Eden’s Arch – Chapter 04


The worse that can happen is everyone dying in horrible sufferings.

I like establishing worst case scenario when evaluating a situation. Job conditioning I guess. Every other option seem brighter afterward.

How exactly can watching a show turn into atrocious death? The first thing that comes to my mind involves sulfur, sprinklers and a cigarette, but I’m sure there are countless others. The chance of those events to occur is completely irrelevant. When I run out of cool ideas I just fall back to mainstream stuff like a zombie breakout or alien invasion. The meteorite fall is pretty neat too, but kills too promptly to meet the ‘in horrible sufferings’ criteria.

I found out the ticket is actually for a private lounge. That could be either a good or a bad thing.

The most plausible scenario was that there was a ticket left for my company’s private lounge and I was randomly chosen to fill in the ranks. If that was the case, I’d soon be surrounded by happy couples or hyperactive kids dragged by their parents. Of course, there was no need to give the ticket to the receptionist if whoever brought it was from the company, but {insert relevant reason here}.

The other scenario involves a shadowy organisation inviting me somewhere I’d be alone and defenceless to ambush me. In that case I could very well imagine someone sitting in a big chair, his back towards me and slowly turning my way to reveal is sinister plans before I get mugged and shoved in a bag.

I grinned.

I would be able to tell which one it was upon seeing the logo of the lounge owner at the door. Mugging averted!

I gasped.

Unless my company was the shadowy organisation!

I wasn’t going to let some mild paranoia ruin my night.

I looked around me trying to find someone that looked like she was working here for some guidance. That proved harder than I thought. Maybe they purposely use blend outfits to avoid having to help wandering tourists.

When you’re lost in nature you’re screwed. When you’re lost in a city you’re a tourist. Which may or may not involve screwing around and being screwed.

I bumped into a short haired blondie.

I extended my hand by reflex.

« Sorry. Are you okay? »

No. By that point, there could still have been tons of other short haired blondie.

She stared at me like I had something on my face.

I grinned.

« Sorry. I was born like that and I’m scared of surgery. »

She laughed. She had a pretty powerful laugh.

People around turned to have a look.

It wasn’t even that funny.

She smiled at me. With me? At the situation? In my general direction.

« You’re Noah right? Noah Beausoleil? »

Alright. She probably was that specific short haired blondie.

« Hum. Yes. That would be me. »

She shook my hand. Made me realise it was still there for grabbing.

« I’m Stacy. Nice to meet you. »

« Pleasure. »

« Do you know where the lodge is? Never been there before. »

So… no use mentioning how the hell you know me huh? Fine. I’ll play.

« Sure. Follow me. »

I took the first stairs I saw and started my ascension.

I did know that the lodges where located pretty high in the stadium so it’s not like I was randomly roaming around. But I was. I was pretty intent on getting lost with a suspicious blondie.

She was going by the name of Stacy apparently. Her blond was unlikely to be natural anyway. Too light. Looked nice, but unnatural.

And she was following me, completely unaware of my fiendish plans.

« So, are you meeting up with some people? Family? »

« Nope. I came alone. »

Or did she?

« Did we win the lottery or something? I never got tickets from the company before. »

Stacy laughed. It echoed in the stair cage.

« I ain’t an employee. I got the tickets from my father. A… while ago. »

That sounded odd to me.

We arrived at a level clearly indicated with numbers including those found on the ticket.

That weirdly annoyed me. Not because of the sudden collapse of my plans. I wasn’t that serious about those anyway. Much rather because I would probably have gotten lost if I had searched for it seriously.

We proceeded to the lounge anyway. I recognized the logo on the door and entered in one go. Which made a young man in bartender getup jump.

He checked our tickets, told us where the pizza and the drinks were and returned behind the bar of the open kitchen to pretend cleaning glasses.

There was a private bathroom, a bar, a small living room with a tv and at the far end a few rows of comfy seats with a view on the arena. Watching the show seemed pretty optional in that sort of room.

No one else was there yet. It wasn’t that early but Stacy felt less threatening than the mugging crew I had envisioned so I let it go.

Unless she was a cyborg coming from the future to eliminate me.

I looked at her more closely.

She caught my look.

«Is something the matter? »

She won a few points for phrasing it that way.

«You wouldn’t happen to hide a laser cannon in your chest would you? »

She smiled and gave me an odd look before answering.

«I could show you… but then I’d have to silence you. What will it be? »

«Hmm… would you silence me with the laser canon? »

«I’d obviously use my trusty sonic punch to tear your head off. The canon would blow up half the stadium. »

I raised my hands, palm open.

«I’ll pass then. I need my head to regenerate. »

Yes. She sounded pretty awesome. Probably had someone.

I took a seat on the front row while they were free. Not that they were really any closer to the scene.

She put her coat on the seat next to mine.

I casually launched the bomb.

«You didn’t have anyone else to invite with those tickets? »

She shook her hair… head.

«Nope. Want me to get you anything? »

«Some juice if they have some. Chief’s choice if they don’t. »

Better be safe when driving.

She went back to the bar.

«Coming right up. »

I looked down to the scene. Then it hit me.

That girl could actually be awesome and single.

