The work was more than hectic that day. Being a Friday, I had planned to leave earlier so that I could hang out with Ananya for a movie and a dinner date. But my boss had other plans. He ensured that I had much more than normal to do by scheduling multiple client calls as well as asking for the deliverables by end of the day. I couldn’t curse him enough.
When I finally finished filing the work, I got up to leave for home. It was 12:30am and there was almost no one in sight. A few lights and fans were switched on. But they were more to do with people having forgotten to switch them off rather than someone working late into the night. Guess, there weren’t as many crazy people as me working their energies off on a Friday evening.
As soon as I reached the lift with my laptop bag, the lights went off. I am not a person who gets scared easily. But then there wasn’t anyone around. And I was on the 25th floor of a 30 storey building. So it was going to take quite a bit of time even if I walk down the 25 floors.
I called out loudly to know if anyone could be around. But no one replied and I could feel my voice echoing instead. On looking out of the window, I could see lights in the distance. But nearby, everything was dark. It had been almost five minutes now and I was waiting for the lights to come back. Normally, they always did in a matter of minutes. Our company had their own generators and you never really felt the power cuts which everyday residents would.
So this was really odd. It was summer and even the nights weren’t really cool here in Chennai. I had already begun sweating. I finally decided to use the light of my mobile and walk down the stairs. As I moved a bit, I heard a distinctive sound. It felt like someone was hammering a nail into a wall. I called out loudly again in the hope that someone would be there. But no one replied. The sound started to grow louder and louder. But still there wasn’t any reply.
A chill ran down my spine. Who was there? Why would someone hammer something at this hour? Why was he not replying? All these questions and more began circling in my head. I really wanted to run down the building now. And so I began to hurry down the steps without looking back or waiting for anyone.
On the 10th floor, I had to cross over to the other part of the building as the steps in this one were under renovation. As I walked across the alley, I heard a door slam shut and the sound of water flowing in a stream. Maybe there was a lot of wind. Maybe someone had left a tap open in the toilet nearby. Maybe I was just imagining things.
I just ran down the remaining steps and got out much to the surprise of the security guard. He just mentioned that the generator had become faulty and that the lights would be back in a few minutes.
On asking if there was anyone hammering a nail in the building, he replied in the negative. He himself mentioned that all workers normally left by 7pm. So who was it? Maybe, I was thinking too much.
Whatever it was, I hadn’t got that eerie feeling ever in my life before. And after this, I decided to never work so late sitting at office alone.