The building appeared normal from the outside. They usually did when they called us in, yet we knew better. One story of concrete and glass that squatted among the towering skyscrapers to either side. That was enough to set it aside from its fellows. The sheer normalcy of the building in a setting designed for opulence and pride was an arrogance of its own.
No one stopped us entering the building. I found it strange that there appeared to be no security, not even cameras positioned at the entrances or in the lobby. No staff anywhere in sight. The team and I made a slow search of the upper floor before heading to the elevator.
Only one button adorned the controls for the elevator. With no other choice, we pressed it and waited. The doors slide shut with nary a sound. I couldn’t sense any movement and I shifted in place, checking my gear, noticing my companions doing the same. Too many unknowns on this job.
After several minutes the doors to the elevator slid silently open to reveal a warren of stone and steel. What appeared to be an unfinished basement stretched into the distance, unadorned walls, naked girders, hanging wires, and a back wall that couldn’t be seen. Just how big was this room?
With no sign of the people who were supposed to occupy the building, we started exploring. We split into pairs and headed deeper into the building, stepping around construction equipment, and what seemed to be hastily dropped tools. My eyes caught on a discoloration on one of the unfinished walls.
Stepping in closer, I saw several scratches scored into the metal. Similar gouges adorned the flooring. Calling over the team, I pointed out the signs and directed everyone to follow them. We kept careful watch, heads on a swivel as we explored along the lines of evidence. All too soon we found ourselves surrounded by rubble, chunks of concrete torn from the floor and ceilings. Eventually we arrived at the wall, where a ragged hole seemed to have been smashed into the room.
Our flashlights failed to pierce the darkness more than a few feet, instead catching on a sort of mist or dust. There was no choice. We had to go in.
We needed to learn what had happened to the previous team.