The Braiding

Holding back the vampires.

Again.

Seems the only jobs I get offered these days are those that require a strong stomach, and wooden stakes. There’s 10 CCTV screens banked in front of me, behind my feet, which are rested up on the desk, next to my medication.

This is what they give you medication for. For when the only work for which you’re considered suitable involves the massed ranks of the undead, and surveillance equipment.

“Rumour has it they’re working on a time machine somewhere in this compound.”

“What the fuck!?” I jump, startled by the unexpected voice at my left shoulder. “Shit, who are you?”

“I, I…” Stammers the figure standing before me. He’s dressed in blue overalls with the company logo on one sleeve.

“You work here.” I point out the logo, and the obvious.

“Started yesterday.”

“Right, I wasn’t here yesterday. Don’t sneak up on me like that again or I’ll put a fucking stake through your heart.”

“Wh… why…”

“And cut your head off.”

“I’m…”

“Sorry?”

“Sorry.”

“No worries. What’s your name?”

“Jason.”

“Neville. Nice to meet you, man.”

>>> OBEY <<<

“What was that?”

“Never mind that, Jase, just do what it says. Now what’s all this about a time machine?”

“I heard that’s what they’re doing up on the top floors, in the laboratories, that’s what they’re building up there.”

“And who did you here that from, down here in the basement?”

“I read about it.”

“Read?”

“On a website.”

“On?”

“Yes. A website.”

“I see. Well then in that case maybe it’s true. Let’s check it out.”

“But, what about, I mean, I think we should obey…”

“Jason, listen…”

“…”

I lean forward and whisper in Jason’s ear, “…rebel…”

Jason whispers too, fearfully: “But what about the vampires?”

“I’ve been working here for three weeks now, Jason. I sit in there, on my medication, looking at those flickering, black and white monitors, relaying images from the outside world, and do you know how many vampires I’ve seen so far?”

“How…”

“None, not a single fucking one. No zombies either, except for you. I have observed an extraordinary lack of demonic entities.”

I throw some stakes and a hammer in a bag. I put a blister pack of meds in my shirt pocket. I finish my jasmine tea.

“Let’s do it, Jason.”

“Do what?”

“Go and check out the laboratories.”

“Oh right, yeah. So the top five floors are where all the research happens, from level 49 up.”

“Where did you find that out?”

“I think… the same place I found out all the other stuff. I mean, you know, on the web, people talk, but I can’t be sure…”

“Whatever, come on.”

We head for the elevators, but upon stepping inside one, discover that it will only take us as far as level 48. I push the button, and the doors slide shut.

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