Author's Note: I learned the term "Foul Weather Jack" from the rulebook of the "7thSea" RPG. It basically means that if your character was lucky (unlucky?) to get this quality, troubles will always find him. There is a good thing though – you'll never get bored.
One more thing. I'm not a native english-speaker, so it would be great if you'd point out any mistakes you find. To be honest, I was a bit scared to post this fanfic because I re-read and re-wrote some parts of it so many times I can't tell whether they are good or terrible anymore. So I hope you'll tell me.
Well, this day was utterly depressing. During breakfast I bumped my elbow hard against the kitchen table, then I found out that I ran out of coffee (no morning coffee for losers!), and now I'm hopelessly screwing up today's tasks on my new job. Oh, and my insurance company kindly reminded me that I haven't paid my bill last month. Of course, I haven't – my bank account was empty (damn, I probably shouldn't have bought that playstation). Cost planning was never my strong point, I admit.
And now, this beautiful day got a chance to get crowned with my dismissal. Writing the report wasn't reaching anywhere near completion because for some reason I felt as though I was a savage with, like, three and half words in my vocabulary. I glanced at the watch on the office wall. What, 8.00 pm already? Great, looks like I'm staying for more unpaid working hours. Again.
Sighing heavily, I tore my gaze from the computer monitor and started observing my co-workers. Almost all of them looked not older than 35, and I wondered if it was something like unspoken company politics – young blood, non-conservative opinions and such. I have heard that the owner of the company was pretty far from old himself, although I have never met him in person and cannot tell it for sure. I suspect that for some females in the office one could never be "too old" if his bank account is impressive enough. God knows, I could do with some extra money, but the idea of dating rich old men is just too much. Last people on whom I was ever dependent were my parents and I prefer it to stay that way. Of course, I could still ask them for money and they would never refuse, but for God's sake - I was already 24! And it returns us to the point - why am I such a looser at this age? It's a rhetorical question, I guess.
Well, who knows, maybe this job is a chance to finally gain some stability in my life. I have successfully completed my probationary period a week ago and the company hired me, which, I must say, was a pleasant surprise, for there were a lot of facts in my résumé that one may call uh… not completely veracious. For example, I don't speak oriya. And I'm not an expert in microeconomics either – I got my excellent grade because I once caught my college teacher with a tranny hooker. I also noted fencing as one of my hobbies. Not a necessary lie, but it sounded impressive and who on earth could catch me out on this? Anyway, who doesn't lie in a résumé?
Continuous pen clicking pulled me out of my thoughts. I looked around searching for the source of irritating noise and found it almost immediately. It was Mr. Jason – our communication manager, a bit sickly looking man with mouse-grey hair. A thing that caught my eye when we first met was that he had two golden teeth. This man, he definitely owns a time machine. Come on, anyone implanting golden teeth in our century? But apart from that, something seemed out of place about him now. A strange look in his eyes… fear? No, not that. More like quiet desperation, if that even makes sense. Wait, didn't he go to retrieve some package at the reception? But it looks like he came back without it. I wasn't paying that much attention to his actions, so he could have already put it somewhere. Or there was something wrong with the package and he had sent it back? It could be the reason why he looked so disturbed… I guess.
"Hey, Jill, wanna make a quick smoke break?"
A brown-haired, somewhat plump woman smiled at me, shaking a pack of "Camel" before my eyes. Margaret. She was really nice towards me from the beginning of my probation period and I had a good feeling that we may grow to be friends. When we met in the smoking room three weeks ago, she described some of our fellow office-dwellers for me and I instantly liked her sardonic sense of humor.
"Yeah, sure, I wouldn't mind a little rest. Looks like I'm stuck here for two more hours at least."
"Oh, no! You have to stay late again? I was expecting that we're going to…"
She froze in the mid-sentence, looking wide-eyed at something behind my back.
You rarely see a look of pure horror on someone's face. Not a "God-there's-a-spider-on-your-shoulder" or "the-head-of-department-we-were-gossiping-about-is -behind-you" look. No, a look of animal, bodily fear.
Just when I gathered courage to turn around, Margret yelled at the top of her voice. And then… I didn't understand what happened right away. A loud BANG echoed through the room. Instinctively I closed my eyes tight. Sharp burning sensation bit my shoulder and at the same second something hot splashed on my blouse. My eyes opened and it was all red. What in the name of God is happening? I couldn't force my brain to explain the chaos I was observing - the only thing that was familiar to me in this maroon Universe was Margaret's face. For some reason, she was lying on the floor, twitching convulsively. Her throat was a total mess: blood was gushing from her carotid artery, accompanied by the disgusting gurgling sound. Little red bubbles were making their way down from the corner of her mouth. And her gaze… her frighteningly empty gaze was locked upon me.
