Roland Blocker sat at his desk, leaning back in his chair and watched the rain cascade down the glass wall in his office; the setting sun turning the water in a blood red. His laptop was open, but showed nothing except a blank Word document. His staff had left more than an hour ago, and the cleaners were nearly finished on his floor for the evening. Most men in his position would have left long ago to get home to their wives, mistresses or pets. Roland had none of those, preferring to live in a small apartment by himself not far from his work place. And all he had there was a bed, bathroom, kitchen and a bookcase filled with unpublished books.
At home, and after working hours, we spent much of his time writing, or sending his novels off to publishers. His first publishing was a short story he had written when he was still in school, and simply rewritten the work so it no longer looked like it had been written by a ten year old. It had been published in a women's magazine, and he had been paid a couple of hundred dollars for it. The next, and his last, was an article on game developers themselves, one of which he was. Since his first published short story when he was twenty, he had written nearly fifty different novels, covering all kinds of genres. Each one had been sent to the same number of publishers, but all he kept getting back were rejection notes.
Somehow, during those years, he had got involved with game creation, been employed by a company and worked on a few video games, including a few big name ones. But he had never been anyone important until he was thirty, when his business skills managed to propel him to the top of the near top of the ladder. Then the company he was with had fallen under, and so had he. Eventually, Roland had scrounged enough money to create his own gaming company, and by the time he was thirty seven, he was the owner of one of the most popular gaming companies in the world that not only developed games for all ages and genders, they had developed some of the most advanced technology that was once used in the games, and now used by the military; something Roland daily racked his mind over. While his passion was for writing, his skills had somehow grown into business, not that he minded having enough money to buy a small island with. The only reason he had a small apartment was because he didn't want anything else.
Sitting there, staring at the blank page was almost torture. The only reason there were any books on his bookcase was that he had enough money to get three copies of each book he wrote. While not technically published, they were in book form. He kept one for himself, sent one to his estranged sister with who he hadn't had any contact with for a few years, and one which was kept in the floors library. His staff liked his books, and could never understand how he had managed to fall through the cracks in the writers' world. But many of them, including Roland himself, were secretly glad since without him, not only would the company not exist, all of the technology developed by him and the company would not exist.
Clouds slowly began to gather overhead, the bloody sky slowly cowering back into its corner. Darkness was falling. Roland typed these words down as he stared out the window. The massive logo for Blocker Studios shuddered against the flash and roaring of the lightning and thunder, as lightning and thunder erupted from above. His windows rattled, his heart skipping a beat. Ever since he had been a kid, storms had always both fascinated him, and scared him witless. Maybe it was the idea of something from nature, and not manmade, that held such power. His laptop beeped and a little icon of a dancing envelope animated in the corner of his screen; he had an e-mail. He opened it instinctively, not even realizing he had moved the mouse. He received about thirty a day, usually from someone on the other side of the room outside his office. He didn't recognise the senders address, but read the email anyway.
I need you to download the file I have sent you and put it on an external hard drive, preferably a flash drive. Don't bother trying to open the file; you don't have the program for it. I need you to keep this safe, and hidden where no one will be able to find it.
Roland read the e-mail three times over, and then looked at the attachment bar. Indeed, there was an item up there, with an 'unknown file' icon. It was very small, only thirty seven bytes; tiny. He shrugged and grabbed one of the flash drives, a portable hard drive able to fit on a key ring, from inside a draw filled with them, pulled off the cap and jabbed it into the USB slot on the side of his screen. He deleted the previous year's earnings report, even though there was still plenty of space for the file. He was confused as to why Emma would send him an e-mail. Let alone with a file she claimed he could not crack. Emma didn't like using computers, ever since their parents had died when they were kids from a GPS malfunction in their car during a heavy fog on the mountains. There wasn't anything suspicious about it, and while Roland had accepted the news with a grain of salt, his sister on the other hand had spent hours researching up GPS malfunctions that had ended in deaths. She had been sixteen at the time, he twenty one, and had joined a group of students from the local university and schools who were anti-commercialism/consumerism (Even though they all had cell phones). She was certain a corporation had been behind their deaths one hundred percent.
The file had finished copying and he unplugged the drive. More curiosity entered his mind and he considered trying to crack the file anyway. But he ignored curiosity; logic winning by informing him that the file was so small, there was no way it could contain anything important. Maybe it was just a few experimental lines of code. He grabbed s a role of tape from a different draw than the flash drives, and taped the blue casing to the underside of his desk. I need you to keep this safe, and hidden had been what she had sent. So he did so. He got up and walked to a wooden panel against the wall. He pushed it gently with his whole hand, and the panel slid inwards a bit.
He heard a click, pulled his hand away and the panel swung open, cool air rushing out. He took a cold beer from the hidden fridge, added for his personal liking more than anything else. A hidden fridge had always seemed like a silly, but great, idea when he was a teenager, able to hide alcohol from his parents even when his mother would clean his room for him whenever he had gone away from the night.
