Saturday, May 2, 2009

Daily Story 17: These Things Happen

Desmond was lost.

He didn't feel particularly lost, and the street sign beside him said he was right where he was supposed to be, but the alternative was that the four story office building he worked in was, and that didn't seem too likely.

Everything else was there, including the hideously ugly bit of modern art that stood by the front doors - only now it was standing in front of a rather nice field that had clearly been there for years. If Desmond hadn't been inside Lake & Logan ten minutes ago he never would have guessed it had been here in the first place.

He tried to apply logic, looking at it from every angle. Nothing. He tried retracing his steps, but there weren't many steps to retrace; he had gone out for lunch, forgotten his wallet, tried to come back for it, and... that was it. He briefly considered the possibility that he had gone insane and thought about checking his medical policy to see if insanity was covered, but his copy was inside Lake & Logan so instead he decided to just run through the space where the building should be and then check himself into the hospital if he hit anything.

He didn't hit anything. There definitely wasn't anything there to hit.

He was interested to realize that he wasn't very concerned for his co-workers, but he did feel a deep sense of loss when he thought about his wallet. The punch-card from the deli near his house had been almost full, and there was a rebate coupon for his computer he hadn't had a chance to mail yet.

This went on for a while, strange little thoughts just wandering through his head as he sat in the grass where his office should be, until his watch beeped to let him know that his lunch break was over and he should head back to work. He still hadn't fully grasped this new situation, but he knew that somehow he would get in trouble for it if he was late getting back, even if the entire office building had vanished and been replaced by a field. The least he could do was call and let them know he would be late.

Desmond wandered over to his car and rooted around for his cell phone.
"Lake and Logan, how may I help you?"
"Uh..." He hadn't really expected to get this far.
"Can I help you sir?"
"Yes. Uh, yes. This is Desmond."
"Oh, hey Des. It's Alice. Lake wanted to talk to you, let me transfer you."
"No, no don't..."
"Don't what?" It was Lake. Shit.
"Nothing sir. I... I'm having some trouble, and I'm going to be late getting back to the office."
"What kind of trouble?"

What was he supposed to say? Gosh sir, I can't seem to find the building. Did you move it in the last, oh, fifteen minutes or so? Maybe plant some grass and wildflowers, disconnect all the phone and power lines, stuff like that?

"Uh... well, car trouble sir." This was technically true. His car had been sputtering all day, and he even had an appointment with his mechanic.
"How far away are you?"
Right outside. Hold on, I can just walk over through the wall and stand on you.
"Fifth Street. Fifth and Carmine."
"Well, I need you here for this presentation. Just stay there and someone will pick you up in a minute."
"Yes sir."

Could it be this easy? All he had to do was drive there ahead of whoever was coming, wait around a few minutes, and get a ride back. No problem. He put the phone down, buckled up, and started the car. Smoke, thick and black, started to pour out from under the hood. Car trouble.

His only hope now was to sit by where the entrance should be and see if anyone came out. Out of where he wasn't sure, but he didn't have any more ideas.

After about five minutes something did come out, and it caught Desmond completely by surprise when it ate him.