I Think I'm Going To Stay Home Today
THE TITLE IS YIDDISH, I just got new glasses, maybe I should take them back. lol
I Think I’m Going To Stay Home Today
I don’t know when it happened exactly. It seems like a fog at the front of my mind that keeps me from seeing clearly or remembering or maybe it’s helping me to forget. One day everything was normal and the next day everything was different. People were different. The looks in their eyes were different; strange, distant and haunting.
One day people were talking about the weather, the sales at the local markets or stores, the clothes they had bought or the newest entertainment of the year. They talked about everything from evolution, religion, marriage, divorce, sex, love, anger and hate to the coming of the Emperor. People were normal and going through their normal activities; work, worship and play.
But as the sun rose the next morning things had become very different.
People still went to work, the shopping malls and the markets, but no one spoke. They just moved about slowly as if they had not a care in the world. They meandered and milled about without thought or purpose. They moved about as if they were sleepwalking or in a trance. They went through the motions but they were asleep.
I got up at a quarter to seven, quickly dressed and ate a small breakfast. I hurried out to my small compact hover-car, opened the door and got in. ‘On.’ I said. The lifters powered up and the stabilizers removed the imbalance. The Coastal 3000, warmed almost immediately. As I turned in the hover-rest-lot I noticed the people in the yards next to my house were all staring at me.
It felt strange to see my neighbors staring at me. I waved at them and smiled, they just stared back with those distant eyes. ‘That was strange.’ I said to myself. ‘I did not understand the command.’ The hover-car’s computer Answered. ‘Delete last command, Mira.’ I said. ‘Off to work we go, Mira.’
The route to work was already set so all I had to do was give the command and the Coastal 3000 would take me there. It was the first hover-car I had ever bought. Nine-hundred-thousand crown worth of luxury, it was pearl-white with Sapphire interior coupled with red-ruby shaded windows. The seats were tanned grox-hide, soft and warm in the winter.
I could never have afforded a vehicle like this in my old life. I came from the Bruster’s Gamble on the lower east side of the planet. Bruster’s Gamble was a hive of fifty- million people who worked all day every day to refine fuel for the Emperor’s finest, the Guard.
When I was nineteen I joined the Guard and became a soldier. The 179th infantry “Dog Bites” is what we were called. We fought on seventeen worlds in the Binary Alfa Star-Dust Cluster. By the time I got out I was forty years old.
One might say that forty years old was too early to retire, “Only in death does duty end” and all that. But the truth of the matter is I wanted out. I did not want to see any more death. I did not want to see any more broken boys bleeding and screaming on the battlefield. The chance for me to get out came up and I couldn’t go fast enough.
I had spent twenty-one years as a guardsman and had outlived most of my regiment. I retired a four time General. That came with a bigger paycheck than I could have ever made in the hive. It allowed me to buy this beauty that now hovered and moved smoothly onward.
I was not married and did not want to be. Times could go from wonderful to horrible in a relationship in the time it took to turn your head. I didn’t want any part of that. I was too set in my ways and was unwilling to change for the sake of a woman. I had my guns, knives and exotic insect collection to care about. I had this hover-car Coastal 3000 to keep me satisfied.
The sun was up but was mostly hidden by the clouds. It was not that cold out but there was a chance of rain in the forecast. I had dressed in black dress pants and a white button-up shirt with no collar. I wore a black jacket with a pocket on the inside; it was lined and warm. Under the jacket I wore a harness with a small las-pistol in the holster. I also carried a small boot-knife. Old habits die hard.
As I pulled into the parking-lot I noticed that people were staring at me there too. I didn’t know why. It was strange. I smiled and waved at them. They did not smile or wave back.
I wondered what was going on. People did not act like this, ever. I parked the hover-car. ‘Power down, Mira.’ The Coastal 3000 slowly settled upon the parking studs and I got out and shut the door. I looked at the reflection of myself in the door-mirror, smiled and checked for things in my teeth, I also checked my hair. My hair and teeth were perfect.
In the line of work I was in I had to be sharp. Dealing with the rich and Body-guarding their lives was not always the cleanest work, but at the beginning of the day I knew I had to set a good impression. Jobs could be won or lost at the first impression and a good smile usually set things in motion and on a good foot.
I gathered my things, a black safety-case and a log-book and walked from the hover-car and across the lot. The people in the lot did not move; they just watched me. I was starting to wonder if something was wrong with me. A quick look over of my clothes confirmed that it was not what I was wearing that was causing them to stare.
Whatever it was could not be helped now. I had an appointment with a very rich man who wanted me to guard him when he was out of town “Sensitive client,” he had said over the transponder.
