So, I figure I should mention that Bill still wears his ragged office clothes. But his red tie is immaculate.
Also, Debbie is kinda really cliche.
Chapter 2, in which a woman is scorned.
Two weeks after the harrowing experience with Bill and the "Whiptiger", as most of us around the office began to call it, business seemed to be back in full swing. According to some of the older workers, strange things happened at Moneycorp with quite a bit of regularity, though, never had a simple floor manager been elevated to the rank of "Demigod" so quickly. Shortly after the attack, Bill was fired because the higher ups deemed that his new appearance would "distract the other employees", but quickly changed their minds when they were assaulted in the parking lot by a murder of crows wearing fedoras and wielding briefcases, cawing out the words "Discrimination lawsuit!"
Bill himself seemed to be completely rejuvenated by the experience, he showed up to work early every day, his axe slung over his back, a fresh pot of coffee in his hand (his coffee intake had increased by quite a lot), ready to work. And not only did he work, he inspired the rest of us. Productivity in our department was at the highest it had been since anyone could remember. Everything was perfect on the seventy-fifth floor of the Money Corp building. That is, until Debbie showed up.
Debbie was transferred to our floor from the one hundred and eighth floor, for unknown reasons. She was a short, pudgy woman with curly brown hair and a penchant for wearing sweaters bearing "cute" pictures (barrels of kittens, a kitten hugging another kitten over the words "Best purrrriends", etc.) and pairs of black sweatpants. When I first laid my eyes upon this stump of a woman, a cold realization dawned on me. She was giving me "the eyes". Apparently my scrawny, five foot nine inch, one hundred and sixty eight pound form pleased her in some way, because from the moment our eyes made contact, she was within ten feet of me. She took every chance she could to regale me with obnoxious stories about her "children" (cats, if you were really so foolish as to expect anything else), tell me about the fabulous scarf she was currently knitting, or tell me how she used to be so "Naughty" and "into 'creepy' stuff". She talked at me through most of my breaks, often with her mouth full of food, making obnoxious chewing and grunting noises as she spoke. Bill did not fail to notice this, and I assure you, he took every chance he could to point out her strange infatuation with me. Almost every day he'd come to me, trying to stifle his giggles, tell me some new joke about how we were "purr-fect" for each other, then prance off back to his office, cackling madly.
The nonsense with Debbie carried on for about three months, her awkward advances becoming stronger and more frequent, and she began leaving me small gifts on my desk for me to find in the morning. While awkward, finding random plates of sugar cookies on your desk wasn't the worst thing in the world. That is, until they came with a note. In this note, she confessed her love with me, and how she longed for nothing but my "Sweet embrace". Within seconds, I was in Bill's office, tossing the plate of cookies and the note down onto his desk.
"Ooo! Sugar cookies!" he exclaimed, hurriedly shoving a handful into his mouth.
"There is an issue, Bill. Debbie has... Come forward. Read the note." I picked up the note and shoved it in front of his pale blue eyes. He scanned over it for a second, crumbs dropping from his slightly open mouth onto his ragged shirt. He then snorted quietly, which quickly turned into a chuckle, which quickly evolved into a guffaw. I waited patiently for Bill to stop his howling laughter, trying to ignore the tears running from his eyes as he bounced in his chair, trying to contain his merriment. Inevitably, he quieted down.
"So? What do I do?" I asked.
"What? Why would I know? Do you like her?" He asked, a sarcastic smile never leaving his face.
"No." I replied flatly.
"Then... I don't know, man." He said, laughing quietly while reaching for another cookie.
"I.. I just... She's so annoying! She talks about her cats as if they're her children! I don't understand how she can't grasp how mind rapingly obnoxious she is! Half the time she's talking to me, she's in the process of shoving food down her fa-" I fell silent, noticing a slightly shocked look on Bill's face as he looked past me.
"Oh.... Dude..." He said, quietly, cookie crumbs clinging to his mouth. I knew what I would see before I even turned. Debbie was standing in the doorway, a sad cliche, wearing a bright purple sweatshirt with a deep red heart covering the front. Tears were streaming down her cheeks as she stared at me. She turned away and ran towards the elevators. I let her go. Bill breathed in loudly through his teeth. "Wow, dude. Shit luck."
I spent the next week of work worrying, because Debbie failed to show up for work altogether, and I feared she had done something drastic. Then, one day when I was in Bill's office chatting with him about her strange disappearance, I caught a glimpse of someone through Bill's office window. It was Debbie, but... Different. Her hair was greasy and ratty, and patches had fallen out. She looked extremely sick, her skin pale and her eyes were sunken. She was staggering slightly, and there was a distant look on her face. I stepped out of Bill's office and stood in front of her.
