The card contained messages from her workmates. The usual guff. Except for one line.
To see the self clearly, look into running water, a flowing river, not a still pool or a stormy sea.
It wasn’t signed, and it created a shock in her feet. Bini had no idea there might be at least one person who carried a serious thought in this place. Obviously, there was, and now she’d never find out who hid themselves among the pigeons. Whether they were a danger to her or not. She’d scan the card for fingerprints at the first opportunity, see if there was another cuckoo in this nest.
The card and envelope went into the box with the bits and pieces of ephemera from her desk. The photo of someone she didn’t know but said was her brother. The books of poetry she’d bought from the Remember Me bookshop down the road. The sticky notes with sayings from various places that sounded pithy for a workplace. Most of the words were faded and unreadable, but she took them. Anything she left was a risk. Anything.
The hand-held vacuum sucked up her hair and skin-dust. The anti-bac wipes cleaned up anything that might be biological.
The clean freak, they’d called her as she did it every day. Vacuumed her chair, her computer, her desk and drawers. Wiped it down every night before she left. Stacked her papers inside the locked drawer. Wore the gloves of a person with active eczma, used the creams several times a day. Not for the reasons they’d thought.
None of them knew her real world. Work is work, home is home, and there is no fraternisation from here to anywhere else. Their rule, not hers, but it suited her well.
Every item was checked against a list by the security guard who stood the exact 1.5 metres from her and with his gun-flap open.
But Bini wasn’t going to make trouble. She’d resigned before the trouble could start. And there was nothing here that led to her reality. The trouble would happen, the place would fall apart, she’d seen to that. The little niggles whispered into the right ear, with the right tone of concern, would ensure that someone, somewhere, would find what really happened here.
And then she’d write it up, from an insider’s perspective.
First, she had to find the one who wrote the weird message, because in her real world, paranoia wasn’t just second nature, it was what kept her alive.
A super-short story today. I’ve tried to post a few times, but with power outages, internet blockages, and strained temper … well, I’m sure you know.