A short story written by Siobahn Harris 7/2/2017
“Hi Emme, this is your career advisor. I just want to start by reminding you that we are on a recorded line. Is now a good time to talk?”
Pushing a sandy colored curl over her left ear, Emme plops down into a large arm chair, “Yes. Hi Carmen. How are you?”
“I’m doing great! Listen, I got your email and I was going to email you back but I just thought it would be easier to call you about it.”
The late afternoon sun pours into Emme’s living room and almost makes the wooden floors glow. Grabbing her ankle, she tucks her legs underneath her and leans onto her elbow.
“That’s fine. I just thought that it was about time for me to find new ways to get my name out there. I’ll be graduating soon and I definitely want to open some doors for myself.”
“I understand. Have you been giving out your resume?”
“I have but no bites yet. I thought you may know a few tricks to help me out.” A nervous chuckle escapes Emme’s lips.
Carmen’s voice perks, “Oh I know, what about social media?”
Emme’s stomach tightens into a knot, “What about it?”
“Well, there is this website called, CareersNow.com. It’s like a social media site but just for careers. You can-”
“No! I mean, no thank you. Social media just isn’t for me.”
“Emme, everyone has a social media profile. This will really jump start your career.”
“I…I don’t know… I removed all my social media profiles.”
“Can I ask why? With social media being so popular right now, it would be a great opportunity for you to expand your contacts.”
Emme’s voice begins to break, “I…my sister…there was an accident. Two years ago, I lost my sister. She was updating one of her accounts and driving. I deleted all my accounts after that.”
Carmen grew silent. “Emme, I’m so sorry. I’ll look into other things for you.”
“No, wait. You’re right. My sister wouldn’t want me to close doors for myself. Just…send me the link.”
“We can find a different way.”
“It’s fine. Just send it and I’ll start an account.”
“Okay, I’ll send it right over. Was there anything else you wanted to talk about?”
“No, that was all.”
“Okay, just make an account and send me the link. I’ll look it over and we can work on it together.”
“Sounds great, Carmen. Thanks for calling.”
Staring down at her phone, the room around her began to blur. Gazing around the room, her eyes click to the laptop on the coffee table as she waits for the familiar chime of a new email.
She pulls herself out of the chair and walks into her kitchen. She always loved the ease of a tiny kitchen. Standing at one counter she could just turn around and touch the other. Filling her purple kettle, her eyes lock onto the green swirls on the tiles above the sink. The kettle grows heavy causing an unnatural bend in her wrist. The water begins to overflow and the kettle slips from her hand crashing into the sink. The splash bounces up onto her face snapping her out of her zone.
Jumping back, she lets out a chuckle, “Whoops.”
Spinning around she grabs the towel hanging on the front of her oven. She begins cleaning up the water when the sound of her laptop fills the living room. An email. With a sigh, she drags her feet as she makes her way back into the living room.
“Come on, Emme. It’s not that bad.”
Following the link, she begins searching the site.
Connect with employers. Find jobs. Upload your resume. Create a personalized profile.
“I can do that.”
A smile crosses her face as she completes her profile and she sends the link to Carmen.
The morning sun crept through Emme’s house. Pulling herself out of bed she was faced with an odd feeling of excitement and fear. Grabbing her laptop, she immediately went to CareersNow.com.
“Nice. Four emails. Oh wait.” Her eyes scanned the screen and her once excited tense shoulders dropped. With a sigh, she looks at the emails that were all from the same person. “Not four people. Just one. Oy.”
The room filled with the soft melody of her cellphone. She put her laptop down to grab her phone, “Hello?”
“Hi Emme. This is your career advisor. I have to remind you that we are on a recorded line, I got your CareersNow profile link. Can we talk?”
“Oh, yeah. I was just looking at it, too. Hi Carmen.”
“Hi, I love what you created. It’s to the point and shows all your skills. Great job. I thought I would have to tell you to add a profile picture but you already did, so good job! It may take a few days to get a response but that’s okay. You can look around and add people and look for jobs, that will help.”
“Actually, I got four emails but they are all from the same lady. I figured it was just spam.”
“You never know. You should read it, maybe they are just excited to hire you.”
“Okay, hang on.” Emme clicks on the first email.
“Sent at 3:45am. It says, ‘Hi, my name is Sophia Devlin and I am the hiring manager for Midnight publications. We are looking for someone to write fashion articles. If this is something you are interested in…’ then it just goes on to say her contact info. That actually sounds like something I could do, don’t ya think?”
“Yeah it does! See what the other email says.”
“Yeah, maybe she forgot to send some info or something…”
“This one was sent like a minute later, it was sent at 3:46am. It says, ‘Hi, my name is Sophia Devlin and I am the hiring manager for a fashion magazine called Gems…’ wait, does she work for two companies?”
“Well, now that sounds like spam.”
“Crap. Okay. Well, I will just delete the others.”
“Sounds good to me. Just fiddle around on there and let me know if you find anything that works for you!”
“Okay, thanks Carmen!” Hanging up Emme tosses her phone onto coffee table.
Hovering the mouse over the delete button, she hesitates.
“Let’s see what other companies you made up.”
Sent at 4:37am. “Why aren’t you answering me, Emme!”
“Whoa. Because I was asleep, lady.”
Looking at the fourth email Emme gets a chill. A ball fills her stomach as she clicks on it.
