Science Fiction Mystery Thriller

The box arrived at eight AM, at the headquarters of “Thonx”, an up-and-coming, indie fashion magazine. The delivery robot placed the box on the floor an patiently waited for Cassie to sign the delivery. Colleen ran past the reception desk squeaking like a little girl.

“Oooooooh, I’ve been waiting for this!” she said.

“Are these the gowns for the photo shoot?” Laura, her friend yelled from the back of the office.

“Uhuh,” Colleen replied and started cutting through the tape with a paper knife.

“Careful!” said Cassie. She had to unpack dozens of boxes like these and managed to ruing a few dresses before she got the hang of it.

“OK, OK!” Colleen said impatiently. The delivery robot placed the tablet in his abdomen and turned around stiffly on his metal legs. He printed out a delivery slip from his hip, and handed it to Cassie.

“Have a nice day and see you soon. Don’t forget to rate your experience with K-Pax and remember to subscribe to our newsletter for new promotions and discounts,” the robot said and trotted into the elevator, “you look great today,” he added with robotic cheerfulness. Collen opened the box, teeming with excitement and her mouth dropped. There were no gowns in the box. It was full of cheap, tacky yellow and green sunglasses, the shape and color that had been out for at least a decade. She rummaged through the eye wear to see if there was anything underneath.

Those… aren’t wedding gowns,” she said, holding up a pair of glasses with her two fingers, “They look like someone literally hand molded them from bottle caps.”

Laura came out of the office.

“What is this? Where are the gowns?” she said asked impatiently, “show me the slip,” she said to Cassie. She took the paper rectangle and looked at it. Colleen peeked over her shoulder.

“Oh, it’s not even from Fuego,” Coleen said.

“Who’s it from?” Cassie asked looking at the screen of her computer.

“Really? I’m sorry do you even work here?” Coleen said to Cassie. Cassie shrugged. She was a nerdy gamer girl with thick glasses, red hair and a collection of outdated, striped sweaters. She did the bare minimum but it was her temp job, she was also paid the bare minimum, so in the end, everyone was moderately happy. The elevator door opened and Greg waltzed in. His black skin was perfectly moisturized, he wore patent leather, baby blue shoes, green jeans, a leather jacket, and full make up.

“Hi Coleeeeeen,” he said and air kissed both of her cheeks.

“Greg are these for you?” She asked pointing at the box.

“Excuse me baby? Who, me?” Greg asked and picked up the glasses with his two fingers, as if it was a dead squid, “ugh,”

“Alright, can you just um, put it in the closet until someone picks them up? It must have been some kind of mistake,” Coleen said to Cassie.

“OK,” said Cassie.

“Who delivered it?” Greg asked.

“K-Pax,” Cassie said pulling the box behind the counter.

“The android delivery? I heard they are really good,” said Greg.

“Apparently not!” said Coleen.

“Did you see Lorenzo’s new collection?” Coleen asked.

“I had a peek yesterday. It’s just… marvelous, uh!” Greg replied “You know what, this green matches my jeans perfectly. They aren’t that bad. I can see how they could work. As a statement piece,” he said putting on the glasses playfully, “whoa.”


“These must be one of those 3D distortion glasses,” Greg waved his hands through the air.

“Let me see,” she said and reached for the glasses.

“Get your own,” he said and slapped her hand. Coleen took another pair from the box. She put them on.

“I can see lines and lights in the air. Maybe it’s a type of glass,” she said.

“Whoohoo, I feel like.. It’s around my hands and your hands too. There are like weird lines and stuff,” Greg moved his hands through the air.

“Wow. And there’s like a glow, what is that? Do you see it?” said Greg. Cassie took a pair and put them on too.

A tall, very thin woman in her fifties stormed into the lobby. Marie Zelena was the editor in chief. She wore black baggy clothes, sneakers, and black micro bangs. Greg and Coleen immediately composed themselves.

“Where are the gowns?” she said in a harsh, electrifying tone.

“Um, they haven’t arrived yet, Ma’am” Greg said. Coleen took the odd glasses off quickly.

“Everyone’s here for the shoot already, get to work, we don’t have all day,” Marie Zelena snapped.

“Yes Ma’am,” said Greg. He put his glasses on the counter top and hurried inside the office, along with Coleen.

“Maybe they’re infused with drugs,” he whispered to her. They got to their desks and Coleen put on the glasses back again.

“What are you doing?” Greg said, shaking his head.

“They aren’t even showing things correctly. Like, what’s this here?” Coleen pointed at an empty space on her desk. Greg took her glasses and put them on.

“Oh, I see it, it’s like a gray furry thing?” Greg said.

“It feels cold. Was it always here?” Colleen asked.

“This is creepy,” he said,

“Maybe let's just put something on it? For safety,” Coleen said.

“Like what?” Greg asked. Coleen took a plant from the window and put it on the desk.

“OK, I feel dizzy,” she said and took the glasses off. Cassie popped her head through the door.

“The gowns are here,” she said.

“Yes! Finally!” Coleen jumped up and followed her to the lobby, while Greg went to check up on the studio. The main photographer, the crew and the two models were already there. The assistant was late. He worked for free and for the last two weeks his morale had really been down. Greg took the trolley and went back to the lobby.

