February 5, 2013


Steve hated it when he just had himself for company. He was only a document editor and had been all his life but he still felt he had the right to socialize. He needed a break from work.

The case notes relating to the missing daughter of the owner of the mineral mine lay spread out on the table.

If he wanted to see living creatures, he could look at the crows flying past the window, but he needed someone to talk to. His thoughts were interrupted.

tat tat tat

He had no idea who was knocking at the door but felt relieved. It was probably a supervisor. He called over.

“Come in.”

tat tat tat

He shouted out again.

“Come in!”

tat tat tat

“Come in, if you want. There’s nobody here apart from me…”

tat tat tat

The noise was getting louder. Steve wondered if the long hours that he had always worked had burnt him out and caused the distrust and sometimes even paranoia to which he had become accustomed over the last few years. It occurred to him that perhaps the person outside was not a friendly visitor. Steve told himself he couldn’t open the door as he was too tired to go over.

He tried to remember if he had any pills left that would give him greater energy but then he saw the empty blister pack where he had discarded it on the floor. Alongside it were other packets, also empty. He knew he shouldn’t use so many pills. Perhaps he’d take up a sport to get more energy.

He looked again at the documents. He didn’t know how to continue. The case was so complex. He wondered if he should spend the night reading the material. The company had been working on this case for many years and he felt he had made progress but he knew that without warning he might have a meeting the next day. He knew he should try to do a good job. He might even get promotion.

From the corner of his eye he noticed a flurry of movement outside the window. A crow had landed on the window ledge and was gazing at him as if he were a specimen in a zoo.

The door creaked as if someone were trying to open it but didn’t have the strength to do so. The crow hopped from one foot to the other.

tat tat tat

The door moved then stopped as if it were too heavy to push. Then it swung open.

A man stumbled in, leaning forward as if he were looking for something on the floor. He was holding his hand against his face. He raised his head and Steve saw that he clutched a handkerchief over his mouth and nose.


The man did not reply to Steve’s greeting but instead stared at him with an expression that mingled horror and incomprehension. Steve tried to wave but found that he was so tired from overwork that he did not have the strength to raise his arm.

The visitor kept the handkerchief on his face as he turned and shouted to someone in the shadows beyond the doorway.

“Don’t come in. It looks like this one got left on overtime… The supervisors forgot to switch it off…”

The man gestured towards one of the walls.

Steve felt a rush of panic and tried to turn his head to see what he was pointing at. Realization passed through him as he squinted at the cable trailing from the power socket in the wall, lying across the floor, hanging over one arm of the swivel chair and terminating in a metal pin buried in Steve’s waist. The man approached him but looked out the window at the crow that was hopping from one foot to the other as if it were waiting for something.


  1. You built up the suspense brilliantly

    Comment by Paul Chown — February 14, 2013 @ 2:04 pm

  2. Just an amazing story. Some acid musical stuff to listen while reading: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dLm_JunVwY

    Comment by Sergio EseGe — May 12, 2013 @ 10:06 am

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