After learning about the vicious epidemic seen on television, Janet and Craig soon discover that the violence has reached Mega Speed Print. The phone lines don’t work,
Listen To Me – Part Two is Februarys flash fiction that continues from Listen To Me – Part One. The story brings readers into an end-of-the-world themed thriller. Experience the story in written word, audio, artwork and soundscape.
Listen to Me – Part Two
Janet and Craig stared at one another for several moments while the sounds of screams echoed from the backroom of the print shop. Only two rooms apart, someone’s life was being taken away from them. Their co-workers, people who they saw every day were now fighting for their lives, and Craig and Janet just stood in their office, listening.
What do we do? Janet thought. She wanted to just run and get as far away from this chaos as she could. She also knew that there wasn’t anywhere to go. The TV showed the streets of London were far worse than the print shop, and the police weren’t picking up the phone.
“I want to try my mum,” Janet said, snagging the phone from Craig’s hand.
Craig scratched his neck and looked towards the entrance of the office room. “We might want to focus on what is right in front of us.”
Janet ignored his comment and punched the numbers of her mum’s home line and waited. The phone rang for several moments before a crackly old voice picked up, saying, “Hello, you have reached the residence of Lacey Harkovitch…”
“Voicemail,” Janet muttered while pressing on the hook to dial a new number. She had friends, ex-boyfriends, and family. She wasn’t alone in this situation and wasn’t going to give up just yet.
“Janet,” Craig said.
Janet punched in a number to her cousin’s and listened to the phone ringing again.
“Janet,” Craig said once more.
Janet raised her index finger, hoping it would silence Craig so she could try and get anyone on the line. She didn’t want to listen to whatever Craig had to say. He liked to ramble and small talk, so it was easy for her to shut him off. The phone continued to ring with no answer.
“No one is picking up!” Janet said. “I’ll try John,” her voice ended in a groan. The thought of her recent ex made her sick. At this point, she was willing to try anyone. She needed to hear a familiar voice.
“Janet!” Craig said sternly as he pressed on the hook of the dial, preventing her from making any more calls. The change in action from Craig caught her attention. He never acted out so intensely. He pointed to the other room, saying, “I think whatever we saw on the telly is happening right in the print shop. We best jet from here for our own safety.”
“I know,” Janet said.
“Then why are you still trying to dial different numbers?” Craig asked.
“I want to know if my loved ones are safe, I think.”
“So, you tried John?” Craig asked raising his eyebrow.
Janet let out a sigh and looked to the ground. “Alright, alright. I am scared! What the hell is going on, Craig?”
Craig pushed his glasses up with his finger, saying, “I don’t know, but we probably shouldn’t stick around here much longer. Whoever is out the in the backroom is still here.” He glanced around the office room, looking at the different desks. His eyes locked onto a hole puncher and rushed over to the desk and snagged the office supply. “We need weapons,” he said, shaking the hole puncher, causing paper fragments to fall out of the bottom.
“That’s not much of a weapon, Craig,” Janet said.
“Better than anything we have right now,” Craig said. “Come, stay behind me. There’s two of us and one of them.”
The Great Escape
The man crept with caution towards the office entrance. This was real, Craig was going to investigate. Janet had to follow. A part of her wanted to just hide under her desk and hope for the whole damn thing to blow over. At the same time, she couldn’t just leave Craig to fend for himself. Whoever was out there just took out at least two people on their own, who knows what type of madness was out there. Craig needed her to back him up.
Janet took a deep breath, thinking, you got this. She mustered up the courage and snagged her purse from the desk, she couldn’t leave that behind. She took a step forward, feeling every thread of the fabric of her clothing move against her skin. The adrenaline rushed through her body and amplified all of her senses.
The two reached the entrance, Craig took a step forward, exposing himself to the other room. He continued to move slowly, keeping the hole puncher held high, ready to strike. Janet entered the lobby, looking around to see that the room was empty. No customers were in view. The chairs were left as is. The entrance and the back room were eerily quiet. Usually, phones were ringing, clients were talking, and the loud machinery of the printers was going on all throughout the day. Now, there was only silence.
Janet took another step into the lobby and caught notice of a pool of blood oozing from behind the front desk where an older lady’s hand lay limp on the ground. That had to be Candice. The front desk monitor was missing. The keyboard, mouse and various papers were scattered over the surface area. There was a struggle here.
Janet lightly tapped Craig’s shoulder, causing him to jerk slightly. “Look,” she said quietly, pointing at the hand.
The two walked as one up to the counter and leaned over to see their boss was on the ground with glass shards in her skull. Blood oozed down her face beside the broken monitor. Her neck was red and blue, and some of her clothes were torn.
“Is she alive?” Janet asked.
Craig looked at her with a cold stare, saying nothing. His silence was enough for her to know what he was implying. Candice, their boss, was indeed dead.
“Should we check the back room?” Janet asked.
“Yeah, let’s see if anyone else is alive,” Craig said.
“Do you think? There was Candice, you, me, Mark, Daniel and Dan.”
