Author's note: This story contains brief mentions of death and violence..
I have never really been particularly fond of pranks. Growing up I was always really sensitive towards any type of act with the slightest amount of mischief in them. All the way from the very beginning when my parents tried to “steal” my nose towards being fooled into believing that I’d turned invisible in late middle school, it has just not been my thing. Which is why it’s so ironic for me to land a job at Numine. You might just think that I should just shut up and not complain at all and I understand why. Numine is a great company, but it’s not like I choose to work here. In fact, it was all due to a severe misunderstanding so please just hear me out before you say anything.
I had just graduated and was in the early stages of job hunting. My friend recommended applying for a small business on the other side of town. My friend whom is now in a different place, bless her, always had the best ideas so I thought why not?
It took me around thirty minutes on the bus with an intense staring competition with a chinchilla of all things before I got there. I swear that chinchilla didn’t blink at all, but that must have completely been my imagination. At that time the only logical explanation was that it must have been a stuffed animal and it turns out that’s exactly what it was.
I don’t know why I keep bringing up things like this in my story. I should probably describe the scenery on the bus ride or my past or something like that, but those types of things are a bit boring so I hope that you don’t mind me getting side tracked by other things too much.
It’s really hard to be on time since I always get distracted so easily as you just were a witness to, but somehow by a miracle I managed to get to the job interview in time at that day.
The next part is a little boring so let me skip a little. I started to take off my clothes, layer by layer. Wait, that’s a bit too far with the skipping isn’t it? Sorry about that. Anyways what happened before that was that I was asked to enter a stimulation in order to complete a physiological test for the recruitment process. Don’t worry this story is not erotic or anything like that. It was also no one in the designated test area so it’s not like anyone saw me changing either.
So as I was saying, before I could take the test, I had to get changed to a different suit. The contrast between my colorful clothes and the black suit was quite striking. The suits connected to the simulations are usually like that though. I guess the inventor just really like black because literally everything from the suit to the packaging of the simulation set is jet black.
In case you’ve never done one of these simulations before, I can tell you that they are exactly what the name says. A simulation. Very helpful I know. You put on the suit and a helmet, get connected by closing your eyes for 5 minutes and enter a “fake world” where you perform the test. It’s kind of like a video game, I guess.
This particular “fake world” that I was sent to was a zombie apocalypse. At that time, I hadn’t been through a lot of recruitment processes so I thought it was pretty normal. I may seem weak, but I am always very alert which is why I did not hesitate to grab a steel pipe laying by my feet before hitting the nearest zombie with it. “Oh my god” screamed a zombie standing not too far away from it. It was a bit muffled though so I wasn’t too sure if I had heard them right.
I must admit that it was kind of weird to hear a zombie talk like that because I thought that they would grunt or say arghhh or something like that. Either way I realize know that it was quite ignorant of me to just assume things about creatures I have never met, so for that I apologize. I don’t apologize for what happened next though, at least yet.
The thing about a zombie apocalypse is that you have to survive it to make it. Obviously. This explains my next course of actions which was to completely annihilate them. I don’t remember much. There was probably a lot of screaming, but I didn’t think too much of it. I just continued my way towards the exit at the very end of the building I was finding myself in.
As a side note I must add that the black simulation suit proved to be excellent towards all the blood and dirt that got thrown my way. So, I guess wearing a black suit really can be convenient, huh.
Certain simulations allow you to get into a different type of clothes as soon as you enter, but that was not the case in this simulator because no matter how long I closed my eyes and waited I would still be in the same suit. Even the place looked pretty similar to the building I walked into.
As I finished and entered the outside, I waited for the simulation to end. I was pretty sure that I had made it to the end. I mean the goal must have been to finish off the zombies. What else could the goal have been? I still couldn’t help, but wonder whether or not I had passed.
That’s when I saw it. The chinchilla! This time however it moved. So, I started to follow it. “Hey! I want a redo of our staring match, you cheating chinchik..chincha…chinchilla! Gosh that was hard to say” I screamed. I don’t know why I exactly lost it at this moment, but I just did.
The chase of the Chinchilla as I oh so eloquently called it ended pretty fast though and on a really hard note. Long story short, I tripped over a cord of some kind and faceplanted on the ground. After letting a string of curses out of my mouth and tried to collect myself.
