Part 003: Glorified Babysitting
The beam of light from Jason’s flashlight did little to penetrate the darkness. A small cone of area was visible before him, with pitch black darkness all around. They were several levels underground so there were no windows or access to natural light.
Jason’s first instinct was to test the power switch by the front door. His fingers groped against the wall until they found the switch. It was already in the ON position. He flicked it off, then back on. He tried it again. There was no change. Either the lights weren’t getting any power, or they were all broken.
His heart pounded in his ears as he stepped deeper into the room. He struggled to keep his breathing under control as he followed the beam of light across the distant walls and checked under every piece of furniture he passed, working his way back to the holding cell.
The cell was intact; no bent bars or broken glass, and Jason was relieved. He stepped closer and flashed the light through the front window pane, panning it from side to side. His stomach sank with each second that passed as he realized that the child he was guarding was nowhere to be seen. The light settled on an object in the middle of the cell. Jason had passed it over as a piece of furniture, but, now that he thinks about it, there hadn’t been any furniture in there. He stepped closer to the glass, crossing the yellow line marked ‘DO NOT CROSS.’
It wasn’t furniture.
It was a vent cover.
Jason turned his light to the ceiling of the cell and found a small hole leading into the vents. It was directly in the center of the room with no means of accessing it without a ladder. No one could have climbed it; but there it was, a hole where there hadn’t been one before.
“Son of a bitch,” Jason muttered.
Bare feet pattered on the floor and Jason spun, raising his gun and his light toward the sound. He just missed seeing it, as a shadow darts sideways and out of the beam. He couldn’t tell if it was the child, or someone (something?) else. It moved too fast it was a blur. He turned his light to follow it but he couldn’t keep up. It was in front of him, but then he heard the patter of feet to his left and he turned toward it. Then it was behind him.
Jason saw a figure dart across the light. Was it a figure? Was it a shadow of a figure?
“Stop!” Jason screamed into the darkness. The figure sped through his cone of vision again. Did it just run up the wall? It wasn’t touching the ground. “Freeze! Stop moving!” His voice quavered, it cracked when he yelled.
He pulled the trigger.
The bullet struck the wall behind the shadow as it flew past him. He spun toward a new sound and he fired again, hitting an office chair. He fired to his right and heard glass shatter. Jason stumbled over his feet as he turned, he tried to run but crashed straight into a desk striking the corner with his thigh. He fell and sent his light and pistol sliding across the floor in different directions.
Jason got back to his feet immediately. He looked for the gun but it disappeared in the inky darkness, all he could see was the flash light; and the red eyed child standing motionless at the end of its beam. The child’s eyes were locked on him, then turned to focus on something over Jason’s shoulder. Jason turned his head to see he was looking at the door out into the hall. When he returned his attention back to the boy, the child turned up a corner of his lip and smiled.
Jason turned and ran.