Trials of Dave Part 1
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The doors to the elevator opened and I stepped out into the lobby. I kind of wanted to stop at a vending machine, but if I stopped to do so I'd be late, and probably get yelled at. I work a dead end job down in the verification department; nobody cares. Calling it a department is a bit of a stretch; its just a dozen of us down there. You see, people act like the Authority's always leaping into action to go capture a homicidal five year old with laser vision, or do battle with some cosmic horror and force it to go put its nose in the universe's time-out corner dimension or something.

What they don't get is that for almost every hot intel report, lead, or hit off the internet that leads to something, there are ten thousand that don't. So that means they have a Verification Department, which is to say twelve people who sort out every new lead into the trash pile, the maybe pile, and the follow-up pile. Most of it's trash. Somehow I got a job here, at this incredible place that does unbelievably heroic things against the forces of chaos and darkness. Then managed to land my ass in what's possibly the most boring, pointless, unappreciated position possible. 

That's okay though, I'm okay with that. I really am. I'm kind of fat, only maybe of average intelligence, maybe could be good looking if I lost some weight, which I plan to. Or, at least, that's what I've been telling myself every time I devour something ordered for delivery with extra cheese and a quadruple order of processed meat in order to make myself feel better. Point is, I'm not really what you'd consider to be gifted in much of any way. Not morbidly obese, not fit, not smart, not stupid, not lazy, but not ambitious either. I'm just content to make my sixty grand a year, run down the bulk of my life punching a clock as some office drone, and maybe retire someday so I can play all the MMORPGs that a 24 hour day can hold and not have to work anymore. 

"Hi Dave! How are ya?" a perky voice to my right called out.

Jenny. Okay, I lied a little bit, I used to be perfectly content with my go nowhere, do nothing lifestyle. Then they hired Jenny and I got to feeling lonely. Jenny was just a sunny, happy, nice lady (who also had tits that were as perky as her positive attitude)- I mean, uhhh, a stunning smile. Yes. That's what I stared at in rapt captivation every time she leaned across my desk to dump off the next round of incoming leads for me to sort.

"Um, uh, good I guess" I mumbled as I tried to avoid eye contact and shuffle into my cubicle. I sighed and began work for the day. 

The usual pipeline of pure, unadulterated bullshit that seemed connected to my desk had no shut-off valve. A redneck from Florida who claimed a voodoo-priest in the Everglades cast a spell on him that forced him to be sexually attracted to pigs. Trash. A clearly schizophrenic woman who believed that a subterranean race of mole people were stealing her chickens. Trash. A man who claimed to be the lovechild produced when Bill Clinton traveled back in time to have a three-way with Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. I filed that in the "maybe" pile just to fuck with the guys who actually investigate this shit. I sighed, this shit was so boring. I closed the window and logged in to a site I like to visit to do some reading on my phone. 

The hose beast wrapped its filthy, ichor dripping tentacles around the woman's heaving bosom, she squealed in terror as the soldier raised his rifle. Or was it pleasure? "WAIT!" declared Captain Max Steele as he grabbed the soldier's rifle barrel and shoved it down. "Bullets can't stop the hose beast, BUT I CAN!" He drew his combat knife and lunged forward to do battle with the monster. As he slashed away one of the hell-spawn's groping tentacles the woman's blouse button broke exposing her ample breasts. She wasn't wearing a bra…

The guy in the cubicle next to me backed away from his computer abruptly. His chair hit the partition, jarring my computer monitor and knocking my pencil holder over. Okay. So sometimes I read tentacle monster fan fiction on my phone at work. But only for the story. I hastily exited the smut-page's window to hide my sin.

"Hey, what's up man? I'm trying to work here!"

There was no answer. I stood up, and looked over the partition. Dale stared back at me, eyes wide. Probably because his hand was in his mouth. He bit down hard enough for me to hear bone crunch, and muttered around the bloody mess "af serph mumf buh korompf" 

I blinked twice. "Wh-what?" was all I could stammer.

