|Feature Short Story
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| The Factory Horror
By Derek Brown
Jack Riverson walked aimlessly down the aisles of the blow dryer factory that he worked at. The push-
broom in his hands was in fact being pushed, but due to the lack of effort Jack was putting into the task, it
wasn’t doing its job. These aisles were usually travelled by fork trucks and tuggers, so there was plenty to
catch. The small pieces of trash and dirt were being captured in the bristles here and there. The big
pieces, the ones that mattered, rolled to the sides or slipped out behind the broom, stopping to rest a few
feet away from where they had been moments before.
The building was pretty much empty, and had he known the situation before he left his house, he
wouldn’t be here either. Production today had been cancelled, he was told when he came in. You can stay
and help clean, or go back home. Apparently a hair dryer that the factory had sent out malfunctioned. The
damn thing blew up in someone’s hand, scattering fingers and bits of scalp across their bathroom.
Management had been forced to shut down until they figured out exactly what happened. Jack drove two
hours to get here, and decided he didn’t feel like making that drive back just yet. He was one of probably
ten people who stuck around. Two hours later, to say that he regretted agreeing would be an
Jack steered the broom off the center aisle. He figured he’d pull off and have himself a seat in a quiet
little nook, a favorite of his. There was no one around, everyone else was probably on their phones in the
breakroom, or passed out on a toilet somewhere anyways. The nook wasn’t known to many people, and
Jack didn’t go around bragging about it. It was a small spot behind a machine, with A/C blowing down into
it, and a mound of packaging material you could sit or lay down on. On slow days like this, it was heaven.
He pulled out his phone to play solitaire, and soon he was asleep. He hadn’t planned on taking a nap,
but man, boredom had a way of springing one on you. He was dreaming peacefully of driving around his
hometown. Trees and black horse fences flew by in the windows of his ’95 Monte Carlo. The sun was
dancing through the branches as he looked over and smiled at Kara. This was a memory from two years
ago, had to be. She had left him last spring, but in this dream he was happy, he didn’t know about any of
DING! DING! DING! DING!
The sound of the bell snapped him out of the blissful sleep. His heart jumped, and he felt disoriented for
a second. The packaging material stuck to his cheek by the drool pooled up at the corner of his mouth
brought it all back. Break time. He got up, stretched, and as he stepped out of his hiding spot he saw
everyone walking out of the breakroom, not in.
“Well, lookie here. Where the hell have you been, Jackie?” Reg, a bald man that worked on his line,
“Oh…I was sweeping. Is it break time?”
Dave, an old man who always had a wad of tobacco in his lip, started laughing. “Shit, he was laid up in
that little corner. Well, Jack, hate to tell you this. Breaks over, you must have slept right through it. Time to
go back.” He was laughing again, pieces of chew flying out of his mouth. Jack felt his face go red from
embarrassment, but his supervisor Jason was also laughing.
“It’s not a big deal, Jack. Come on, I got some boxes I need you to take down to the basement.”
Still embarrassed, Jack followed him to the storage room. A dusty place, with piles of boxes, and metal
shelves with various parts of blow dryers scattered amongst them. Jason pointed at a stack of about
twenty boxes with some sort of Asian writing all over them. “These boxes here are full of spools of
electrical wire. I need you to take them down and find somewhere to stack them. Neatly.”
“Yes sir.” Jack replied, nodding.
“Now the lights aren’t working down there, so you’ll need this.” He reached up on top of a shelf and
fumbled around, finally producing a clunky, aluminum flashlight. “You ever been down there before?”
Jack shook his head. He didn’t even know that there was a basement. To be honest, this situation
wasn’t something he’d volunteer for. He wasn’t a fan of the dark.
“Ah, well, there’s a lot down there to trip over, so be careful. You’ll be fine though. Like I said, just find a
place to put them, we’ll find em when we need em. There’s a cart back in the storage room you can use to
bring them over here.” As he was talking, he had led Jack over to another door. “The stairwells through
here. If you need anything just let me know.”
“Thanks.” Jack went back to the storage closet, and loaded the boxes on the cart Jason had told him
about. He grabbed the flashlight and pushed the cart over to the door leading to the stairs. He put a box
under his arm, pushed open the door, and then hesitated. The light in the stairwell worked, and he could
see the first set of stairs leading down to a small landing. The steps leading down from that were lost in
darkness. He clicked on the flashlight. The thing looked like it was older than he was, but it worked. He
swallowed back his nerves, then began the journey down.
He paused on the landing, which was covered in dirt, or maybe mouse shit judging by the smell. He put
one shaky foot on the first step, and shined the beam of light into the blackness. He saw a dirty, littered
floor, trash and metal scraps strewn everywhere. He climbed down, slowly, hands shaking the small beam
of light. The bottom steps had something slick on them, which Jack assumed was either grease or oil. The
air down here smelled like old, rotting potatoes, and Jack had to pull his shirt up over his nose. There really
was plenty to trip over, the place was a mess. Boxes and hunks of broken machinery. Nothing was
organized, and it looked like there hadn’t been anyone in the basement for years.
