The empty halls were dark and cold. There was an eeriness to it that sent a chill up Chloe's spine, as much as she'd rather not admit that to anyone, not even herself. After all, what would David say if Chloe said that she didn't want to take the graveyard shifts because the facility was creepy at night?
That was just dumb as shit and it was bad enough that David already clearly perceived Chloe as dumb as shit. No amount of helping out in the garage was going to change that dipshit's mind, so why bother trying? After all, just because Chloe smoked pot and dropped out of school didn't mean she was an idiot.
Maybe dropping out of school wasn't her finest moment. Particularly when her lack of money became painfully inconvenient, keeping her from engaging in her miscellaneous hobbies. That and money got tight for Mom, with the whole trying to support a useless daughter thing.
And that was how Chloe now found herself wandering the admittedly creepy halls of Prescott Research Institute. It was a bright enough place during the day, bustling with activity as the employees did their science-y things, poking and prodding at psychics or typing intensely into their machines. Though she would never say it out loud, Chloe did envy the scientists who got the chance to research and study stuff as fascinating and phenomenal as psychics. She was curious about it, to say the least. But she did lose her opportunity to be one of them when she decided that school was useless.
"Could have had it all, Price." It was dumb, talking to herself. But in a place this dark and quiet at this dead time, Chloe had to find some way to stay sane. Even if that meant acting a little insane. Like talking to herself. "Could be raking it in as one of the scientists but instead you're stuck counting pennies as David's probationary pet guard." Grumbling to herself, Chloe finished up her rounds on this particular floor and pressed the down button on the elevator.
There were a few other people on the other floors, either scientists working late shifts, interns trying to go above and beyond or unlucky rookie guards like Chloe.
But most of the world was enjoying the comfort of their beds right about now and Chloe resented them for it. David, especially. He got to enjoy cuddling up to Mom and getting his stupid greasy hands all over her while Chloe was stuck here, bored out of her mind.
And just a little creeped out.
"Damn you, David." Chloe muttered to herself, if only to break the uncomfortable quiet as the elevator opened up to one of the lower floors. "Damn you for leaving me with the crappy, boring shift while the rest of the human world is chilling or partying right now."
She pointed the flashlight in front of her as she walked down the hallway. This floor seemed deserted. None of the rooms had their lights on. At least in the upper floors there was some semblance of activity. Here, it was just totally dead.
It was so dark, her mind was starting to fill in the gaps with imagined figures and that just added to the whole creepiness factor. Without her issued, heavy-duty, bulky as hell flashlight, Chloe would probably be walking into walls. The only other sources of light were the glow of control panels next to the doors.
The hairs at the back of her neck were prickling and she tried to shake it off. There was just something about this area that felt so off.
With a huff, she pushed herself forward.
It was tempting to turn around and just go back to the upper floors, but David had given Chloe a good long earful about being thorough and familiarizing herself with the facility. If she didn't know this place's floorplans better than her own tattoo by the time he came in for his morning shift, there would be no end to the nagging.
So she focused instead on walking owards, familiarizing herself with whatever she saw.
"What even is this floor?" Upon closer inspection, the doors revealed themselves to be heavy, with small windows at eyelevel and a panel of some sort at shoulder level. "Those look more like prison doors than-"
Chloe gasped, catching sight of someone in one of the rooms.
Fumbling with her flashlight she lifted it up and pointed it at the thick glass. The beam of light cut through the darkness of the room, throwing the figure inside into the harsh contrast of light and shadow.
Her hair was sticking out at odd ends and what looked like blood could be seen on her nose and hands. A thin fabric almost like a hospital gown was draped over her scrawny frame. And as the girl turned her head to squint at the light, Chloe felt her heart skip a beat.