What the actual fuck was I looking at? He removed his hand from his mouth, and two fingers tumbled out into his lap. "I serve none but Sarkoth!" He said cheerfully, then plucked up one of the severed digits, popped it into his mouth, and began chewing. Blood spurted from his mangled hand. Somewhere across the office I heard somebody shriek: "HAIL DISCORDIA!", there was a crash. I looked over to see Tim, who was wearing no pants, beginning to attempt to make frenzied love to the coffee machine. 

I've got no fight or flight reflex. Once in high school the jocks decided to beat the shit out of me. I didn't just not fight back, I took every single hit until I was curled up in a fetal position. All the while repeating the mantra in my head: "this isn't happening, this isn't happening." I don't fight, or run (I don't think I've even ran 50 feet since high school gym class). I just go into shock and gawk like an idiot. Kind of like I'm doing right now. 

The office was a sea of chaos. People were laughing, shrieking, somebody sprinted by screaming "PRAISE SARKOTH, HAIL DISCORDIA!" while stabbing themselves in the face with a letter opener. Somebody else was throwing papers in the air wildly giggling and repeating in a winded, breathless voice: "We won't need pants where we're going!", over and over again. 

Something flew at me from the corner of my vision and tackled me to the floor. That something was soft, and curvy, and smelled kind of like women's shampoo. "Jenny?" I gasped, the wind knocked out of me. "SHHHH" she hissed with a finger to her lips, "something happened, everybody just went fucking nuts!" she whispered harshly. I was still trying to get my mind off the fact that her boobs were pressing into my arm as we lay on the floor of my cubicle. I hoped I didn't get a boner, that would be embarrassing. Is that a funny thing to be worried about when you just saw a guy fucking a coffee machine? I hoped I wasn't going crazy too. 

Somebody screamed "OUR MASTER BIDS US TO JOIN HIM IN HOLY MATRIMONY!" I heard the paper shredder start up, then something wet and meaty get shoved into it. I could still hear Dale eating his fingers next door. Glass shattered. I still just sat there like a moron. Jenny shook me a few times, whispered: "God fucking damn it", then shoved me under the desk, where I curled into a fetal position. Jenny crawled in next to me, knees tucked up under her chin. 

The chaos and madness in the office continued, we huddled under my desk. A pair of feet clad in brown loafers slowly, casually wandered into view. There was a crunch, loud chewing. Blood pitter-pattered onto the floor in little splattered droplets. The feet stopped. Dale was paying us a visit. He knelt down on his hands and knees (well, part of one, the other was just a stump) to peer at us under the desk. Jenny was hyperventilating, I was just staring in that same, stupid, slack jawed shock that got my ass beat at least a dozen times in school with zero reprisal ever given. 

The thing that used to be Dale cracked a slow, mischievous grin that had bits of finger nail, skin, and bone lodged in it, his teeth were cracked and chipped. "Sarkoth is my master, he demands you witness his glory!" Dale rasped out in a giddy, hysterical whisper. He rocked back into a sitting position, staring right at us, and began to finish eating his remaining hand. But that wasn't the horrifying part. 

The horrifying part were his eyes. Despite his manic grin, you could see that a normal person named Dale was still in there. A terrified person in agony. They weren't the eyes of a crazed, senseless psycho cannibalizing themselves, they were the eyes of somebody being forced to mutilate their own body. To feel, and endure the horror of being locked out of their own motor controls, a puppet for some gibbering, stupid, hateful abomination's amusement. 

Jenny began sobbing. That's what broke the spell. I'm a slightly fat, nerdy loser who reads hentai fan-fiction at work. There wasn't anything I could do about any of this, but damn it, Jenny's crying brought a slow, simmering anger bubbling up like hot tar through my brain. She's a nice lady, she doesn't need to see this shit. I put my arm around her back, and pressed her face into my shoulder. For the first time in my life I stood up for myself. 

