Avera rolled the super ball along the counter. Bored. She was bored. Not a single customer had come into her current post. She was in Doormats and Land mines. At the edge of the counter sat two armed land mines. She rolled the super ball through them again. It bounced off the wall and rolled back towards her. A group of customers looked in through the open door. She smiled at them and they hurried on.
The overhead PA system squawked to life. “Worker #56834, report to grid 12 Section 4B Deck 9,” a disembodied voice said.
Avera rolled the ball, just missing the land mines again.
The PA system started up again. “Worker #56834, report to grid 12 Section 4B Deck 9.”
“I heard you the first time!” Avera threw the super ball at the speaker. It bounced and shot off into the back of the room. She went to go fetch it before heading out of this shop and headed along the interior hallways that made up the Emporium. “This is the worst place to work,” she groused as she ran her hand along the safety railing that lined the edge of of the balcony to the lower floors.
It took her well over an hour to find her way towards grid 12, and then another 20 minutes to find section 4B, Deck 9. “Someone should really make a map of this place.” She said after arriving at her destination. “What am I doing here?”
She pushed open the last door as she entered Deck 9. “Oooo. What is that?”
In the center of the room sat a burning portal. It warped her vision just looking at it as it bubbled around and inverted. She felt she could see the other side, distorted and contorted. It lit the room with a rather reddish glow, but saying that it was the source of the light she couldn’t be sure. The sound had been sucked out of the room, possibly towards the the other side of the portal. Milling around the room were five large creatures moving about on all fours, all equally ablaze with the same light that emanated from the portal. They were sniffing various boxes around the room.
When she opened the door all the eyes in the room locked on her and the air froze.
Avera cleared her throat, “Ookkay. I can see that you are all busy with whatever it is you’re doing, but this is a restricted area and I will have to ask you leave.” One of the creatures turned its head askew as though contemplating her words. Then it leapt through the air towards her and knocked her to the ground. “Uhm, hi?” She said, staring up from the floor into the things black eyes.
It licked her face.
“Ohh, aren’t you the cutest little creature of death!” Avera petted it behind the ears. It licked her face again. A second one came over and sniffed her hair. Avera picked herself up as they rubbed their burning necks into her and continued to lick. “Yes, yes! I like you, too,” she said.
“Minions! What are you doing?” A scratchy otherworldly voice wafted out of the portal. A figure shifted and melted around the curvature of the portal, never coming into complete view or focus. The creatures turned their heads as one back towards the portal. “The girl is a witness, kill her!”
Avera picked herself up off the floor, surrounded by the creatures. She petted them again. They made absolutely no noise as they followed her back towards the portal. “Who is this?” She demanded as she approached the portal.
“It is I! Fingel the Usurper! I take what I please, and this store room pleases me!” The voice replied to her.
“Well, Fingel, that’s stealing. And we don’t like thieves in this part of the world.” Avera crossed her arms and gave the room a quick scan, noting boxes, crates, shelves and shipping numbers. Everything checked out. “I’ll let you off with a warning since you didn’t steal anything yet,” she said.
“Minions! Kill her! And bring me her body!” The voice commanded.
“Ew, you’re one of those people!” Avera took a step back with a face of disgust. “You can’t have my body for your weird experimentation. I won’t allow it.”
“What? No! I can’t just leave a body on the floor in an empty store room, that just screams suspicious activity,” came the reply.
“Oh, that makes sense,” Avera nodded in agreement thinking it through. “But still! I cannot allow it!”
“You cannot harm me little girl!”
“Probably not, I could try though. But I’m pretty sure they probably can.” A wide grin spread across her face as she turned her attention to the creatures. “Hey you good boys. I need you to go back through this portal and maul Fingel for me.” They wagged their flaming skeletal tails. “Those are good boys. Now get him!”
In one powerful leap, they launched themselves back through the portal.
“No, you can’t do this! I am your master!” the scratchy voice shouted. The portal began to collapse on itself, twisting and curving into a singularity in the center of the room.
Avera tossed a land mine through as it closed. “This one is a free sample!” she called out as it winked out of existence.