As usual we were busy with something long after most others had left the lab. I was sitting at my desk, arms crossed, chewing on the tip of my pencil when the phone rang.
‘Tyler come out here for a minute, some shit’s up’
It was Frederickson, and he said the s word, so some s definitely was up. I dropped my pencil and headed out the lab to find a pissed-off looking Frederickson and a confused Bailey stepping out of Frederickson’s lab.
‘What’s going on?’
‘Come see for yourself’
I followed the two men to the pantry. The door was left open, as always, but the lights were already switched on. And when I reached the pantry, it took me all of two seconds to realized what I was looking at.
Every single thing in the pantry had been turned upside down and faced the wrong way. The table was upside down, the cups, the microwave, the chairs. Hell, even the refrigerator stood on it’s head, it’s doors against the wall!
‘What in the world…’ was all I could manage as I tried to imagine flipping the refrigerator in the most efficient way.
‘Someone’s up to no good, and I don’t like it. I’ve called security and they should-‘
‘Dr Frederickson, what seems to be the problem?’ came a voice from down the corridor. It was one of the guards, Shane or something, and he was running to us.
‘Well have a look for yourself,’ Frederickson said as he gestured an arm to the pantry.
The guard stood there with his mouth open before he blinked and started stammering, before finally speaking intelligibly.
‘Doctors I can assure you the only people in this building right now are the three of you, myself, Connor at the lobby and Dr Wang at Processing. The staircases and other entrances are locked and the only way up is by the lift. If anyone had any reason to use the lift in the first place, they’d have to go past us at least. Connor and myself, that is,’
‘Well that’s all and good but like it or not somebody’s here and they’re up to some mischief. You need to do something about it,’
‘Y-yes doctor, right away. If you three gentlemen could stay here, on this floor, for awhile more. I’m calling lockdown,’
The guard walked away whilst pulling out his walkie, and I could hear him relaying instructions to someone on the other end.
‘Hey Bailey, you okay?’ I asked
‘Huh? Oh, yeah, yeah I’m… Man, it’s just so weird! I mean… the fridge?! Why the heck… I mean?’ he still look kinda confused, but he was okay.
It was a long night, with lockdown and security checking every room, reviewing the tapes and God knows what else. There was no trace of any outsider in the complex, and when the light in the pantry was last switched on, everything was normal. In the few hours between that and Bailey’s discovery, there was nothing but darkness in the room. No one entered, no one left. I wonder what we would have seen had the security camera in the pantry been fitted with night-vision capabilities…
And I found it strange that I wasn’t surprised they couldn’t find a culprit. It’s as if a part of me knew that there was something… unnatural about what had happened that night.
When I finally got home my wife looked at me expectantly; I told her they couldn’t find anything and she looked as confused as Bailey had been.
‘If it was a prank, then wow, must’ve been really hard to pull off like that! You scientist people…’ I put my arm around her as she trailed off, taking in the warmth of her body, forcing my mind to abandon its speculations and questions.
I was tired to work the next day but the news of last night’s incident had put everyone in some sort of buzz, and that sorta woke me up a little. I didn’t expect a bunch of grown-ups to be so interested in something like that but… hey, I guess my wife was right. We scientist people are a weird bunch. ALl throughout the day I could catch people talking about the fridge or the camera, of how they could do it in five minutes… Needless to say I was glad when the end of the workday came and with it everybody’s departure. It was a Friday and I wanted to get some work done before the weekend. The little hiccups in the last two days had put me back a little and I was all but thankful that my wife was understanding.
That night I was the last one left at Complex C, and every one of my colleagues from the same floor who was about to leave tried to convince me to leave too, but I really had to finish some stuff up. Frederickson was the last to go. ‘Call me if you need anything,’ was what he said before he left. Fred’s my close friend and all and of course I would go to him if I needed something, but it was unusual for him to say something like that. We usually parted on a casual note, a simple ‘See ya’ or ‘Drive safe’.
I didn’t want to think too much into it, but I just got the feeling that he thought something was up. To be honest I wasn’t all that comfortable being there all by myself but I pushed those thoughts out.
Somewhere around 7 my stomach started to growl. I paused and considered what to do, before deciding to down a few cookies and then getting back to work till my sugar rush crashed. That would give me about an hour, which was perfect. I was really quite pleased with this decision of mine and headed straight for the pantry.
I was already salivating when I reached the pantry, casually flicked on the light, and felt myself go cold.