The janitor’s squelching footsteps echoed throughout the rounded corridor of the sewer. His flashlight flickered, casting a sickly yellow-white light over the scum that carpeted the concrete tunnel.
This didn’t particularly worry the janitor, though. He knew these tunnels well enough. He’d been cleaning up messes at this hospital for over thirty years now, and the messes always seemed to find their way down here.
The labyrinthine tunnels provided shelter from researchers and administrators who would never deign to set foot in the hospital’s sewers, lest they get lost—or worse—filthy. But the janitor was used to the muck, used to the hazmat suit that brushed up irritatingly against his wiry silver moustache. It would probably be more comfortable to just shave it off, but he loved that moustache, and he’d be damned if he let this job take that away from him too.
A noise snapped the janitor out of his rumination. He directed his flashlight beam ahead of him, illuminating where the corridor bent sharply to the left. A scurrying limb darted out of view as something sloshed around the bend. The flashlight flickered. Cautiously, a head peeked out from behind the corner, glinting with the reflections of over a dozen eyes.
The janitor exhaled sharply. Another mess from the organ farm. He hoped it wasn’t one of the chatty ones.
“Come on out.” The janitor’s gruff baritone was calm, gentle.
The creature approached, crawling stiltedly through the muck.
“P-please….” Its voice was garbled. As its mouth opened, the janitor could see eyes grafted to the inside of its cheeks. “They have no mercy.”
“Tell me about it.” The janitor grunted, hefting his bolt pistol from the holster on his thigh.
The shot reverberated against the sewer’s rounded walls. The janitor looked down and sighed, unfurling a body bag from his knapsack. He wasn’t even going to get hazard pay for this.
L. E. Warde, better known as Luci Edwards, is a fourth-year English honours and creative writing student. Growing up on Vancouver Island, Luci developed an affinity for all things gloomy and grim, and expresses that passion in both their academic and creative work. Their short stories, inspired by Gothic and horror genre conventions, have been published in Portal Magazine, Gooey Magazine, and Knock Knock by Frission Comics. Luci hopes to continue delighting and unnerving readers for many years to come.