I grabbed my mug as I abandoned my headset on my desk. Around me, the office flowed with voices, phones ringing and the taping of keys. It was mid-afternoon, time for my second cup of coffee and my first sneaky break. Getting up, I stretched and heard something cracking in my back. I sort the slight pain with my free hand and rubbed the spot.
Something flickered in the corner of my eyes and I looked across at the window. The city’s tallest buildings stared blindly back at me. Behind their glazed windows, people like myself were busy at work. I placed my mug down, lent over my desk and looked harder outside.
I could only see a touch of the skyline because the rest was blocked by buildings. A few birds circled passed then I saw it, a white drone. It was hovering a few windows down from mine, it’s four propellers a wild blur. There was black camera attached to the top of it. I looked down, but of course couldn’t see anything.
Grabbing my mug again, I walked away from my desk and counted the windows as I went down. At the fourth I stopped. Peering into the cubical, I saw the blonde head of a woman. She was talking on her headset, but was almost slummed down on her desk. The drone was outside the window and she seemed not to have noticed it.
‘Hey,’ I whispered, ‘hi.’
She didn’t respond.
‘Hello? Sorry, excuse me?’ I said louder.
With a deep sigh, she moved and looked up at me. Her hair was a mess and her face was strangely blotchy. Her makeup was all in place, but it didn’t hide the tiredness etched into her skin. With a single movement, she ended the phone call and turned to me fully. She was wearing a black suit and a white blouse.
‘Sorry. There’s a drone outside,’ I stated when it seemed like she wasn’t going to speak.
‘Oh? There are drones everywhere. Is that all?’ she threw back at me.
‘It seems interested in you.’
She shrugged and turned back to the computer screen. On it was the normal list of numbers and names we had to connect. She selected another number and called it up.
I looked at the drone, trying to see if there were any markings on it. I felt her eyes on me and instinctively, I left.
I went back to my desk then suddenly remembered my coffee and hurried to the kitchen. No one else seemed to have noticed anything and were hard at work cold calling the latest company deals. I made my coffee and went back to my desk. As I went to sit down, I noticed the drone hovering outside. I took my chair, put on my headset and ignoring everything, selected a new number to dial.
Whatever was going on, I didn’t want to know. I listened to the dial tone in my ear and quickly scanned through my lines in my head. Nobody answered the phone. I hung up and went for the next one, my eyes slide to the side and I saw the drone. It was still there, hovering and with the camera still staring at me.
The dial tone rung in my ears, but no one answered. I hung up and took the headset off. I picked up my coffee and walked back into the kitchen. I drink my coffee, acting like I was taking a break. A few people came in and out. I kept my back to the window, not daring to look. My mind whirled, who owned that drone? What did it want? Was it actually tracking me?
I shook my head, called myself crazy and got back to my desk. The drone was gone. Feeling relived, I got back to work. Throughout the rest of the afternoon, my eyes kept glancing to the window. Of course nothing was there, but I couldn’t help it, something was watching me. I knew it. The end of the shift came and I didn’t want to leave. What if something was waiting for me?
I went to the kitchen and tried to delay leaving as much as possible. Someone else had all ready cleaned up and the rest was normally the cleaners’ responsibility. I rubbed my hands and felt sweaty and agitated. I couldn’t leave, I just couldn’t do it. The rumours always spoke about the spying drones before people disappeared. Didn’t they? But weren’t they seen for a lot longer than just an afternoon?
I stopped and noticed I had been pacing. I had to leave. I got my stuff and headed downstairs. My bag banged against my hip and my clothes were stuck to me. I hurried down, passing three other floors before getting to the front doors. The receptionists and security guards didn’t even look up. I walked out, glanced around then rushed for the coming tram.
I expected to hear the drone overhead and people yelling for me to stop, but there wasn’t anything. I got to the station and boarded the tram. It was packed with rush-hour travellers. I hung on and waited for my stop. I hardly remind calm and when I got to my apartment, I fell up the stairs twice before getting to my rooms.
Everything looked the same. Nothing was out of place and no odd smell hung in the air. I firmly locked the door and went into the bathroom. Locking that door, I dropped my stuff and took my clothes off. I ran the shower and waited for the water to warm. Stepping in, I let the water relax me. I felt myself un-tense and began to enjoy the cascading waters.
A buzzing at the front door burst my bubble. I froze and listened hard over the shower. It was nothing, nothing. I turned back and washed my hair. The buzzer sounded again. Ignoring it, I half drowned myself. I got out a good few minutes later and was drying off when there was a knocking on my door.
To Be Continued…