“You better beware if the monster ever escapes.”
The agency’s lobby cleanness and luster had a way to impress me every time I arrived to work. For some reason the tall glass walls and silver details on the edges resonated to my liking. Observing the surroundings I noticed the attendant in the main desk; replaced. Like Swiss clockwork exactly two weeks had gone by after the last one was hired. Looking closely I saw John talking to her surely giving his rehearsed welcome speech. I turned smiling to John’s predictable behavior and headed to my cubicle at Monitoring.
“She is gorgeous!,” said a voice approaching behind me. Without turning I knew it was John.
“I wonder if the agency does this on purpose,” he continued. “Did she ignore you like the other hundred?,” I asked teasing. He remained silent; I am starting to believe that the agency does say something about John and his “approaches”.
When we reached our cubicles I put my bag on the floor and reached for my computer. “What is this?,” asked John curious. “Hey, you have one too,” he pointed out. Over the mess of papers was a gently placed ivory envelope with a red wax seal. Approaching it I knew what it was, I had a feeling this was going to happen. “An invitation to dinner from the monster?,” squealed John from excitement while reading the paper. I grabbed the envelope and noticed it had my name in some fancy font. Opening it I read the message:
You are cordially invited to a joyful dinner celebration.
Agency’s Basement at 8:00 pm.
Please bring formal wear.
This invitation is only extended to the receiver of this letter.
“Are you serious?” I asked out loud in both confusion and amusement.
“What should I wear?,”he questioned himself excited. What purpose could the monster have to invite us to dinner? Remembering the meeting of the directors a concern struck me; was this part of the agreement to allow every single desire from the monster? A sudden fear crawled on my back as I imagined horrible scenarios which involved blood and death. I looked as John sat in his desk gleaming his joy to everyone; I really did not understand his feelings.
After a monotonous day and the trip to and from my house I waited for John in the darkened and empty lobby. A few people walked by staring at me and my attire. I do not know if it was fear or madness wearing a tux for this dinner, but I was not going to experiment with the monster’s quirks. He was unpredictable to my standards. Some minutes went by before John showed up as excited as in the morning. “Can you believe this? A private dinner with the monster!,” he said unable to contain himself.
“Must I warn you about your emotions? Try to keep cool, remember that strong emotions work against us when he is around,” I reproached him strongly. I was too concerned with the monster’s intentions to let anything get out of control. We quickly reached the entrance to the basement and soon we were walking through it. The clanking of our shoes echoed in the walls and approaching the door I turned to notice a hallway that ended with an inconspicuous door. I do not remember noticing this hallway before, but ignoring I turned. Looking at the monster’s door I noticed the opened locks. John proceeded to knock and almost instantaneously the door moved. From it, a pale and ancient butler was standing behind it. “Welcome,” he stated plainly and waved for us to come in.
Entering the familiar main room the piano echoed like last time. Though, this time the song was a jolly one. Each note was delivered in harmony to the last and could make anyone want to dance to it. The butler waved his ghostly hands for us to follow. Crossing another hallway we were greeted by an extravagant table for ten people. “How many people are coming?,” John asked the butler. He lifted his bony hand sticking two fingers out. The butler turned and walked to the side of the table and waving again he expected for us to sit. Upon sitting he left the room. John and I were left to admire the delicacy of the table arrangement and the expensive arrangement of flowers. After a while we heard the piano suddenly stop and the approaching steps. “I am sorry for my tardiness, gentlemen,” the monster apologized while walking to the end of the table. Sitting delicately he took his dinner napkin and placed it on his lap. He shifted his reddish eyes quickly from the napkin to us. “I hope you are hungry,” he said with a friendly smile. I looked at John and saw he was controlled. My emotions were also controlled and it seemed to be working. With a snap of his fingers the ghastly butler brought a cart with expensive looking trays with all sort of foods. Placing them on the table the monster once again smiled and gestured for us to eat.
After some plates and cups of wine we were having small chat with the monster. I am unsure if it was the alcohol or the monster, but I was relaxed. We talked calmly and carelessly. “John, how did the test go?,” queried the monster casually.
“It went well, maybe in some months I will start training,” replied John pleased.
“What test are you talking about?,” I asked confused on what was going on.
“He has not told you?,” said the monster surprised. “John is applying to be a Reconnaissance and Control agent. Had too much fun the other night I guess,” continued the monster content. Why did I not know this? John had been my friend for some years now and he told the monster before me?
“I meant to tell you, yet I ran with the monster and told him first,” murmured John a bit ashamed. I had to control my feelings, any strong emotion could spiral me into chaos.
“Well, that is great! We should make a toast,” I exclaimed shrouding my own emotions. I saw the monster give me a quick and devilish smirk as I lifted my glass.
After the toast we finished our meals and stayed talking over more wine. “How old are you?,” I suddenly questioned the monster. His smile shifted to confusion and looked at me curious.
“It is not polite to ask a gentleman his age,” he replied deflecting my question. “I will say I have been here a long time,” he continued shifting his glass to the side.
“How long have you worked for the agency?,” I questioned again hinting on the word work. His smile was shutting down. John looked awkwardly at his glass, he knew what I was doing and did not approve.
“I have been here quite some time…,” the monster replied a bit insulted. “…in fact I think I am due some vacations,” he emphasized on the word vacation.
“Aren’t we a happy group?,” interrupted John awkwardly. The monster was suddenly serious and I was smirking. For a moment I was in control, even as dangerous as it was. “Do you think the agency will allow you to have vacations?,” I pushed once more.
The monster dropped his glass. The shatter echoed within the room, the monster was motionless. For the first time his red eyes portrayed confusion and anger. “I believe we should conclude this wonderful dinner,” muttered the monster while slowly standing from the table. “I will have my butler show you the way out.” He left the room in what seemed to be repressed anger. Vanishing in the hallway the butler came in and guided us to the exit. John and I stood up and left the room. Walking towards the exit I heard what punching a piano sounds like. Having the steel door close behind us John looked at me disapprovingly. “Are you crazy?,” he protested.
“This monster is the agency’s plaything. I think is right that he knows he’s just a slave.” I replied calmly. “The agency should not wield such a dangerous thing.” John calmed down and started walking through the monotonic hallway. I stood there in silent. If only I could have known the terrible mistake I made that night. If only I could have known what happened next.