Gundersen was watching his paper factory. It was all going very well these days. They had a lot of profit. He was getting rich. Very rich.
The workers kept complaining, though. Assholes. He had built a great factory they could work in, and all they ever did was whimper. Our children are hungry, they said. We can’t afford medicines. And with the accidents lately everything were getting more complicated.
A little girl died in the paper compressor just a few days ago. He was there. The image was burned into his mind. Half her body crushed. Her face. Swollen, with one of her eyes sticking out in a strange way, blood running down her cheeks like tears. He shivered. He didn’t want to think about it. Not that he really cared, workers could always be replaced. He just didn’t want to see it.
The workers lived on the other side of the factory building. The lower administrators was on the same side as him and the rest of the leadership, but on the other side of a big fence. They couldn’t have these people running around in the important people’s neighbourhood. They belonged with the workers, but still, it was better to keep them separated to keep things in order. He didn’t trust any of them.
Lately a shadow had been seen at night. Sneaking around between the houses. Some said it was a ghost, awaken by the immense misery in the workers quarters. Evil spawned out of suffering. Gundersen didn’t know. It didn’t really matter, either, as long as it stayed on the other side of the valley.
As he stood there on his small balcony watching the factory area he saw someone or something come out from between the factory buildings, running over the bridge crossing the river. It looked human but was limping in a strange way, like it was dragging something. Moving from side to side, wiggling, stopping, moving forward again. Creepy. It was coming towards his side of the valley, and disappeared in the darkness.
He went down to tell his butler to inform the guards. The butler was not there. Martin! He said. No answer. Martin, where are you? Strange, he thought. Where could he be? He picked up the phone. It was dead. Lazy phone operators.
He went over to the front door, opened it. Darkness. Dead silence. Something moved in the shadows. Who’s there? He said. No answer. He closed the door. He didn’t like this. He didn’t like it at all.
He went back upstairs, and looked out of the balcony window. The main factory gate was open.
He heard steps in the stairs behind him. Slowly. Each step was followed by a dragging sound. Moving up towards his floor. He turned around. Hello? he said. Who’s there? No answer. Answer me! He tried to sound dominant and tough, but could hear his voice weak and scared. The footsteps stopped at the top of the stairs. He stared. There was no one there.
Silence. Fear. A figure appeared in the darkness. Stood still for a moment. Charged at him with one leg hanging behind like a fell. Screaming a scream of hate and horror. The voice of a little girl. Tonight you die!!! A twisted face. One eye sticking out of it’s socket. Tears of blood running down her cheeks. She was changed. A glow of sinister revenge had replaced the coldness of her dead eyes.
She lifted him up and pushed him backwards. She was strong. The glass door broke. They fell off the balcony. His head hit the ground. He gained consciousness being dragged through the factory gate. Help! He screamed. Somebody help me!!! The girl was laughing. Giggling. Amused of his terror.
In the noise from the paper compressor no one could hear his screams.