The morning light streaming through the two windows brightens further the frost white ceiling and walls of our office; and the row of three powder white storage cabinets, which contain binders that Jacqueline gets paid to fill with reports that nobody reads; and the porcelain white table where our assigned PCs face the same way, forcing my coworkers to sit so close that they could glance freely at my screen, so I have to worry in case I have opened a porn site absentmindedly. The floor is covered with a carpet that is faded, threadbare, and marred in several places with old food stains that are impossible to remove.
The sound of keyboard clattering serves as the drumline to the popular songs that the radio spews out. Near my empty workstation stands Spike the horse, balancing on his hind legs that tremble as if they were made of rubber. When he lifts his long, drooling face, he shrinks away from my disdainful gaze, but despite the sadness that oozes from his bulging, black eyes, this horse remains a vile creature who has no respect for anyone’s dignity and should be exterminated with a shovel and gasoline and fire and whatever else is available, for daring to exist at all.
As I tramp to my chair, I gesture silently to Spike to move aside, but that’s as much as I will acknowledge his presence at the office, because my coworkers can’t see him. If they did, and knew about Spike’s crimes against humanity, they would scream for me to destroy this horrible beast at once.
I sit at the desk as if it were an altar consecrated for worshiping some god or goddess responsible for making humans suffer every day. Although my ass cheeks just began to get squeezed against my seat, Jordi turns towards me and throws words my way.
“You really are unlucky, Leire.”
I’m getting dizzy, partly because I have exhausted my feeble muscles and lungs ascending the slope to this business park, and also because of the heavy dose of anxiety that has been injected into my veins. I feel Spike standing close and sniffing my scent, breathing it deeply as if to inhale my thoughts straight off my mind. I can sense the horse’s desperate longing for my body. Does he want to impregnate my womb so I produce a litter of horses? Would I end up giving birth to magical unicorns? Or is Spike simply seeking the pleasure of my soft flesh and the caresses of my sweaty hands upon his coarse coat?
I clear my throat as I wipe some sweat off my forehead.
“You mean in general?” I ask hoarsely. “Or do you specifically refer to this moment?”
Jordi pushes his glasses up his freckled nose as he offers me a patient smile that doesn’t reach his eyes. As usual, his spotless white shirt is tucked inside his black pants, making him look like an angelic choirboy.
“Jacqueline told me that your car died, so you found yourself having to navigate the public transport system.”
“Yeah, I know. The train was filled with people, too. It was like a war zone. But… my life is a battlefield, and I’ve decided to join the zombie army.”
“Things have been calmer around here, thankfully. As your kouhai, I’ve taken the initiative to handle that ticket of yours about pushing data to a database via a RESTful API.”
I never know what those Chinese words that Jordi keeps using mean, but as long as he does my job and I get paid, he may as well speak solely in Mandarin.
“You are saving my life,” I say, then sigh. “Don’t worry, I will be firing on all cylinders soon enough.”
I switch on my computer. As soon as the monitor shows the motherboard logo, from my right, Jacqueline rolls her chair closer to mine and leans forward, placing a hand on my shoulder. I shiver at the touch of her palm that smells of soap, and I think of the horrors that might happen to my poor soul if she uses a finger to trace a pattern across my skin.
Jacqueline has tied up her glossy, raven black hair in a ponytail with a blue ribbon, and she’s wearing a loose, fog grey cardigan over a wine red, low-cut skater dress. Her threateningly large breasts are encased by a lacy, pink bra that flatters them. I get a glimpse of her polyester, thigh-high boots that hug her long legs. My heart flutters. There goes my interest in focusing on my job.
“I have never seen you this pale, Leire,” she says softly. “Take it easy today, alright?”
My brain is numb and inert as if someone had poured a bucket of cold water over my head, but I nod anyway as I stare at Jacqueline’s beautiful face.
“I guess I’ll take it as easy as I can while I work through my long list of tickets. But… how are you doing, Jacqueline?”
