Sansia screamed into the dead phone. She could feel her heart racing and try as she might she couldn’t stop a feeling of panic from rushing over her. Anara was all she had in the whole world; she couldn’t bare it if something bad happened to her. It was strange because Sansia had known her only since she had come to work with Gofrey Chemicals Inc but Anara had proven to be the first and only person that had gone out of her way to befriend her; never seeming to require anything in return. Sansia slammed down the telephone and picked it up again and dialed 911 hurriedly.
“Thank you for calling emergency services, all circuits are busy now but if you stay on the line your call will be answered in the exact order in which it was received,” a droning voice informed her.
“No…No…I need someone, I need help for my friend.” Sansia was aware that she was screaming at a recording but she was desperate, she had to find out what had happened to Anara. Anara had sounded so terrified. Sansia could feel tears starting to build up but she struggled to keep them at bay. This was no time to give into fear and feelings of being overwhelmed. It felt as if she was holding the line for an eternity and then the door pushed open and Raydon Payne strolled in. Something seemed a little different about him; perhaps it was the slightly worried look on his face.
“Something’s happened to Anara,” Sansia said immediately. She had no idea why she was opting to share this information with a man that she positively couldn’t stomach but she was desperate.
“Your friend?” Raydon asked. Sansia nodded not trusting herself to speak. “Who are you talking to on the phone?” Sansia shook her head. She was talking to no one because she could still hear the recording playing over and over again in her ears. Raydon closed the distance between them so quickly and quietly it surprised Sansia. He took the phone from her hand and placed it back on the cradle.
“Where is Anara?” He asked.
“I don’t know.” Sansia admitted one solitary tear managing to force its way out and trickle down her cheek. She dared not wipe at it for fear the action would cause others to follow.
“How do you know something has happened to her?” Raydon asked gently.
“I was talking to her on the phone and she was telling me about the moon and then suddenly she started to scream…and then…and then her phone went dead.”
“Maybe she’s playing a prank on you; people do things like that when strange things are happening. They think it is fun.” Sansia considered the explanation for a moment, Anara did like playing tricks but she knew how sensitive Sansia was about death, she wouldn’t pull a prank like that on her, would she? “She wouldn’t do something like that,” Sansia said firmly. “Maybe I should go look for her.”
“You said yourself you don’t know where she is. Besides, they’re saying to stay inside. They’ve been some minor disturbances around town.”
“What kind of disturbances? Is it with animals? Anara did say that the scientists were saying the dust that covered the meteor could affect animals. Maybe it has made them act wild? Maybe one of them attacked Anara?”
“Don’t start jumping to conclusions,” Raydon advised. “I’m sure your friend will turn up when she’s good and ready.” Sansia nodded, she was over reacting of course; the product of a tormented childhood. “I’m…I’m sorry. I didn’t mean…mean to make you uncomfortable.”
“You didn’t,” Raydon responded and taking his thumb rubbed the wet stain from her cheek. The contact seemed to make both of them jump. “I should go,” Raydon said and then in a voice that seemed deliberately professional.
“I still expect to see that report first thing in the morning.”
“Of course sir…Mr. Payne,” Sansia said hurriedly. Now she knew what looked different about Raydon Payne, he wasn’t wearing his tie. Sansia adjusted her glasses thoughtfully; she couldn’t remember ever seeing Raydon Payne without a tie. She and Anara had joked that perhaps Raydon Payne slept in a tie and a three piece suit. Sansia shrugged her shoulders and settled back into her seat. Raydon Payne might be many things but he was right about not worrying about what could turn out to be nothing at all. Anara would stroll into work the first thing in the morning and they would have a good laugh at how Sansia had panicked over nothing.
Anara always told Sansia that just because you didn’t know what was happening, it didn’t mean that something bad was happening. Sansia brushed her hands across her eyes and forced a smile. It was way past time for her to get out of the habit of jumping to negative conclusions. What had happened when she was eight years old was an unusual, once in a lifetime occurrence, she shouldn’t go through life expecting to find death at every turn. ***
“You slept here?” Raydon Payne asked and Sansia jumped to her feet bouncing her knees against the desk in the process. She wanted to yelp with pain but chose to bite down hard on her lip instead. The tangy taste of blood filled her mouth. Apparently Raydon Payne had not taken his own advice because he had clearly gone home and refreshed himself. He was dressed in a dark blue blazer and white shirt with the first two buttons opened. Sansia was glad for the distraction of the pain of her lip because Raydon was a much more dangerous distraction. How was it possible that the man appeared to get more attractive every time she saw him? Or was it just that she was getting more attracted to him every time she saw him? That certainly couldn’t be healthy.
“You said…you said they were asking everyone to stay inside,” Sansia said running her fingers nervously through what she hoped was not sleep-matted hair.
“I like a woman that does what I say,” Raydon Payne said.
“I wasn’t doing what you said; I was doing what you said they said.”
Raydon raised a questioning eyebrow.
“I sent your report,” Sansia said rubbing her hands across her mouth now; gosh she hoped she hadn’t been drooling.
“Very well done,” Raydon responded.
