Lunch Date

Julie sat at her desk, typing away at a report due at the end of the week. She had just started work at the firm last week, and she already felt exhausted from the overload. She barely had time to get to know the other paralegals. When she did get to know them, they disappeared. The firm worked their paralegals mercilessly and suffered a very high turnover rate because of it.

That’s why it came as a surprise when Mr. Allen, the founder of the Allen, Cromwell & Crowley, stopped by her cubicle. “Ms. Falwell, is it?” Mr. Allen asked. “We were wondering if you could join us for lunch today. It’s something the partners like to do for new hires.”

Julie hesitated. It wasn’t often she joined her coworkers for lunch, but today she decided she would go with them. It wouldn’t pay to antagonize the boss. “I’d love to, Mr. Allen,” she said.

He smiled, his teeth perfectly white and even. “Wonderful. Twelve o’clock sharp.” He winked one of his crystal blue eyes. Julie felt a bit flushed and flustered.

Is the head of the firm hitting on me? she wondered.

She dismissed the thought almost as soon as it popped in her head. It couldn’t be that.

At five ’til she shut down her computer and straightened up her desk. She walked up the three flights of stairs to the floor dedicated for the partners. She strode over to Mr. Allen’s door and knocked briskly. She had time to straighten her blouse and skirt before the door swung open. Mr. Cromwell smiled at her. “Ms. Falwell, please come in,” he said.

She stepped through the door and Mr. Cromwell shut it behind her. The click of the lock sent a shiver down her spine. The office smelled funny, like candles burning. The shades were all closed and most of the lights were down, which cast the office into a gloom.

“We’re through here,” Mr. Cromwell said, gesturing to a closed door set in the wall of the office. He stood behind Julie, well within her bubble.  “Please, go on ahead.”

Julie grabbed the handle. It sounded like a full house from the murmuring on the other side of the door. She swung open the door and took a step back, right into Mr. Cromwell’s chest. A dozen people, all the top lawyers of the firm, sat, robed, around a table. Red candles burned all along the wall and table, creating an acrid stench that burned her eyes.

The robed figure at the head of the table rose. “Ms. Falwell, come in,” the deep voice of Mr. Allen boomed from beneath the cowl.

Mr. Cromwell grabbed her shoulder and pushed her in the room. “So, what’s for lunch,” she asked, hoping this was just some bizarre hazing ritual.

Mr. Cromwell leaned in and whispered, “Our master decrees that you are.”

Knives flashed into the hands of the robed figures.

Julie fainted. She never woke up.

This is my response to the prompt from Today’s Author WriteNow challenge. The prompt is “It wasn’t often she joined her coworkers for lunch, but today she decided to go with them.”

If your interested in participating, please follow the link above.

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