Eric inhales, looks down at his tie and he thinks about putting a burning hole in the center of the tie, right between the eyes of the smiling cats. It’s about a half hour before work starts and he’s hung over and head full of poundpound ache, but he’s in a strange mood, an optimistic mood. Staying up all night and seeing the world slowly wake did that to him, he loved the quiet moments, when the rest of the city was asleep and it was just him alone in the world, alone with his thoughts and his cigarette.
The world feels haunted in those moments, so empty of life, like everyone had just up and died the night before and it’s just him now, just the lonely him in his life surrounded by all the ghosts of people who died. He put out his cigarette and the air smells like burnt filter, and the only lights he sees in the windows are the soft blue glow of the monitors and the fishtank.
He closes his eyes. He wills the world to explode. He wills everyone to drop over dead. He wants the world to be haunted, he wants to be the only one left alive. Some sleeping disease that only came to slumbering people, that would be best, their bodies just fading away to ash. He keeps his eyes shut into slits and thinks hard about it, concentrates on every body in every house, just wanting them all to be dead, everyone to be dead.
He feels a hand on his shoulder and he opens his eyes. New girl is there standing before him with her blue streaked hair and green eyes, holding two fingers to her lips, her eyes begging him to give her a cigarette. He laughs and digs one out and hands it to her, and she lights it up and smiles at him, holding it between her fingers.
“So what were you thinking?”
He looks at his shoes and then looks back at her. “Honestly?” He doesn’t know why he trusts her but he does. Something about her, so different from everyone else at the office. Not just in the way she dressed or talked, but something other, something he can’t place his finger on. Like she’s about ready to explode from the inside out, like nothing can cage that feeling inside.
“You don’t want to know.”
She crosses her heart with the cigarette and says, “I do want to know, scout’s honor, it’s the honest truth,” and laughs.
“I was never a scout.”
“Neither was I.”
“So why should I believe a scout’s honor then? How does that make me trust you?”
She looks at him, squinting her eyes. “Because I’ve got a boyscout’s heart in the glove compartment of my car, and if I break this oath his ghost will hunt us down and make us sew merit badges all day and walk old ladies across the street and other stupid Hitler Youth stuff like that. How’s that? Better?”
He laughs and spins his smoke in his fingers, “Yeah I guess that’s good, yeah I guess that works.”
“So come on, come clean, lay it on me. What were you thinking?”
He tilts his head to one side, staring at her out of the corner of his eye and sees that she’s smiling, but under that smile was something else, something other. And as she sucks in the smoke on that cigarette it looks like she’s putting a gun in her mouth, a smoking gun in her mouth. He closes his eyes, closes them slit shut again.
“I was willing the world to just stop, for the apocalypse to come on down and kill all those sleeping bodies.”
She pushes him and he opens his eyes. “Stop being an ass,” she says, “Why were you willing the world to end? Just to get out of going to work? That seems pretty drastic, you could’ve just called in sick.”
He puts out his smoke and just shrugs. “Come on, let’s get inside, it’s about time to start work anyway.”
[a bit from my current WIP]