"Listen, Debbie, I just wanted to tell you that I'm really so-" rather than stop to look at me, Debbie just plowed into me, looking almost as if she didn't realize I was standing in front of her. In the small bustle that ensued, a small black leatherbound book and a large can of salt fell from her purse, among other things. "Uh... Are you okay?" I asked her as I knelt down to help her pick up her things. She looked up at me, her eyes focusing for only a moment before she grunted and grabbed her things from me. Silently, she trudged her way to the bathroom.
She spent an hour in the bathroom before one of the women in the office tried to go in and check on her, only to find the door locked. We gave her another twenty minutes before Bill and I decided that enough was enough and decided to go check on her ourselves. An awful smell assaulted our nostrils as we came close to the door, and the office lights seemed to dim a bit.
"Debbie?" Bill called out as he knocked on the door with his gauntlet covered hand, producing an oddly tinny thud. "Are you okay in there?" Suddenly, there was an odd noise that sounded almost like radio static, and the air smelled of burning metal. There was a low, far away moan that, slowly, began to increase in pitch.
"I... I think we're in trouble..." I said to Bill, who nodded and turned back towards the main area of the office.
"Alright, everyone, there's something very weird going on, as I'm sure you all can tell, so you're all going to be able to leave now. I would highly recommend doing so as soon as possible." He yelled, through cupped hands.
Most people, who were already in the process of packing their things, took this chance to pack up and leave. By this time, the moan had become a shriek, and it sounded like it was getting closer. Panicked, I turned to Bill, who had drawn his greataxe that he kept slung over his back.
"Bill... There... There's a noise, Bill. It's getting louder, Bill." I said, worriedly.
"Yes, Bard, I hear it. It is quite loud." He responded, looking around him.
Then, as soon as it started to become unbearable, the shriek faded, and as it did, the room became blurry. It felt as though someone had dropped a blanket over the office that made the air feel thick and taste like copper. My eardrums felt as if they had popped, and I had to stagger to keep from losing my balance. Bill, too, was obviously suffering as well. And then, the feeling stopped.
"Well," Bill said, leaning against his axe, "that wasn't too bad, now was it?" And, as if in response, the lights all simultaneously went out, plunging the entire office into darkness. The only source of light was now Bill, his eyes and face were glowing bright enough to give us a small ring of light.
"You get brighter in the dark?" I asked.
"Apparently." Bill said.
"Huh. Handy. It's been a while, you'd think you'd know that by now."
"Yep. But I didn't."
"Right, well, there are currently more important things to deal with than getting Debbie out of the bathroom, even though I am starting to suspect that she may have done someth-"
There was a thud, out in the darkness. A loud, ragged breath followed shortly after. There was the sound of something dragging, and another loud, ragged breath.
"B-Bill?" I whimpered.
"Yeah, Bard?" He responded, sounding equally terrified.
Wheeze. Quiet moan. Drag.
"I... We... Light. We need light." I whispered.
Wheeze. "Tuh-...Thoooommm..." a quiet, raspy voice called out from the darkness. Drag.
I clutched onto Bill's arm as he managed to say "Flaresmyofficemovequickly" in the span of a second.
Sprinting after Bill as quickly as I could while remaining quiet (which, looking back, was pointless, as my comrade's face was glowing), we quickly made it to Bill's office. Bill hurried to his desk and grabbed a pack of flares from his desk. The dragging, wheezing, moaning sound was far too close for me to be anywhere near comfortable.
"Why do you have flares in your desk?" I whispered to Bill as he tossed me one.
"Why don't you have flares in yours?" he asked.
Silently, we both walked to the door, lit the flares, and tossed them. They landed fairly near to each other, creating a small circle of red light. I began to clench my hands in fear as the source of the noise came closer to the flares. And then I saw it. A stretched hand with greasy, bloated skin entered the circle of light first, a dim outline of something more sinister behind it.
The creature pulled itself into the ring of light, revealing itself fully. It looked about eight feet long, with slimy, pale, bloated skin. It's body resembled that of a slug, with four long arms with skin that looked like it had been pulled tight over the muscle and bone, even looking ripped in a few places, displaying moving muscles and bone. It's gruesome head came to a point and had a long, vertical slit in the front and five milky eyes with wide pupils. It had long, ratty black hair that reached far down it's back. Using it's long arms to push itself up, it towered over us and the vertical slit opened wide, revealing a gaping mouth with jagged black teeth.
"Thom-.... Thomas Bard..." it groaned, three of it's five eyes fixed on me, the other two on Bill.
Without turning my head, I quietly whispered "I'm too scared to shit myself, Bill."
