I Shouldn’t Have Brought Him Along

This story takes place when I was working part-time as a security guard when I was in university. It was a seven-story rental building, and the security office was on the first floor facing the front entrance. The system was set up so that before the elevator on each floor there was a security camera, and those were all monitored in the security room downstairs. My job consistently most of watching the monitors and occasionally patrolling around each floor.

One night, I was working with A-san, who’s in his thirties. I finished patrolling at 1 a.m. and returned to the security office. A-san was staring at the monitors.

“The monitor for the fourth floor’s gone completely black. Maybe the lights in front of the elevator cut out?” he said.

“Ah, so it has. I didn’t see the lights out on any floors though…” I replied.

The lights in the stores were off at night, but so we could see things, there were lights in front of the elevators.

“I’ll go have a look,” A-san said and left the room. I found it strange, but didn’t think much more of it. I sat down and started writing in the daily records. When I was done, I looked over at the monitors. The fourth floor was pitch black. It wasn’t like the lights had blown, it was more like the camera itself was broken. I left as well to inform A-san of my suspicions.

When I arrived at the fourth floor, the light in front of the elevator was on. So it really was the camera, I thought and looked around, but A-san wasn’t there. I called out for him and went down the stairs to the emergency door, but he wasn’t anywhere to be seen. All of the stores were locked, so he couldn’t have gone in any. How odd, I thought, and took the elevator back to the first floor.

A-san was already back in the security office.

“The lights on the fourth floor were still working. The camera’s broken. Where did you go?” he said.

“I went to the fourth floor to tell you that! Where did you go?” I replied.

“My bad, my bad. We need the model number of the camera to get it fixed, so could you go have a look?” he asked.

“Sure…” I replied.

I left and pressed the button for the fourth floor. Just before the door was about to close I suddenly put my hand out and ran from the elevator. The camera was on the wall near the roof, so I’d need a ladder. I returned to the security office to grab it.

A-san wasn’t there. I exited the room again, wondering what the hell I was going to do with him, when suddenly I realised. When I was looking for him on the fourth floor… why didn’t we run into each other? There was only one elevator in the entire building. There were emergency stairs on the outside, but the doors were locked from the inside, so there was no way he could open them from the outside. My suspicions soon changed to fear.

Holding the ladder, I froze when I suddenly heard footsteps outside the security office. I quickly locked the door.

It rattled.

“I’m sorry, but, A-san, is that you?” I screamed.

More rattling.

“I’m sorry! A-san? A-san is that you? Answer me!”

Even more rattling. It wasn’t A-san… Shit, what was I gonna do? The door strained with each impact, perhaps from being kicked. I pressed my weight against it. I glanced over at the monitors; 1, 4 and 7 were all completely black. Shit…

Nearly in tears, I pressed against the door even harder, preparing for this impact to be the one that breaks it. Even if I called the police, they wouldn’t be in time… All I could do was run…

There was a small window near the roof to let light in… If I climbed up on a desk, I could probably get out…

I bolted from the door, jumped on the desk, and then opened the window. But something was waiting on the other side… A woman, her face covered in blood. Her eyes were pointed in odd directions and bulging out of the sockets. I couldn’t tell if she was floating on the other side, or standing somewhere nearby. Black spots increased before my eyes, and then my vision faded. I passed out.

I heard a voice calling my name in the distance. When I woke up, I was on the floor of the security office. It was B-san and C-san from the day shift, and C-san was looking down at me.

“Hey, are you okay?” B-san said. “What’s wrong? What happened?”

“Do you want us to call an ambulance?” C-san asked.

“No, I’m fine… I’m sorry…” I said. I listened to them tell me what happened through the haze of my mind.

When they arrived for work that morning, the front door was locked, so they used the key to get in and found the security office door shut. They found that suspicious, so again they used the key to get in and found me passed out on top of the desk.

“Where’s A? Where’d he go?” B-san asked. At those words I came back to my senses and explained everything. I didn’t know whether it was A-san on the other side, so I couldn’t open the door.

“If you didn’t know, couldn’t you have just looked at the monitors?” C-san said. I looked over at the monitors and they were all working again. That wasn’t good… The monitors for the first, fourth, and seventh floors most definitely shouldn’t have been working…

“I’m sorry, but could you rewind the monitors for me?” I asked. Watching them as they rewound, I waited for the screens to turn black.

“Stop!” B-san said. “Hey, that’s… Isn’t that A-san?”

No doubt about it. The person knocking on the other side of the security office door was A-san.

“I asked him over and over!” I said. “‘Is that you, A-san?’ But he didn’t answer me…”

“But why didn’t A just unlock it? He has a key, right?” B-san replied.