My office was on the thirteenth floor of the Emperor’s State of Records and Planetary Defense Force building. The building stood thirty floors tall and was granite-gray with tall blackened windows and a statue of the Emperor holding a sword in one hand and a law-book in the other, in the courtyard.
There was a closed in garden at the rear of the building that held a host of plants gathered from distant planets; a botanical of vegetation most of the people would never be able to see in a thousand lifetimes. This was the place I liked to meet my clients at. It was a soothing place that kept the mind open and our privacy away from prying ears.
After the deal was agreed upon we would make our way into my office where we would record their optics, bio-prints and personal numbers for billing later upon the completion of whatever time and job was accomplished.
As I made my way into the E.S.R.P.D.F. building I was not approached by the guards as usual. Dave Justin and Marcus Ogalsbe were usually there, even before the doors opened, ready to check my papers and bio-scans. It was routine as breathing. Instead, they were standing at their desks facing me, staring. I waved at them, but they did not return the greeting.
I waited there for a minute for them to come over and process me but they never did. I looked around the lobby where hundreds of people stood. They were not going about their business. No one was speaking or moving around. There was no bustle of any kind, none of the usual sounds or noises that usually accompanied an active administrative building. This was really getting on my nerves now. ‘What?’ I said. They did not respond in any way. Warily I made my way past them and watched them stare at me.
I was getting more than a little agitated at this strange behavior, but I tried not to make an issue of it. Maybe the population was having a moment of reflection. Maybe I was being the one who was being disrespectful.
That thought struck me as possible. I had not been in Roget Thrice for very long and was still not used to all their customs. Maybe I was the one being rude. I moved past the people and through the rear of the building and made my way to the botanical garden to prepare for my appointment.
I was very surprised at the tardiness of my client. Rich businessmen were never late, never. In most cases even a death in the family would not cause the money-makers and deal-setters to miss an appointment.
I could see people staring at me through the fronds of hanging trees and over the tall flowering plants. With an exasperated sigh I resigned myself to wait a few minutes longer in the off-chance my client would show up. He did not.
Irritated and barely able to hold in my frustration, I made my way back inside and made my way to the elevator. When the doors opened I stepped inside and allowed the doors to close. ‘What is the matter with these people?’ I said to myself.
I ran my fingers through my hair and pinched between my eyes at the crown of my nose. I felt a headache coming on. I could feel it was going to be a bad day. ‘Thirteen.’ I said. ‘Thirteen.’ The computer answered. The elevator began to ascend.
The recorded prayers of the faithful played softly from an overhead speaker hidden within the shadowed ceiling. The prayers were accompanied with background mood-music that was meant to sooth the nerves, but right now it was annoying me something fierce.
The elevator doors opened to the halls that lead to my office. It was quiet on this floor as well. No one was working; they all watched me as I walked past their glassed-in offices.
The door in front of me had my name plate, “Garret Kohl.” I fumbled for my key-card and plunged it into the reader. It beeped and the door unlocked. I stepped inside and closed the door behind me but did not lock it again, business was open.
Hanging up my jacket, I was very aware of the stares from everyone. I tried to ignore them but it was impossible to do so. There was something very wrong. I loosened the las-carbine in its holster and set at my desk. I took up the work on my desk and hid my irritation of being watched in the files before me.
I lost myself in them and tried to make contact with the client that had not showed up today. Nobody answered when I made the calls. That was strange. It seemed the world was doing nothing today but watching me.
After about three hours I finally looked around again. No one had moved from where they had been standing when I had first left the elevator doors. They were still watching me. The dark stained wooden door to my office slowly opened. ‘Oh good, a client.’ I said to myself.
I was disappointed when I saw that it was not a client, but a custodian. ‘I don’t need you now. Could you come back later?’ I asked. He did not respond at all. He was dressed in a green pull-over work suit, had black hair and an honest, older wrinkled face. Trying to be as nice as possible I spoke again. ‘Ser, I don’t need anything cleaned as of yet. Could you come back later?’
The man just stood there as if he was in a dream. His eyes were black and blank and his mouth was closed. ‘Ser?’
The man’s nose began to bleed, little trickles at first than the blood poured down and over his lips, his chin and finally onto his work over-alls. I stood up and made to move around the desk in order to help the man.
The man watched me move toward him and when I got close enough he lunged at me with all the force he could. His mouth was open and he was trying to bite me. My training kicked in immediately as we fell to the floor.
Forcing my hips up, I rolled the man off of me and onto his back. He was flailing and still trying to bite me so I punched him as hard as I could in the face. His cheek cracked with a loud pop and he stopped moving. Standing up I leaned against my desk. The man just lay there. He looked like he was dead; I hoped I had just knocked him out.