Suddenly, the hideous monster reared back and raised one of it's hands high, then brought it slamming forward into Bill, pinning him to the wall behind him. Without hesitation, it reached another hand forward and wrapped it's grotesque hand around me, lifting me. It pulled me closer to it's horrible maw, the foul stench of it's breath making me wretch violently. In a moment of clarity, I looked down at the beast, and realized that, wrapped around it's chest, was a tattered sweater bearing the image of a kitten with three legs, standing proudly over the words "Nobody's purrfect!" I coughed out a strained laugh as the monster's grip tightened and it pulled me into it's mouth, leg's first. Realizing that I was being eaten, I quickly yanked my legs up and began to kick the creature in it's head, rupturing one of it's hideous eyes with the heel of my shoe. Shrieking, the creature shuddered and released it's grip on Bill, who promptly hacked off several of it's fingers. Black, clotted, oily blood flowed freely from the creature's now multiple wounds. As it's grip tightened on me once more, I managed to cough out the word "Help" before the air was crushed from my lungs.
Bringing his fingers to his mouth, Bill let out a loud, shrill whistle. Almost instantly, the temperature in the room dropped drastically. A thick fog covered the floor as snow began to fall from nowhere in particular. The sound of wolves howling in the distance was heard. Heavy canine breathing was heard and the sound of snow crushed under running paws approached us. With a mighty bellow, Bill drove his axe into the monster's arm, severing it completely. I was sprayed with a geyser of disgusting blood as I dropped to the floor. The beast, howling with rage, grabbed Bill in two of it's hands and brought him to it's mouth, sinking it's teeth deep into his torso. With a grunt of pain, Bill's axe fell from his hand, and he resorted to punching the creature, each hit making a disgusting wet thud. Without warning, two very large wolves, leaped from of the darkness, their fur sprinkled with snow, and landed on the creature's back, snarling and barking viciously as they began to bite and rip at it's flesh.
The monster howled again and dropped Bill, who promptly grabbed his axe and drove it deep into the beast's chest. It's eyes went wide and blood began to pour from it's mouth as it made a sickening gurgling sound. It shook the wolves from it's back, whirling to smack one with one of it's giant hands. The wolf yelped loudly and flew a few feet through the air before landing hard on it's side and laying still. The beast began to drag itself towards me, gurgling and wheezing my name, leaving a large pool of blood behind it. Bill, in a frenzy, began to hack at the monster's back, over and over, screaming madly, viscera splashing his face. After about a minute's worth of hacking, the beast finally laid still. Shaking the blood from the head of his axe, Bill walked over to me and helped me to my feet.
"So... Wolves and snow?" I asked.
"...Apparently, Yeah." he responded.
By this point, the still standing wolf had approached it's comrade and began to nudge and whine at it. Honestly, I was worried that the fallen wolf had been killed, but, thankfully, it stood up and shook itself off. My happiness was quickly replaced with a cold fear as the giant wolves turned towards Bill and I and began to pad silently towards us.
"They're nice, right?" I whispered.
"Jeez, I hope so." Bill responded, tightening his grip on the axe.
The wolves, now close, approached cautiously, their eyes focused on Bill. They stopped for a moment, then slowly lowered down to their bellies and slowly crawled toward Bill, whining quietly and snuffling at his feet. He reached down and patted one on the head, then laughed.
"Well, I've been wanting a dog." he said as they both stood up and wagged their tails, watching him intently. I approached them slowly, looking over them. One had mostly black fur, with a white stomach and chest. The other was completely gray. The wolves both had eyes that didn't match, the black one sporting one green eye and one light blue, the other a gold and a light blue. Both of them came up to my chest when I was standing up straight, and were about to the middle of Bill's stomach.
"We're not done, you know." I said to Bill, who was now kneeling in between the wolves' heads, rubbing their necks and faces.
He sighed and said quietly "I know, Bard. Let's go see what happened to the poor fool."
We walked to the bathroom, holding our flares high over our heads, the wolves following closely behind, sniffing excitedly at their new surroundings, occasionally nipping playfully at each other and barking quietly. I looked over at Bill, who was absentmindedly scratching at his side, where the wounds from the bite had apparently already healed. The smell near the bathroom was still rancid, bad enough to make the wolves stand back and watch, rather than approach the source. The snow and fog had faded, and the air no longer felt heavy. Not even bothering to attempt to unlock the door, Bill kicked it in, and we were assailed with the scent of rotting flesh and feces. Gagging loudly, we both used our ties to cover our mouths and noses as we entered the bathroom.
Salt covered the floor in a rough circle around a stall, and as we approached, we heard a quiet gurgling sound. Using his axe to push open the door, I was greeted with a sight that made me close my eyes tightly for a moment, before my curiosity got the better of me and made me look again. Debbie's corpse was sitting on the toilet, her head hanging back limply with her mouth open, a foul sludge slowly flowing from it. Her arms hung loosely at her side, deep grooves carved into them, forming fearful runes. The black book was open in her lap, a charcoal drawing of the creature that now lay dead in the office. I ran my fingers through my hair, and looked at Bill, who looked back at me, sadly.
"Well," I said, "Now I just feel like a dick."