Echoes rang in my aching ears, like a clamorous clanging bell, crying out in a shrill pain. My heart was pumping furiously; my vacant mind waiting for a spark of conscious thought amongst the nothingness spreading throughout my ram shackled body.
Stumbling, awkwardly, down the long, intensely black, winding corridor, the lurching lockers leaning over me, yellow, convulsing eyelids peering through the cracks with piercing pupils, stalking me as I threw my wracked body onwards, despite the pain. There were millions of bodies around me, pushing this way and that, a torrential pouring of blank faces trying to barge past me. I tensed. I felt perilously claustrophobic as my own eyelids felt too heavy to keep me conscious. My heart sank to the pit of my vacillating stomach. Butterflies were dancing the death march inside me.
I carried on, diligently following the corridor of shadows that had become my personal quest. I had been walking for what felt like days. The long expanse drifted on as my weary legs agonizingly and precariously forced me onwards.
My body was quivering all over. I didn’t know what to do, my mind groped for sanity. My brain was racing, like it was trying to escape something lurking in my subconscious. My heart traumatically thumping. It felt like I’d been punched in the stomach over and over again.
I walked for miles, until, finally, I reached the oblique office. My manager was gazing, gaping, glaring at the sorry stature that wilted in front of his unbelieving eyes. I panicked. He was huge, towering above me. Dauntingly and intimidatingly, he rose. He stood still. My insides felt like jelly. I couldn’t concentrate. My head was telling me to turn and run. I didn’t know what I could have done to be treated like this! Finally, he spoke to me:
“Go to the Director’s Office. He wants to see you, now!” he muttered in a deathly, uncompromising tone.
I didn’t want to think about what devastating mistake I had made. I tried to block my running thoughts before the ferocity of them panicked me even more. I turned and slowly walked out of the encompassing office. The black walls seemed to close in around me. My legs were struggling to hold up my shaking body as the corridor once more swallowed me.
My heart was beating faster than my footsteps carried me as I struggled to the Director’s office. My heart was ringing out apprehensively, calling for help. I was anxious and alarmed by the possibilities of what might lay ahead. Every bone in my body was shaking, dancing inside me. Fear and dread feeding on my mind. What had I done?
The buzzer went for the start of the working day and all the workers swarmed out, like a swarm of locusts. I was thrown aside by their furious rushing. I was suddenly boxed in as the masses barged this way and that; I was being brutally thrown from wall to wall. My mind was still racing as I was tossed from side to side. What had I done to them? They surely knew of the devilish deed I had done. I felt them hitting my body in drobes; it was starting to bruise my weak, pale skin as I was punctured by blow after blow.
I joined a long queue of many hundreds of blank faces. People were being driven forward. I was terrified. People started to fall on the floor and get trampled on as if they weren’t there. People were crying out! This was a ravaged war zone!
Then, suddenly, disaster. A huge, obese, blank-faced man threw himself into me. My legs gave way from underneath my diminishing body. I could feel myself falling into the abyss. I landed on my knees. My life flashed before me, the herd were starting to trample over me. I slowly picked myself up, with great effort, and walked tentatively on in grating pain. I had to see the Director, being late would only make my horror worse. I broke into a sprint, running as quickly as my jelly legs would carry me.
I eventually arrived at the evil office. I knocked and went in…
There he was…the Director. My Departmental Manager was also there, speaking quietly to the Director. Was it about me? My heart was now pounding so hard it was hurting my chest. I sat down. The Director turned and began:
“I have asked you here Paul because Tom is leaving.”
“I’d like you to take up his position.”
My bottom lip gave way. I felt tons lifted from my rejuvenated body. I made small talk. My voice rose diligently and the small talk came flowing, like a torrential, crashing river. Confidence oozed through the beads of sweat which lined my forehead.
I barged out of the office, head held high. The countless blank faces swarmed underneath me as I almost crushed them with my large management loafers. I swaggered down the short bright corridor with a spark in my eye and a strut in my step. Someone clambered past me sweating and panicked. He had been summoned to the Director’s Office.