His chubby fingers drummed on the polished mahogany desk before him, his impatience seeping out. The tapping sounds of his fingers bounced around the room, their echoes a sign of emptiness.
‘I want it completely empty’, he had said, regarding the room he was now present in. ‘No furniture, with the exception of a singular mahogany desk.’ He now stood behind this very desk, the muscles in his legs aching. His stoic expression, which gave no evidence of any pain or suffering, morphed into impatience as the tapping sounds grew louder.
The flashback to when he was deciding the furniture status of this room popped up in his head again, momentarily distracting him from his agitation. ‘But, why sir?’ his boldest supervisor had questioned him, clearly bewildered at his superior’s odd choice of furnishing. He had left him wondering then, no answer fell off his lips. “Because I want the pain of standing for hours on end to remind me of the importance of my job. Because I can’t be afforded to be distracted by superficial desires, such as whether or not the design of the light fixture would clash with the colour of my settee,” he whispered into the empty room, the sound barely loud enough to reach the nearest wall.
His restlessness washed over him once again, his annoyance clear as he uttered a single sigh of exasperation.
The monotony of him standing behind his desk caught up to him, and he sighed a very annoyed sigh as he proceeded to pace around the round walls of the circular office. He had just about finished a rotation when a knock on the door cut him off.
‘Come in!’ His booming voice spoke the command with such authority, the door handle fumbled, a give away of the unfiltered nervousness on the other side. A limp figure stumbled into the room, straightening himself immediately after. He raised his right hand to his head in a salute before bringing it down to his side and stuttering the words, “He would like to see you now Mr General sir.”
General William rolled his eyes at the scrawny figure. ‘Mr General sir’. He scoffed inwardly at the redundancy of the statement before dismissing the shaking lad.
The doors closed in front of him, a shadow of dismay settled on the General’s face. He walked over to his mahogany desk and stood there, his gaze transfixed on the white item centred on the lone piece of furniture. His hands grabbed the cotton gloves and pulled them over his fingers, an unsettling realisation enveloping his mind.
He had called on the General before, a rare but not unusual act on His part. What worried the General was the nature of His call. He had not made him aware of their meeting a few days prior. There was no message sent. And weirdest of all…
He was here, in person.
The General pushed his doors open, his pristine shoes clacking against the tiled floor. The hallway too echoed, not only from a lack of furniture but also from a lack of people.
The General had requested solitude; he was placed in an office, on a floor where there was no other human specimen except himself. The rare occasion that another being was spotted, was due to an errand of some sort.
He reached the end of the infinite corridor and sharply turned right, facing an elevator. His gloved finger pushed the button that signified ‘down’ and resumed a stationary position, waiting for the ding of the doors to indicate its arrival. The elevator journey was how you would consider most elevator rides, quite awkward and silent. The doors parted when the display showed the number ‘2’. The building was designed in a way that the floors were labelled from the top one, ascending. In simpler terms, the Generals floor was the 1st, the next floor was the 2nd and so on. The General walked out, almost sprinting across the floor, the echoes of his shoes ever so faint as there were people and furniture occupying this level of the building.
He came to a standstill at a door. It would have been a door of insignificance, a door like any other one on this floor. A door that most likely opened to show an office, or a file room. Except, it was as though you could feel the energy radiating from this particular Door. This Door signified an importance of some sort, an importance that was about to be discovered by William, the man whose journey we have followed for less than 1 and a half pages.
His hands gripped the brass doorknob and turned the handle, bracing himself for an unspoken terror.
But, as William would discover as soon as he opened his fearfully shut eyes, it was only He who inhabited the room. He stood in the centre, arms behind his back as he gazed at the wall in front of him. The wall He gazed at was filled with monitors of different kinds, monitors that had different figures and diagrams. But, it was not the monitors that He was focused on, it was the singular screen that demanded the attention of anyone that walked into the room. The screen that all the other screens surrounded. The screen which read ‘E-35’ in bold white letters.
“Bill,” He called out as William closed the door behind this jittering self. “How nice to see you in person.” William frowned; It was impossible for the reason of His unusual presence to be nice, there was a sense of impending doom about Him.
William watched as He turned around, he gazed at His black suit and matching trousers. His shirt, however, was a nice contrast of white. His slicked back hair intimidated William, almost as much as His sharp jawline.
Though William had seen all this before, over the safety of a video conference, seeing Him in person sent chills to his spine that his brain could never justify.
A smile crept upon His face before going on to converse with William. “Did you know that in the past,” He turned to the monitor and extended His arm, pointing His finger. “Our ancestors used to write dire messages in red?” A chuckle escaped His lips. “Such primitive times, when they believed that the colour of messages affected the way people react.”
The confusion displayed on William’s face would have been comical, if not for the circumstances. “I’m going to be very concise William,” He said, turning his head to look at him. “We have a problem. And that problem,” He paused, walking towards the centred monitor on the wall. “Is subject E-35.” His hand flew at the screen, curled into a fist and shattering the glass, blood and shards flying around the room.