The post office was closed for the evening. Sacks of mail lay dormant in the sorting room and the dull metal PO boxes were shut tight. They frowned down at Patrick, the night janitor, the only thing still moving in the sleeping building. Patrick rolled the plastic trashcan along, its crude wheels making a racket against the tiles. Patrick winced. He hated to disturb the silence. It was only 10 o’clock, and all the cleaning was nearly done. It was like this every night. He tried to take his time, but there simply wasn’t much to clean in the neat little post office. His shift was ten hours. He was required to work until 6 in the morning when the office opened up again, but he usually spent eight of the hours sitting alone and waiting for morning to come. Patrick was a bit of a night watchman, too, in addition to a janitor- it wasn’t in his job description, but there was no one else there at nights, and he was required to stay anyways. Fortunately, he thought, no one ever tries to rob the post office. But still he found himself always investigating strange sounds and abnormalities, a PO box clanking its closed metal door, a sack of mail slumping over and spilling its contents.
Sometimes Patrick felt tingles, like fingers walking their way up his spine, in the middle of the night. But he shrugged it off, twisting his back and shaking off his fright. On this particular night, when he felt the sensation, he leapt from his seat and took out his Windex and cloth. He went to clean the windows, for the third time that night. The world outside was dark and deserted. The post office stood on a lonely corner in the north of town. There was a pizza shop and a nail salon diagonally across the road, but there was no one inside. Those two shops were ever-changing, no business could get a foothold. Just last week the pizza shop boarded its windows, and Patrick had never seen anyone go into the nail salon. Patrick absentmindedly moved the cloth in circles over the same spot on the window. There was a smudge there he could never get off. It had been there since he started this job, and he suspected it was some kind of defect in the glass. His employers never complained about it, anyway, so Patrick didn’t worry. But as Patrick stared across at the pizza place, thinking he really could go for a slice, his vision began to blur.
“What the-?” he muttered, stepping back in surprise. He realized then it wasn’t his eyes at all, but the smudge had begun to grow. He had been spreading the smudge like paint as he tried to wipe it away. He leaned in and squinted at the glass.
“Well isn’t that the damnedest thing…” The smudge now covered almost half the window. Patrick felt as though he were gazing into cloudy water, and had a strange sense that something monstrous would surface any moment. But he shook his head, and shrugged it off, as he always did when he had these feelings. He decided to return to his cart and pick up some Extra-Strength Windex, thinking that maybe since he’d finally got the stubborn smudge to move he could wipe it away now, once and for all. He turned his back on the window and immediately convulsed, as though struck by lightning, sensations ricocheting down his spine and discs popping like electrical transformers. He fell to the floor, and began foaming at the mouth, as behind him there emerged a terrible being, a beautiful creature risen from the cloudy waters. The being moved forward, blurry and obscured, towards the back of the neat little post office. Patrick strained to see through the swimming colors and bursting stars in his eyes, fearing a dream, a delusional state, believing he must be having a stroke or an episode. The being found his cart, and gazed down into the mop bucket. It stepped into the cloudy water, its many cloaks swirling around it, and immediately vanished into the bucket. Patrick lost consciousness. The water in the bucket stirred and then settled, murmuring and swishing softly. On the window the smudge retracted and faded away, until it became as small as a pinpoint and then was entirely gone.
Credit To – Joce9