239/366 – Guard Duty

Day 97 of 100 Word Prompts: Danger

Lennon doodled on a scrap of paper while his partner Lewis leaned back in his chair, using the corner of the small folding table as a footstool. The pair had been assigned to their regular station five hours ago and had played through every card game they knew three separate times.

Lennon’s hand went to the back of his neck as the hairs stood on end. He turned around and looked at the wall opposite the entry door.

“What is it?” Lewis asked, following his gaze.

“Nothing,” Lennon said. “Just felt like someone was watching me.”

“Don’t do that shit to me, man! You know that I don’t like being this far underground anyways. Don’t bring ghost and shit into it,” Lewis said, a shiver moving through his body.

“I didn’t say anything about that,” Lennon replied, shaking his head. He couldn’t shake the feeling of eyes peering at him as the hairs on his arms stood up next. “Get a hold of yourself.”

“Well, what do you think it is?”

“Have you ever had that feeling where you’re in danger, but you don’t know where it’s coming from?” Lennon asked, looking around the windowless concrete room.

“That isn’t helping,” Lewis said, dropping his feet to the floor.

“No, seriously, have you?” Lennon pressed.

“Not really,” Lewis replied with a shrug, pulling another cigarette from his pack. Lighting the cigarette, he took a long drag and inhaled deeply, letting out a sigh of relief.

“Dude. We’ve been over this,” Lennon said, shaking his head. “The boss doesn’t like it when you smoke in here-”

“He can’t prove it’s me,” Lewis replied with a grin.

“It’s only ever the two of us in here, and I don’t smoke,” Lennon said as a little grinding noise caught his attention near the wall opposite the exit. “Do you hear that?”

“Hear what?” Lewis asked, leaning forward.

“There’s like scratching in the wall,” Lennon said, taking a step toward the sound.

“Don’t get closer, man! That’s how all the people in the movies die. Don’t you know that?” Lewis said, grabbing Lennon’s arm and pulling him back.

“As far underground as we are right now, my proximity to the wall doesn’t matter if something comes through it,” Lennon said, pulling his arm free. “Give me a second, okay? Just get ready to hit the-”

The wall closest to Lennon suddenly shifted as a cacophonous snap echoed through the room, and a crack separated the right side and the left side at an angle. The damage continued across the ceiling and floor as Lennon jumped to the side, leaving Lewis on the other side of the crack with the door.

“Holy fuck!” Lewis yelled as the crack reached the steel frame of the doorway and began to bend the I-beam above it.

“Run!” Lennon yelled as he leapt over the separation developing on the floor and jumped through the doorway close behind his partner.

“What are you doing?” Lennon asked as Lewis stopped at the elevator.


“No, you’re not. We have to take the stairs. Let’s go,” Lennon said, pulling the stairwell door open. The sound of cracking stone and bending steel emanated from inside there as well.

“I’m not going in that death trap, the elevator is faster,” Lewis protested.

“What happens if the shaft bends, or if the cable snaps, Lewis. Use your head. We have to go now!” Lennon said, reaching for him as another crack appeared on the floor.

Upon seeing the crack in the floor, Lewis’ eyes grew wide as he sprinted past Lennon and began the ascent. Lennon slapped the alarm button just outside the doorway as he turned and followed.

Flight after Flight, Lennon, and Lewis rounded the corners, breathing heavily as they made their ascent. Below them, the lights mounted to the walls went out before they could be heard smashing against the staircase. The stairs themselves vibrated with a ferocity that kept them running well past what they thought was their limit.

Reaching the top of the stairs after nearly five minutes, Lewis turned and pulled on the door with everything he could muster between the gulps of air, but the door didn’t budge. Lennon pushed him to the side and tried the handle himself.

“I think the frame shifted,” Lewis said. “We’re going to die in here!”

“No, we’re not,” Lennon replied, pointing to the crack currently shifting in the wall across from them. “Look at that. Even if that section of the building falls, it’ll just fall beneath us. We’re already above ground. We just need to figure this out.”

Lennon looked through the small window in the door out into the street beyond. He could see fires burning through thick smoke, which billowed seemingly from everywhere at once. A looming form walked past the window, making Lennon hesitate to knock on the door drawing attention to them.

“What is it?” Lewis asked, trying to see through the window. “Do you see someone?”

“Shh,” Lennon said, waving his hand. “I see something, but I’m not sure what.”

“If it’s a person, maybe they can kick the door in!” Lewis said.

“Give me a second, will you?” Lennon said, peering into the smoke.

The figure turned, revealing large, leathery wings extending from either side of its back. It turned toward the door, and Lennon held his breath reflexively to the visage of the unknown creature. He watched as it lifted its nose to the air and sniffed a few times, flicking its tongue as though it was smelling and tasting something on the air.

“What is it?” Lewis whispered. “Russians?”

“I don’t think it’s Russians,” Lennon whispered back as he moved out of the way for Lewis to take a look.

“What the fuck is that thing?” Lewis asked as he peered through the window. “It looks like a demon or something.”

“I don’t know, but I definitely don’t want to find out,” Lennon said. “We have to get out of here. Did you see any others?”

Lewis shook his head. “It looks like it’s alone. It’s just stalking around, looking down alleys, and whatnot. It looks like it might be a guard,” he said.

“A guard?” Lennon repeated. “If that thing is a guard, who do you suppose is its boss?”

“I don’t know, but I know I don’t want to meet them,” Lewis replied.

“Hey,” Lennon said, tapping Lewis on the shoulder. “Do you feel that?”

“No,” he replied.

“Exactly,” Lennon said, daring to smile, “it stopped.”

“Problem one solved, I suppose. Now, what about our stuck door and big red out there?” Lewis asked, pointing to the door.

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