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From One to the Next

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Kara was normal. She had a normal day, every day. She woke up, had breakfast, went to work, had lunch, went home, had dinner, and went to bed. She would go out with friends on occasion, but for the most part, she kept her schedule. Normal.

She enjoyed her days. She was happy where she was, for the most part. Kara knew nice people and was friends with many of them. They talked about life, or sports, or ideas they had, or even a funny encounter at some point prior to the conversation. She enjoyed the people in her life, and they enjoyed her. The only hitch was Kara’s work. She enjoyed it, but struggled to keep up with the demands of her corporation. Other than her taxing work, Kara was happy.

One fine day, Kara was sitting at her desk in her windowless office, typing away at her keyboard while the characters flowed from one line to another on the screen. But, as she continued to type, her hands grew tired. She hadn’t had this issue before, but at this point she figured that it was overdue. So, she decided to take a break. She’d slaved away at her desk for so long, a break was overdue.

Kara removed her hands from the keyboard, closing her eyes as she reached behind her, arching her back over the chair. It was nice, the rest. She couldn’t believe that she hadn’t taken one before; it gave so much relief to her hands and took the strain off of her eyes.

Kara let her mind drift off for a couple minutes, her eyes still closed, before coming back to her reality. Once she’d opened her eyes, she decided to review her report that she’d been working on in an attempt to recover her train of thought. But when she looked down on the monitor, a look of bewilderment swept across her face. Though she had stopped typing minutes ago, Kara’s monitor still had a steady stream of letters, punctuation, and numbers flowing across it, line after line of text continuing to move rapidly from left to right.

She was confused as to what was going on, as anyone would be. But she still tried to think of a rational explanation for such an unusual event. She attempted to think of an explanation as she looked for a way to stop the text. She tried turning off the monitor, but the button didn’t work. She tried pressing a key to interrupt the words moving across the screen; this, however, produced a much less desirable outcome.

As she pushed the ‘L’ key on the keyboard, her other fingers jumped to the keys as well, erupting into a frenzy of swift keystrokes. She immediately retracted her hand from the keyboard, her shock turning to horror as she stared at her monitor, then her keyboard, then her hand. When she turned her attention back to the screen, a look of horror spread across her face. It was the same report that she had been writing, at least for the first part of it. But soon it turned to something darker. A cry for help. Desperation, melancholy and hopelessness ran down the page, and then, mid-word, it stopped. And Kara was completely lost. She had no idea what was going on.

Suddenly, a splitting migraine ravaged her skull, coming all at once. Kara had no history of migraines of this caliber, only small headaches when she overworked herself or when she needed something to eat or drink. Kara clutched her head between her hands, her fingers digging into her scalp, knuckles white from pressing into the skin beneath her head, almost as if digging to try to remove her brain from her skull; maybe that would stop the agony that had suddenly and swiftly plagued her. But, just as instantaneously as it had come, the pain stopped, and Kara was left sweating and panting in her chair.

After a moment of waiting, Kara stood up and rushed out of her office. As she burst through the door, Kara looked around, looking for someone to talk about what she just seen and experienced. But Kara saw no one. None of the familiar faces, none of the familiar sounds, no cubicles, no people, no sounds of any kind. Outside of her office, there was nothing but a dusty, shadowy, empty floor; where cubicles once stood, white-walled and firm, only outlines were left. Kara’s eyes teared up. She didn’t know what happened, and she didn’t know why it was happening to her, but she just wanted it to stop.

As she walked into the dirty concrete room, she noticed newspaper articles strewn about. With trembling hands, she reached down and picked up what appeared to be a front page. Kara didn’t know what to make of the headline.

“Young Woman Dead at Arco Inc.”

No woman had died at her company that she knew of.

“A young woman died yesterday of a brain aneurism, reportedly from being overly stressed by the workload put upon her. Arco, Inc. is, for the time being, discontinuing all research and production while investigations are conducted pertaining to the company’s work ethics. Kara…”

She threw the page back to the ground. That couldn’t be true. Kara was there, right then, reading the article. She debated whether or not to read on, but decided that she had to know.

“Kara Williams, 26, died yesterday, July 14, 1997, from a brain aneurism. A coworker found her, unconscious, lying on her desk…” That was it. Kara tossed the paper up into the air and sprinted to her office, tears beginning to spill over onto her cheeks. Once past the doorway, she slammed the door behind her, sinking down to the ground as she leaned against it. Now sobbing, she looked up and almost cried out in shock. She couldn’t believe what she saw. There, sitting in her chair, was herself, furiously typing away.

It was difficult to make out what was being typed, so Kara stood up and slowly walked to the monitor and peered over the shoulder of her manic other self. Kara took a step back after seeing what she was typing. She was petrified, but her expression soon softened as she made the connection. It was exactly what she had seen being typed across her screen before. She was the one typing the cry for help. Kara stepped back and watched in horror as she watched herself clutch her head, the aneurism bursting, sending blood rushing around her brain, drowning it in thick, red liquid.

As this happened, Kara backed up to the wall and slowly slumped into a ball, curling up as she listened to the scream of agony erupting from her other body. And as the scream died, so did Kara fade away. The scared, balled up girl in the corner dissipated until nothing but an old, dusty, barren floor was left.

Kara sat typing at her desk, characters flowing from one line to the next…

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