Several years ago, one of my senior classmates at university introduced me to a small medical clinic where I got a part-time job as a night watchman. My duties patrolling one time and handling the phone. Other than that, I was free to do whatever I wanted, so it was a dream job.
The clinic was a three-story building; the first floor held reception, the waiting room, and various examining rooms, the second floor was made up of offices, meeting rooms and kitchens, and the third floor was the night duty room. The night duty room was a Japanese style room with a sliding door and one set of stairs. Although it was a small clinic, they handled patients’ medical records, so they were guarded by a nationwide security firm.
The night watch generally went as follows. I’d arrive at the clinic at 9 p.m., enter through the back door (the front locked at 7:30) and unlock the security mode. I’d patrol the building and then enter the night duty room on the third floor. There was also a control panel up there, so once I went in I’d again set it to security mode.
Security sensors were placed pretty much all over the first and second floors, but because there weren’t any in the night duty room, I could move around freely. The control panel had lights, and as long as everything was fine, the lights would be green. If the sensors were triggered then the lights would turn red and it was my responsibility to contact the head security chief back at the firm. A warning would then ring out informing that the doors and windows were all locked.
Other than that, as long as there were no phone calls, I could do whatever I wanted. And even then there was only perhaps one phone call a year. So I could watch TV, study, or do whatever it was that I wanted.
One night, I carried out my patrol as usual, entered the night duty room, put the building into security mode and kicked back. I watched TV, ate some food I’d bought at the convenience store, read a book, then started to doze. The broadcast on TV ended and a commercial for Saturday Night Chubaw! began. At that moment, I glanced over at the control panel and could barely believe my eyes. The lights were red. I’d never once seen them red up until that point.
‘Huh? Why?’ I thought, but as I was looking at it the red lights then turned green.
Thinking about it rationally, there was no way anyone could be inside the building. If the security chief or any of the doctors were in the building, they’d first have to turn off the security mode at the back entrance. And if anyone entered through the windows or doors, the moment they did the alarms would ring.
It had to be broken. That was what I decided. Supposing there really was a red light then the head office would call, but there was nothing. And if there was no phone call, then that meant it had to be broken.
But even so, I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the panel. Reassuringly, the green lights continued to glow. But then the very next moment I froze again. The lights turned red once more. This time, they didn’t disappear. Someone, or something, was in the clinic. All I could think was that something I didn’t understand was making its way up towards me in the third floor night duty room.
I panicked and grabbed my phone, calling the head office. After a few rings the chief picked up.
“The lights! The lights have turned red!”
“Really? We haven’t got anything about that here.”
“But they’re still on. They disappeared before, but this time they’re still red!”
“Okay. Well confirm what’s going on so please wait. We’ll call you back.”
Hearing his voice calmed me somewhat, but the lights continued to shine red and I was unable to get rid of the fear taking over me. Two minutes later, the chief called back.
“We checked and the head office hasn’t received any news of irregularities.”
“No way! I mean the lights are red right now! What should I do?”
“Alright. If they’re broken, then we need someone to come out and take a look, so I’ll head over now. Wait for me.”
What a reliable chief. I was deeply grateful. The red lights continued to shine, but I couldn’t hear anything and I didn’t sense anything either, so I calmed down a little. Although I chided myself for calling the chief out if it really was just a broken light. If that was the case, why was I even here? I laughed.
Before long I heard a car outside and footsteps downstairs walking towards the clinic. I couldn’t see either the front or back door from the third floor, but I could see the path leading to the back door from the front. When I looked down, I saw the chief with a bright light heading towards the back. I followed him until he disappeared from sight, and then a few seconds later there was a beep and the security system went off. The chief had turned it off downstairs. I wanted to meet up with him as fast as possible, so I flung open the sliding door to ran downstairs. The moment I did, I immediately felt something wrong.
Something smelt raw. It was an indescribable, disgusting smell. Fear took over once more, but I had just seen the chief coming my way, which meant he was undoubtedly on the first floor, so I turned the hall lights on and ran for the stairs.
The stairs in the clinic were set up so that they had a landing, and you could look from the third floor all the way down to the first. I ran to the top and looked down. The lights on the first floor weren’t yet on, but the lights from the third floor cast a dim light all the way down.
The smell got even stronger. The light switch for the first floor was right by the back door. So why hadn’t the chief turned them on? Hurry up and turn them on! Show yourself!
Just as the smell got even worse, I suddenly heard a noise coming from the first floor. A voice? It sounded somewhat like a groan, a song, a chant or something like that. That decided it. Whatever was on the first floor, it wasn’t the chief.
Confused, I broke out into a cold sweat. But I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the first floor. The smell worsened and the moaning grew louder. Whatever it was, it was definitely coming towards the stairs.
I don’t wanna see it I don’t wanna see it I don’t wanna see it!
Inside I screamed and ordered myself to run, but my body refused to move.
Then, it appeared. Something pale and skin-coloured, almost white and about two metres tall. It had no hair and its legs were abnormally long. It moved as though dancing, all of its joints moving and swaying.
It groaned, and when it reached the bottom of the stairs, it began to climb.
‘It’s coming this way! I’ve gotta run! I’ve gotta get out of here!’ I thought, but my body wouldn’t move. As it reached halfway between the first and second floors, my phone in the night duty room rang.
‘Shit!’ I thought, but it was too late. For a moment it stopped moving, and then all of its joints shifted and turned and its entire body moved to face me.
Our eyes met. I could see its cloudy eyeball moving around. It opened its mouth wide and laughed a sharp, piercing sound. The next moment, while still looking at me, it ran up the stairs with incredible speed!
I ran like a bullet, but I had nowhere to go. I ran back to the night duty room and closed the sliding door, keeping myself pressed against it. Before long I heard groaning coming from the stairs and an intensely raw smell.
‘It’s here! It’s here!’ I pushed against the door, crying. I felt like I was going mad. I could hear it groaning on the other side of the door.
Something hit the top of the door. All I could see in my head was that thing headbutting the door on the other side with its smooth head.
This time it was around hip height. Its knees.
“S-S-S-Stop it!!” I screamed, although I was mostly sobbing. Then, the banging stopped. So did the groaning.
I dropped down and backed away from the door, keeping my eyes on it. Once I reached the other wall, I pushed myself up to my feet. There was a window. The banging had stopped and so had the groaning, but that thing was right on the other side of the door. I knew it. That smell from before still hadn’t abated.
For some reason, I knew that the next impact would be the one where it finally broke through the door. I glared at it, my hands reaching to open the window behind me.
As I heard the door being torn open, I threw myself out the window. As I fell, I looked up at the room for just a second I saw its mouth open wide, right in front of my nose.
When I woke up, I was in the hospital. Both my arms and legs were broken and I had a fracture in my skull. Apparently I’d been on the verge of death. My family were overjoyed I was awake, but I noticed the nurse’s attitude towards me was a little strange. Almost like she was afraid of me.
As my injuries healed they moved me to a different hospital, and as I was leaving, I decided to ask the nurse why she was acting like she was.
“Because you’ve been injured all this time,” she said, “but when night falls, you open your eyes and you open your mouth and it’s like you start singing or chanting. Almost like… groaning.”