Copyright by Gary L Morton 2014
Paperback Copies of My Horror Stories and Novels
or e-Book versions of my Books
place was spooky at night, especially then in the rich dark of
autumn. A curtain of wilted vegetation cast brittle leaves on the
worn patio stones. The huge condominium complex rose on all four
sides from the centre of the courtyard, the only exits being a glass
door and an iron gate. So many windows looked down on the court I
often felt watched. When I patrolled through very late, I would
suddenly feel watched from all directions. The glare on the windows
would become the oppression of hidden and hostile stares. Yet it was
a quiet place; a complex of more than four hundred condominium
units. It was an older one. The age showed in cobwebs, cracks, leaks
and wear, but it was still better than new places coming up. It is
always that way; they first start building things to last, then the
imitations that don’t last come online.
don’t think I ever truly liked the place or being the night security
guard. The problem was always Nancy. The thing about Nancy was that
she loved the place. I spent so many nights arguing with her about
it. Sometimes in the courtyard. In the end, we weren’t speaking much
because of my plan to quit work.
They didn’t grant me that promised promotion. Instead, they doomed
me to keep working night shift and long hours. They told me about it
in the office on a Thursday morning.
“Nancy, Nancy, Nancy,” Johan said, his voice hoarse and ugly and his
big blustering leather face highlighted by his huge lick of blond
frontal hair. “There ain’t no fucking Nancy. People see you out in
that courtyard or walking on the rooftop patio ... or God knows
where, talking to someone that ain’t fucking there. You scare
people, Freddy. Some people think you’re talking to the building
ghost. If it weren’t for seniority, I’d fire you. That and the fact
that no one wants to work your shift. Maybe nothing ever happened
since you been here at night because you scare all the bad
motherfuckers off, too.”
“But, but, Nancy says ...” I said.
Then he cut me off.
“Fuck Nancy, if that’s possible. You’re staying on night shift. What
I can do is give you a small raise. That’s if you ditch that bitch
and stop talking to her.”
that was it, big Johan had spoken ... but big or not, it wasn’t a
good thing to piss off Nancy. I spent a long time talking to her in
the courtyard about it. At one point, she was shouting at me and I
had to shush her. She was going to wake up everyone in the damn
“Johan,” she said. “Remember what Ramone told us about him. Saw him
on a Saturday night, headed downtown wearing leather shorts and
black lace stockings. His face made up like a whore. The man’s a fag
and ugly one, too. With a fantasy of being a five-buck female slut.
He probably oils his ass before he comes to work, just in case he
“You’re always so mean, Nancy. He can do whatever he wants when he’s
not at work. And society is liberal and understanding about all that
“Yeah. Well don’t get any liberal ideas when you’re dating me. I
expect my man to be loyal. I have no use for cocksuckers.”
“Nancy, shush. Please stop talking dirty out here. Someone might
looked at me like I was an idiot child then started arguing again,
and it dragged on. Things started tumbling around me. I looked up at
the faceted windows then down at the webs of dying leaves. A dust
devil whipped up some debris and a twig hit me in the eye. I ended
up standing there like I was crying but it was from the dust in my
eyes, and also partly from the frustration of looking down a dark
kaleidoscope of night shifts and Nancy bitching at me out in the
Then her voice softened and she whispered in my ear, telling me what
she wanted me to do about my problem. I listened and decided I would
do it. I’d get even with those bastards and we’d walk out together
when the job was done.
idea of a last lazy night patrol was booster-juice for my mood and
my attitude. I took care on my rounds and checks. Whistle while you
work ... and I did whistle later on when I was in the staff
lunchroom. I could see morning light shining somewhere in my head
while I did it.
Every morning in the complex was the same. Johan, Ramone, and the
cleaners would arrive at seven am and shoot the same shit over
morning coffee. I’d walk in and Ramone would be pouring the fresh
brew. Johan would take the milk from the fridge and then he’d say.
“Milk’s a bit stale. I’ll get fresh at noon.” Then he’d say, “The
secret to topping off a brew is whitener. A bit of whitener with
sugar takes the edge off a brew and improves the milk flavour.” Then
he’d spoon some into each cup after Ramone did the pour. The only
person taking coffee black would be me as I hate milk and whitener.
I would drink my black, constantly trying to keep back from Ramone
and his rotten breath.
new whitener I was fixing up would be especially potent as a top-up.
Mixed with rat killer, odorless and tasteless, they’d never notice
anything different. It would seem like prime brew, at least for a
while, and then it would thin out their blood and do what other
magic poison could do and kill them.
Watching some of the new whitener pour off a spoon back into the
bottle, I decided it was perfect ... and time to move on. Old people
were on my mind. I was getting old myself and the complex was mostly
quietly because many elderly bought condos on the place’s reputation
Silence indeed ... people living on beyond their time, putting a
burden on the resources of the nation. But where could they go? Best
to bury them where they belonged.
thing with a building so big was that many things relied on the fire
panel. Officially, a tech or fireman was needed to silence an alarm.
