The bus stopped and a loud, manly voice pushed Kya from her persistent worry about Amelia. “Ma’am, this is your stop, isn’t it?”
Standing, and shuffling towards the door, Kya nodded slightly at the bus driver. Without a word, she dropped down onto the sidewalk and the bus quickly sped away. She didn’t know if she wanted to turn around and jump on another bus to get her to Amelia’s, or enter into the large glass and steel building in front of her.
The conflict between her desire to try to help Amelia and her need to continue to earn an income battled in her mind and Kya took out her phone and dialed her friend’s number again. When, after a single ring, the voicemail message began to play, Kya dropped the call and stared angrily at her phone. She wondered if Amelia was angry at her for not being around in her time of need, and felt a little of her own anger begin to mix in with her worry. Kya decided to go to work, she would search for Amelia afterwards.
Her cubicle was a mess, as papers were strewn about. It was as disorganized as she had left it during her previous shift. Hard drives were in various piles, and a note she had left herself on her keyboard reminded Kya that she needed to put an extra drive in place for the Accounting department.
She sighed and slumped into her chair she decided to check a few things on her computer before searching for the drive she needed.
“Oh, hey backups girl.” Jade said in an overly sweet tone from the desk next to Kya’s.
“What’s up?” Kya responded in a flat and unimpressed tone.
Jade came to stand over Kya’s desk, she was wearing a beige pencil skirt, pink stilettos, and a matching pink wrapped cardigan that tied up around the waist over a black camisole. Kya looked at her own gray pants, her green button up blouse and her sensible black shoes. Kya had her hair pulled back in a low ponytail that hid her purple streaks and she wore no makeup. Although she didn’t usually care about how she looked, working next to Jade made Kya feel like maybe she should.
“I’m going to need you to do something computery for me. I have to run some tests today and I’m going to need a free drive to play with.”
“That might not be possible, the accounting department,” Kya pointed to the note she had written herself, “is needing an extra drive today. I’m already going to have to shuffle some stuff around.”
“Look, your job is not rocket science and I know you don’t actually care about any of it.” All of the sweetness had drained out of Jade’s voice. “But I do care. Don has asked me to do this work and I expect you to make it happen for me.”
Kya shrugged and stared at her screen as she clicked her mouse and opened her email.
Jade snapped her fingers twice and Kya could feel her cheeks get warm as anger and stress bubbled inside of her.
“My name is Kya!” She snapped. “How hard is that? Seriously, it’s ridiculous! I have worked here for three years!”
“If you wanted to be taken seriously,” Jade snapped back, “You should have started taking your job seriously three years ago.”
Kya could feel the eyes of everyone else in her department on her and Jade.
She grabbed a blank drive from her desk drawer and placed it on the pile. Taking a sticky note, she affixed it to the drive and wrote in block letters, ROCKET SCIENCE. “There! You have a drive.”
Kya turned to watch Jade slither back into her chair, and took a deep breath. She tried to calm herself as she pulled up the file listings from the security database for entries and exits over the last few weeks. She queried Elliot’s entrances into the building, and found the last time he had come to work.
The file listing also included the security cameras that captured his entrance, and the time codes relating to the files. Kya grabbed the hard drives related to the security feeds, and placed them into the hot swappable drive slots in her desk. She queued up the files and the before pushing play, stood up and looked around. Everyone had stopped focusing on the Computer Operations area and went about their business normally. Despite the lack of trust towards Computer Operations, Kya felt that she had a moment of opportunity to look through the files she had queued up.
Kya sat and pressed play. The first file showed Elliot arriving and parking his car in the underground parking lot before following him into the building. She scrubbed through the video quickly, watching events play out at five times their normal speed. It wasn’t long until Kya saw herself in the video having lunch with Elliot, both of them laughing and smiling as they took time to reinforce their friendship while working at a job they both disliked. It was moments like that which Kya missed so deeply.
The video continued to speed forward and Kya watched as Elliot toiled away at his desk. The hours passed by in minutes until the office began to darken. Late in the evening, no one was left in the video feed, other than the now exhausted looking Elliot.
Kya gasped as the obese Don Georgetown entered the frame. She slowed the playback to it’s normal speed, her eyes glued to the screen. Don pointed at Elliot, and he looked less than pleased. As Don grabbed Elliot’s chair, a look of fear crossed Elliot’s face. Don pulled the chair out from under Elliot and tossed it backwards.
Elliot fell slightly out of frame before standing up and turning to face his boss. The behemoth of a man filled most of the frame of the video. The lack of audio meant Kya couldn’t hear their exchange, but she could tell it was heated. Even Elliot, who had seemed rather meek in previous confrontations seemed to have his back up and, by the look of strain on his face, seemed to be shouting at Don. The argument continued for several minutes before Don reached out and grabbed Elliot by the neck. Just as his sausage fingers lifted the small aged man off the ground, the video stopped.
As she stood up Kya checked to make sure no one was watching her. Shock and confusion raced through her mind. She sat down and tried to load up alternate angles of the scene she had just witnessed, only to find the recordings missing. She decided next to check the secondary backups from that evening, only to find those drives all completely blank. She was used to such roadblocks and ran the data recovery software on her computer. She sighed as it came back with a response of zero files recovered.
Changing tactics, Kya loaded up the video covering Don Georgetown. Scrubbing through the video at ten times the normal speed, she watched her boss go through his day. Just as the scene with Elliot began, the video cut out once again.
Kya’s frustration bubbled as she wracked her brain for a workable solution. Checking the logs, she noticed that Don Georgetown checked out of the building soon after, while Elliot did not. Changing to the underground parking, Kya watched as no one approached Elliot’s car. The hours ticked by, until the next morning, before anyone arrived, a tow truck came, hooked up the aging car, and dragged it from the underground lot using Don’s security access card.
A terrifying conclusion hit Kya like a ton of bricks. Elliot was dead, and Don Georgetown killed him.