It was snowing heavily outside. Whenever I tried to do my work, the howling wind kept calling me, as if to taunt me. I had an important project that I needed to submit tomorrow, and if I was late or the work was incomplete…my boss would have my head. He wasn’t an easy person to negotiate with and especially if I hadn’t given him the work on time. The only problem was, I was the only person in the office and it was already half past midnight. My brain was too tired and I couldn’t keep my eyes open no matter what I tried.
The tapping sounds that my fingers made on the keyboard was the only sound I heard in the empty office. It made me scared, because I wasn’t keen on being alone and having to work late at night with the annoying wind blowing outside. It felt like a horror movie, and I felt that I had no chance of escape from this nightmare. The wind’s howling became more intense and the lights started flickering. I kept my eyes focused on the computer screen in front of me, but the flickering quickened and all of a sudden the whole office became dark. The only light I had was that of the monitor screen. I used the little light I had to search for a flashlight that I had in one of my desk drawers. “Which one did I put it in?” The only problem was, I forgot which drawer it was in. I just unlocked each one and ruffled through them until I found it tucked in the back of the last drawer.
I made my down to the basement. The fuses were all down in this unearthly almost deathly basement. As I walked down the stairs, my breath became quick and panicked. It was too quiet and I felt that something…anything…was going jump out at me. “Argh!!” A frightened cat jumped in my face as I reached the last step. I finally came to a rusted fuse box and placed the flashlight on a nearby barrel to shine the light for me to see how to fix the fuses. I had absolutely no idea how to do this but I had no other option but to try and figure it out. I saw what looked like a key to the left of the fuses and I tried to understand the instruction it indicated to me. It wasn’t easy since my hands were shaking both from the cold and my inerasable fear that this basement may actually be haunted.
There was nothing wrong with the fuses and the box seemed to be in working order, perhaps the wind’s power or force grew too heavy for the energy of the lights. As I began to return to my work, I heard the sound of a door opening behind me. “Hello?” There was silence. “Anybody there?” I was still met with silence. I headed in to the door to see what could have caused it to open. There was nothing neither in front nor behind the door. “Bang!” The door slammed shut behind me and I started hyperventilating. I rushed to the door and no matter how hard I tried it didn’t budge. I was trapped and this was a major issue. ‘How was I going to get out of this room?’ I decided to find out where I was. Perhaps there was some kind of clue as to what laid here. I walked deeper into the room and tripped over something. When I shined the flashlight on the item that knocked me off my feet, I found a hideous skeleton laying in an odd way. “What the…? What is this thing?” I examined it a little closer.
“I wouldn’t touch that thing if I were you. It isn’t dead.” I immediately jumped to my feet at the sound of the voice. I couldn’t see anything in the darkness but when I shone the flashlight in a corner, I saw a young man with torn clothes sitting and staring at me. “Who are you? What are you doing here? Why are you here?” He rose to his full height and took long steps towards me. I gulped loudly in fear that he might hurt me. He noticed this and raised his hands in surrender. “I’m not going to hurt you. My name is Mike. I worked in this place for a few months. Just like you, curiosity also got the better of me and I came to this room. My clothes…got torn from when I was trying to defend myself from that creature.” I looked at his hatred for the skeleton. It looked deadly but it hadn’t moved, so I couldn’t take chances to find out what it was. “Why are you here? Aren’t you supposed to be working on your project for the meeting tomorrow?” I gaped at his words. ‘How did he know what I was doing?’ “How…how did you…know what I was…busy on?” He laughed for a millisecond and then his voice turned dark. “I have been watching you for some time. So I have observed your habits. I tried to speak to your boss, but he disregarded my opinions and pushed me down here.” So he was the person I heard my boss arguing with. ‘What did they argue about though?’ “What did you argue with him about? I just heard two people arguing, I didn’t exactly hear the whole conversation.” He shrugged and knelt down to the skeleton.
“I thought you said not to go near it, because it isn’t dead. But…what is it?” He looked at me with conflict in his eyes. “This is a skeleton of an ancient assassin. The reason he looks hideous, is because he only had to kill people under the strict order of either a king or queen. He hated his job, but he couldn’t object and eventually one day he decided to take his own life. That’s why this skeleton looks frightening.” I felt sympathy for the man. To have a job and not be able to reject the work you were supposed to do can be painful. I was too scared at the shape of the skeleton so I decided to explore other rooms. Mike followed me, but I just ignored his footsteps. ‘Why was he so interested in me? Almost as if he wanted to tell me something but he didn’t know how’. There were more dungeons. Each one reeked of blood and sweat.
The chilly atmosphere indicated to me that there was a dark past in each room. “How did you survive here for so long? Without food, water or even someone to talk to?” Mike hesitated to answer me, and as I watched his nervous behaviour I realized that there was some kind of explanation to follow the silence. “I managed. I had food. I had water. I also had someone to talk to. I wasn’t completely alone.” I didn’t understand what he meant but he pointed back to the skeleton I first encountered. As we walked into the other rooms, I seen more skeletons and Mike told me these were the victims of the assassin also they were the ones keeping him alive. His words made me freeze. ‘He had befriended ghosts? He took refuge in the world of the dead? And yet he looked as if he wasn’t dead at all’. I had forgotten all about my work that waited for me, unfinished, on my computer and I had forgotten about the fury in my boss’ voice when he found out that I was late with my work...again. But I didn’t care, I wanted to find out more about the history of these skeletons and most importantly, I wanted to know the answer to the one question that had constantly circled around my mind ever since I stepped foot in this basement: ‘Who really was Mike?’