Fresh Air – Flash Fiction

Fresh Air

By L. A. Campbell

The constant rattle, that intrusive low din, and the ever present migraine inducing banging noise. The air conditioning in this office is older than me I swear. It sounds like ten generations of rats are living up there, going about their daily ratty business in a most uncivilised manner.

Sitting behind my now overly sparse desk, sanitised as per the office ‘tidy-desk’ policy, I contemplate my existence in this world. I try to convince myself there is a reason for all of this, all the while pulling an ugly gurning face as I go through the daily motions, repeating the mundane tasks as if I am a programmed robot, mumbling under my breath as I type meaningless emails to my faceless colleagues.

“BANG” I look up, the loud intrusive bang a welcome distraction from my vacuous task. It sounds like the air con people are here again, fixing – to use the term loosely – the ageing system. Just one problem with that, there is no one here; the air con people were here yesterday repairing it. There are no cars outside, nor any work vans. I am all alone here.

“BANG” a second loud bang, louder, it’s getting closer to me. I can see the ceiling panels expand and contract with the motion. What is this?

A rattle louder than overhead thunder. I jump up from my chair, alarmed by the closing chaos. I thought I was all alone here.

Backing myself up, unnerved both by the ensuing commotion and my own fears of loneliness and isolation, I instinctively want to run and hide in one of the less than appealing bathroom stalls.

Resisting my urge to flee and cower, a somewhat sensible option, I instead drag my chair over towards my doom. I pull myself up onto the filing cabinet and slowly lift one of the ceiling tiles, revealing the inner workings of this old and somewhat deteriorating shell.

Raising myself up, my tiptoes dancing off the edge of the cabinet, all the while looking around for what I hope are the repair men that I have just missed coming in. It all seems quiet, too quiet, just an empty space above the misery of day to day working life, followed by an even emptier feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Just as I turn to lower myself back to the mundane, I sense something. Turning, I am hit with the force of a truck, knocked backwards from the chair, my back crunching as it hits the corner of a desk. I barely manage a scream, a silent whimper, before I am overcome. Then there is nothing, just blackness and silence. I am one with the darkness now.

No more mundane. I wonder if my boss will even notice.

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