The big dark desk sitting at the opposite wall of the large office is meant to be intimidating, and it works just fine. If it weren't for the coffee stains on the cream-colored carpet, I might be soiling my pants at what I am about to do.
"Sir, I don't mean to be disrespectful, but... you might want to reconsider your behavior towards your employees."
He smiles, a friendly smile that is known to breed terror in everyone who has to work with him. "Why, what is wrong with that?"
"Well, Sir... I have found that my colleagues are getting restless and anxious, and they are showing stress-related behavior. The contact with our clients and their... high demands is eating away at them." That is not exactly what I want to say, but I do not know how else to paraphrase it in a polite way.
"If they are not happy working here, they can go and find another job."
"Uhm... it is not that they are not happy, but they are... changing." No, that's not the real thing, either. But I realize that my good intentions were wasted.
"Anything else you would like to say?"
"No, I guess that's it." I smile and make my way back out of the room, always keeping an eye on doors and windows. This is the top floor, and it is still peaceful, and to keep it this way for a little longer I carefully close the frosted glass door.
The two-by-four I brought up with me is still leaning against the wall, looking inconspicuous except for the small dark stain at the top. My heart is racing. It is just three sets of stairs, I tell myself, and a few steps, then you're out the door. Let the others deal with this madness on their own, and in their own way. Most likely they are still trying to find their way around fax machines and printers and computers, all the while nibbling whatever they find that contains warm blood. If it weren't for the glaring sun outside, neither the squirrels nor the weird neighbors would be safe. I worry more about the squirrels, although there is still hope they will be too fast to be caught.
The IT guy comes shambling up the stairs. He is one of the first to have mastered the way up, despite not having been infected for several hours. His lower jaw is dislocated - no, not really dislocated, it's dangling from his face by a few strands of decaying tissue. Rot seems to spread fast among them, as if moving speeds up the process with dead meat. Or maybe it's just the dead-ness mixing with all the other germs our clients drag inside from their hospital stays.
The two-by-four connects with his skull and sends him flying down the stairs. I race past the scrambling body, down to ground level, press the button and squeeze myself through the gate as it is already starting to close again. The metal bars won't hold them in forever, but nothing wrong with getting a head start.
I always suspected this job would turn everybody into office zombies.