I’ve decided not to post all of my stories this year for #52Weeks52Stories, but I will post some of them.
This one (for week 3) is another flash fiction piece written for the Voices of the Darkly group I’m in on Facebook. They conduct a flash fiction challenge every other week with a predetermined topic.
This week: poison.
Poisonous Behavior (PG for those who need a rating)
Brenna stepped into the elevator, balancing both coffees in one hand and her office bag in the other in an attempt to locate her keys. She found them as the ding announced the third floor and lifted her elbow in a wave to Naomi as she stepped out.
“Brought your coffee,” she said, rearranging the items in her hand to carefully set one of the cups down.
“Thanks.” Naomi’s burgundy lipstick clung to the lid.
“No problem.” Brenna set her coffee down, too. “Naomi? Can I ask you a question?”
“How often do they update that list downstairs? I’m only asking because Jeff’s head of security position is posted. He’s been here for ages, right?”
“Oh.” Naomi dropped her pen and reached under her desk to retrieve it. “Um, he uh- he… resigned a couple days ago.” She pulled her wavy brown hair from her eyes and clicked her pen.
“Resigned? I thought he was on vacation. He did get a speeding ticket last week, but other than that he was fine. Did he say why?”
“He- he didn’t say.”
“Why would he just leave?”
“He-” Her phone rang. “Datura Employment Agency. This is Naomi. How may I help you?” She covered the receiver. “Sorry,” she whispered.
Brenna picked up her things and walked down the hall to her office. She jumped when the knob moved before she touched it.
“Late again, Brenna Clary?”
“Mr. Calla?” Brenna looked up into his light brown eyes, which were not as welcoming as they had been a month ago. “I stopped by to talk to Naomi for a minute.”
“Chit-chatting on the job again?” He pointed to his watch. “We had a meeting ten minutes ago.”
“What? We did? I didn’t know.”
“Not checking your emails again?” He stepped into the hallway. “Bring the files and meet me in my office.”
“All of them.”
“All of them?” she whispered as she watched his perfectly pressed pinstripe suit stride down the hall.
Brenna entered his office trying not to drop the stack of folders up to her ears. “The only ones that haven’t been uploaded yet are from yesterday, but I’m adding them today.” She looked around, and set the stack on one of the empty chairs in front of his desk. “Why did you need the files?”
He motioned toward the other empty seat. “It has come to my attention that your performance at this company has been sub-par.”
“What?” She moved to the edge of her seat. “I don’t-”
“You, Ms. Clary,” he said, pointing to a file on his desk, “have been on my list for three weeks.” He opened the folder. “Loss of keys. Tardiness. Chit-chatting instead of working. Running a stop sign. Dumping grease in the garden outside. Hanging cl-”
“Wait. What? You can’t possibly-”
She did. “But I don’t understand.”
“Since you were fleeing from a bad relationship, we let your poisonous behavior slide. But this town does not tolerate these actions, and as the representatives who manage employment in this community, it is our job to make sure everyone abides by our expectations.”
“I still don’t understand. How does this-”
He stood up. “Here is your letter of resignation.” He held up a pen. “Sign it so we can dismiss you.”
“They’re clearing out your office as we speak.” He laid the pen on the letter and pushed it toward her. “Sign.”
Brenna skimmed the letter where she admits to all the work infractions she’s committed. She took a deep breath, and signed the letter.
“Thank you for making this easier on everyone. Please leave through the back exit.”
Brenna rushed down the stairs, tears smearing her mascara even though she tried to keep them in. Two men stepped out from the other side of the delivery truck when the back door closed.
“Brenna Clary?” The younger of the two men motioned to her. “We’re here to pick you up.”
“Pick me up?” Brenna stepped back and grabbed the door handle. “My car’s out front.” Locked.
“Don’t worry about your car,” the older one said. His scar near his eyebrow seemed to speak as his mouth moved. “Mr. Calla has given us our orders.”
She moved away from the door and away from the men, but they were quicker.
“Wait! There’s been a misunderstanding!” she screamed as they dragged her through the small door at the back of the truck.
“Save your breath.” The younger one clamped her wrists into cold metal restraints. “Lucky for you, tomorrow is delivery day.”
But he closed the door, surrounding her with darkness.
“Don’t tell me that you resigned, too, Brenna?” a hoarse voice whispered beside her.
“Jeff? Is there anyone else in here?”
“Yeah, but he won’t make the delivery.”
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below!