‘Security?’ I Said. The receivers in the wall would connect me directly to the security desk. I waited for a couple of seconds without a response. ‘security!’ I shouted, still no answer. Movement at the door caused me to look up. It was Mrs. Barnsworth from Dispatch. Her nose and eyes were bleeding.
‘Emile, are you alright?’ I asked as gently as I could. She just stood there, slack-faced and distant. ‘Hey, are you okay?’
I turned my head away from her. She was bleeding badly and I wanted to find something to help to wipe her face with. From the glass walls around me I could see the others in their offices staring at me. They were moving now and blood was flowing from their eyes, noses and mouths. The woman at the door took a step forward.
I had to move, I knew that now. I was in trouble. I had no idea what was happening but I was trapped and I had to get out of here, now. Mrs. Barnsworth took another step and then another. She stepped upon the custodian and lost her balance as her pointed heal dug into his leg; she fell sideways.
She made no attempt to stop herself and went right through the glass wall. In shock I watched her start to get back up, there was glass imbedded in her face and throat and hands as she struggled to rise. The remainder of the glass wall crumbled as she lost her balance again. The hall was filling up now. I had to move.
As I exited the room a man from billing lunged himself at me. I dodged his clumsy attempt to engage me and kicked him in the gut. He didn’t groan or cry out at all. Mrs. Springer stepped past him on his right side and grabbed my shirt. I lashed out with my forearm and broke her nose. She fell to her knees but did not make a sound.
Theodore Scotts moved into the hall, cutting me off from the elevator. He was a big man and pretty fit, but he was slow and bleeding and blank-eyed. I kicked him in the groin but he didn’t fall, instead he lashed out with his arms and grabbed at me, his mouth opening, head tilting, teeth bared. As quickly and as forcefully as I could I hit him in the chest. His sternum cracked but he did not seem to feel it.
I was surrounded and trapped in the hallway on the thirteenth floor of what was supposed to be the safest building on the planet but I was not safe. He lunged for me but his head exploded in a cloud of pasty bone and brain-matter. Slowly he fell to his knees and forward.
I stood there trying to hold my emotions back but the tears still came. I had shot a defenseless citizen point-blank in front of witnesses. But as I looked around at the others closing in on me I knew they did not care, that they could not care about Theodore Scotts. The only thing they cared about was coming after me.
The elevator doors opened slowly and I had my back to them. I was fighting off my former coworkers, punching and kicking them and hitting them with the butt end of my las-carbine but they would not stop trying to get me. They moved like a slow rising river that could not be stopped.
I stepped inside the elevator and screamed ‘Close!’ The computer instantly obeyed, the doors closed on a couple of arms and started to open again as the elevator’s safety features kicked in. ‘Override open on authority 117700.’
The elevator doors began to close again but the people on the other side refused to move or back off. They did not cry out as the doors slowly crushed their bones and separated their arms from their shoulders.
I could hear them beating on the elevator doors, blood was on the carpet, the doors and all over my tailored suit. I was scared. ‘Down.’ I said quietly. ‘Down.’ The computer said.
I could hear them at each floor, banging on the doors, trying to open them. I was the meat they wanted to get to. About the time I got to the third floor the thought struck me; “The first floor lobby is full of them and they will be waiting for me.”
‘Stop.’ I said. ‘We are between floors. Do you want to stop the elevator now or at the next floor?’ asked the computer. ‘Now!’ I shouted. The elevator stopped between the second and first floor.
I could hear them above and below me beating on the elevator doors but I was not completely trapped yet. The ceiling of the lift held a fire escape door which I used to escape from the inside. The gears were grease covered but the cables were not. They were thick and twisted and covered with tiny frays from use.
The frays were sharp so I pulled off my over-shirt and ripped it in two. I took the halves and wrapped them around my hands. Once done, I began to climb.
The ventilation system was linked into the elevator terminal. All I had to do was get to one of the links and bust my way in. using the ventilation system I could make my way pretty much anywhere I wanted to go.
The elevator doors opened up. I counted the floors until I knew that they had opened on the Twenty-fifth floor. I was safe for now. I continued to climb.
Something fell past me and slammed onto the roof of the elevator. The whole thing jumped and swayed and I was nearly thrown from the cables from the vibration. Something else fell past me and crumpled the elevator roof.
The elevator shook and bounced, but I held onto the cables with all my strength. I felt the wind swirl around me as something else fell past me. The elevator roof finally collapsed, shards of plas-steel and bracings lifted and buckled upwards and outwards and downwards.
