It seems my old friend, the Muse, has elected to return and spend some quality time with me again. I’ve broken ground on what I hope will build into a novel, and I just finished a new short story about a call center I briefly worked at, titled “The Facility”.
In this one, I tried to develop a sense of unease about the building itself as a lead-up to the main event:
Walking through the door, I exchanged pleasantries with the security guard at his desk, and then the strangeness returned.
There are not many people in this facility, and the few you encounter in the halls generally walk with their heads down, not looking at anyone else. The few that do look ahead return your greeting with a slight nod, the haunted expressions on their faces unchanging, their vacant thousand-yard stare unblinking.
I don’t know if it’s the silence in here, (even more unusual, given the large size of the building), but I find my
senses heightened whenever I’m here, noticing every whisper, every keyboard click, even the shadow of a bird passing by one of the frosted windows high up on the wall over the large clocks displaying the time of day in cities around the world.
I can even hear the soles of my sneakers as I walk along the floor, which is covered in industrial carpeting.
The real question is whether I’m unconsciously reacting to the building itself… or is the building affecting me somehow? Is this the reason for the ghastly expressions on the faces of the silent ones as they walk along the corridors in here?
And then, when the main event occurs, I deliberately chose to focus on reactions, rather than the cause itself. I think I’d rather allow readers to use their imaginations to concoct their own vision of what… well, can’t give it away now, can I? That would defeat the whole purpose.
The good news overall is that the old “What-If?” engine seems to have had a good tuneup, and is purring nicely again, so I need to fasten my seat belt and sit back and enjoy the ride.