When Nick and I get off the elevator there are demons everywhere, shouting and assembling weapons. Nick still has his arm around me and I'm rubbing my other arm. My ears are still ringing and I can barely hear all the noise.
He steers me towards the exit but I pull him in the other direction. "Concierge," I say, knowing he can't hear me. We move off in that direction. The office is crammed with demons of all shapes, sizes, and colors. I'm surprised that they're completely ignoring us but demons tend to be very single minded creatures. Give them something to focus on and they'll do so for eternity. We stand opposite the office and I can just see the human soul who was sitting at the desk. He is now standing in the corner while the demons shout at each other in the devil's language. The sound of their grotesque voices make me shudder. I realize then that my hearing must be coming back if I can hear them.
There's a loud crash and then a terrible roar from below us. The sound is so loud that I can feel the vibration in my feet through the floor. All the demons freeze into place, listening. The ground shakes again. And then the floor down the hall from us starts to buckle downwards, the floor collapsing. The demons run out into the hallway as the floor shudders and drops down, pieces of concrete falling inward. Nick and I watch, glued to our spot, until the collapsing floor rushes towards us and the demons back away into us. I grab Nick by my good arm and run into the Concierge's office. I pull him into the doorway and hope the demons used decent building codes. The floor gives way causing some of the demons to stumble but they do not fall. Instead, their great reptilian wings open and they hover a few feet above the floor, watching the damage. Nick and I hold onto each other as the building shakes and stumbles. Dust puffs everywhere and then the power goes out, turning everything dark. Now, it's like a full fledged earthquake is going on, the ground falling and the walls shoving back and forth. There's a high pitched whine and then the backup generators go on, bathing the room in a pale yellow light. It's still dark in places. The shaking stops all at once and I can hear the demons shouting at each other. Dust and debris is everywhere. I take a deep breath.
"We need to get out of here." I jump at Nick's voice close to my ear. I look up at him. We don't say anything for a moment.
"We need to get into the archives in this office. Now is the best time," I say still looking at him.
We look into semi-dark office. The human soul is now huddling on the floor. He has long dark hair, and piercing dark eyes. I walk up to him.
"What's your name?" I say to him. He is muttering. I lean down and touch his shoulder. "What's your name?" He jumps and stares at me.
"What was that thing in the prison cells?" he asks, eyes wide, "I saw it on the monitors. It...." He blinks at me. "Adapa. That's my name." I frown, wondering what kind of name that is.
"We need to get into the archives, Adapa, and we need to get in there now."
"What?! You can't get in there! It's..."
He's interrupted by a loud buzzing sound outside and then we heard the screaming of a demon. The sound of more cracking bones and then a long sucking, wet sound as the demon goes silent. Both Adapa and I turn in horror at the silence. Then the other demons are shouting and a battle begins. The Stranger's buzzing grows louder and the roar of the violence rages right outside our door.
Adapa stands up and runs for a blank wall. Nick and I run after him. He presses the blank wall quickly in a series of taps and the wall opens. He runs inside and we run after him. He doesn't look back, instead, he runs off down the dark, narrow hallway. The hallway goes on and on. There are featureless doors here and there at regular intervals but no signs. Eventually, Adapa pulls away from us as we slow down. Nick and I both stop, our chests heaving. I watch Adapa continue to run on.
"Must be nice to be able to run forever like that," says Nick. I can hear him just fine now.
"Sure, it's fun to be dead with no body," I say, "This is a good time to look for the archives." As soon as I say the word the door I'm facing glows white for a moment. When the light fades there's sign on the door that says "Archives."
"That's convenient," says Nick. I place my hand on the door knob and jump back with a yelp.
"What? Is it hot?"
"No, it's freezing cold," I say. I have a vague recollection that this is a dialog from a movie but I can't remember which one. Nick reaches into my backpack and pulls out a pair of big, thick gloves that go up to the elbows. I remember my Dead Self putting them in there. He slips the gloves on and opens the door without any problems. The door swings open and I can see that it's dark inside so I reach through the door and find a light switch. The lights switch on systematically and we step inside. Nick closes the door behind us.
We say nothing. This is the largest room I've ever seen. All white and it looks like it goes on forever, but there's nothing here. No shelves, no books, no computers, no tables, nothing. In fact, it appears to be just a huge white space.
"This is creepy, Miss Turtle." I step ahead of Nick still looking around. I'm moving slowly, taking care where I step even if the floor is the same white everywhere.
"I can't see where the room ends," I say. I feel little more confident and walk forward into the room. It's a little chilly as it would be in a server room. We move out into the expanse of white and then there's a loud click. We both try to locate the sound but it seems to have come from the ceiling. I'm looking up at the ceiling and then I hear Nick gasp. He is pointing behind me.
There's a figure coming towards us from very far away but it's moving very fast. As it gets closer I can hear its whooshing sound. Nick draws his sword, shoving me behind him. I draw my knife and wait. The figure is running towards us. I can see now that it's a man, very slender with dark hair falling in front of his face.
When he gets close enough so we can see who it is, Nick staggers backwards dropping his sword. I manage to get out of his way but stumble to the floor anyway. We are both staring upwards, open-mouthed, for standing in front of us is none other than the recently deceased King of Pop, Michael Jackson.