“Oh…um…thank you, sir…Mr. Payne.” Sansia couldn’t help the blush that rushed to her cheeks, Raydon Payne was complimenting her on her work.
“I came down to let you know that you can use my private wash room upstairs to refresh yourself before the other staff come in. I’m sure I should have something your size up there that you can wear.” Sansia’s eyes widened.
“Even if I wore women’s clothing I’d hardly wear your size,” Raydon Payne pointed out dryly and Sansia blushed for a whole different reason now. “I simply happen to have a few clothes that have been left with me over the years.” “I’m not in the habit of wearing other women’s clothes,” Sansia said proudly. That wasn’t exactly true; she had spent most of her life wearing other children’s clothes. “I’m not into second hand items.”
“You think I collect clothes from my women?” Raydon Payne asked with the slightest of smirks on his face. The jab that Raydon Payne was a ‘used item’ as far as women were concerned was not lost on him. “These are clothes that people send to me in an effort to get me to create a marketing plan for them. I have perfumes, shoes, games…one guy even offered to give me a house.”
“How fortunate for you.” Wasn’t it ridiculous how those who had more than they needed always seemed to be given more? Sansia thought angrily.
“Now you’re angry with me for being rich.” “No…I’m…There’s a washroom on this floor, I think it might be best if I used that.” Raydon Payne chuckled. “Frightened little girl.”
“I told you I’m not a little girl!”
“We did this already,” Raydon reminded her. The man was a complete pain by name and by nature.
“I wouldn’t presume to bore you sir,” Sansia responded. “I’ll go wash up; it’s almost office hours.” She could hear Raydon Payne laughing behind her; he was such a jerk. He probably saw her as some little innocent that was too afraid to even venture up to his office rooms on her own. Sansia ground her teeth with annoyance and shifted the glasses on her face, she didn’t need to prove anything to him anyway. Sansia ensured she took as long as she could in the ladies bathroom on level 2 and took her time rummaging through her locker for the extra skirt and blouse she kept at the office in case of emergencies. She would head up to the ground floor on level 3 and check with the security guard as to if Anara had come in or called. It was already nine a.m. and there was no way even Anara would be later than that. She admitted to herself that part of the reason for wanting to get back to her office late was she wanted to ensure that Raydon Payne had left already.
Sansia hurried up the stairway and along the narrow corridor and then into the wide lounge area. The day was remarkably bright and the pure glass finish at the front of the building did justice to a beautiful day like today. “Robert,” Sansia called to the slightly overweight security guard on duty.
“Did Anara come in as yet?” Robert glanced down at the sign in sheet in front of him and shook his head lazily. “Did she call?” Sansia asked feeling that inexplicable fear starting to rise inside of her again.
“No,” Robert glanced at another pad nearby. “But you should check reception for sure.”
“Thanks,” Sansia said hurrying across the lounge to where Ann Marie was seated inside a shiny glass case.
“Ann Marie,” Sansia said but the girl ignored her.
“What?” Annmarie looked irritated.
“Did you receive any call from Anara? Robert said she’s not in today.” “That information was directed to Mr. Murphy’s desk, I don’t have time to pass messages to junior staff,” Ann Marie informed her.
“So she did call?” Sansia asked.
“It’s not my place to say,” Ann Marie informed her turning her face away to indicate that as far as she was concerned the conversation was over.
“This…” Sansia started to explain but stopped when Jason Stuart, the senior accounts clerk came stumbling up the steps outside and crashed into the glass door at the front of the building.
“Help me,” he muttered before sliding off the door and onto the ground outside.
“Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, what happened to him?” Ann Marie yelled. Sansia hurried over to the door, whatever had happened to Jason Stuart was serious. He was in desperate need of help. Blood was running down his face, long jagged gashes were all about his body, his clothes were ripped to threads and the miracle was that he had been able to make it up the steps of the building. Sansia gripped the handle of the door and prepared to drag it open but froze momentarily at the sight of a tall creature springing up the steps to the door behind Jason. Its legs were like a man’s legs but its arms were disproportionate in length. It swung its long muscled arms forward and then back fiercely helping to propel its body much quicker than any man would have been able to move. It was completely covered in grey hair from head to foot. It wore tattered polyester black pants to its knees and its feet protruded from a black pair of men’s Oxford dress shoes. Its head was shaped like a wolf’s head and it had long canine teeth.
“Help me,” Jason Stuart muttered again. Sansia pulled at the door but felt it resisting her. She glanced back and found that the guard Robert Taylor was pressing the door shut.
“You can’t let that thing get in here,” he said by way of explanation.
“Please…” Jason managed to get out before the creature pounced on him and sank its teeth into his arm ripping the entire member from its socket.
“Get the keys, get the keys, we have to lock down this place!” Robert screamed. “Where…where are the keys?” Ann Marie screamed. Several persons who had gathered in the lobby of the office were just staring through the glass doors as if in shock. “We have to help him,” Sansia yelled.
“It’s too late,” Robert said. “He’s already dead.” “No.” Sansia stared out of the glass door making eye to eye contact with the creature on the other side. It raked back its mouth in what looked like a heinous grin and then threw itself at the glass. Sansia screamed.