“If it hadn’t been for that damn cord!” Wait, cord? I gently grasped the cord and tried to follow it with my eyes. It seemed to be attached to something. That something being a simulator inside the building that I had just left and the other end being the helmet on my head? A simulator? That made no sense.. Except for that it did.
How many job interviews had a zombie apocalypse as a part of their psychological evaluation? Thinking more at it I realized that none of my friends or family had ever mentioned something as unusual as that. That could only mean one thing. Something was not right. Was this whole simulation not real? Did I never enter the “fake world” in the first place? That would explain so much although the zombies looked so real.
I went back to inspect the zombie corpses a little more. “Amazing, they look just like a human body.” I muttered to myself. “That’s because they are real” said another voice coming from behind me. I may not be able to deny the fact that I jumped a little at that, but no way I’ll ever confess to screaming a little too. There goes everything I said about being alert.
I slowly turned around and came face to face with no other than the chinchilla. “God?” I said shocked. “Am I dead?”. The chinchilla snorted. “No, as a matter of fact you’re the only one alive in this building. And no, I’m not God although I guess some people would call me that”.
I took me a moment to process this. Oh..Oh…OH. I sneaked a glance at the trail of zombies behind me and slowly managed to put the pieces together. “So, this was some sort of simulation gone wrong?” I asked a little dazed. “Yeah, that’s correct. Can’t believe you didn’t notice that before now. There were in fact many red flags up until now”. I looked in awe at the Chinchilla.
“I guess your coworkers wanted to prank the fresh meat a little bit, but I guess they didn’t account for the fact that it’s difficult to speak with false protheses on their faces. I must say that it could a been a really good prank, but it was quite unfortunate to have everyone dress this way and being unable to alert you because you’re really fast with that pole” the chinchilla said.
At that point I didn’t really know how to react. I guess I should have been devastated, but mostly I was upset. Like seriously! A prank? A little well thought out one on top of that.
The Chinchilla eyed me closely as I groaned. “And I wondered why you smelled so weird. This vacation is getting quite interesting” they spoke to themselves. “Pardon?” I said before I could regret it. My brain just felt quite fried and I couldn’t believe that everything was real.
“I am going to save you the details because the less you know the better, but basically you could say that I am this God that you’re talking about or one of them. Whatever you believe in.” I continued to stare blankly at them. “However, I am also kind of the devil too or more like the evil counterpart at the same time. I don’t know why I am explaining this to you, but anyways I am also some sort of judge.”
“So, you decide where I will go in the afterlife?” I asked. “Kind of” the chinchilla said. “Although you slaughtered 9 people, I can see that you did this on accident so I am giving you a choice because frankly I don’t think I have laughed this much in over a thousand years.”
“A choice” I parroted. The fog in my brain was clearing up a little and was starting to be replaced with something similar to sadness. I couldn’t help but feel really sorry for everything. I must admit that even to this day I felt that it wasn’t really my fault. I can’t help the fact that I am stupid and don’t notice abnormalities as fast as everyone else. However, all the emotions hadn’t really caught up on me yet then since the situation was so absurd.
“Yes. You can either continue with this life and deal with whatever consequences the authority here will decide upon and everything else. Or you could leave this world and come work for me.”
Work for a chinchilla? Leave this world? What in the world was going on? Despite all the questions that I had I still managed to keep my voice steady when I answered.
“Although it sounds tempting to just leave all of my responsibilities” I said and waved my hand towards the dead bodies behind me “I can’t because that’s not how things work. I need to account for..” The chinchilla put its paw up and I shut up. Somehow, they had the power to do just that.
“Even though coming to work for me means that your responsibilities” The chinchilla waved its paw towards the mess behind me “will be given a new chance”.
“You mean they will be revived?”. My voice was barely a whisper at this point, but the chinchilla heard me and nodded. “They will also forget all about everything that happened today” they continued.
“I mean I need to think about it. What even is this job…” I started to say when the chinchilla was beginning to turn away.
“Wait, wait! I am just kidding. Of course, I will do it. Although I have so many questions.” I started to ramble, but didn’t get far before the chinchilla beamed and clapped its paws together. I guess that’s what I get for making a deal with a stranger. A stranger considered to be a god and a devil at the same time.
So that ladies and gentlemen, people in between and people whom consider themselves to be neither, as my friend now in a different world liked to say, is how I came to work at Numine as a deity of mischief and misfortune. My existence in “the real world” has been erased, but I am still allowed to roam around there from time to time. In the form of a chinchilla though..