Sudden panic forced me to look away from this ominous redness, when I heard a hissing sound. Fighting dizziness I looked around and witnessed a scene that made even less sense. Mr. Jason was standing in the middle of the office, clenching a smoking gun and pressing an index finger to his lips.
"Shhhhhhh. Everything will be fine if you all stay quiet."
I just stood there dumbstruck, his words echoing in my mind. Everything will be fine. I looked at him, mind and body paralyzed, never so far from "fine" in my entire life. My confusion was slowly turning into realization that something horrible and irrevocable happened.
Fine, fine, fine - a word was dancing through my mind.
Why did he do it?
…everything will be fine…
Growing anger had cleared my consciousness. Fine, huh?! Say that to Margaret, you darned madman…
Margaret! I swung around to look at her and felt my insides freezing. She wasn't moving, wasn't breathing and a huge pool of blood was growing around her neck. It was all over for her.
There she was lying, few feet from the entrance. If we only had headed for the smoke break a minute earlier, we would have been in the safety, both of us. If only…
I gulped down a lump in my throat and looked around at my co-workers. Everyone was silent and numb, staring shocked at Mr. Jason, who was now aiming a gun at the closed door. He was visibly perspiring; his face unusually red, hands slightly shaking. What was he doing? Was there any purpose in his actions or was he just acting on a sudden whim of his delusional mind? I was praying that someone has heard a gunshot and a scream. This tower was full of people, surely someone has to come to the rescue. Or maybe these walls are soundproof? No idea. I really hope they're not. So much for all that security, all that metal detectors in the lobby! Someone would definitely come after all, but the question is whether we will live to tell the story.
The minutes that passed left everything unchanged. We were all still standing like a fucking Madame Tussaud's museum installation. My shoulder was aching – I think it was brushed by the bullet.
Suddenly a door handle started to turn. It seemed as if regular time flow had switched over to the slow motion. I threw a fast glance at Mr. Jason. As he noticed the door was opening, his eyes lit up and his finger tensed on the trigger.
"…santly surprized with this recently reorganized department" I heard woman's voice chirping enthusiastically from behind the door.
A moment 'till the door was completely open felt like eternity. My heart was beating so fast that I feared it would jump out of my chest. The door was opened by the woman in a dark blue business outfit. In a twinkling her face expression changed from excited to shocked, when she noticed Mr. Jason. At that very instant the second shot deafened me and the woman just... she just…
…turned into ashes.
It couldn't be possible, could it? Had I just had some kind of hallucination? But I had no time for reflection: as the ashes vanished from my view more gunshots followed in the direction of the second intruder. It was a fair-haired man in a grey suit, and right now it was turning red quickly. Two, three, four bullets had hit the target. The man swayed but didn't fall, his face full of anger and disdain, and total astonishment. My gaze was glued to his face when I saw its expression change; I can't describe it – it was… demonic. All that had left about him was animal rage, it filled my insides with pure dread. He dashed forward to Mr. Jason and brought him down in a moment, clenching his throat so hard that it made a crackling sound and then tore it out with bare hands. Blood was gushing on the floor and it all looked like a bad horror-movie. The man that killed Mr. Jason, he didn't look like a human anymore. I had no pity for Margaret's killer, but it occurred to me that he wasn't nearly as dangerous as that… creature on top of him. It gazed around and – oh, God – looked at me. I didn't even realize what happened: in a matter of seconds I felt a hard grip on my shoulders and then I was looking into cold grey eyes of a monster. I didn't have time even to struggle, when he tilted his head and sunk his teeth brutally into my neck. In spite of a sharp pain I couldn't bring myself to fight. I wanted to, I really wanted to – but I just wasn't able to. And then a strange light-heartedness filled my mind. Waves of pleasure started spreading through my body like ripples in the water. A feeling similar to drunkenness, when you stop caring about anything and the consciousness flows away with every heartbeat. But it was even more then that. I was feeling safe, and happy, and desired. I was feeling like the best day of my life.
You're dying, a tiny voice in the back of my head whispered.
I couldn't care less, voice. If I had to die to prolong this beautiful feeling, then so be it. Goodbye.