Death's Cleric
rating: +9+x

It is another mundane Monday morning for Anton. He is locked away in a pristine office cubicle. Papers litter his desk, scattered as such to mimic his disheveled mind. The industrial white ceiling and lights glow above him, while the ducts overhead hum softly.

On this morning, Anton has a splitting headache. His body lags and his stomach resembles more of a churning cauldron. He quickly attributes this to a hangover. But even if he feels like death, the office is at least quiet. This realization is enough to alleviate Anton's suffering. At least enough for a break.

The breakroom greets Anton with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. A box of sickly sweet donuts lay to the side. He treats himself to a cup and a donut and rests on the couch. There is no one in the room, which allows Anton to take it all in. It isn't long, however that he recognizes a small red stain on the coffee maker. He quickly snags a napkin and wipes off the unsightly stain. Ahh. Now that is better. Peace is now restored for Anton.

Anton approaches his cubicle with a lessened headache and a new vigor. Within his space, the stack of paperwork stares menacingly at him. The quiet hum of air conditioning seems to grow louder. The sterile white glow above him appears to be brighter. He then realizes.

No, no no. It can't be. The office is desolate. There is a distinct lack of keyboard clattering, aggressive phone-ins and idle water cooler chatter. Immediately Anton checks his calendar. Is today a holiday? No. It's clearly Monday.

Maybe a prank is being pulled on Anton. Are his coworkers hiding underneath their desks? Maybe they're residing within the ceiling, waiting to pop out. They're not in the any of the cubicles. And no one is in the breakroom, either.

Anton decides to check in the boss's office. His steps echo through the halls. As he walks over to the office, he glances at the other rooms. Reception. IT. Management. They're all empty. There must be a mistake.

The boss's office door is left ajar. The lights are off and a cold breeze leaks out through the opening. Anton slowly opens the door with one hand while his other is sloppily caressing the wall for the light switch. As he nears it, his headache decides to pay another visit. The twisting stomach also joins.

Flick. Still air resides in the place where the boss would sit. A velvet carpet lays beneath Anton's feet, with cabinets and book shelves lining either side. The only clue of the boss's presence is the name plate placed squarely on the desk:

Grimm, CEO

Anton sits on the chair. He slowly spins on it while contemplating his mundane, now turned mysterious Monday morning. Where is everyone? This is more than a prank. He spins for a moment too long before his stomach decides to spew up his throat.

Anton investigates the rest the floor. He discovers something else: the distinct lack of clocks. Or windows. Or dates. But wait. I saw the calendar back in my cubicle. It clearly said Monday. I could've sworn it was. Ugh. Maybe I'm better off walking outside for a smoke break. I'm going mad.

Anton scrambles to find the elevator. Except there isn't one. So he tries to find a stairwell. That isn't there. Damn. This can't be! Okay, calm down. Think. Your co-workers are real. Your boss is real. You are real. Simple.

As Anton tries to remember the names of his coworkers, he realizes that he can't. He knows his name. He knows when he was born. October 29, 1997. He remembers his family. Family? Family?!

Anton decides to check the room where he punched in this morning. There lay one card with his name on it, dated June 21, 1966. How long have I been here?! I clearly came in this morning.

At least Anton thought so. Yesterday he … well, what did Anton do yesterday? Not even Anton knows. And this morning? He punched in. But now that I think of it, I don't remember punching in. Or even anything before that. I'm here. And I can't recall anything else.

As Anton's denial fades, he stumbles back towards his office. The stack of papers have now increased. On the right side of his cubicle wall are blood stains. A putrid odor fills the space. At this point, Anton cannot react.

On one of the stacks is a note. Anton sets the note aside to look at his pending paperwork. On the papers lay details of persons' deaths. The time of death, the cause of death, and a series of unfilled spaces that request a place for the persons to reside after death. At the bottom of each sheet is another line that asks for a signature.

A bewildered Anton then checks the note he casted aside:

Hey Anton,

An intruder tried to break into the building earlier. She claimed to be working for some government organization or some crap like that, said what we were doing here is illegal, etc. She broke into your office too, so I had to make quick work of her. Sorry about the mess. I'll have someone come by to clean it later.

Anyways you might be questioning yourself. That intruder placed a memetic agent to doubt yourself. But don't worry. I put amnestics in your coffee, so you'll be fine within the hour.

Also great job on that presentation. Drop by my office later and we'll discuss that extended vacation plan.

Don't forget you're here forever.


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