My question disconcerts her. I guess I never asked for her well-being. Her lips are slightly parted, revealing a hint of crepe pinkness at the corners. I wonder if her other labia sport the same coloration. I want to follow with my tongue the skin from her creamy neck down to the swell of her breasts.
“I’m fine as always, Leire,” Jacqueline says appreciatively. “Just take a breather when you need to. Don’t punish yourself.”
After Jacqueline wheels her chair back to her workstation, I keep replaying her mellifluous voice in my head. But I must look pale for sure; a fear has built up in my stomach like a lump of coal churned into a mountain range of lava by a volcano god, because my boss is likely to reprimand me for my lateness.
I have barely checked out my assigned tasks in Service Manager and opened Visual Studio Code when I hear Ramsés say my name. He’s standing at the doorway to his office. Today he chose his admiral blue suit and a spotted tie. As soon as our gazes connect, he beckons to me with his thick, hairy fingers, then he walks back into his cave.
I close my eyes and wish I was dead. After I take a deep breath, I stand up wearily and I shuffle to my boss’ office. When I enter it, Ramsés is leaning against his mahogany desk, likely to rub his hard on through his pants at his leisure, but I’m dazed by a rancid stench that permeates this office. Did my boss fart up a storm before calling me in, as a humiliation tactic?
My boss sighs as he goes around his desk. He parks his ass on the expensive upholstery of his executive chair.
“Leire, please sit down.”
I hold my breath while I eye him with suspicion, but I slowly lower myself onto the guest chair opposite his desk.
“Did you want something, sir?” I ask meekly.
Ramsés looks down at a stack of papers on his desk, then he wrings his hands together until he finally speaks with an air of authority and impatience.
“Let me put this out there: I don’t believe your car broke down.”
How dare he accuse me of lying? My blood boils at the audacity of that statement.
Ramsés fixes his gaze on mine with a penetrating glare that makes me squirm uncomfortably.
“Yesterday you complained for the first time about the volume of work I assign you. The following day you arrive more than an hour late without notifying me that you wouldn’t come in time. I have to assume this was part of a stratagem to prove how indispensable you are.”
My mouth falls open as I stare dumbfounded at my boss. I shift my weight in the chair, but as I’m about to defend myself, a black mass peeks out from behind my boss’ shoulder and wraps itself around his neck as if to strangle him. Ramsés fails to react. The hideous form writhes and contorts like it’s stuck in viscous liquid. It has a grotesque head shaped like an upside-down bowl of spaghetti, and I make out a mouth full of jagged teeth like rows of broken glass. At the end of two vermiform appendages coming out of its head, two bulbous eyes gleam like black marbles. It reminds me of a deep sea creature.
From the thing’s throat comes out a loud squelch, but I can’t understand what it’s saying, maybe because it’s gargling on all those bubbles of thick mucus that keep dribbling from its lips.
I must have fallen into a trance as I gaped at the strange creature; my boss ends up repeating my name. As if he had spoken an incantation, the monster disappears from Ramsés’ shoulder. Drops of sticky fluid that had dripped onto his desk vanish into thin air.
“Don’t space out, Leire, please,” Ramsés demands sternly. “Is this one of your defense mechanisms to avoid facing reality?”
His tone had shifted from annoyance to concern as he observed me. He scratches the side of his face, which is covered by a dark stubble.
My brain feels sluggish and dull. I can only nod as I try unsuccessfully to wipe away the sweat that is now running down my forehead. My temples throb painfully with every heartbeat.
“You have always been strange,” Ramsés says, lowering his voice, “as expected with such a technically-minded woman, but in these last few months you’ve been… deteriorating.”
His words cut my heart deeply, because he is correct. I try to smile to dismiss his assumptions, but I fear that my cheeks will tremble and tears will well up in my eyes.
“So what, you think I’m suffering from psychosis or schizophrenia?”
Ramsés shrugs, then shakes his head.