"I don't know who or what the fuck you are, but that's enough of your bullshit. Fuck off."

Then, whatever it was that had possessed Dale, giggled and tried to clap. Without hands it was a bloody, flopping, pathetic display of childish glee. Dale staggered to his feet, then began shuffling away, still chewing. Jenny continued crying on me, but we stayed put. The screams became more hoarse, louder, and the destruction in the office continued at a frenzied pace. We stayed put, me staring forward grimly, Jenny weeping. 

Booted feet were approaching echoing down the hall outside, lots of them. The door burst open. Gunshots, giggling, screaming, bellowed orders. It was quiet. The ASF had arrived. A man in black fatigues with lots of pockets came around the corner, crouched low, back straight. His rifle was raised, and he was strolling in that goofy looking heel-toe-heel gait that guys who know how to handle their weapons in close combat use. "YOU. UNDER THE DESK. COME OUT. SLOWLY." 

We did, on shaking hands and knees. Jenny wasn't crying anymore, just sniffling and hyperventilating in hitching breaths. She looked like a kid telling her mommy that she'd skinned her knee. The ASF goon's gun carefully tracked both of us.

"Okay, I'm only going to ask once, if you say any of that Lovecraftian bullshit you get 'yer head ventilated. What year is it, who is the President, and where do you work?" 

"2017, Trump, The Authority." I answered coldly; Jenny just kept sniffling.

"Alright, 'yer good, now lets hear it from the lady."

I stood up, grabbed his gun barrel, lowered it slowly while staring him coldly in the eyes. "Her name is Jenny, and she's seen enough bullshit today, leave her alone." I tried to use my most macho growl.

I'm new at this not being a pussy thing, I had no idea if it would work. The ASF guy chuckled: "Okay there Liam Neelson, shes clearly not zonked out anyways. HEY, SARGE, MORE SURVIVORS OVER HERE!" Another man clad in black tactical gear gave a thumbs up, then went back to stomping one of my possessed coworkers to death.

I could see Dale's legs sticking out of a nearby doorway in a pool of blood. I felt nothing except joy that he wasn't being forced to eat himself anymore. I forced myself to look back to the ASF guard.

"What… what happened?" I croaked.

"Uh, well, we don't really know, but it seems like maybe some memetic shit got into the central email server. Anybody looking at their computer got their brains flashed." The guy sounded exhausted and a bit irritated. He was ASF, they probably deal with this kind of bullshit twice a day before lunch. 

I nodded. Jenny was leaning on me now.

"I was making copies when everybody in here just went nuts. I looked over and saw Dave standing up, and…" She started crying again.

Good thing nobody ever needed to know why I wasn't looking at my emails. I reached over, grabbed my coat from my desk, and put it over her shoulders.

"Anyways." The ASF guard continued. "It's a facility lockdown, you two stay here, we're going to mark your location and continue sweeping the building. When we come back you will be escorted to quarantine. Stay down, don't wander off, don't get in the way of ASF, we will come get you." He trotted away over to where his squad were forming up to assault the next set of offices. 

One of them, presumably the "Sarge" was grinning and leaving a trail of bloody boot prints behind him as he led the pack. They lined up, one kicked the door in, they all entered the next part of the complex. Loud crashing, manic glee, and shouted exhultations to Sarkoth filtered through.

We both slumped down the wall, side by side, overlooking the main office area.

"So, uhh, you wanna get coffee?" I asked.

We both looked over at the now thoroughly defiled coffee vending machine. Tim's nude corpse was still draped over it in a very compromising position. Jenny stared for a moment, then looked back at me jaw agape.

"Sorry that was a bad idea." I sighed.

Gunfire started up in the next room. We sat numbly in the awkwardness that only can follow a failed pickup line. I guess I quit being a pussy, but I'm still going to die alone. 

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