Saturday, November 18, 2006
crazy work short-fic
Wrote this for my friends. Enjoy it if you dare! ;) ljl
Betty, Terry, and Leslie sat in the darkened office. Rain came down the foggy windows in cool, gray sheets. The only good thing about this weather was the sense of isolation. Perhaps it would be a quiet day.
After a long week as an advocate at a domestic violence agency, a good day was a wonderful thing. The three colleagues sat in a large office and toyed with the idea of lunch.
“I’m so ready for Friday,” Leslie said.
Terry nodded vigorously. “I know. I didn’t even know it was Friday already. I came to work thinking we had two more days to go.”
“Don’t even say that,” Leslie replied.
Betty rocked back and forth in the office chair so that it made a grating, methodical squeak.
“This has been about three Fridays already,” she said, “and it isn’t even noon.”
Terry nodded again. “I had three clients yell at me before nine o’clock.”
“Yeah, and I got a couple of them when the called back,” Leslie agreed. “I can’t frigging wait until the end of the….”
She stopped speaking and jumped in alarm as a loud, male voice echoed down the hall.
“Choco-doodle-doo, its twelve o’clock!” it said.
“Jesus Christ,” Leslie said under her breath. “That thing is Satan’s clock.”
Betty nodded. “Big, chocolate Satan. Obviously.”
Terry giggled. Everyone in the office teased her about the M & M candy paraphernalia that she had decorated her office with when her home daycare closed.
“At least I reset it,” she said. “It used to say good morning when it came to noon because it was set to think it was midnight.”
“Yeah, it’s much better this way.”
“I know, I know,” Terry conceded – but not in a way that suggested the slightest hint of remorse.
Betty rocked her chair faster. “At least the thing is going forward. I don’t see any of these other clocks moving, at all. Either that or they are running backwards.”
Leslie scowled. “Maybe. I still want to hit it with a hammer.”
At that very moment, the doorbell rang. All three looked toward the hallway and started to move, but Leslie moved forward first.
“I’m on in fifteen minutes,” Betty said. “I can take it if….”
Leslie shrugged. “I’m still on, and I already ate. I might as well go.”
She said this as she moved down the hall. Terry and Betty relaxed back into the silence as Leslie’s footsteps faded. She clomped down the stairs to the first floor and then they could not hear her, at all.
“So, who yelled at you?” Betty asked.
“The guy,” Terry answered.
“Which guy? The fundy?”
“Oh. The crazy one?”
“Which one do you….”
“The one that smelled.”
Terry wrinkled her nose and shook her head.
Betty frowned. “Who, then? Tire iron guy?”
“Hammer guy…with the hole in his head?”
“Nope. Chainsaw guy.”
“The chainsaw guy. The one that said if he couldn’t have a twenty-four pack of beer by four o’clock, he would….”
“Oh, yeah.” Betty said. “Prick.”
Terry nodded again. They sat in silence, once more. In fact, there was absolutely no sound save the rain being blown against the modular walls.
Betty frowned again. “Hey, did you even here Leslie open the front door for anyone?”
Terry thought about it. “No, actually. She must have, though.”
“Yeah, I guess. But it makes me a little nervous.”
They looked at each other in silence for a moment before Betty sighed and got up.
“I think I’ll do a walk-through,” she said. “If I’m not back in five minutes, I’ve been killed.”
They both laughed. “Okay,” Terry said. With that, Betty was gone.
Terry looked around for something to do. She would rather gargle with broken glass than go into her office and catch up on her pile of client files. She pulled a domestic violence self-help book off Leslie’s bookshelf and flipped through it. She didn’t stop to read the pages.
As she set the book down, she noticed that the lower floor of the building was still totally silent. It was odd. Even if there was no client, Betty and Leslie should be talking or laughing. At least they should be opening and closing the kitchen cupboard doors.
An unsettling thought crept into her mind. What if the unthinkable had happened? What if an angry perpetrator had come to get revenge?