Unofficially, I had been through fire calls and emergencies and knew
how to do it.
With the panel password, changes can be made. So I set it not to
call the fire department automatically and programmed a dummy feed
to the monitoring station so everything would read fine no matter
what happened. A manual disable of all alarms had always been best
to keep things quiet at night.
of the suite bolt locks clicked open in the case of a fire, so I
reversed that so the doors would all magnetic-lock shut. Entrances
and exits, too.
Being fall, the switchover to heat from air conditioning was about
to take place. As a good security guard, I had done my patrols of
the mechanical rooms, and since the maintenance guys never wanted to
come in at night or on weekends, I learned most of the equipment
from times when they walked me through problems and settings over
the cell phone.
the current problem, I set the exhaust from the emergency generator
to run into the air system once the switchover took place. Call it
energy saving as two thirds of all lights would go off and all but
one elevator would ground. I would ensure there would be some power
and warm carbon monoxide air delivered to everyone.
Attention to detail is a good thing. A security guard must do more
than walk around. So keep that in mind. Always be prepared, and I
was, with a big tank of extra fuel for the emergency generator. It
was no small generator, almost as big as a small car, sitting in its
own room down in P1 with the tank nearby. It didn’t take long to
jimmy together some hoses and siphon the spare fuel over to the
bottom of the elevator shafts.
Plan as one may, the best of plans can go awry. Morning arrived and
at that time, the main garage entry door would lift and stay open
for day hours. On my big day, it malfunctioned and kept swinging up
and down. Johan, Ramone and all the staff pulled up and couldn’t get
in. Some quick thinking was required. I cut the power to it when it
was in the up position so they could drive inside.
Next problem was that Ramone smelled fumes. It took all of my powers
of persuasion to convince him it was exhaust. I told him a resident
left his car engine running underground in P3.
“The exhaust fans will slowly clear it,” I promised.
looked at me like he didn’t quite believe me, then laziness won out
and he went into the staff room for coffee with the others. They all
looked surprised when I lifted my cup of black and said cheers. I
stayed to watch them sip then I said I was going out for a quick
check on the fumes.
went up to the exit to the courtyard, and just before I stepped out,
I lifted a lit lighter to one of the detectors on the sprinkler
system. It worked. I mean there was no alarm, instead all lights
blinked and there was a rumble as the emergency generator came on.
Throughout the building locks worked in reverse and instead of
unbolting for fire, they magnetic-locked shut. Fucking garage door
didn’t close though, it started with that malfunction again where it
kept opening and slamming closed at high speed, but that was a good
thing because just then Ramone and Johan came running for it from
the inside. Both of them were staggering and spitting out white
slop. I felt like yelling down to ask Johan if he had any new
feelings about whitener.
Ramone didn’t make it; he fell on the dirty concrete floor inside P1
and started squirming. Blood suddenly spurted from his ears and I
had to look away when he started with the horrible choking noises.
Johan did manage to stumble to the garage swing door but not through
it. It slammed down on him and flattened him … leaving me standing
there with amazement on my face as a fountain of bloody bile shot
from his open mouth. His body rolled about from the continued
slamming motion of the door, and it did serve to muffle the noise
saw some people running out exit doors beyond the metal gate and
cursed because the locks did not all secure properly. There would be
people that lived to talk. Another mistake I made was on the timing
of the fire as the elevator shafts suddenly roared with flames and
exploded, making the fire a bit quicker than planned. In minutes,
the entire complex was roaring with flames and the sounds of
screaming. But I felt okay, even happy. I danced a little jig in the
courtyard and waited for Nancy to join me.
forgotten about Nancy. Then I realized that she was still inside and
I spotted her yelling for help from a window. Nancy, the love of my
life was going to burn. I had to save her.
Without hesitation, I ran inside through howling smoke and flames. I
rescued Nancy, or thought I did. I broke doors down. I dragged woman
after woman out into the courtyard. Dogs and cats burst free from my
efforts. I saved dozens of people, but each time I pulled a person
out, I looked at the face and it wasn’t Nancy. I couldn’t save her
and the whole place cooked. Fire department men pulled me out of the
flames and one guy socked me one to keep me from going back in. I
ended up flat on the ground blubbering, “Nancy, Nancy, Nancy.”
shucks, it’s all over now, and I still don’t sleep at nights. I
spend my days talking to the shrinks. I’m in another big complex,
but here they watch me closely. My doctor looks so much like Nancy,
but since I’m now burned and ugly, she could never love me. It’s
more like she hates me. No one else has rescued as many people as
me. Not many people have done as much killing as me either. I put in
for the night security job here, but my chances aren’t good of
grabbing the position. I heard it through the grapevine.