“Hey! What the hell is that?” C-san said, pointing to the monitor. A shadow was making its way down the hall from the emergency exit door towards A-san. When it reached A-san and stood beneath the light, we could see that it was a woman. And yet, her neck, hands, and feet were all pointed in impossible directions. That was the woman I saw!

A-san hadn’t noticed her at all, and kept banging on the door. The woman embraced him, like climbing onto his back, and then they disappeared.

“…She took him with her…” B-san said.

“Hey! What the fuck? What are we gonna do? Call the police?” C-san said.

“Sorry, but could you rewind the monitors back to 1 a.m.?” I asked. There was something I had to check. The monitors showed each floor at 1 a.m. They showed me on patrol, and then returning to the security office. Strange… The fourth floor was perfectly visible… A short while after, A-san left the security office. That was when he went to visit the fourth floor…

He got on the elevator and the doors closed. When they opened on the fourth floor, A-san stepped out… along with that woman. A-san looked up at the lights and then the camera. She was behind him. She was on his back… A-san didn’t notice?

He got back in the elevator, the woman with him. He didn’t appear on the monitor for the first floor, however, but for some reason he went to the seventh floor instead. This time, something was very clearly wrong. He stumbled about, the woman on his back, and made his way towards the emergency exit. He unlocked the door and stepped outside with the woman on his back. That all took place when I was on the fourth floor. I couldn’t find A-san, so I returned to the security office. So, when I spoke to A-san after that… who was it really?

I exited the security office again, got on the elevator, panicked and ran out, then returned to the security office to grab the ladder. A short while later, A-san appeared near the emergency exit on the first floor, stumbling around. If he couldn’t open the door from the outside… How did he get in?

When he reached the security office, he started desperately banging on the door. It looked like he was trying to get help from something chasing him.

“Hey! I’m gonna go check the emergency stairs!” B-san said. The three of us opened the door on the first floor and went outside, but A-san wasn’t there.

“I’m going up to the seventh floor!” B-san said. We all ran upstairs, but then B-san stopped suddenly by the fourth floor and looked down. Then he pointed.

We found A-san. He was lying on the section sticking out from the second floor.

The police came out to investigate. They suspected he fell over the seventh floor railing, and found his finger and shoe prints there. I explained what happened while showing them the monitors, but they seemed to want to treat it as a suicide.

“Um, don’t you think that woman pushed him over?” I said. “Maybe he couldn’t see her.”

“Ah, that? It’s rare to see something like this caught so clearly. Her grudge must have been especially strong… But clearly she’s not alive, right? It’s not like we can arrest her,” they answered.

By the time the police let me go, the guy for the night shift was coming in. After handing everything over, B-san and I left the building together.

“I’m sorry to ask you when you’re no doubt exhausted, but… Do you think you could come with me for a minute?” he asked.

“Sure,” I replied.

We stopped by a nearby pub and after a quick drink, B-san started talking.

Apparently, A-san and B-san had previously worked in this very same building before our current security company. Their company’s office was on the fourth floor. One morning when B-san was going to work, he found A-san arguing with another employee in the hot water room.

A-san was married, but apparently he was cheating with this woman. When she saw B-san’s face, she ran out of the room. During the morning meeting, she was nowhere to be seen, and because other people had seen her that same morning, they found it odd. Everyone went out to find her. They found her on that same part sticking out from the second floor where we discovered A-san. She had jumped from the seventh floor.

A short while later, A-san’s wife died in a car accident. Nobody said anything, but they all suspected it was that woman’s grudge. After that, the company went bankrupt and B-san heard about the security company that worked in the same building, so he asked A-san to come with him and they both became security guards.

B-san stopped to take a break. He blamed himself for what happened.

“If I hadn’t asked him to join me… he wouldn’t have died…” he said.

“Don’t say such a thing. If that’s true, then that means I let him die when he was desperately trying to get my help as well!” I replied.

“No, you didn’t the right thing by not opening the door. You saw the monitor, right? That guy on the other side wasn’t alive. If you had opened it, she would have taken you as well.”

Chills ran down my spine. B-san sighed deeply, and then started talking again.

“Even so, her hatred was terrifying… She killed A’s wife, and then killed him in the exact same way she died. Even then she wasn’t satisfied, and continued to chase his spirit as he tried to escape. I really shouldn’t have brought him with me. Now he’s probably going to bear a grudge against me…”

I soon quit that job. B-san said he was also going to quit soon, but I don’t know what happened after that. A while after everything calmed down, I tried phoning B-san, but it said the number wasn’t in use.

I hope he’s okay.

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