Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Short story project: Unidentified Flying Object, Part 15

“Sorry, Miss.” The man paused as he looked me over from head to toe. “I don’t think I’ve seen you around before.”
I smiled again. “I’m new.” I tugged at the end of my braid, curling the end around my index finger. “I forgot a file I need to work from home.”
“Just started and already putting in overtime.” The guard chuckled as he leaned in close to me, reaching around me to press the elevator button. His face was inches from mine.
I laughed. “You know how it is, start a new job and you have to work twice as hard as everyone else until you’re no longer on the bottom rung.” I carefully stepped around the man, giving him a little curtsy that I hoped looked cute, then strode toward the double doors of Homian’s offices. “Have a good night.”
“You too,” the guard said as the elevator doors swung open. “What was your name again?”
I pivoted, almost loosing balance on my high heels. My cheeks flared hot, but hopefully the man couldn’t see from his place across the room. “Serena Banks.” I flashed my biggest smile yet as I delivered the name of my first year dorm roommate.
“Bailey Cousins.” Mr. Cousins delivered a crisp salute in my direction then stepped onto the elevator.
I released a huge gush of air once the elevator readout showed its occupant was travelling downward. One obstacle down, now I had to actually get into the offices. Was the card of a girl who’d disappeared weeks ago really going to let me in? They must have deactivated it, or put a flag on it to alert someone if it was used. Turning to the doors once more I reached for the card reader fixed to the right side of the entrance. I swiped the card. The light on the side of the readers flashed yellow then beeped red. I peeked over my shoulder to see if the elevator was still on its way down—it was. I swiped the card a second time, slower, making sure the whole card passed through the reader. The flight flickered yellow, and this time it glowed green.

Relief flooded me as I grabbed the handle of the door, then accidentally flung it open so hard it crashed into the wall behind it. My heart beat slowly slightly, at least so it no longer felt like it was going to leap from my chest. I might be able to do this after all.
I pulled the slip of paper that held my instructions and passcodes out of my pocket. I was to search the main administrative computer. When I looked up from the paper I realized the enormous glass-topped desk in front of me bore a brass plate that read “reception.” This must be it. I rounded the corner, plopped myself into the ergonomically shaped chair, then giggled the mouse to wake up the computer. The password screen popped up and I carefully typed in the twelve digit code I’d been given. After another whirr from the hard drive, the user settings loaded—I was in.
To be continued,...look for the next installment on Thursday, May 8th, 2014.

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