We’ve been having a hell of a snow-dump the last two days here in Prince George, and I couldn’t resist the spooky potential of being trapped by the elements. I suspect I’ll be riffing on this a lot the next while.
The wall of glass doors in the lobby perfectly showed the snow piled up to about Wilson’s height.
“So I guess we’re stuck here.” Wilson told Byron, coming back into the apartment just a minute after leaving and telling him about the blocked door.
“Fun!” Byron joked acidically, “like the winter vacation of our nightmares.”
“Are you that sick of me already?” Wilson asked, dripping with faux-drama.
“You know I am!” Byron replied, with his best soap opera Dame voice, “If we’re stuck here much longer… I might just kill you.” On the word “kill,” the lights and appliances all suddenly turned off.
“Wow. All that with the power of your voice.” Wilson said, prompting an oddly masculine bark of laughter from Byron, who then assumed the look of a cat who has startled itself while grooming. Wilson spoke through a wide smile, “I’m going to go check on Michelle and Darius, make sure they’re ok for food and supplies.” He fumbled the winter coats aside hung his work backpack on its hook on the back wall of the closet, then stepped back out into the pitch-black hallway. “Oh. Right.” He said to himself. “That’s okay. We can feel our way up the stairs.” Byron approached and his face hovered over Wilson’s shoulder for a moment, looking out into the black tunnel of the hallway.
“Can you stay here?” he whispered urgently. Wilson looked over and saw worry and primal fear on Byron’s face, the sight of which dropped a bloom of bitter bile into his stomach.
“It’s okay. I’m just going up a few floors, I promise to use the railing and not fall down the stairs.” He said, working to keep his voice light, but Byron’s hand closed tightly around his jacket.
“I’m serious. Please don’t go wandering around—“ at that moment, the emergency light switched on in the centre of the hallway, across from the elevator, and the darkness scuttled away from it, huddling in the doorways and corners.
“See. There we go.” Byron was still staring down toward the far end of the hallway, desperately hoping that he was imagining that humanoid form in the light again. But then he felt it notice him, and the brightest area of light started to move jerkily toward their end of the hall. Byron stopped breathing, and tugged on Wilson’s jacket, still clenched in his fist, when Wilson made a move toward the staircase door. The light was about halfway to them from the centre of the corridor, and Byron continued tugging and tugging on Wilson’s jacket as it twitched closer and closer. It reached them and Byron felt a horrible, almost electrical sort of warmth tighten around his body, then enter him. A low hum filled his ears and he heard the sound of distant screaming, until he realized Wilson was gripping his shoulders and shaking him, and his mouth was gaping, and his throat was starting to hurt. All of a sudden, the light and the sound and the electric sensation dissapeared and he was back in the shadowy end of the emergency-lit hallway with Wilson, screaming at the top of his lungs. He swallowed the yell just as several heads poked out from darkened doorways down the length of the hall to stare.
“I’m so sorry. I… startled my husband while he was in the hallway… in the dark. Looking for me… from the other end.” Wilson gently pushed Byron ahead of him back into the apartment and closed the door. “Jesus Christ, what the hell happened? Are you ok?”