“Don’t forget about Richard.”
“Was Richard working today?”
“I believe so.”
“Okay, okay.” Janet looked at the front entrance. “Okay,” Janet said while unbuckling her purse. She searched through it until she located her keys, feeling them jingle in her hands. “I can drive is around back?” Janet said.
“So we can approach it from the other end?”
“Maybe the killer is out back,” Craig said.
“I’d prefer if we didn’t run into them,” Janet said.
“We have to if we want to save everyone else,” Craig said.
“What is our plan here?” Janet snapped. “Honestly I want to get my car and get the hell out of here.”
“I say we go check on the others, besides I parked in the back,” Craig said.
“What?” Janet exclaimed.
“Hush!” Craig said.
“Why would you park in the back?” Janet asked.
“Because Candice was getting upset that the staff were taking up all of the front parking for the customers. I was just trying to keep the boss happy!”
A crash came from the back room, catching their attention. Craig held the hole puncher up high and stared at the back room just behind the front desk. The printers and shelves stacked with empty paper stocks could be seen from the doorway.
“Someone is still back there,” Craig said. “Come on, let’s go check it out.”
“Craig, no, please. Can we just get to my car?” Janet begged.
Craig shook his head and took a step forward and then another. Janet looked at the front entrance and then at her co-worker who walked around the front desk, vastly approaching the back room doorway. She couldn’t leave him behind.
“Damn you, Craig,” Janet whispered under her breath. She hurried up to catch to Craig, carefully creeping around the front desk and Candice’s body. Janet caught up to her co-worker and slowed her pace to match his.
Craig glanced back at her and then forward as he stepped into the back room. The printers were still on, but they weren’t processing any of their jobs. The workers in the back were nowhere to be seen.
“Let’s check behind the next aisle, where the paper is kept,” Craig said while walking towards the next aisle, separated by shelves of paper stock and completed print jobs.
The sound of an object beating against something was now heard as they approached the new aisle. Craig slowed his walk down as he came up against the side of the shelves, a pace away from appearing down the hall. The pounding was louder now. It sounded like some kind of flesh.
Janet looked at Craig and took a deep breath. She wasn’t sure what she was supposed to expect on the other side of the shelf, but she knew they were soon to find out.
“Careful,” Craig said. “As one.”
The two synchronized their movement, both peeking around the shelf to see that a tall, gangly man with dark hair was on his knees, forehead against the floor. He raised his head up slowly, blood dripping from his face, and then slammed it back down onto the concrete, causing his face to crack and blood to splatter onto the floor.
Friends Are Crazy
“Mark?” Craig whispered.
“Look,” Janet said, nodding to two bodies behind the man. “Can you tell who those are?”
“That red sweater, Dan for sure. I think the other is Daniel from his height.”
“Where is Richard then?” Janet asked.
“I don’t know,” Craig muttered.
Mark let out a loud shout and stood up from his kneeled position. He continued to shout, throat tensing up and face squishing inward as he clenched his fist. He repeatedly slammed his fists into his bloody face. Coating his hand in a mixture of blood and saliva.
“Why is he doing that?” Janet asked.
“Maybe we can check the security camera? See what happened,” Craig whispered.
“Do you know how to access them?” Janet asked.
“No, Candice always has the key. Maybe it is in her office.”
“I say the hell with it,” Janet said. “Let’s get out of here.”
“What about Richard?” Craig asked.
“He’s not here. We checked the lobby and the back room.”
Mark let out another loud shout and picked up speed, running in their direction.
“Look out!” Craig said, ducking back, pulling Janet with him.
The shouts grew louder as the footsteps thundered. Craig tightened his grip on his hole puncher, ready to attack. Mark dashed from the aisle and away from Craig and Janet, charging straight into the shelf against the wall. His impact caused the structure to wobble and topple down onto him, burying him in paper stock and wood. Pieces of paper flew off the shelves and into the air, scattering in random directions. Janet and Craig took several steps back, looking down to see that Mark was buried entirely by the paper and shelves.
“What was that about?” Janet asked.
Craig shook his head. “He has gone completely mad. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“Is he dead?” Janet asked, taking a step closer.
Craig grabbed her wrist. “Don’t. I think it is safe to say he isn’t exactly conscious right now.”
A knock came from the exit leading to the lobby. The noise caused both of them to jump, spinning around to see a larger man with a neckbeard raise his hands up.
“Guys!’ he said.
“Richard!” Craig said while relaxing his arms. “Where the bloody hell were you?” he asked.
“In the washroom,” he shook his head. “Jesus, what is going on? I locked myself in when I heard all the chaos.”
“You chicken shit,” Janet cursed.
Craig and Richard look back at her, squinting at the sudden harsh language.
“I mean, it’s good to see you,” Janet said with a forced smile. The words even surprised Janet. She wasn’t usually one to lash out at people. Perhaps all the chaos and stress from work and this epidemic was making her a little loopy. Regardless, here they were, the last of Mega Speed Print. Now they could finally leave work. It’s not like the boss could give them grief for leaving early The country was in chaos.