Vicky sat on a metal folding chair in a bare empty room, arms and legs crossed. She scowled while trying to keep the one stupidly bright light out of her eyes. The only other items in the room was a table and one more folding chair. She had been waiting 15 minutes so far, and no one else had arrived. If she knew how to force the door, she would leave, but the rooms in HR were not designed to be left easily.
A gentleman slide into the room in total silence. Had he used the door like a normal person, Vicky was sure that she wouldn’t have even noticed. He wore a gray mantle that billowed around him like a fog. A fine jade tainted mist rolled off his tailor-made suit and cloak. At his side hung a silver engraved scabbard and saber. The mist faded after a few blinks, but the cloak continued to billow serenely around.
Vicky had slid back in the chair before she stopped herself, then scooted towards the table again. She had to force her arms onto the table in a nonchalant manner. Cold sweat trickled down her back as gulped back down her panic. The Jade Cloaks were only a myth to scare the new employees.
“Employee #56858, do you know why we’ve summoned you today?” his voice had the sound of wind over ice.
“If it has anything to do with the shop ‘Thread Containment and Faraday Cages’ that went missing last week, I had nothing to do with it,” Vicky said while working hard to keep her voice from wavering.
The gentleman’s head tilted to the left and regarded her words with his sea green eyes and a blank expression.
“Nothing,” Vicky reiterated, unable to return eye contact.
Vicky shivered in her seat. She was sure the room had gotten colder since he had entered.
The gentleman’s right hand reached to pick up the top sheet of paper from a stack that had materialized from jade mist as he reached for it. He read over it for what seemed close to forever to Vicky. “According to all witness reports, and several security platters,” with his left hand he indicated to a pile of metal disks on the table, “you were in the middle of it.”
Vicky bit her lip and sank into the seat.
“Including the half-life residue of your thread. Do you wish to say you still had nothing to do with it?”
Vicky nodded slowly, blinking away forming tears. Maybe it was possible to get out of this yet. With sinking dread, she knew the stories of the Jade Cloaks. She had even told some of them to newer employees now.
The man leaned forward over the table now full of evidence, “You are lying to me.” His breath froze her face from across the table. The one corner of his mouth tweaked up slightly as he said, “We know you know what the penalties are.”
Vicky wilted into her seat as all her resolve drained from her body. There was nothing left as the imagined horrors filled her mind.
SHE HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE INCIDENT.
Vicky jumped at the voice. She had never heard anything like it before. Loud and almost human against a PA system that always made everything sound inhuman. There were no speakers in the room as far as she had observed. The gentleman sat back into the chair into an unnatural stillness as his face darkened. The overwhelming dread of his presence began to fade.
Minutes ticked by in silence. Vicky’s mind raced while trying to come up with explanations for the voice and why the man halted. His expression never wavered nor did he stir.
“Alright, Ms. Green,” he said suddenly, “under the circumstances, we are forced to believe that what you say is true.” Vicky’s attention snapped back onto him. She decided that if a fog bank could look murderous, this would be it. He began placing the evidence on the table into a satchel that misted into his other hand. “Know that we will be keeping a very close eye on you. You have made a poor choice of allies.”
“I don’t know what that was. I never heard that person before. I don’t know who it is,” Vicky protested.
Without further acknowledging her, he stood up and left the room just as silently as he had entered. Without using the door a second time. She still could not explain to herself how he had done that, having seen it twice now.
Vicky sat in the chair, waiting for the rest of her to calm back down from the encounter. “Uh, thank you? Whoever you are?”
There was only silence.
“Uhh? Hello?” Vicky opened the door and peered out into the empty hallway, “Okay? I’m going now?”
She walked out of HR not seeing anyone else along the way. She was already trying to decide if she should tell anyone that she had just survived an encounter with a Jade Cloak.