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I recently started an intern position at a big company. The office building it was located in was pretty old and kind of run down. On my first day a co-worker who had been assigned to show me the ropes pointed out that there was no floor thirteen listed on the elevator panel– it goes straight from twelve to fourteen. I laughed about it (superstition, am I right?) and then didn’t think about it again for months.

A week ago I volunteered to stay late and finish up some work in the hope that my intern job might turn into something more permanent if I showed enough initiative. By the time I finished it was eight o'clock at night and as far as I knew I was the only person in the entire building. I was pretty tired so when I got to the elevator I slouched against the wall and watched the little blinky light thing count down the floors: nineteen, seventeen, sixteen, fifteen, fourteen… and then the elevator stopped.

We’ve all seen movies or TV shows where an elevator gets stuck between floors and someone opens the doors to a view of a brick wall. I figured that’s what had happened here– the elevator stopped between floors fourteen and twelve. So I was surprised when I pressed the “door open” button and saw a dark corridor instead of a wall.

The button panel was no longer working, so I decided to leave the elevator and take the stairs down, rather than press the call button and wait for someone to come rescue me. The light switch near the elevator didn’t work, which made sense—clearly, there had been some sort of power failure and the elevator had stopped at floor fourteen or twelve. I used my phone as a flashlight instead.

I had never been to any floor but the one I worked on, and I was immediately taken aback by how neglected the place looked. There was a thick layer of dust underfoot, and when I got into an office area all of the desks were bare. Some were sagging or falling apart. The entire floor looked as if it had been abandoned for years, which was strange because I had been told that the whole building was occupied.

I went to the nearest window, intending to see how far the power failure had spread, and got a fright when I saw that it was completely pitch black outside. The light from my phone just barely illuminated the face of the nearest building across a narrow alleyway, and looking further down the street there wasn’t a hint of light. No street lights, no illuminated windows, nothing. For a moment I thought there had been a major power failure like the one that hit New York in the previous decade… and then I realized that I couldn’t even see car headlights. I couldn’t hear any cars either, or any sound at all. It was as quiet as the grave, at half eight in a large city. How did that make any sense?

I was getting slightly alarmed now, so I went immediately to the staircase leading down to the ground floor, only to find it locked shut with a rusty chain. That made no sense at all. That staircase was a fire exit. Why would someone chain it shut? Why did it look as if it had been in that state for years?

I decided to hunt around for a key. As I searched the smaller offices I came across a number of very weird things. One of them was filled with what looked like ancient, desiccated mold. In another I found a suit made out of a strange, heavy material folded on a chair in such a way that it looked like a person sitting there (nearly gave me a heart attack). Some of the desk drawers had papers filled with gibberish in them. A filing cabinet was filled with dusty light bulbs.

After about twenty minutes of this I found a rusty key hanging up in a supply closet and unlocked the chain preventing my escape, feeling relieved. This place was starting to spook me, and I was looking forward to coming back in the daylight to find out what the hell its deal was.

But the door didn’t open onto a staircase. I got a glimpse of a long, bare corridor before my phone’s light caught something moving, something that had round, pale eyes. Something very much not human.

I ran for it, back toward the elevator. The thing chased me. Its footsteps were shuffling and awkward, but fast, and I could hear its wheezing breath at my back. When I got to the hallway leading to the elevator, the doors started to close.

I’d like to tell you I escaped by doing some cool action movie stunts—maybe rolling in between the doors just as they shut—but I honestly don’t remember how I got away. All I recall is running faster than I thought possible, propelled by the most intense terror I’ve ever experienced. It wasn’t the creature chasing me I was necessarily afraid of. It was the fear of being stuck in that place. In those few seconds before I reached safety my conscious mind accepted the idea that had been growing ever since my arrival on floor thirteen: I had stumbled into a place I should not have been in, and if I didn’t escape now then I never would.

The last thing I saw before the elevator doors closed were the creature’s round eyes bobbing in the light. A few seconds later I emerged into a bright lobby, the sounds of traffic and pedestrians coming in from outside, and collapsed to my knees.

I’ve since quit that job. I no longer ride in elevators that have a missing floor. I’m not sure either of those precautions guarantee safety. I keep remembering the dark, silent city I saw outside the office window. Whatever that place is, I think it’s big, and there are probably a lot of ways to enter it. I wonder how many missing person cases are the result of an experience like mine that didn’t turn out so well.

(Credit to Grace_Omega, via Reddit)


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