ʞ / fiction / Approved News 6 /

Another day in the office

"Jen, we may have a problem."

Security Director Jennifer Menendez sighed, and looked at her watch. Still another hour until she was off. "What's up, Lee?"

"Guy's been loitering in the lobby and blocking an elevator. He's just been sitting there and mumbling for an hour or so. I think it's starting to freak some folks out."

"I'll deal with it." Jen tossed the bag of chips onto her desk and brushed the crumbs from her hands. "It's near my office."

"You're the best, Jen," said Lee. "As always."

"No problem. Probably just some homeless nut." Jen winced as she levered herself out of her chair. Her back was starting to give her problems that aspirin couldn't fix, and it was past time she started seeing a chiropractor. Or looking for a job that didn't involve quite so much running around. "I'll give him a few dollars and tell him to go bother someone else."

"I sure hope that's all it is," said Lee. "None of us want to have another thing like we did in August."

"Don't remind me. I still haven't gotten the smell out of my rug." Jen stepped out of her office, and scanned the main lobby. The loiterer was sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the elevator, heedless of the annoyed customers stepping around him. He was dressed in a cloak blacker than the blackest night, his face shrouded in shadow despite the bright afternoon sun. Jen couldn't quite hear the words he was mumbling, but as she approached they seemed to echo from odd corners of the room, biting into her skull, offering her dark secrets and sinful pleasures if she would only close her eyes and drink deeply of their sound.

It reminded her a lot of that old Chevrolet commercial.

"Excuse me, sir," said Jen sharply, putting her hands on her hips. "Can I help you?"

The man opened his eyes, and immediately fell silent. Jen winced at the golden light that flooded forth, banishing every last shadow in the lobby. The man stood in one swift, elegant, inhuman motion, his timeless golden eyes fixing on her face. He raised a hand, and his cloak seemed to rise in an invisible wind. "It is as foretold!" he intoned, aiming his index finger at Jen, his voice clanging like a thousand holy bells. "For years I have searched, led across the blistering deserts and the frozen tundras by the visions and prophecies of an ancient order, but no more! For you-" he glanced at her nametag "-Director Jennifer Menendez, you are the Chosen One!"

"Oh for fuck's sake," said Jen. "Not again."