He lurked in the shadows, watching.
Any hour, day or night.
You never knew he was there.
He could see you, but you could never see him.
The Shadow was on the board of Directors.
He was convinced his staff were shirkers and layabouts.
He was also incredibly paranoid.
If they were shirking, they were doing it to get at him.
If production was down, he saw it as a personal affront.
He was notorious for his screaming fits of apoplectic rage, spitting and howling at staff who displeased him.
Everybody displeased him, even the fawning sycophants he recruited from the workforce to spy for him, paying them in high paying overtime.
He had a window fitted in a high room overlooking the factory floor, and he would slink into the unlit room and peer down on his minions from between slitted blinds.
If a worker went to the toilet without permission, he would see.
Sneaky fag breaks were witnessed and noted.
A hastily slurped cup of tea did not avoid his unblinking gaze.
Hated supervisors would then cruise amongst the staff, handing out warnings and bollockings to staff who didn’t quite come up to scratch, ladling out bitter vitriol that had been dripped down to them from The Shadow.
The night shift could breath a sigh of relief.
Only a mad man would come in to work at three in the morning to catch malingerers.
Out in the still street, a dark vehicle drifted silently into an empty car park.
The Shadow drifted across the damp tarmac to the door leading into the offices, and entered unnoticed.
Through the unlit corridors he swept, until he reached his lair.
There he crouched, in the dark.
The next shift, and the warnings were meted out.
The workers were puzzled, but all eyes slowly turned to the blank eye of the dark window that looked over them.
The workers sent scouts out on a night to spot his car, but The Shadow was too cunning.
He parked a distance away, and slipped through deserted alleyways to his secret entrance.
There he perched, his eyes glittering, watching, watching.
The workers loathed him for it.
He didn’t care.
The Shadow left his car and slithered through the alleys towards the factory.
He was dressed in black, almost impossible to detect.
He glanced to left and right, before racing across the road to the door, where he crouched, rummaging for his key.
“Excuse me Sir. What do you think you are doing?”
The Shadow nearly had a heart attack.
“What? What? Oh. Good evening, constable. I’m, erm, I’m going in to my office. I work here.”
“Do you really, Sir. At 2.36 in the morning? I somehow doubt that!”
“But I do! I really do! I’m on the board of Directors!”
“Well, we’d better pop inside and find out. It seems like there are lights on in the main building. Perhaps we can find somebody who can vouch for you…”
The policeman leads The Shadow into the factory, where everybody looks up, smirks, and looks away.
The policeman calls to Dogsbody, who was operating the nearest enclosing machine.
“Excuse me, Sir. But do you recognize this man? He claims to work here in some capacity.”
Dogsbody looked at The Shadow.
The Shadow gave Dogsbody a pleading glance.
“Never seen this cunt in my life, mate.”
The policeman asked around.
Nobody seemed to have a clue who The Shadow was.
“Well, well, well, sir. I think somebody has been telling porkies.”
“Yes! Those unwashed fuckers in that factory, that’s who!!”
“So you say, sir, so you say. We’d better have a little chat about it down the station.”
As The Shadow drove away in the back of the patrol car, he looked back at the factory.
In the light streaming out of the open factory door, he could see a dozen silhouettes watching him go.
And they were all smoking.
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