing, surely someone would want to rectify that.
It was like some macabre jingle bell, the shaking knob. It almost sounded like Jingle Bells, too. She always like Jingle Bells, it was an easy song to remember. Not like Rudolph, with all the tricky lines added about Columbus. Not like the one about Santa’s reindeer, too many names to remember. Why was she thinking about this now? She didn’t even celebrate Christmas.
Greta dropped to the floor. It was instinct. Or maybe it was cowardice. As if the two were different. Whatever it was, it saved her life. At least for those few seconds it did. The door burst open and she dropped to the ground, amid the bodies and blood. Perhaps it was latent survival instincts. She did watch a lot of zombie movies. In the movies the people would apply the blood and viscera of other zombies so that they blended in. Greta didn’t have time to apply anything, but being on the floor was enough for things to… seep in.
Camouflaged among the dead, she was reminded of hide and seek. Greta would try her best to stay as quiet as a mouse, so that meant holding her breath. Somehow she breathed louder. Her breaths became like the echoing of wind against the cave walls. It was just she alone with her breathing in whatever dark cupboard she chose to hide; the arhythmic hup hup hups as she tried to stop. The cupboard doors would burst open and flood with light as she was found. Greta always blamed it on her obnoxious breathing.
Alice, one of her coworkers, is next to Greta. There is no mistaking it’s Alice. Though Alice’s is throat ripped out and her eyes aren’t blinking. The baby Alice was carrying is missing too, cut from her belly it seems.
A shoe stepped between Alice and Greta. Greta again is reminded of hide and seek, as she tries to stay her breathing. She was not expecting a shoe. She was expecting a paw. A big, vicious paw to belong to a big, vicious animal because no human could do this—
“Mr. Wildenblat!” Greta hoped to god she had said that in her mind. Her boss, the man too afraid to talk to someone about being tardy was looking right at her, covered in other peoples’ blood. He looked inhuman. His face was torn, bits of bone showing where his nose once was. His eyelids were red and raw. His teeth were stained red. Mr. Wildenblat leaned in to Greta, sniffing with his bone and blood nose.
He bolted off. Greta didn’t think twice. She saw a gruesome, ignoble death when he stared at her. If he looked back, if he changed his mind, if he followed her… Greta ran for the stairway and didn’t look back.