“I don’t know. Are you? Those are heavy words. You are a good programmer, but I can’t have you being erratic and inconsistent. You know what will happen if we can’t deliver the contracts in time, the company will have to pay the penalty fee. If it gets bad enough, I won’t be able to pay any of you.”
“I get it, sir. I’ll work hard.”
Ramsés’ voice deepens as he tries to convince his employee to do the right thing, and I can’t help but tilt my chin down in a submissive gesture.
“You used to go above and beyond. I suppose you worked overtime partly because you had nothing else going on and you may as well earn some extra money. I was glad to pay you for it, but the most I can demand of you is to complete your tasks during the regular workday hours.”
I can’t force myself to lift my gaze. My shoulders droop, my eyes turn watery. Ramsés’ chair creaks as he gets up and walks around his desk. His admiral blue pants fill half of my frame of vision, and then I feel his big hand around my right trapezius muscle. He squeezes it firmly. The smell of cigarettes wafts down to my nostrils.
I stiffen. My throat is dry. I bet this man was waiting for the opportunity to fondle me. I want to jerk my body away, because I know what comes next: he will pull down his zipper, and then he will stuff his fat cock down my throat. Maybe he’s expecting me to give in willingly and reach out with both hands for his belt buckle, because I am a whore who loves swallowing every drop of salty juice from her lover’s ballsack. I’m paralyzed as I wait for my boss to grab hold of my neck, but instead he pats me on the back twice with his violating hand.
“Keeping a job must be hard for you, but whatever is going on, Leire, you need to straighten yourself up and be a proper adult.”
My chest feels tight as my temples throb. First he rapes me, then he calls me a child? And what if I am? I never signed up to become an adult. If as a newborn I had understood what nightmares this life would have entailed, I would have crawled back into my mother’s cunt.
I was never a proper human being. As a baby, my head looked like a boiled egg with a hole in the center that my parents had to feed by screwing a rubber dildo attached to a pump, which gave milk that tasted like a mixture of rotten eggs and vomit. I remember that alien cock clearly, it was bigger than a tree trunk with a snake’s head on top that threatened to chomp on mine. The rest of my body was a collection of tubes and wires connected to machines that made weird noises. The doctor said that everything about me pointed towards a malfunctioning brain, so I got put under a magical spell that turned me into a walking corpse, which nobody could recognize as a person anymore. When the sun rose, my dead eyes showed me a horrid world that made me want to cry like a little girl even though I was a grown woman, because this dimension was a scary place full of monsters that could devour a person at a single bite, and there were no adults, just a bunch of children running around with their heads empty, screaming at each other while they played with knives, guns and bombs.
All of my actions have been guided by an overwhelming urge to escape from my trauma-filled past, and my life became an endless cycle of suffering, grief and self-destruction which caused my mind to crumble. My body at least used to function properly, but now I have been reduced to a twisted wreck of insanity.
I black out. The next thing I know, I’m shuffling out of my boss’ office, barely able to focus my gaze ahead. My horse stalker was spying on me from the other side of the doorway, and he hobbles aside as I pass. Spike’s nostrils flare like they’re constantly filled with an unpleasant odor emanating from deep inside his throat, because his digestive organs are filled with a rancid sludge that stinks like rotten meat mixed with urine and vomit, all rolled into one nauseous concoction laced with sulfuric acid and a dash of ammonia, to make sure that no one could ever forget the stench that escapes out of the orifices of this horse-shaped monstrosity.
Spike lets out a drawn out groan that send shivers to my bone marrow, and causes me to cover my nose to block his breath. His hooves scrape against the carpet as he stumbles along trying to keep pace with me.
“Your blood flows through the veins and arteries of the people around you,” the horse says gloomily. “It’s a miracle that you can live among these human beings without going mad.”
Spike wants to pretend that he understands me completely, although he’s an inhuman abomination that eats people alive. I see his point, but I’d argue that I haven’t been sane for as long as I can remember. In fact, if those around me found out my true nature, they would surely never forgive themselves for having been so blind to such a grisly reality.