The 10th Hour

This Piece Was Originally Published in Mile High Horrors Bimonthly Publication “What Evil Lurks”

Winter Solstice. The best shift for an overnight guard. Despite this, I’m dreading the 12 hours that I will be on this shift due to swing shift calling out sick. 12 hours means three patrols of the building, twelve hourly logs, and watching a whole lot of nothing due to the winter storm raging outside the old nature museum.

Hour 1: Interior Temperature 68 Degrees, 10% humidity at 1954.

I settled down for a large cup of coffee. It is a solitary job being in a museum at night. As someone who has been a night guard for 3 years, the initial shocks of the noises that the building makes—the creaks of the architecture and the billowing steam of the mechanical systems—have become ambient noise. The displays of the sabre-tooths and predator animals no longer shock me on patrols. Humanity is the ultimate predator in my eyes.

Hour 2: Interior Temperature 69 degrees, 8% humidity at 2057. Contract snow service called.

These logs are nonsense. Created mostly for giving nights busywork and partially due to a night guard falling asleep a couple weeks ago. The contract snow removal service we have will be here around 5 AM, ready to clear the path for visitors that will visit the next day. Icicle removal is also their forte, as many will build up around the entrances.

Hours 3/4: Interior Temperature 67-68 degrees, 8-10% humidity at 2154 and 2258. First Patrol Complete.

At least patrols make my job easier by breaking up the night a little bit and getting me out of the dispatch center. The patrols usually last about an hour and a half, coming down to a science of 18 minutes per floor in this five-floor building.

Hour 5: Interior Temperature 65 degrees, 12% humidity at 2301. 

This is when I would usually start my shift. My supervisor called me in regards to the higher humidity, said to monitor it and alert if it goes above 15%.

Hour 6: Interior Temperature 67 Degrees, 10% humidity at 0011.

Solstice is over, officially. Halfway through the shift as the coffee is replaced by water. My microwave burrito and frito chips are my solace. Time for another patrol.

Hour 7/8: Interior Temperature 64/66 Degrees, 7% humidity at 0104

and 0210. Second Patrol Complete.

Time to babysit. The museum is bordered by bars, breweries, and concert halls, and drunks often use our campus as a place to catch a rideshare, particularly on a blizzard night like tonight. 

Hour 9: Interior Temperature 65 Degrees, 11% humidity at 0312. Person has fallen in a snowbank and shows no sign of movement. Called police to perform a check on them.

This is perhaps the only action I will see tonight. It was sudden: one minute, they were standing, as if waiting for something to happen.

Hour 10: Int…

As I started to write this entry, I saw something on cameras that made me jump. The person in the snow bank got up, headed for our front entrance, and slammed their entire body against the door. I’m rising from my seat, frantically heading to the entrance with my flashlight and a small speaker, hoping to scare the person away. Upon getting to the front entrance, the sight in front of me caused me shock: A figure dressed in a dark black puff jacket, with a face as pale as the snow itself, and dichromatic eyes, one blue, one green. I began shining my light on it, hoping it would repel this beast. Instead, it was drawn to it like a moth and began pounding harder on the door. When I realized that the glass was beginning to crack, I called the police for backup.

I was not able to make any logs for hours 11-12, as I was anxiously waiting for the police and snow service to arrive. When the police cruiser arrived around 6:00 AM, the creature had given up, probably afraid of the repercussions it would face. The incident served as a reminder to me of the oddities and monsters that exist in the world, especially on the longest night of the year.

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