"Back on earth,” I finally responded. “I worked for the last forty years with the intellectually disabled. I dealt mostly with the managerial side of things. You know, a lot of paperwork, a lot of directing staff. Before the accident, I enjoyed the feeling that I was making a difference with the programs that I was structuring but there was a part of me that wanted more."
"What do you mean by more?" the interviewer intervened.
I noticed that her fingers were dancing across a section of her desk, as if to enter information. As her swan-like neck shifted to the right, so did her dark flowing hair. As it parted from its resting place on her shoulder, the smooth skin of her bare neck lay exposed to the soft overhead lighting. As the interviewer’s gaze slowly rose from her work-desk, I again realized that I was taking too long responding to her questions.
"I was always told that I could tell a good story, so I began to take my writing more seriously. I prefer the darker side of fiction. I write mostly science-fiction and horror stories with always a romantic angle and a touch of deception.”
I stared into the interviewer’s piercing eyes for some reaction to my last statement but received only a calculated twist at the edge of her mouth.
“Have you ever been published anywhere?” she asked.
“One of my short stories was published in Sanitarium Magazine. It was about two couples that visited a haunted house on Halloween but got more than they bargained for.”
The interviewer raised an eyebrow and continued to quickly type as she spoke.
“Do you have any other interests?”
“Photography and videography but those are really just hobbies;” I replied.
“Mr. Green, I think you are not giving yourself enough credit,” the interviewer said curtly. “I’ve been looking over your hobbies and they appear to be connected to your writing. What is this outlet called again? YouTube?”
I paused, not certain what to make of what the interviewer had just asked.
“Yes, it is but why?”
“No need to be nervous, that was a compliment,” she said with a wide toothy smile.
“I think we definitely have a place for you in our organization.”
I sat stunned for only a moment before responding.
“Thank you so much! You will not regret this.”
With the intention of shaking the interviewer’s hand, I began to stand. As I did, my seat and the platform that it was mounted on were slowly lowering into the floor. Just below me, I could hear a multitude of screams that sounded like men and women crying out for mercy. I felt the rush of blistering heat quickly surrounding me and suddenly there was the pervasive and inescapable smell of charred flesh.
“No, thank you,” the interviewer replied. “And you’re right, we will not regret this.”
As she finished speaking those last words all that could be seen where there once had been a chair was a wisp of gray smoke as that area of the floor was resealed.