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Raven Image: CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)
Public Domain Dedication
Terror Firma Earth Logo: all rights reserved
The inferno was relentless, it burnt so brightly in the night sky, the oranges and yellows were almost beautiful, almost. The skyscraper had only been completed a few months before, it had stood tall seeming to reach up to the heavens like a new Tower of Babel. Not surprisingly given that it is the tallest building in London’s skyline. The fire service had fought bravely to put out the flames, no known deaths or causalities but the building had been completely devastated. The cinders rained down like snow and the smoke rose into the sky above like condensation on a windowpane.
“The police have confirmed that they are treating this as a potential act of terrorism. Hydran Industries, the multi-national company who owns the building, have yet to comment but the board have apparently met with the director of operations in the United Kingdom in a as yet undisclosed location and it’s been confirmed workers have been told to move back to their older smaller building starting tomorrow morning. This has been Elliot Hollows reporting.”
Deborah Gordan’s television buzzed and flickered, barely making out all the words and visuals but it didn’t matter she knew all the details all too well having been rung by her manager a few hours before. Life goes on, it must, tomorrow morning she’d be back at work at the previous offices as if they’d never even moved to the new place, but something had changed, a co-worker, one she was very close to, had been missing for a week now with no explanation.
She had spoken to her manager, to her other co-workers and even emailed those in other departments but no one knew where she had gone; some didn’t reply or gave some uncaring response, but some told her similar stories of others going missing or rumours about the illusive director. It was enough she thought, she needed to investigate for herself.
Jonathan Fields, the liaison for the director, spoke with members of her department the following day. He was rat-like in both appearance and behaviour. He assured everyone that they would be safe now security had been doubled. When questioned about the missing co-worker by Deborah, Jonathan simply regurgitated the company policy and warned her not to ask any more questions of that manner. She held in her vehement disgust for the man, allowing him to finish his talk and leave. She managed to steal his ID badge and lanyard, which he had placed in his back pocket, upon him exiting the department. Making sure nobody saw her theft, she returned to her work.
The work day ended at six, but Deborah did not head for the exit instead going to the bathroom to wait for the majority of the other workers to clear out the building. Two hours had passed before she slipped from her cubical and headed towards a lift. Slipping inside she placed Jonathan’s badge against the scanner, it bleeped, and the lift doors slammed shut with a clang. The lift rose, higher and higher, higher than Deborah had ever been before, and this place wasn’t even half the size of the new building. Deborah gulped at the sight as parts of the lift shaft were entirely see through allowing her to see out onto London’s skyline.
She stepped out into a poorly lit corridor with no visible windows, she thought that had to be a health and safety violation. She walked along till she found a door with a plaque that said ‘Farm’. Stepping inside she walked along another corridor with monitors on the walls showing various pieces of information. Stepping into a wider room she found varies comatose people plugged up to various medical monitors. Seeing her co-worker, she ran up to her and checked her over, fear evident on her face.
She was startled by a venomous growl turning around to see a three headed chalk white lump of canine flesh, with six legs, teeth sharp as knives and no tail to speak of, lumbering its way into the room. This was followed by a raven call and the sound of a bird flapping.
“Cerberus heel.” Came a voice, the hound obeyed, stopping in its tracks.
Stepping into the room is a man, a handsome man with hazel eyes and short brown hair. His accent seemed confused; combining aspects of northern English working class, southern English posh and some kind of German accent.
“So, your hideous excuse of a pet is called Cerberus? You know I expected the guard dog of the underworld to be bigger.”
“Yeah I’ve heard that before.”
“So, you must be the director that I’ve heard so much about but seen nothing of.”
“All in good time Miss Gordan.”
“I want to talk to HR.”
“Oh really? And what they going to do? I’m not even human.”
Within a blink of an eye he lost his human disguise becoming covered with gangrene, signs of severe fever and swollen glands all over his body. His eyes became milky white, showing no sign of life. His voice even changed, it was suddenly strained as if he had just developed a cough.
“Humans do make great resources though.” He continued.
He released a swarm of unnaturally strong and savage rats and she fell to the ground, contorting and squirming in pain.
“Welcome to the Black Death.” He added.