Maybe this was the karmic backlash I was waiting for.

I felt my pulse go up. No. I couldn’t screw this up. Think sad thoughts.

Dead puppies.

I burst out laughing.

For the records, I really love dogs. I swear.

Stacy came back and held up a glass of orange juice in front of me.

«Did I miss something? »

I took the glass off her hands and got up to let her pass towards her seat.

«Trust me. It’s better this way. »

She sat down and raised her own glass of blood… wine.

«What should we toast to? »

« Interesting question. What’s the most important thing to you? »

« I value my life above all else. »

«I’ll have to agree with that. We’re too quick to take it for granted. »

We raised our glasses.

« To life! »

I toasted and took a good sip at my… juice?

I coughed.

Orange vodka huh? Very strongly tipped over on the vodka side.

She was giving me a wink.

I guess I had it coming.

The lights got dimmer to announce the beginning of the show.

We bent forward to get a better look at the scene.

A loud techno-beat started filling the air. And suddenly she… it… was there. A holographic twin-tailed girl appeared and started warming up the crowd with a dance.

It was good.

Until she started singing. It wasn’t straight down annoying, but the computer generated voice had a tweak to it that just put me off.

I had listened to some of her songs… it songs?… her songs before, but never for very long.

Knowing I had willingly stuck myself in that chair just to see a dancing hologram worried me to some extent.

I glanced over to Stacy. She was looking my way with an unimpressed expression.

I was considering moving back inside but while it would surely lower the threat from the noise it would entirely negate the only redeeming feature of the show. The visuals.

Stacy got up and tilted her head towards the bar.

« The lodge is part of the prize isn’t? »

She had a point.

We went and sat at the bar.

A strangely deserted bar.

« You know, I’ve been wondering for a while, but how come we got the lodge for ourselves? And when the hell did the waiter disappeared? »

She was on the other side of the bar, hushing her shoulders nonchalantly, opening a pizza box.

« I disposed of him. Please don’t look in the fridge, it’s sorta messy. Want some? »

I got two plates from one the drawers and took a seat on one of those fancy high chairs.

« Sure. You said you weren’t an employee earlier. So what’s your thing? »

She put two slices in our plates and took her first bite before answering.

« I’m a programmer. A pretty damn good one too, if I do say so myself. »

I proceeded to devouring… partaking in the pizza.

«Lots of demand for those I bet. »

Under my astonished gaze, the girl just chugged down her drink in on go.

Was she trying to drown something or what?

She then proceeded to poor down another glass while jabbing at me.

« How do you like your job? Whatever it is you do at that office. »

I staggered a bit, brushed my hand in my hair.

That question hit the spot more than usual. It must have been pretty obvious as Stacy gave me a concerned look with a mocking smile.

«What’s wrong? Did I just step on a landmine or something? »

«It’s… Hum… It’s a good job. It wouldn’t be right of me to complain. »

She bumped my shoulder with her fist.

«Come on. Complaining is one your funda… it’s you’re right ain’t it? Just spit. You’ll feel better. »

For someone so brazen the alcohol sure was kicking in early. Still, no harm going along with it for now.

«It’s nothing grand. It’s simply not what I want to do. Not what I want to be. »

She leaned towards me, putting her arguments on the table.

«And what’s that, huh? »

I locked my gaze in her eyes.  Or at least did my best to.

«I want to be a writer. I love creating stories. Sadly I apparently suck at it. There. »

She took a long sip, then rolled around what little was left in her glass. The pizza was a side-dish to her.

«Can’t be so bad, can it? »

I smiled at her clumsy attempt at comfort.

«Ever heard: The only limit to greatness is your imagination? »

She shook her head and shoulders in a maybe kinda way. I moved closer in.

« Here’s what I think when I’m brooding: The limit to lowliness is everyone else’s imagination. And humans can be quite imaginative when it comes down to negative stuff. »

Stacy leaned ever more slightly toward me.

She had those cool eyes that seems like they have several colors in them. Brown-green hazel I’d say.

« You know what I think? »

I certainly hoped she didn’t know what I was thinking about as I was using a considerable amount of brain power indulging in my fantasies.

She poked my chest with her index.

«You’re thinking way too much. »

I leaned in for the kill just as she moved back on her chair and sighed.

« I mean, you just got a big house of your own didn’t you? Why not just be happy about it? »

We both froze.

There was this awkward moment when she realised she shouldn’t have said that, that I realised she shouldn’t have said that and that she realised I realised she shouldn’t have said that.

Then the magic was gone.

She stuttered.

« I… I didn’t mean… »

I got up, put on a strained smirk and blurted random crap.

« I just realised I only love cat-girls. Not batman style cat-girls. The ones with fluffy tails and ears and meow every now and then. Yes that’s it. Sorry. You just don’t cut it. »

I took my coat back and left in a hurry.

I barely saw anything around me until I was in my car’s seat.

Wow. That hurt like hell. The meteorite would have been pretty neat right now.

I should’ve known it was too good to be true.

It took me one more moment to calm down. I tried to refrain from driving when I had this furious urge of punching something.

How the hell did she know that anyway?

Whatever. I probably won’t see her again.

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