They Keep Digging

Okay. This is going to sound crazy, but I promise I’m not crazy. It’s 4am now and I might be dead tired, but this is real and I’m not just imagining it.

Those diggers outside, they keep moving.

There’s two of them. It’s one of those annoying building sites where the workers start around 6:30am, just so they can wake normal people up, and they keep going until the early afternoon. They started shortly before Christmas and this must be an important thing because this hole is massive and they’ve been at it every day. But like those building sites are, not a single time did the workers stay until the evening and they certainly never worked during the night. And I’ve been looking out there for the last hours and there was definitely no worker out there.

But I have no doubt anymore that those diggers keep moving by themselves.

I first heard them around 1am; that same creaking sound and the scratching of metal against stones and cement and soil which they do every morning. I was already going to run out there and scream insults at the workers, but when I looked out the window there was nobody. Nothing was there except for the trees, the parked cars, the street lights and those two yellow machines standing there, one half on the small street right outside my house and the other standing inside the hole that the workers dug in the last weeks for who-knows-what.

It’s dark as well. I mean you could work with the streetlights alone, but for the past weeks I’ve had a taste of their building site floodlights when they woke me up on Christmas morning in conjunction with that creaking and scratching, and I’m pretty sure they never work without them.

So I thought it was all just my imagination or just something in the music. And so I turned the music back on and sat back at my desk to procrastinate online rather than sleep and not ten minutes later I heard it again.

I got up to check the site again; by the time I reached the window it had stopped. But there was a guy with a dog in the distance and I figured it might just be him, kicking a street sign or something. So I watched as he came closer and walked by. He stopped at the hole and bent over the barrier to look inside. He seemed puzzled for a moment, but then his dog pulled the leash and he just walked on.

He disappeared around the corner and I waited a while longer for anything to happen. It didn’t. So I went back to my computer, turned the music louder and got back to keeping myself awake.

I only heard it again around 2:30am. I was just changing to go to bed: A loud scratching sound, loud enough to get through the music.

When I looked out the digger on the street seemed to be vibrating and I would have sworn that it was standing differently, with the shovel further down and dug into the soil, not with the shovel up like they usually leave it. But I looked and there definitely wasn’t anybody inside.

So I got ready for bed, slid under the blanket and rolled from side to side while telling my mind to shut up, but I just couldn’t get those diggers out of my head. And then I heard the diggers again, louder.

And I didn’t want to get up. And it just continued, at least two or three minutes, until I finally jumped out of bed and ran to the window when it instantly stopped.

It just stopped half a second before I reached the window.

And the machine didn’t move, but I swear I saw a chunk of soil falling out of the top digger’s shovel. And the shovel was now high up and the whole machine turned towards the large heap of soil on the other side. And there still wasn’t anybody inside.

So I threw on my pants. Grabbed the large flashlight that my parents gave me “for power cuts” when I moved out, and my phone. I turned on the camera and just walked out there, not sure what to look for, except that I looked in all directions before I closed the door behind me.

The digger at the top looked completely normal, but still with the front and shovel turned towards the heap and away from the hole. The door was closed and the glass cabin definitely empty. I mean, like, a dwarf could have hidden somewhere in the foot area that I couldn’t see, but I would have seen any movement from my bedroom. This thing was just empty.

But the other digger, it was standing at a very weird angle; run backwards against the wall of the hole, leaning forward and the shovel dug deep inside a smaller hole right in front of it. I don’t know much about building sites, but if I was the site manager I would have fired the idiot that parked it like that.

It looked as if there just wasn’t enough space for the machine to stand and to dig at the place where it had to dig.

This small hole was weird too. I didn’t want to climb in there to check, but whenever I shone the flashlight towards it something seemed to reflect from down there, like the black metal sheet of a car. As if something was buried down there and supposed to be excavated.

I thought I might just be misinterpreting the reflection and it might be water or something, maybe a leaking pipe and that was shifting the ground and that was moving the diggers and so I should call someone. So I took a stone and threw it towards the small hole to find out. But I missed and just hit the shovel. So I picked up another one, with the same hand with which I was holding my phone and just while I was swinging back and hurling it forward and throwing it the top digger fucking creaked and I fucking let go and my fucking phone plonked against the weird metal sheet and it is definitely some metal sheet because it sounded like a fucking empty metal container or casket or something.

And I stood there, waving my flashlight between the top digger and the muddy hole that somewhere hid my phone and I wasn’t sure whether I should scream or run or jump in there and grab my phone before something else does.

I stood there five minutes and with every moment the hole grew deeper and darker in my mind. So I told myself that I will wait until morning, when the workers come, and I will tell them that my phone is in the hole and they will fish it out for me and I will not say anything else. I walked back towards my house, first backwards, then I finally turned and ran to the door and unlocked it while nearing a panic attack and slammed it shut behind me and locked it and ran upstairs to hide in my bed.

And when I reached my bed I heard the creaking again, loud and long and when I looked out the window there was a shovel-load of soil on the sidewalk where I had stood. And on the top was something shiny, phone-shaped, still with a glowing screen.

I just stared at it for a while. Saw that the top digger had turned. Saw that the lower digger had its shovel high, reaching out of the hole, right towards that heap of soil with my phone on the top.

I could have just missed it. I just didn’t see it. I never threw it down that hole; instead it slipped out of my hand and fell on that heap that had been there before and whatever sound I heard was that stone hitting the shovel or something and definitely not my phone hitting some weird underground metal chamber that my mind was imagining.

So I took the flashlight again. I walked down the stairs, slowly, with the flashlight on even while I had the stair lights on. I reached the bottom of the stairs and there was a creaking and then a loud sound, metal on stone.

I walked towards the kitchen window. Looked outside through the hole pattern of the lace curtain my mother gave me for Christmas. And the top digger’s shovel was resting on that small heap.

The cabin was still empty.

That must have been around 3am, maybe 3:10. I called the police station via Skype, to tell them that someone is out there messing with the building site. They said they would send someone and a few minutes later a police car drove by. They stopped at the site and shone their flashlights around, then they drove off.

And since then I’m sitting here and sometimes I hear that creaking sound. I thought about calling the police again, but they’ll just think I’m crazy. I’m not sure why the other neighbors don’t notice it, maybe it’s not loud enough or they’re gone for the holidays, but I swear I’m not mad. I didn’t drink anything and I don’t take drugs. But I hear those diggers moving and shoveling every few minutes. And they always stop moving when I look outside, but they definitely change positions every time.

I can’t take standing behind the window. I was going to wait there, to see if anything happens when I look long enough, but I just get uneasy. Really uneasy, nervous, cold, as if someone is staring me down from somewhere in the darkness of that hole.

And every time I look away they just keep digging.

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