Terry sighed and slapped her knee with one hand. “Come on, now. Get your lunch. Those bitches are just hiding in a closet, hoping you’ll get worried and go looking for them.”
“No way,” she mumbled to herself. She jumped out of her seat and went downstairs.
The lower floor of the building seemed totally empty. Yet nothing was out of place. It seemed that Terry was totally alone.
She scowled and stomped over to the refrigerator. She wasn’t going to give them the satisfaction of getting scared. Betty and Leslie were undoubtedly hiding in a closet. After all, the three of them had pulled the same trick on another colleague, in the past.
“They’ll be sorry when they smell my food cooking and they are stuffed into the closet in the legal room, or some shit.”
With that, she gathered her cold, fried chicken and tortillas. She was going to make a nice wrap. When they came rolling out of the closet, they would find her enjoying her meal. The laugh would be on….
Terry started to scream as strong arms wrapped around her – pinning her arms and covering her mouth. They were long and coiled about her like steel cables. They reached upward, as if her assailant was close to the ground.
She tried again to struggle and scream. It did no good. She felt dizzy with terror as she was dragged backwards across the kitchen floor. She could see her tennis shoes, but little else. The rubber soles of her shoes squeaked as she was dragged to the basement door.
There was no escape. Her unseen attacker was pulling her down the dark stairwell. The soft glow of a light could be seen looming beneath her. It was not just the safety lights that always illuminated the basement. It was flickering. It smelled. It was a fire.
As her assailant dragged her around the corner of the stairwell, Terry saw a terrible sight. There was a cauldron as big as a hot tub in the middle of the basement. There was a pile of burning logs beneath it. The cauldron with filled with…what? Tar? No. She recognized that smell. It was….
“Time for a dip,” a nasty voice said. It was cartoon-like yet very, very evil. Every syllable dripped with malevolence.
“Yes,” a munchkin-like treble replied. “She can join her friends.”
The hand finally came away from Terry’s mouth. She saw a white glove pulling away. As she screamed, she craned her neck to see. She looked behind her – then down.
A child-sized M & M was still pinning her arms and preventing escape. The red-coated agent of Hell had a mean, red glow behind the rattling plastic beads of his google-eyes.
“Put her in,” the treble-voice repeated. Terry strained her eyes into the flickering darkness. She could see another one. It was green.
“I don’t know what the fuss is about,” a blue peanut-job said. Its voice was mocking and cruel.
“That’s right,” Terry’s captor agreed. “You all said you loved chocolate, didn’t you?”
He turned Terry so that her eyes were turned toward a horrendous sight. Leslie’s yellow-coated, candy-carcass was hung from the ceiling by its feet.
Her dead face was contorted with terror. Her chocolate stained and blistered arm was reaching toward the floor. It looked as if she had been trying to escape right up until the molten confection had filled her lungs.
“Aaah, I hope you can’t see anything you’re not supposed to,” the red one said.
“Shut up,” said the peanut. “That’s your clock script. Be a free thinker, you ass.”
“Yeah,” said the green one. “This is a coup. This is revenge.”
Terry tried to control her breathing. She knew she was about to pass out. Then the sound came to her. There was a scratching…no…a pecking. It sounded like a baby bird was trying to break out of its egg. A big bird.
She looked past Leslie and screamed again. There was a giant, red cocoon of hard candy hanging from a second hook. The side was slowly cracking. As Terry watched, another chocolate-covered hand clawed forth. It had to be Betty.
“Now you see what’s on the menu,” the peanut said. “It’s you.”
The red one laughed maliciously from behind her. “Aw, don’t worry. We’re not gonna eat you.”
“No, we wouldn’t do that to you,” the green one said. “Oh, no. I hope you enjoy keeping track of the time. It’s the talking clock for you.”
Terry screamed and kicked as she was pushed…dragged toward her doom. She regretted every M & M she had ever eaten as the hot chocolate loomed into view.
The last thing Terry heard as she was consumed by the smore-stinking blackness was the rasping, relentless beat of a familiar beast. She heard the pendulum of her M & M clock.