I'm not really sure where to start or if this is even the correct place to do this, because it seems more like a bad dream than something that actually happened. It seems like something that couldn't have happened, yet most of me says that it did.
Everything started yesterday.
Yesterday was supposed to be the first day on my new job. I got to the building early thanks to a lack of traffic, it being July 4th and all. The building was as beautiful as the first time I'd seen it; built of red brick with white accents. The roof was a lush forest green. It stuck out in between two older buildings on Prairie and Fannin in downtown Houston. The job was nothing special, just a bullshit temp job in HR for a crappy law firm.
Like I said. Nothing special.
I made sure to dress up, though; pencil skirt, new blouse, black heels.
When I drove up, everything seemed fine. I parked in the section my boss told me I wouldn't get towed from.
I'm sorry. I'm avoiding getting to the point. I'm still trying to convince myself that I'm not wasting my time.
I walked into the dark lobby of the building on the ground floor. I was supposed to be there at 7 A.M., but I showed up a whole thirty minutes early. I needed to keep this job.
I got in the elevator, all nerves and excitement. After punching the button for the third floor, I fixed my skirt, making sure nothing was out of place.
Right before the elevator doors closed, a pale, white hand slipped between them and stopped them. The doors opened up, and a thin woman with pale skin walked in the elevator with me.
She punched the button for the third floor as well.
You know how when you push an elevator button and it turns white or that weird yellow color?
When I pushed the third floor's button, it turned yellow. When the gaunt woman with the high cheek bones pushed the already lit 3, it turned crimson.
I'd never seen anything like that happen before in my life, but I didn't say anything. I didn't want to cause a problem; I'm not the silly, dumb girl that didn't know how elevators worked.
So, I kept my mouth shut.
You know how most people on an elevator face the front the whole ride up?
The thin woman I shared the car with didn't.
She faced to the side; she faced me. I glanced over at her, because I thought she was staring at me.
She stared directly above my head. Still. Unmoving.
It was then that I noticed something I should have noticed when she first entered. The woman wore a black suit, and from the sleeves of the suit and the collar of the shirt, black, purple, and red tattoos could just be seen.
I imagined that the woman was covered head to foot in tattoos except for where her skin showed.
I couldn't make out what any of the tattoos were, though.
She stared above my head the entire ride up to the third floor. Looking back, it took far longer to get to that floor than it should have.
When we arrived, instead of a high pitched, cheap sounding ding, we were greeted with several low bells that chimed at the same time, making a weird sort of sound that made my teeth hurt.
I smiled at the woman, nodding and gesturing that she should go ahead. She didn't move, continuing to stare at the spot above my head.
The doors started closing, and still the woman hadn't moved.
I stuck my hand out to stop the doors, and got off on my floor.
It was like walking into a meat freezer. Chill bumps broke out all over my skin, and my teeth started chattering and aching even more. The cold air burned my eyes.
I glanced behind me to see if the strange woman was following me, and only just saw her through the door of the closing elevator. She was facing me, staring with unblinking eyes. Her head was cocked to the side, and when I say side, I mean that her right ear was completely flat against her right shoulder.
When we made eye contact, her lips stretched into a smile.
Right before the door closed, she clicked her teeth twice.
I shook my head then, thinking it was some sort of joke. Maybe this law firm hazed their new employees.
It didn't seem likely, and I turned away from the elevators.
The lights were still off in the office, but I could hear keyboards clacking, telephones ringing, and people talking.
I started walking towards HR, wondering why no one had turned on the lights. The emergency lights were on, but could anyone work in those conditions?
When I got to my new department, I went directly to my desk. I wanted to set up all my stuff before I started training. I frown when I saw my desk. Both when I interviewed and when I returned to accept the position, the cubicle had been empty. But now, balled up on my desk, was a Kelly green burlap sack with several tears in the fabric.
I shook my head and put the sack into one of my new drawers. The sack felt warm in my hands. I shook this off too.
I'm one of those girls who likes her stuff where it belongs. I love fluorescent post-it notes and brightly colored paper clips.
To-do lists? Check.
Highlighters? Double check.
I set to fixing up my desk the way I wanted it.
I was so intent on getting everything ready, that I'm not sure how long the office had been silent before I noticed.
No more telephones.
No more voices.
No more keys being pressed.
I quit moving, feeling like I was under a spotlight. I licked my lips and tasted blood. My lips had gone from perfectly fine, to chapped and bloody in ten minutes. I also noticed that my teeth weren't just aching, they were throbbing.
Then, the lights started to come up, starting at the far end of the office, and working their way towards me in large chunks.
HR's were the last to light up.
When they did, I still hadn't moved. I could taste blood in my mouth.
I shook my head, feeling silly about how scared I was, and stood up.
Everyone else in the office was already standing in their cubicles, staring at me.
At least I think they were staring.
I couldn't see their faces because every single one of them wore a burlap scarecrow mask.
The masks were all different shades of the rainbow, but the eyes and mouth on every mask was pitch black.
I stood there in shock for another second before my legs started moving. It was strange. My legs were running, but I seemed to just be along for the ride. As I ran by all the cubicles, the scarecrow heads swiveled along with me.
I saw that not every person stood. Some of them pressed telephones against the thick material of their masks. Others slammed their faces against their keyboards over and over. Others laid on the ground, arms crossed over their bellies like they were sleeping.
I caught the occasional snatch of conversation as my legs powered me toward the stairs.
"... welcome to the club..."
"... a remodeling has been scheduled..."
"... the dentist will arrive shortly..."
"... Samantha, and I will be your...
"... Mr. Shred, mend no..."
A glowing sign in between the elevators blinked on. It read, "Boothworld Industries". And below that, a smaller sign read, "Established 1888 | Whitechapel, London."
I was on the third floor, but not the same third floor where I'd interviewed the day before. I hit the stairs running, and didn't stop until I was in my car, driving away. I was shaking so badly, that I had to pull to the side of the road for a little to settle down.
When I got home, I took a shower to relax.
Toweling off, I realized that I was covered in black and red marks.
I can't even begin to understand.
Sometime during the night, I lost a tooth.
My lips are still bleeding.
My eyes are blood red.
What's stranger is that I can feel a yearning to return to that red stone, green-roofed building and hit the third floor button twice. To sit back down at my desk and pull that burlap mask over my head. Kelly green has always been my favorite color.
And those marks?
They cover the surface of my skin everywhere I was covered by clothing in the office. If I was still wearing what I wore yesterday, the marks would just barely be poking out from my collar, sleeves, and the hem of my skirt.
Just like that woman on the elevator.
I'm sitting here, shaking my head as I look at one of the really bad ones on my right arm.
It's a bruise, but a very specific type of bruise.
It's a bite mark.
I'm covered in human bite marks and they're growing darker by the minute.
I think that's all the résumé I'll need for tomorrow: my first day at Boothworld Industries.