Sent at 4:59am. “I offered you jobs and this is how you treat me? You are being very rude.”
“What? Now I’m rude?”
Going back to the first email, Emme clicks reply, “Dear Ms. Devlin, I want to thank you for the job opportunity but I do not feel I would be the best fit for your company. Thank you very much and have a great day.”
She deletes the emails and begins a search for the two companies Midnight publications and Gems. Emme searches the CareersNow database with no results. Then a general search. Nothing. Her eyes flash to the tabs on her internet toolbar, CareersNow begins to blink. Clicking on that tab she notices an email. Her stomach drops. Sophia Devlin.
Her palms grow sweaty as she clicks on the email. Rubbing her hands together she reads.
Sent at 9:26am. “Dear Ms. Bardell, I reject your rejection of my job opportunity. You are on a website looking for work and I am offering you a great job. You should take it.”
“What the hell?”
“Dear Ms. Devlin, I understand you want to hire me but I am not interested. I am sorry if you feel that I’ve wasted your time.”
A chime rang back immediately.
Sent 9:29am. “Dear Ms. Bardell, you will be sorry.”
Emme’s eye widen. Her hand slams her laptop shut. She pushes it away onto her coffee table. Staring down at her laptop her eyebrows furrow. She tucks her legs up and hugs her knees.
As the day wore on, the strange conversation stuck in the back of her mind. Grabbing a frozen dinner out of the fridge, she rips the box open and pokes holes in the plastic with a fork. After tossing the meal in the microwave she leans on the door frame between the kitchen and the living room, her eyes narrowing in on her laptop.
Emme jumps as the microwave lets out three loud beeps. She grabs her meal and heads into the living room. While eating, her eyes continue to find their way back to the laptop. She finally gives in and grabs the laptop.
Sent 10:15am. “You need to answer me.”
Sent 10:49am. “I am a person too!”
Sent 11:03am. “You need me! Answer my emails, Emme!”
Sent 12:32pm. “This is getting old now. You better not be deleting these!”
Sent 12:59pm. “I will find you.”
Sent 2:06pm. “There you are!”
Sent 2:16pm. “You better answer, Emme.”
Sent 5:35pm. “That looks yummy.”
Emme’s eyes jump up to the four large windows in her living room. Scrambling out of her chair she locks her front door and begins closing the curtains around the room. Slumping to the floor she crawls to the front door. The silence in the room is suddenly cut by the melody from her phone. Emme crawls back to the coffee table and grabs her phone.
The female voice on the other end was not one she knew, “Emme. You should have taken the job.”
Her heart skipped and her face grew cold with sweat. She threw her phone down the hallway. Tears began to flow down her cheeks. She jumps as three loud bangs rang out on the door behind her.
Slowly she looks up at the door. She places her shaking hands on the door as she leans close to it, “Who’s there?”
“I’m sorry to bother you! I am just looking for the nearest gas station. I have a map but my phone died. Could you just point me in the right direction?”
“Directions?” Emme’s voice cracks as her eyes dart around the room.
“Yes. Directions, please?”
“Um, s-sure. Yeah. Just a minute,” Emme wipes the tears from her face and peeks out the window next to her door, “could you just, show me your driver’s license?”
On the porch stood a middle-aged woman in jeans and a green sweater. She began looking around the porch for the source of the voice. Her eyes click onto Emme’s and her eyebrows jump.
“Oh! Um… why?”
“I just need to see it before I can help you!”
“Okay, okay! Here you go.” The woman holds up a small pink wallet with a window to her licence.
Emme’s eyes search the ID, she whispers, “Debra Hayes.”
She slowly opens the front door, “I’m sorry, I had a rough night. You just need to know where a gas station is, right?”
Debra steps closer and flashes a smile. “Yeah. Rough night, huh?”
Emme chuckles, “Yeah, just stupid.” She waves her hand as if to erase everything. “The nearest gas station is two blocks north, down Chester Street. Good luck.”
Debra takes another step closer, “Thanks so much. This would have been easier…. if you just took the job.”
Emme’s face emptied of color. A tear rolled down her face as her eyes lock onto Debra’s. She quickly turned to slam the front door but Debra crashes inside, locking the door behind her. Emme falls to the floor staring up at Debra, her once smiling face was now twisted with anger.
“What do you want?!” Emme shrieks while scooting backwards.
Debra flashes a look of confusion, “I just wanted to talk to you but you were too good for that.”
Emme screams, “The jobs you were offering weren’t even real!”
With a stomp of her foot Debra screams, “SO?!”
Emme flips over on her stomach and scrambles towards her cellphone. Debra grabs her ankle and pulls her back. Emme’s nails scratch along the wooden floors as she tries to pull away. She wails in pain as three of her nails break off leaving bloody streaks along the floor. Debra sits on Emme’s lower back and reaches over to the laptop on the coffee table. Holding the laptop over her head she quickly brings it down smashing it onto the back of Emme’s head. Debra continuously bashes Emme’s head until she stops moving.
The blood covered room lay quiet except for Debra’s panting. Placing the now broken laptop back onto the coffee table, she slowly makes her way back to her feet. Debra’s eyes glance around the room. A smile crosses her face as she looks down at Emme and then to the blood and hair covered laptop.
Debra drops her shoulders and lets out a sigh, “We could have been friends.”
Leaving the front door open behind her, Debra walks out and heads down Chester Street, her clothes soaked in Emme’s blood.