jashyr: skull (horror)
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Title: You Don't Have to be Crazy Dead to Work Here (But It Helps).
Part: 7/22
Author: Jashyr
Genre: Horror/Black Comedy
Word Count: 50,000
Disclaimer: These characters are mine. They live in my head and make me do crazy things like entering NaNoWriMo...
Rating: PG-13? Probably.
Warnings: Some gore. Written for NaNoWriMo last year and while it has been re-edited the punctuation police are still looking at it suspiciously.

Chapter Seven

We're All Going on an Autumn Holiday

There was a horribly cheerful mood permeating the Finance department on the following Monday morning as all the financial staff made a concerted effort to remind the rest of the business that they weren’t going to Alton Towers like they were. An array of bright colours brightened up the usually drab company corridors and there was singing in the stairways. A horribly mangled and thematically incorrect version of ‘we’re all going on a summer holiday’ was being belted out by several members of the payroll input team while the rest of the company futilely tried to block out the warbling. In the IT department tempers were fraying. It was their opinion that NO-ONE should ever be that cheerful this early on a Monday morning. There was a rumbling outside, followed by a loud cheer from finance, followed by a sigh of relief from IT as they realized that this must be the coach come to take their annoying non-working co-workers away from the building. Watching the procession out of the window, the entire team waited with baited breath as the annoyances all signed their accident wavers and boarded the single-decker bus that the company had rented for the day.

“Thank god,” muttered Kim “I can finally get some caffeine down my neck without being accosted by badly dressed cheerful people. It was like a Hare Krishna convention without the self-control down there before.”

“Hang on a sec,” said Shona with a big smile, “Piers is about to come in.” She sped to the door and yanked it open just as her manager was walking past. “Hi Piers, can you come in the office for a second?” she asked.

Looking a little worried Piers entered the IT office only to be enveloped in hugs from both Shona and Kim while the boys hung back embarrassed.

“Thank you, thank you so very, very much,” gushed Kim, finally letting him free.

“Yep,” agreed Nat from the back of the room. “We just wanted to say how grateful we are that we don’t have to go to some cruddy theme park with that rabble.”

Startled by the outpouring of gratitude and still a bit jumpy Piers smoothed out his tie and fixed his gaze to the floor. “It was nothing, really guys. Don’t dwell on it.” He stepped back out of the door, still not meeting anyone’s eyes.

“Poor boy,” said Kim concernedly. “He looks like he needs a good holiday. All that stress is getting to him.”

Large number of queues, soggy clothes from the log flume, flat beer and cold chips later the finance department met back up in the car park – mostly to complain about how crap the day had been and how they were so glad that they hadn’t actually paid for any of it. Steeling himself for the rowdy occupants on the way home Reg, the coach driver, led the procession back to where he had parked the coach quietly wishing that he was legally allowed to wear ear plugs while he was driving. As a fight threatened to break out over who had the most embarrassing photograph from the top of what the male accountants were referring to as the ‘vomit comet’ he opened the door and hoped that this day would end as soon as possible. It was possibly not the best of wishes considering whom he had been hired by. A metal gleam caught his eye at the lower corner of the door and he crouched down to take a closer look. He was outraged by what he saw, some annoying little punks must have vandalised his coach! The grooves that had been keyed into the paintwork at all four corners of the door were far too precise to have been an accident. At least this time the scum hadn’t scrawled swear words onto his vehicle, just some random squiggles. With a heavy heart he decided to put the paint respray on the corporate tab and fervently wished that sometime soon the vandals would pick on the wrong person, it only needed to be once – just enough for them to get their arms broken in an amusing way.

Also in the car park, sitting in the passenger seat of a Toyota landcruiser with a member of Reapmore’s security detail in the driving seat, Dr Ricardo Perez was watching the crowd enter the bus with no small amount of distaste. He spread a large sheet of rune emblazoned papyrus on the dashboard in front of him, placed a local ordinance survey map on top of that and muttered, “a ra kak lish la kas kal seg mush kak de sahar da na gi. Gi na da sahar de kak mush seg kal kas la lish kak ra a.”  A part of the map glowed with a soft light and the driver nodded, readjusted his dark sunglasses, then eased the landcruiser out of the car park and onto the main road that headed back up towards the Pennines.

