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24

The streets lay empty and cold. The oppressive silence of the night was only interrupted by his pace.
An unappealing white-collar worker was running from an unseen predator. His steps stumbled every so often as anxiety punctured the back of his neck every time he glanced over his shoulders. He couldn't see him, but he knew he was there. This thought made him even more fearful of the thing chasing him.

The sweat from his brow was icy cold; his lips trembled, breath stuttered as the chilling panic continued to pierce down his spine. The sound of his own footsteps echoing in the background only played on his anxiety. That feeling started to dissipate as he finally reached his door.

His apartment, as shitty and cramped as it was, felt like an impregnatable fortress at that moment. The house was silent. It was that comforting sense of quietness, not those four walls, that brought rest and safety to his feelings. For now, he was safe from having to deal with him. His requests started off very simple, even professional. Then slowly these requests became more jeopardized. He asked for all kinds of information he didn't have, all the while namedropping him and his close circle of family and friends. People that he never told him and people he shouldn't have known. The way he spoke was even worse; he treated it all as nothing more than casual conversation.

He believed he was going insane. When he reached out to his colleagues, they replied with dismissive gestures. Even HR went as far as to deny his existence. He considered at some point, seeking psychiatric help. Perhaps he was seeing things. Maybe he was schizo. He wasn't sure. These delusions stayed inside his cubicle, and that's what mattered most.
He was getting ready to sleep while begging not to wake up tomorrow.
The stress was too much to handle, and it only got worse when he heard a knock on his door. His blood ran cold.

He was paralyzed, bolted and frozen in place out of sheer panic and fear. He couldn't move. From the crevice under the door, he could only see the shadow of his nightmares.
"Hey, it's me again from Middle Management. I was wondering if you got those papers I asked you for".

Then, the shadow went silent. He couldn't hear the voice or the wood creaking anymore. There was only the sound of his ragged breathing and the feeling of his uneasy heartbeat. The figure opened the door, his hands were contorted, his face was round but everchanging and unrecognizable. Then, he spoke again.
"I promise you, I only need one or two more courtesies and that should be it".
Funny thing, he's been saying that for the past two weeks.

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