Ben Farthing fears the unknown.

In each of his books, he's trying to recreate the sense of wonder and dread he felt the first time he saw Clive Barker's Hellraiser, or the first time he read Stephen King's "The Mist."

He reads and writes books where the characters desperately try to unravel a supernatural phenomenon, with the hope that just maybe, that knowledge might help them survive. Skyscrapers that appear overnight, ghost ships that drift out of the fog, and sentient library collections are just a few of the strange occurrences where Ben's mind and pen wander.

He lives near Richmond, Virginia with his wife, children, and too many pets.

It Waits on the Top Floor by Ben Farthing

The tower appeared overnight, but it wants to keep you forever.

Thursday night, it was a dirt lot.

Friday morning, it was a 60-story skyscraper.

A tech billionaire wants the building's secrets for herself. She hires a team to reverse-engineer the overnight construction. But she knows more than she's letting on.

A curious 9-year-old decides there's treasure inside, and goes exploring. His terrified dad chases close behind. Inside, the facade of an empty office building is quickly shattered. Ghostly figures stalk the explorers. The walls themselves are hungry. And something is waiting on the top floor.



  • "I loved everything about this book. The creep factor intensifies with each floor they climb."

    – Uncomfortably Dark Horror Reviews
  • "Fast-paced, imaginative… terrifying cosmic horror."

    – Out of the Shadows Book Reviews
  • "A really cool cosmic horror, with characters you feel for, and a storyline you don't want to stop reading!! I read it in one sitting."

    – No ReMorse Reviews
  • "One hell of a writer."

    – Daryl Gregory, Shirley Jackson Award Winning author



Chapter 22

Leon was gone.

The tower's weight compressed the air of the dark stairwell. It draped heavy on Chris's shoulders, dripped thick down his throat.

"Leon?" Chris called.

No echo. The architecture snatched sound waves and clutched them tightly. Chris considered that maybe these outer spaces weren't designed by an amateur, but that they'd been designed for a purpose Chris hadn't yet considered: to isolate.

The flashlight and prybar grew slick in his sweaty grip. Every shuffling step sounded a sharp staccato.

He was alone, over a story beneath the earth.

He shined his light up to the next landing, between sub-basement levels one and two. No way Leon could have sprinted past there. Chris had just bumped into him.

Back the way they'd come was the same—the empty landing of sub-basement two. Leon would have had to push past him.

Chris leaned over the railing. He couldn't imagine Leon falling without making a noise. Chris's flashlight beam didn't reach the concrete floor of sub-basement level three. That wasn't right. The bottom should be only three landings down. Chris counted. Five flights of stairs, before the light couldn't reach anymore.

"No," he whispered. He couldn't look away from the depths of the hollow stairwell. It was impossible. Three minutes ago, there'd been a solid floor. He thought of Leon falling, flailing, tensed for an impact that never came.

"That didn't happen," Chris told the darkness. "I would have seen his flashlights thrashing around."

Then where was he?

Chris inspected the wall but found only smooth concrete. The steps didn't even rattle under Chris's heavy stomps.

"He must have switched off his lights and sprinted ahead." His voice hung dull, echoless. Chris bit his tongue. He didn't need to hear that again.

Nothing to do but head up. Maybe Leon would be waiting for him in the courtyard.

A soft thud on a step far below.

Chris leaned over the railing once again.

The noise repeated.

He jerked his flashlight across the gap, along the sides, everywhere below.

Louder. Closer.

A thud, then a quick dragging. Like shoving a kitchen table across a linoleum floor.

Chris climbed to the next landing, still balancing the blueprints and pointing his flashlight down. He couldn't spot the source of the noise.

A mental image of the sound clicked into place. The drag, thud, drag played in time to the lurching figure's movement.

Not thirty feet below, come up from a staircase that didn't exist five minutes ago, the thing came for him.

Rational thought fled. Chris crushed his bundle against his chest and dashed up the stairs. He fell twice. The second time, after the closed door of subbasement one, he cut his shin open on the iron step.

As he turned the final corner, fear screamed in his head that the stairwell had stretched itself downward, and so it must have done the same upwards. There would be no courtyard door, only an eternity of basements, where he'd be chased by the lurcher until he took his own life by diving down the open maw in the center of the stairwell, falling, falling, until he caught up to Leon, whose starved corpse would break apart from the force of their eternal terminal velocity.


Under the door on the next landing.

Chris yanked the door open to barge into the blinding glow.