Crackling lightning subsides after briefly signalling your arrival atop this place. The skyscraper’s concrete roof is reassuringly cool and indifferent beneath your bare feet. You spot a bland, sturdy door rising from the rooftop that undoubtedly leads to the building below. All abstract thought has retreated, to be replaced by a gnawing hunger for food and shelter.
The door gives way during the third attempt at smashing the lock.
The access stairwell is harshly illuminated. You shadow is cast like a monochrome kaleidoscope against every available surface. This would be a problem if there was anyone around to care.
You gaze at the building’s inhabitants: shapes formed of glass and cotton and metal and plastic. Your eyes continue their search for anything edible; any sign of life; any hope of sleep. The journey, hardly begun, has left you with nothing.
Death waits in the shadows for you to fall.
A hum, a single tone and a splash of colourful light spill out from a distant corner. The vending machine’s flimsy resistance lasts only a few noisy blows and the loot is yours.
Death moves from the shadows, stirred by the brittle sounds of your victory.
Shadows dance around; light from the disembowelled machine reflecting off the shards of glass that now litter the floor. You move on. Pressing further into the building. Emboldened by your resourcefulness, cunning and guile.
The abandoned corpse of the machine is slowly swallowed by darkness. Death stalks you.
You press down levels, faster and faster. The unconscious feeling of cold dread pressing in on the nape of your neck. Walls and lights and text and machines — they fly through your vision before being consumed by the darkness that descends with you.
You must leave this place.
A lift lies motionless, its doors open and inviting. You dive in and hammer the button marked ‘0’. The doors begin to close. Light fades in the hallway. You hear a scraping sound and cast an accusatory glance at the doors as they drag themselves together. In fairness to the doors, the sound had unquestionably come from further off down the hall.
The lift doors finally open on a corridor. At the end is an emergency exit. The door is open and soft daylight spills in. Halfway down the corridor on the left, also ajar, is an imposing laboratory door. The door is emblazoned with every yellow, red and green warning sticker you can imagine.
The lift lights start to dim.
Image taken from The Stanley Parable
You can acquire Brett Naucke’s excellent ‘The Visitor’ here.
A special mention should go to Identity Theft whose 2011 album, Night Workers, we only discovered this year (thanks to Group Rhoda). It’s an opaque gem and you should check it out here