Finally getting the last of the corporate crowd onto the coach (one of the women appeared to have spent the entire day in the bar getting so hammered that she was incapable of climbing the stairs into the passenger seats by herself) Reg tried to block out the yammering coming from his passengers and concentrate on the road ahead. Storm clouds were threatening rain and he had no real wish to be caught on ‘B’ roads up on the way to barren moors if the wind got any worse, especially if the storm hit before the motorway where the coach would have much better traction and room to manoeuvre. He put his foot down intending to outrun the storm then slammed the breaks on quickly as the coach accelerated faster than he’d intended and nearly crashed into the car in front of him. The car honked angrily at him and drove away, turning at the next junction to get away from the frankly terrifying out of control bus.

“I must be more tired than I expected,” mused Reg and slowed the coach down to a more sedate speed. He noticed a 4x4 with blacked out windows following behind him and there was a sudden stab of horror as he considered whether it might be an unmarked police car.

Watching the coach intently Dr Perez noticed the erratic nature of the driving and smiled to himself. The driver glanced in the rear-view mirror them over to him, “the coast is clear boss, do you want me to overtake them?”

Perez turned his head to check for traffic behind them but all the traffic behind them had been scared off by the coach’s aggressive behaviour - the winding country lane was empty. Perez turned back to politely address his driver, “yes, Mr Grady, now would be perfect if you don’t mind.”

Without warning the coach in front, Grady revved the engine and floored the accelerator to take the landcruiser screaming past the coach, half scaring Reg out of his wits. The coach lurched drunkenly as Reg struggled for control and the passengers, also feeling giddy and tired, alternated between absolute terror and hysterical amusement. One of the lads at the back shouted, “He thinks we’re still on the roller coasters!” eliciting laughs from quite a few of his colleagues.

“Speed up and head to that embankment!” ordered Dr Perez as a few houses outlying a nearby village came into sight. “We need to be just past those parked cars.”

“Right Sir,” grunted Grady who shot past the houses to the crest of the embankment.

Perez turned and unravelled another piece of parchment, this time age-worn and lovingly restored. Winding down the window he reached out of the landcruiser, pointed at the coach and carefully read from the parchment, “zi silig pa an paan, sipad udu siki ka ta kesh igi nu du, udu nig gu a nued nu. Nu nued a gu nig udu, du nu igi kesh ta ka siki udu sided, paan an pa silig zi.”

As Dr Perez finished the last syllable, Reg suddenly slumped over his steering wheel in the cab of the coach, fist clutched to his chest as his eyes darkened and it became more difficult to breathe. In the back of the coach the passengers all slumped in their seats, asleep and totally relaxed. Now completely out of control the coach clipped one of the parked cars and crashed through the low brick wall that had enclosed the embankment. Hitting the crash barrier at the base of the wall the coach tipped entirely and slid at speed down the bank.  

Knowing that the noise of the crash would attract attention Dr Perez sat back in his seat and muttered under his breath, “igi nu du igi suh, izi gi eden na zi, ki dul kak lis la a. A la lis kak dul ki, zi na eden gi izi, suh igi du nu igi”. Runes scratched into the landcruiser’s paintwork glowed briefly then the 4x4 itself became completely inconsequential to the villagers who had come out to see what had happened. One was frantically phoning for the police and ambulance services while two large teenage boys scrambled down the embankment to try to help the people trapped in the crash.

In the distance ambulance sirens could be heard and a minute or so later a paramedic team pulled up just in front of a large ambulance that parked next to the landcruiser, seemingly oblivious of the 4x4’s presence. One of the paramedics, however, bowed his head as he walked past, looking Dr Perez in the eye and nodding slightly. Perez nodded back and silently signalled to Grady that it was time to leave.

As they drove away Ricardo allowed himself to relax, satified that everything had gone to plan. He turned to his driver, “a job well done wouldn’t you say, Mr Grady? Now I’ve been impressed with your professionalism on this job, how would you like to work full time for Research and Development?”


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September 2010

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