I tasted salty sweat and it stung my eyes. I ran my hand down my face and wiped it on my leg. Air rushed down the narrow hallway, cooling my bare chest.
"Who's there?" the man said.
He was afraid. I could always tell. There was a tinge in the voice. It broke slightly, forced too hard to be strong. Steps are slow and uneven at first, then quick in panic. What was that echo? Do the creeping shadows hide something sinister? Am I okay?
"I've called the police."
He hadn't. He was all alone down here. No flashlight. No backup. Only an imagination and a weak lightbulb for the entire hallway to protect his soft body wrapped delicately into a useless uniform. The service elevator could have been safe, but he walked away from it. He let me get behind him. I know he heard me.
"They'll be here in five minutes."
A shadow, a whisper was all he had against the shifting darkness, against me. We feared it as children, but were taught to ignore instinct and believe in simpler truths. No such things as ghosts. Everything's okay. Daddy's here to protect you.
Then I came for him.