The first thing he saw was Coleen standing next to the box, holding what seemed to be a string of plastic bags and torn lace in her outstretched arms. Her face showed utter disappointment.

“What’s wrong?” asked Greg.

“Um, does this scream bridal couture to you?” she asked.

“Uh, it’s progressive. Bold? Experimental.” assessed Greg.

“This is supposed to be a wedding gown. Meaning that a human woman would pay thousands of dollars to wear this on her wedding day, in front of all her friends and family,” Coleen said, spelling out the words.

“That’s a great opening for the editorial. Minus the sarcasm,” Greg replied and pushed the brake on the trolley. He examined the dress. It was theoretically white. Not that it really mattered. Pieces of crumpled plastic were sown onto the bodice in irregular clumps. The skirt was just a sheet of transparent plastic. It looked like someone had pulled it out of the dump. Greg looked at Coleen. She was trembling. Wedding gowns were her thing, her obsession.

Greg hauled the gowns to the studio, humming under his nose and unloaded the box. The stylist, a tiny, blue haired gay Latino in a beige jumpsuit, began to unpack the gowns. He looked at the first dress.

“I think that Fuego is… working through some personal issues. Or so I heard,” he said.

“Aren’t we all,” Greg shrugged. The models gloomily accepted their outfits and headed to the changing room.

The shoot dragged on for hours to make the dresses look presentable. Greg had to stick around or Maia Zelena would on be “on his ass” as Cassie put it. Every dress was worse than the last one. He considered himself open minded but even he couldn’t really see the point of incorporating shaggy plastic into the design. Three hours in, he decided to play with the mysterious glasses, just out of boredom. He put them on and at first everything looked normal. And then he saw it again. The lines appeared coming from the models into the camera and the photographer. There were some weak white lines connecting to him to the girls too. The lines wobbled and went through furniture. Cassie came into the studio.

“There’s a call for you Greg,” she said. She was wearing the glasses too. They looked at each other awkwardly through the glasses. Partners in crime.

“Ha ha!” Greg said, pointing at her face. Cassie chuckled. He followed her to the office.

“Hello?” he said, picking up the phone.

“How do you like it?” said a coarse, old voice.

“Excuse me?” Greg blinked and shook his head.

“Are you wearing it?” the voice asked.

“Wearing what?” Greg asked.

“They hyper-spectral electromagnetic visualizer,” the voice said.

“Oh, the lunettes horribles?” Greg joked. Cassie popped her head in the room.

“I know what they are,” she said.

“How do you like them?” the voice asked.

“Are you the one who sent them? Do you want them back?” Greg asked perplexed.

“Oh no. No, no, no,” the voice protested.

“OK, is this some kind of joke?” Greg sighed into the phone. Cassie mimicked a question and mouth “Who is it?” He shook his head and shrugged.

“I want you to bring it out to the world!”

“Bring what out?”

“How the universe operates.”

“What do you mean?” Greg asked. He took the glasses off.

“You’ve seen it! So, now you know.”

“I know what? Look, you can pick them up, they’re taking up space and I don’t know how to file them so it’s going to be um, a problem,” Greg said.

“Keep them. Consider it a gift,”

“A gift? Wow, gee, thank you! It's just what I wanted. Two hundred weird ass glasses from twenty years ago,” Greg said.

“A personal gift! For you,” the voice said and hung up.

“No thank-“ said Greg realizing there’s no one there, “ugh,” he sighed.

Next day Greg walked in on Maia Zelena arguing with Cassie.

“You can’t wear this to work. This is a fashion magazine!” Maia Zelena said. Cassie was wearing a toga made of coarse, brown fabric.

“I don’t see why not,” Cassie replied.

“Where did you even get this? It looks like… burlap,” Maia asked, feeling the fabric in her hands.

“I made it. And it’s linen,” Cassie said, completely unbothered.

“You made it? You have no sense of style,” Maia scoffed.

“Linen has the biggest glow,” Cassie said smugly.

“The biggest glow? What?” Maia gasped “Ugh!” she threw her hands in the air.

“Ma’am, you should try these on. See for yourself,” Cassie handed Maia the hideous glasses.

“Oh, please! What is this, some kind of cult?” Maia said and took the glasses. Greg pushed through and went inside the office. He put his bag on the desk. Coleen was on the phone.

“I just want to see someone design the perfect, anarchist, punk wedding dress. But a wedding dress!” she said,

“What’s up with Cassie?” Greg asked.

“I don’t know,” Coleen said and shrugged. He got to work on the photos from the shoot. His phone rang. It was Maia Zelena.

“Greg, can you come to my office please?” she demanded.

“Sure,” he said. When he came in, she was wearing the ugly glasses, laid back in her chair.

“What am I wearing?” she asked him. Greg didn’t expect this, and he inhaled deeply.

“These are… They came in a package the other day. I… I don’t know who sent them,” he answered nervously.

“That’s not what I asked. Do you know, what they are?” Maia asked in a grim tone.

“Um, some kind of 3D party glasses?” Greg asked.

