The Loft
rating: +35+x

“Hurry up, we’re gonna get caught!” Jenny whispered, failing to stifle a giggle.

“Come on,” I muttered, “I’ve popped harder locks in my sleep… there!” I stood, one hand on the jimmied doorknob, and said to Jenny, “Last chance to back out.”

She snorted and replied, “Like I’m scared of some old ghost story. Just go in before someone sees us!”

I cautiously opened the door and started to look around inside when Jenny pushed me in. “Come on, you goober!” she giggled, following me inside and closing the door behind her. I pulled a couple of flashlights out of my jacket and handed one to Jenny. The loft was dark and dusty—no surprise since no one had lived there in who knows how long.

“Whoa, freaky!” I exclaimed, shining my flashlight on a… sculpture, I guess. I didn’t know what else it could be. It looked sort of like a person, but its face was distorted, its body was twisted and stretched, and its arms and legs were in positions I didn’t think were possible. It looked like it was made from some kind of stone, maybe marble.

“Look,” Jenny called, “there’s a whole bunch of them in here!” Shining our flashlights around, we saw several more sculptures scattered around the room. They all looked like horribly misshapen people, some made out of wood, some metal, some from that same stone as the first, and a few that… I didn’t know what they were made of. “Talk about artistic license,” Jenny murmured as she stepped closer to one of the sculptures.

As she examined the sculptures, I decided to see what else was in the loft. In the next room, I saw more of those weird sculptures, but also a table with what looked like dozens of tools on it. “Hey, Jenny, come check this out,” I called out as I approached the table. Neatly arranged on the table was a large assortment of hammers, chisels, files, and other tools I guessed a sculptor would use, as well as vises, tongs, saws, knives, and several tools I had no clue what were.

Jenny came into the room a moment later. “Something’s weird about those sculptures out there,” she said, her voice trembling slightly.

“Yeah, they’re creepy as hell. Come look at all these tools…”

“No, I mean… something’s not right about them. I don’t know what, just… jeez, it’s cold in here!”

“Well, yeah, we’re in a vacant loft in November,” I responded as I picked up a crescent-shaped tool off the table.

“No, look, I can see my breath in here… hey, how come there’s not any dust on those tools?” she said as she pointed her flashlight to the table. She was right—though the rest of the loft was dusty, the table and tools were completely clean and shiny, like they’d just been polished. “Someone’s gotta be here,” Jenny said, starting to sound hysterical. “Let’s get out of here!”

“Relax,” I said, “no one’s been here in forev—OOF!”

Something had knocked me over, pushed me down hard onto my belly. I tried to get up, but it felt like something huge was on top of me, pinning me down. I tried to yell but couldn’t draw a breath. I heard Jenny scream, but she was cut off with a loud thump.

The weight on me spread, covering my whole body, smothering me. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. I tried to call out to Jenny but I couldn’t even whisper her name. I was suffocating… drowning…

…I don’t know how long I was out. Minutes? Days? I can’t tell. I still can’t move, even though I don’t feel the weight on top of me. I try to open my eyes, but… it feels like they’re already open. But I can’t see.

I try to say something, but I can’t move my lips. It feels like I’m smiling, but my mouth feels like it’s twisted around and under my face. Instinctively I try to run, but I know it’s useless to try. I don’t want to feel my legs, or my arms, but I have to.

That’s all I can do now, feel this twisted body, sculpted into an impossible pose—and think about what happened to me and Jenny.

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