TIMELINE 74500035895100022804513100025006870301:

The dome-covered stadium was full filled with illuminated light blue fluorescence and the sound of raining keystrokes. On the ground was a large projection of ever-widening chasm of electrifying proportions.

The seats were about half full, as Lamborghinski Waterman slid late to his workstation: high-backed neck supported swiveled chair, complete with cup holder, game controllers for all game formats. and pull over computer keypad. It was his first day for what had to be the coolest job that he'd ever. And though he wasn't unhappy, he was definitely worried.

The problem was, his buddy Kel was supposed to show up with him. It was their first day, after winning the latest contest for beating the game Sekiro in a matter of hours on the first attempt, they'd both been contacted to join the team at DSK Enterprises, the ultimate gaming company. It was like working for Google, except, less flashy, more perks, and more pay. Plus, it beat him wasting time in his basement, and they both quit working at the greasy restaurant they'd been at immediately, complete with plenty of Fuck You's" to go around.

They had both been more than excited to be hired as the newest testers of the most high level interactive game know, yet to be released to man. Lambo was overexcited. He'd arrived with a backpack full of snacks, a discussed, his own controllers and laptop, only to see that Kel was not pulling up in his Nissan, nor was he waiting in the lobby.

He checked his phone as he followed the signs, picked up both of their name tags, and found their assigned seats next to each other.

He reread the texts from the earlier that morning, after Kel posted his latest story on Fictionpress:

3:07:AM

KEL: CAN"T WAIT TO START!

LAMBO: ME TOO MAN. AND WE GET FREE SHIT!

KEL: WON'T MISS IT UNLESS I'M DEAD. BEST JOB EVER!

LAMBO: I KNOW RIGHT? GONNA GET THERE EARLY.

KEL: I'M GONNA BRING SNACKS BECAUSE I KNOW YOU ARE GONNA BOTCH THAT SOMEHOW

LAMBO: HOW CAN I KILL JUNK FOOD?

KEL: YOU'LL UNDERSTAND WHEN I BRING THE GOOD STUFF. I'M COMING EARLY.

LAMBO; GREAT. MEET YOU BY THE DOOR.

KEL: I'LL BEAT YOU INSIDE! NIGHT. BABY IS UP.

LAMBO: EARLY MAN. NO B.S.

KEL: AGAIN, I WON'T MISS IT UNLESS I'M DEAD. NIGHT DUDE. U WORRY TOO MUCH!

LAMBO: AAIGHT.

6:34AM

KEL: YOU UP YET BRO? ABOUT TO LEAVE NOW.

LAMBO: ALMOST THERE!

KEL: YEAH RIGHT.

7:48AM

LAMBO: I'M ALREADY THERE MAN.

KEL: LEAVING NOW.

That was the last message he'd gotten. Nothing saying how

He checked again as he sat down. No word from Kel. It was cool. Maybe he was running late from dropping his kids to day care or something. Maybe he had just been leaving the house ... Or getting pulled over by the cops... something had to be happening for him to not get here early, as they had discussed.

He decided to send out a text to Kel, just to make sure he was on the way and into sending sleep texts again. He did that a few time at their last job, when their boss would send a group text. They both did, while making up reasons they were late, when still in bed.

LAMBO: HEY DUDE. LIGHTS ARE OUT HERE. WE WORK IN THE DARK ON HOLOGRAM SCREENS!

No response.

LAMBO: HEY, WHERE IN THE FUCK ARE YOU? DUUUUDE...It's in a fucking stadium...I got all your shit, but you'd better run here to get to your seat.

No response.

THERE WAS NO WAY HE'D MISS OUT ON THIS. WHERE IN THE FUCK WAS KEL?

EARLIER THAT MORNING:

Kel finished his had been up late, working on his installment of his newest story, and couldn't sleep, he was so excited. Him and Lambo both were starting a dream job, and after the life he'd always had, it felt like it was almost too good to be true.

He'd always lived somewhat vicariously through his stories. but somehow, hi life was becoming the story and everything was going well. His wife was happy. His son was growing. He had a playmate for his son on the way. And to top if off, he'd gotten the perfect job.

Filled with first day jitters, Kel hadn't slept, and and had shot his best friend a quick text earlier that morning, and dropped his son and daughter off at child care, and began the get flustered as the traffic on the interstate seemed to come to a complete halt. He glanced down to see if Lambo had sent anything else. It was a race against time. He know Lambo couldn't actually be there. There was no way that asshole was going to beat him either. As the cars crawled forward, he sped off on the closest exit. He knew there had to be a way to get there faster.

"Hey Siri, give me directions to my dream job."

"REROUTING NOW. CONTINUE STRAIGHT."

He continued to follow the directions, but began to feel something was off. It almost felt like he was in the middle of the country somewhere. His surroundings were filled with trees, and he tried to peer through them, but the speed blurred any chance he had at seeing anything further. He followed each turn Siri spat out, and finally the trees just dropped off on each side. As he stopped at a light, he did his best to look around. He had no idea where he was, but at least there was the glimmer of traffic, and a gas station down the street, along with the highway overhead. As he turned and passed the gas station, he heard siri state

"YOUR DESTINATION IS ON THE LEFT".

He was relieved when he saw the building glimmering on the other side of a large open field. It looked like a stadium, surrounded by grass. He pulled into the tiny gate of black asphalt and drove to the security ledge. There was no guard tower, just a tiny intercom.

He pressed the button, and a screen slid out of the 1980's style box. On the screen, a video appeared.

"Please state your name", said the middle aged woman who appeared.

"Kelvis F.."

"Oh yes, you. You may enter. Follow the signs", she said. the moment she finished, the screen went black, the tablet disappeared, and the security bar raised and he followed the road straight toward the building. as he got closer, the road curved right next to the building. He tried to look inside, but the reflective glass on the outside, simply showed him a mirror of himself driving around. After a few minutes, he reached the back side, and began to follow the signs for new hires,to the parking lot in the back.

"So this is where i was supposed to come in..", he muttered. He drove up and down a few rows until he saw a sign that said

THIS WAY KEL.

Curiosity told him to follow, and he pushed down the weird sense of foreboding that was forming in his stomach, and found himself in a underground parking garage, that just seemed to appear like a slice of pie in the middle of the lot. There were doors to enter the building, and he found a space near one of the doors, parked the car, and got out. As he reached back in for his phone, he felt a hand on his shoulder, and turned around, grabbing the assailants arm.

"Kel. it's me."

"Sasha."

"SHH! Yeah. Do you trust me?". He looked at her for a moment, not saying a word.

"Should I?" he asked.

"Yes, but..." they both looked and saw a troop of guards in black suits headed their way. "You don't have a choice." she whispered, and then backed up and yelled "OPERIMENTUM TENEBRIS", and the world around them went dark.