“I’m wearing hyper-spectral glasses,” she said flatly, “cutting edge technology,”

“Really? They don’t look very, um, professional,” he said.

“Of course, they don’t,” Maia said, “this technology gets people killed,”

“OK? Then why are you wearing them?” Greg asked.

“Oh no, it’s not the glasses that’ll kill you. It’s the US government,” Maia said.

“What? Why?” Greg felt an anxiety attack welling up inside him.

“Get. Rid. Of. Them. And fast,” Maia said, throwing the glasses on the desk.

“Yes Ma’am. On it, Ma’am,” Greg took the glasses and headed to the lobby.

“Where’s the box, Cassie?” he asked. Cassie was busy looking at her hands and waving them in the air.

“Somewhere in there,” she waved to the closet. He opened it.

“I don’t see it,” he said.

“It was there yesterday,” Cassie said in a dry tone. He turned to her and put his hands on her shoulders.

“Cassie. It’s important,” he said.

“I don’t know,” she said making a face.

“OK, give me those,” he reached for her glasses.

“Hey!” Cassie said and pushed his hand away.

“Cassie, I need to take them. Maia Zelena’s orders,”


“Cassie, just do it. She’s our boss OK?”

“No! I need them,” Cassie said, ducking under his arms. Greg sighed. He didn’t sign up fort this. A thin, predatory hand came from above and quickly snatched the glasses from Cassie’s nose.

“Hey! But, Ms. Zelena!” Cassie protested.

“No buts! These are going straight into the furnace. Right now!” Maia Zelena said. Greg and Cassie looked at her with terror.

“The.. The furnace?” Greg asked, clearing his throat.

“You heard me,”

“Can't we just toss them in the garbage?” Greg asked.

“The furnace. Now,” Maia said, pointing her bony finger at his face.

“Yes, Ma’am,” said Greg. Maia looked into Cassie’s eyes.

“Where’s the box?” Maia Zelena said to Cassie as she sipped on her frappucino. Cassie sighed, put the cup down and walked over to the service door opposite the counter and opened it. Inside sat the box, hidden under piles of cable.

“You would have gotten us all killed, stupid girl,” Maia Zelena said. Cassie shrugged.

The basement was the creepiest place in the building. The old factory had been abandoned for a while, before they adapted it. There were weird signs on the walls and lots of old medical equipment. No one knew what went on down there. Every single person who went to the basement felt like they were being watched, even though the place has been empty for years. Greg could barely lift the box, but he managed to push it down the stairs. They had an old shopping cart down there. He put the box in and headed toward the boiler room. He walked down the gloomy corridor, tense and jumping at every sound. The old iron furnace was a relic from the 19th century. It was huge and had a bazillion pipes coming out at the top, like a black, upside down octopus. They used it occasionally to get rid of old files. He opened the furnace and lit up the coals with his shaky hand. It was technically illegal to burn plastic, but it would be on Maia. He just did what he was told to do. Something moved in the dark Greg felt a shiver and his heart raced. He opened the box hastily and threw a handful of glasses into the fire. It took him a good twenty minutes to load the whole thing. The fire was raging and the smoke started to come out the hatch. He looked at the last pair of glasses. He listened to the sounds in the corridor. Something like a muffled laugh echoed behind him. He slowly put on the glasses and looked down the dark corridor.

“Holy shit,” he said.

Back upstairs Greg sat down in front of the computer with a blank expression. Coleen was chatting on the phone. He felt like the world had slowed down. Maia came into the room.

“Are you OK?” she asked and looked at him inquisitively. He nodded, forced a smile and looked down. The day flew by and he left early. He felt bad for Cassie. He stopped to talk to her on the way out.

“I’m sorry about the whole thing Cassie. I had to burn them. You know how she gets,” he explained.

“It’s fine. I can see it without the glasses now,” she said.

“Really? Wow.” Greg said and nodded appreciatively.

“I guess I must have evolved,” she said, smiled and nodded.

“Alright,” said Greg.

When he got home he closed the door behind him, inhaled and sighed deeply. He fumbled in his pocket and took out the last pair of hyper-spectral glasses.

“Hello, party glasses,” he said. He took his jacket off and poured himself a drink. A couple of phone calls later, his apartment was bustling with music and laughter and everyone had to try on the glasses. He went to sleep at dawn. An hour later, two muffled shots could be heard from his bedroom.

At nine o’clock, in another part of the city Cassie knocked on a door of a rundown shack. She looked at the paper slip to check the address again and peeked through the dark window. She heard someone unlock the door. An old black man, wearing obscure, steampunk glasses, dressed in a thick, linen robe opened the door, looking completely baffled. Cassie came up to him with a gleam in her eye.

“I want to know everything,” she said. The man smiled.

November 24, 2022 09:53

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Wendy Kaminski
01:17 Nov 29, 2022

This was incredibly cool! I think you could make a much longer than Reedsy-allowable story out of this; I definitely wanted to know more about every part of it. Looking forward to reading more of yours!


A. Baczkowska
22:55 Nov 29, 2022

Thank you Wendy! I'm glad you liked it 😊. I wasn't planning to, but I guess the story does have some creative room for part two.


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