Suck a fucking fuck! Brooke sighed, another twenty-four shift at work, during the holiday season; when she could be at home with her boyfriend and his kids. But instead, she got to be around a lot of cutting-it-close-to-last-minute morons who couldn’t be bothered to shop for presents earlier like most normal people with half a brain. Brooke worked at a craft store in not the best neighborhood; during the day, it was a tad sketchy but nothing too horrible.

But at night, you could count on drug busts, liquor store robberies and the general sense of dread, especially if you were a white female. Still, she went inside the dimly lit store, why pay to make things look good if illegals were going to come in and trash it moments later? Brooke had been in the store for only thirty seconds when a Hispanic woman came up, gibbering away, nearly on the brink of tears, in broken English.

She held a box of ornaments, one was broken, the others looked rather crumbly if you asked Brooke. She had no idea what was wrong and looked around the woman to see her middle aged, balding, Queen of a manager. He gave Brooke a rather mean look and thumbed to the stock room. She wanted a new box and he was making her get the new box. Banner. Fucking. Start. To. A. Banner. Fucking. Day.

Brooke and other employees dreaded the back room.

It was just spooky and always cold, even when the heater was cranked up and the shoppers regretted wearing sweaters to the craft store that day, the back room remained cold. It was dark and seemingly always bare, but they always had the item the employee was looking for. Though, on the back wall, they always had gallon drums of paint; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white, black and pink. Who needs that much paint?

The back room was one really big room, made into two by a tin wall. One room had the gallon drums of paint with an old time beaten recliner chair that was there for G-d knows why. The second room had all sorts of weird stuff that shouldn’t be in a craft store. Axes, a chainsaw, knives; butcher knives, but this room- bare of crafting supplies- always had what you came to the back room for.

Brooke shivered as the cold air wrapped its frosty arms around her and kissed the tips of her ears and nose. She stood there for a moment until she heard a loud metal clang come from the second room. “Hello? Raymond!?” The door slammed shut and Brooke rolled her eyes, this was a prank pulled by the one and the only- thank G-d- Alec Coxe. Her cockered clapper-clawed bug bear of a coworker.

She heard the lock click. He was fucking hopeless. “Whoa! Hang on! Someone’s in here!”

Brooke shivered as the sweat on the back of her neck turned to ice crystals, her heart going like sixty, scared out of her fucking mind. She pounded on the door. Instead of being met the click of the door being unlocked and a sorry- Brooke would have sufficed with the door being unlocked, fuck the sorry- someone pounded on the door. Fear –panic- sprung up in Brooke’s belly like a cold spike. She jumped back with a yelp. Brooke’s eyes blazed and her thoughts became fiery. “Fuck you, Alec!!!”

“Come out, you sorry sack of shit,” said a rather cold and angry voice on the side of the door. A voice Brooke had never before. A voice that made a shudder of fright sweep over herself. A voice that made her afraid. Brooke reached out and touched the doorknob, turning it. It was unlocked. The store was dark.


“Excuse me, miss?” said the same cold voice. This voice was not angry. She turned and saw a man who was no more than a bag of bones. Brooke screamed. The man slammed a knife into the wall beside Brooke’s head. She shut her eyes and opened them, to see the man was gone.

Brooke ran to the front door to leave, she didn’t care if she would be fired, there was something going on and whatever it was, it was freaky! It was night outside. Even though he shift started at eight in the morning. No one was outside, in the parking lot, only her car. She pressed her face and hands to the glass. “I could make it.”