The can hissed as he popped the cap and downed half of it in a single go. He sat the can down and dared his eyes to go back to the almost blank screen. He raised his hands, his fingers poised above the keys, a few thoughts swimming through his mind. The sound of a chair falling against wood rang through the office, distracting him. He looked up, and saw what looked like a shadow through the fogged glass. It must be the cleaners, he thought. He took a glance at the clock on his laptop and saw it was nearly ten past seven. The cleaners would have finished on the top five floors of the building long ago. No one would
be up on the top floor at that time. Roland slowly got to his feet, his mind racing with who could be on the other side of the glass. A shadow of an arm reached for the door handle on the other side.
"Who...who...who's there?" He called out nervously, his voice nearly cracking. No reply, but the figure stopped with the end of the shadow arm where the handle would be. A deformed looking head turned around, and he heard muffled words. A second later, the glass shattered.
The largest man Roland had ever seen in his life shouldered his way through the door, glass raining down all around him, none cutting his dark skin. His eyes too were dark, thick muscles racing up and down his arms, legs and chest. He looked like he was made of muscle. He was wearing a blue jacket, with no sleeves, ones that looked like they had been ripped off long ago, a white vest underneath. Denim jeans barely managed to contain his legs. Roland didn't look to see what were on his feet.
Roland's first thought was from a name from a book he read as a kid. John Coffey? The second was of how impossibly large the man was.
"Who the hell are you?" Was the only response Roland could come up with, taking a step back from his desk.
"Are you Roland Blocker?" The man growled. It wasn't even a growl; it was more like the sound resonating from a bass guitar through speakers with the volume turned right up. Roland couldn't tell if it was the man's voice or the thunder making the windows rattle. The clouds had won the battle, the sun long gone, leaving the two men alone in the room lit only by the laptops screen and a single bulb in the ceiling.
"I don't know what you're talking abo-"
The man reached into his jacket and his hand came out attached to a gun, a cylinder stuck into the barrel. Roland had spent half his life looking at those, and the last ten years putting them into games and making sure they both sounded and acted silent. The man pulled the trigger four times, each time moving his arm dramatically. Four coughs and the sound of glass cracking. Roland flailed around, seeing where he had been hit. But he hadn't. Turning his head around, he saw four holes in the glass window behind him, forming a kind of lineless square. When he looked back however, the dark giant was moving towards him. He stepped around the desk quicker than thought possible, grabbed Roland and threw him over his desk, laptop and papers cluttering to the floor. He saw the screen on his laptop sputter and then die, never to be seen again.
"What do you want?" He cried out, crawling away from the towering being. A meaty fist slammed into the side of his head, forcing him to the floor. His head pounded, his vision blurry and his hearing just as bad. He heard, or rather felt, the man talking to someone, but couldn't hear a response. The man bent over, grabbed Roland by the waist and lifted him up, pinning him to the wall.
"Are you Roland Blocker?" He nodded his head and moaned, hoping the giant would understand what he was trying to say. He looked to the side and out the broken glass doorway. "This is him."
"Good, but a shame. Such a waste of a brilliant mind." Roland looked through the gaping hole to see who was speaking, but his light was the only one on. All he saw was a glimpse of light reflecting off of big eyes. Or maybe small glasses. And the red glow of a cigarette. Or cigar. He wasn't sure, having never been a smoker. The giant let go of Roland with one hand, somehow still pinning him against the wall, got his pistol and fired another four shots into the glass, making a second square, only diagonally. The gun was holstered underneath the jacket, and without even a hint of effort, the man held Roland roughly, spun around and tossed him against, into, and through the glass. There was barely any pain, or any resistance from the glass, the bullets having weakened it significantly by the strategic shots.
As Roland went sailing out into the stormy night, he caught a glimpse of the flash drive taped to the underside of the desk. It couldn't have anything to do with that. It's not possible. He closed his eyes when instead of seeing the rain falling towards the ground, the rain was stationary and the ground was rushing up towards them. Even though the wind was rushing through his ears, the slipstream making it slightly difficult for him to take the last three of his breaths, he was not panicky. In fact, he was almost completely calm. Even after creating his own company, all the technology that followed and the years of success and money, he had never accomplished any of his own personal dreams. He had written and finished stories, gotten them put into proper book form, but he had never gotten anything published. He was certain his employees didn't like his books and only said so because they wanted to keep their jobs. He hadn't ever been married, and his only sexual encounter had been his boss's secretary at a Christmas party a year before the company he worked for went down the toilet.
His parents died before his twenty first, before he had at least gotten a short story published in a magazine his mother had read, he had next to no contact with his sister for many years aside from the generic Christmas and birthday cards. He didn't even know if she was married and had kids, or even a boyfriend. He had no friends, no real family and more or less no life. He opened his eyes and looked at his death rushing up to meet him and his falling, wet companions. The last thing he saw was a woman sitting at a bench, talking on a cell phone, underneath the roof of a bus stop while wearing branded clothing, branded shopping bags on her free arm. She looks as generic as the random, non-interactive characters that were in all his games.
Maybe Emmy was right in the first place. I did create my own corporation. And somehow, it got me killed. He landed on top of a parked, flash looking BMW. The roof crumpled inwards, the glass exploding outwards. More glass from the window far above joined its cousin.
Roland Blocker was dead the instant he hit the car.
The woman screamed.
It kept raining.