He kept walking, weaving around and stepping over the little road blocks. He had no clue where he
was going to find a place to put all these boxes. The way everything else was placed down here, he could’
ve just thrown them anywhere, but he wanted to do this right. Show a little initiative. Plus, he really didn’t
want to have to come back here later on and try to help find the boxes again. He had turned down a few
corridors now, and decided he was going to have to just clear out a spot. He still had fifteen boxes or so to
The flash light landed on a fairly empty spot against the wall. There was just one very large metal bin full
of old, outdated buttons. Power buttons, buttons that adjusted the speed, buttons that switched from hot to
cold. It looked like there were thirty years’ worth of them in this thing. He threw the metal scraps and trash
out of the way, grabbed ahold of the metal container with both hands, and pulled with all his strength. The
container bumped, then jumped, then slid. He kept the momentum, and finally moved it five or six feet
backwards into the space he had just cleared. Now, where the container had been, should be a large
space against the wall to put the boxes-
The light moved back over so that he could evaluate the work he’d done, and where the large container
had been, there was now a very large hole in the ground. He walked over to it, and the rotting potato smell
shot up at him with an intensity that almost made him throw up right there. Covering his nose again, he
shined the light down into the hole. He couldn’t see much, and he had no idea what could produce a smell
Fur flashed past the light.
Jack jumped back, almost dropping the flash light down the hole in the process. His heart was racing,
but it was probably a rat, he thought, nothing to worry about. A very large rat, yea, but what else could it
be? A monster? Laughing at himself for getting so freaked out, he turned to go back up and get some
more boxes, when he heard a loud smack, like a hand against stone. He shot back around, the light
bouncing back and forth from the shaking in his hands. He didn’t see anything down the corridor, but he
heard another smack. He pointed the beam down, at the hole, and two large, hairy hands had appeared
from it. Jack was stuck in place. He wanted to run, needed to, but he couldn’t move. The top of a head
appeared. The long, gnarled fingers flexed as they worked to pull the…whatever it was out of the hole. One
massive forearm appeared and slammed on the ground, then the other, giving the creature the leverage it
needed to pull its head all the way out.
The creatures face was covered in brown, matted fur. Its beady, black eyes lit up from the flashlight
beam, yellow puss oozing out of one. The puss was flowing into the fur below it, matting it against its head,
pooling up in the left corner of its mouth. Its nose was stubbed, like a bats, nostrils flared. The teeth were
brown and yellow, but despite the obvious rot they looked sharp, and strong. It bared them at the light,
emitting a low growl. Jack, still unable to move, found his voice and let out a scream. The creature
answered back with a blood curdling roar. Jack felt warm liquid run down his left leg. The thing picked up
the pace of pulling itself out of the hole. The torso was almost out now, and finally Jacks legs reacted. He
turned and ran as fast as he could with all the obstacles in his way. He tripped over an old steel beam,
screaming as his palm tore open on some shards of broken glass. The monster roared somewhere
behind him, closer now. It was out of its hole.
Jack scrambled up and grabbed the flashlight. He resumed his flight down the corridor, the light
bouncing off of the old machinery and junk. The wall where this corridor ended and met another, which
branched off to each side, loomed ahead. In his fright, he couldn’t remember which way he’d come from.
He skidded into the wall, panting and trying to think. A loud roar made him jump, and when he pointed the
flashlight back down the way he’d just came, he saw the monster barreling through the mess, throwing
chunks of steel aside like they were pillows.
Spit was flying from the corners of its mouth. It looked hungry, and Jack wandered how long it had been
since the thing had eaten. He didn’t stick around thinking too hard. He jumped to his left and took off down
that corridor, praying this was the way. A few more turns, and his prayers were answered. The stairwell
came into view. Another terrifying roar came from behind him. He looked over his shoulder as he ran. He
didn’t see the monster, but he sure could hear it. It sounded like it was maybe ten feet behind him now.
“No!” he cried. He was almost there. “Help, anyone, please!” He jumped the last few feet. When his foot hit
the bottom step, it slipped on the grease, but he caught himself on the rail. “GUYS, HELP –“
The creature wrapped its fingers around his right ankle, its grip like a vice. His foot was pulled out from
under him and he went slamming down onto the stairs. His chin met one of them, and pain shot through his
mouth. As he opened his mouth to scream again, half of his tongue fell out of it in a stream of bright, fresh
The monster pulled him back down, into the darkness. He screamed as his face was pulled towards its
open, snarling mouth. He thought that he was going to pass out from the horrid smell of the things breath-
“Jack. Jack! What the hells a matter with you?”
Jacks eyes flashed open. Cold sweat ran down his face, mixing with his tears. “Is the mons…Is that
thing gone?” he asked
“What thing? What happened?”
Jack looked around. His supervisor was crouched down next to him. He was lying down in his nook.
“That thing in the basement.” His supervisor looked lost. “Didn’t you tell me to go down there?”
“Jack, this building doesn’t have a basement. There’s no ‘thing’. You must’ve had a nightmare or
“A damn good one, too.” The old man, Dave, let out through his lip full of tobacco. “Looks like you
pissed yourself, Jackie.” The others all laughed, but Jack wasn’t paying attention. The fear was still twisting
his insides, making his heart bounce and his head spin.
He’d never been happier to be at work in his life.
|About Derek Brown
Derek Brown is a young
aspiring writer from
Kentucky. Aside from
writing and playing music,
he spends his best
moments with his wife and
their young daughter.
Other work of his can be
found at Channillo.com.