Looking down I saw the bodies of three people. Another one bounced off of the wall, pin-wheeled and tumbled past me and into the cables before finally coming to a sudden stop on the bodies below.
I was free falling now, the vibrations from the cables too much for me. A shard of splintered plas-steel sliced my shoulder from front to back as I fell through the gap in the elevator ceiling and onto the cushioning of the four corpses. The wound was not too deep but it was painful.
I rolled out of the way as another body slammed into the ones I was resting upon. Looking up, I could see more silhouettes backed by the faint light from the twenty-fifth floor. They were just walking off the edge. One of the bodies slammed into one of the upturned elevator roof bracings and was impaled.
Looking up I saw his face, expressionless and pale, blood weeping from his eyes, mouth and nose. His mouth was opening and closing and his arms were flailing. I watched as a woman’s body slammed into him, tearing away the bracings with sickening force.
The elevator bounced and shook with the combined weight of my former coworkers. It danced and crashed against its moorings and the cable-breaks began to squeal as they began to slip.
More people were coming down and there was no way to avoid them as they slammed into the piled bodies and rolled to the side. I was forced to climb up the pile of humanity even as they landed.
The elevator was rated to hold ten tons. That was the weight of twenty people at two-hundred pounds apiece walking into the elevator through open doors at a normal pace.
The cables snapped as the nineteenth person reached the pile in two bloody, broken pieces. The corpse had slid down the cables from the twenty-fifth floor and had been bisected by the friction.
The elevator free-fell into the basement of the building where it came to a sudden stop. My vision slowly came back to me. I must have blacked out. Some of the people in the pile began to move, arms twitching, legs kicking, eyes opening and mouths snapping open and closed with the clacking sounds of teeth snapping together.
I could not find my las-carbine so I pulled the knife from my boot. The bodies were shifting now and I could not escape. The elevator doors were wedged shut, the corpses were rising.
In desperation I began stabbing them in their chests, faces, legs and arms; anywhere that I had an opening. They did not fall but closed in on me, arms outstretched, mouths agape, teeth bared, bloody and broken.
My back was against the wall as I made my last stand. I stabbed and stabbed until one of the shambling dead fell and stopped moving. What had I done? Looking down I saw the hole in the top of the head. Hope flooded me when I stabbed another in the head and she fell.
There were still more advancing at me and nowhere for me to go, but now I knew they could be stopped so I punctured head after head until blood covered and exhausted I stood upon them all.
Shock and exhilaration flooded me as I realized I was still alive. I began to laugh as relief flooded me. The doors above me began to open and at first one arm came into view from the first floor lobby elevator door. Another appeared and then a foot until finally the body came into full view and fell.
Another one came through the elevator door and then another and still another. The elevator doors on the third floor opened and someone tumbled down the shaft and yet another. One of the bodies hit me and I lost my balance and tumbled down the bloody flesh pile.
I struggled to right myself but there was no room for me to move. I felt teeth tear into my legs and arms. Screaming I opened my eyes and the face of my client was there, teeth open and ready to rip my face off. There was nothing that I could do.
My arms were trapped and I could feel their teeth eating away my flesh.
Saliva drenched my face and a tongue licked me on the cheek. It licked me again and again. I screamed as I awoke in my bed wrapped in my sweat drenched sheets, arms trapped under them, my dog licking my face.
I laughed in joy and relief. The dream felt so real, so lifelike. I could see, taste, hear, touch and smell it all. The dream was as real an experience as I have ever had. I kissed The Emperor as he continued to lick me and I laughed with the purest emotion I had felt in years.
The time was a quarter till seven by the time I got up. I showered and dressed and made my way to the front door. I had dressed in black dress pants and a white button-up shirt with no collar. I wore a black jacket with a pocket on the inside; it was lined and warm. Under the jacket I wore a harness with a small las-pistol in the holster. I also carried a small boot-knife. Old habits die hard.
I opened the door and made my way to the Coastal 3,000. I smiled as I touched its pearl exterior. Getting in I looked around. The neighbors were staring at me so I waved at them and smiled. They did not wave or smile back.
I opened the hover-car’s door and stepped out from the luxury craft and made my way back into the house, closed the door and locked it. The Emperor was sitting there just watching me, tongue hanging out, mouth open and panting. The dog’s ears were up and its head was cocked to the side in that “What are you doing?” way.
I looked down at The Emperor and said. ‘I think I’m going to stay home today.”
The Emperor approved.
A good reputation take a long time to build, but only a moment to destroy. Wow, that's deep!
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Last edited by Adrian; 03-29-11 at 03:52 AM.