Prologue: Just another day at the office.

Another boring meeting, how many has that been now?

I have been working at this company for five years and it feels like one boring meeting after another. I wouldn’t mind it so much if it wasn’t the same topic day after day. Well, at least watching my co-workers can be entertaining.

The conference room is nothing special, you can see a thousand ones just like it in any office in the city. There is a conference table that can seat ten in the center of the room and my supervisor is enthusiastically trying to motivate us at one end of the table. Sales! Sales! Sales! Yeah, whatever. I don’t really care that much, I’m just here because the job is easy and the pay is decent.

Projected on a white screen, behind my supervisor, are the sales figures for the month. Sales have been down lately, but with the economy the way it is, you can’t really expect people to shell out money for something they don’t really need. My company markets several convenience products sold on T.V. Not even one of them is worth mentioning, so I won’t.

I look around the conference room; Dave is nodding off, Jessie looks like she is enthusiastically listening as usual and Fred is nodding his head at every word the boss says. He’s such a tool. How did I ever end up in this room full of idiots? Every single one of them is a waste of life. I know that might sound harsh, but not even one of them has a shred of individuality. I’m sure you can relate.

There are a few others seated at the conference table, but I don’t know them that well. It isn’t really my thing to get cozy with people I work with, I am not exactly the social type. I have a wife and a kid, that’s enough socializing for me. Too much, honestly.

[“Hey Petey-boy, you paying attention or what?”] I hate when he calls me that! My name is Pete you damn fool, well I wouldn’t say that out loud. Anyway, that’s me, Peter, Pete for short. I’m a bored out of my mind 27-year-old, slightly overweight, average Joe living in the good ole US of A. I got married young, right out of high school and my wife and I have a daughter.

 I am currently stuck here in a very boring office meeting, the same as yesterday, and I can’t wait to get home so I can finish that new manga I am reading. Yeah, I read manga, Japanese light novels, and I watch anime too. If you don’t know what those are, Manga are Japanese comics but they can’t really be compared to American comics. The types of stories range from childish to more adult themes and the same goes for the Japanese light novels. Anime are animated movies or shows which are similar to Manga in style, and in the kinds of stories told. If you think I am too old for that, then you can just go to hell because I don’t care. It certainly is far more interesting than this boring meeting and my boring life.

Well, I don’t want you to think that I hate my life or anything, it’s just stale. I had high hopes after marriage and finishing college, but after a few years of married life and this boring job, I guess I just got fed up with it all. I was never all that ambitious, honestly, but I used to be at least somewhat enthusiastic.

[“Yes, boss, sales are down and we didn’t hit our quota last month, we need to ramp up sales!”] I pretend to say that enthusiastically while pumping my fist, works every time. What an idiot.

[“That-a-boy! I can always count on you! Let’s get those sales up everyone! You are all dismissed!”] Damn, it’s about time, I don’t think I could have handled any more of that.

With the dismissal, we all got up out of our seats and filed out of the conference room like a bunch of sheep. Yep, just another day at the office. I think I will browse the internet a bit at my desk while pretending to work.

As I was heading over to my desk I saw one of my co-workers, Greg, bee-lining towards me with one of those creepy smiles on his face.

[“Hey! Hey! Petey-boy!”] Greg yelled out across the office while waving at me.

You bastard, I hate you so much. [“Yeah Greg, what do you need?”]

Greg found his way over to me before I could get back to the safety of my desk and I was not happy about it.  I can’t stand this guy, but unfortunately it is part of my job to deal with him.

[“I just wanted to know if you finished those reports yet? I need them before the end of the day”]

Greg always spoke with a high pitch voice whenever he wanted something from me. It was quite unnerving and really pissed me off, but I couldn’t bring myself to say anything to him about it. I try to avoid him as much as possible, but he always seems to find me at the worst possible time.

[“Uhh, I am almost done, I will have them to you before 5, don’t worry”] Yeah, that’s a lie. I didn’t even start working on those reports yet, this guy is such a dunce.

[“Wow, gr~~~eat, that would be such a big help. You KN~~~~OW, last time you told me that too, see, and ummm…”] Why does this guy feel the need to over emphasize and drag out certain words?

[“You kind of disappeared on me and I didn’t get those reports until the next day.”] Yeah, this guy is an idiot.

I put on the best fake smile I could. [“Don’t worry Greg, I promise that this time I will absolutely make sure to get them to you!”] For some reason, I felt the need to pat him on the shoulder as I said that. I thought it would help make me seem more trustworthy. [“Alright! Thanks a lot, I will leave it to you then!] Looks like it worked. I can’t believe how trusting this guy is. I almost feel bad for him, but I am just not in the mood today.

After Greg left I finally made it back to my little sanctuary in this office, my desk. Well, it’s more of a cubicle than a desk really, but it was my very own safe space in this bland office. I had a few anime figurines scattered around as decoration and my desk was quite a mess with papers, coffee cup, pencils and such. Oh well, guess I will clean it up tomorrow, don’t feel like it right now.

Sitting at my desk I noticed I still had 2 hours left of work so I decided to check out reddit and see if there were any new anime series coming out in the next month or so. This was my daily routine when things weren’t hectic. I made sure to keep a work tab ready to open in case anyone came close to my work space.

The time passed like this, browsing the various reddit threads and occasionally posting responses to other people’s posts. I didn’t know any of the people posting on the threads since it was all anonymous, but they were a lot more interesting to talk with than anyone I worked with. I also checked out a few of the translation sites, hoping to see if there were any updates to some of my favorite translated light novels.

Damn, it’s already 4:50, I better hurry up and get ready to go before Greg catches me. I had planned to leave before he noticed. I will just make up an excuse tomorrow. I’ll just tell him I had to leave early because of a family issue. I doubt he will question me too much on it. The guy was mainly a pushover anyway. I could probably delay the report for a few more days with some well thought out excuses.

I grabbed my stuff after organizing my desk a bit and shutting down the computer. I didn’t have much on me, I preferred to travel light. I took a quick look around just to make sure no one was paying attention and I walked towards the exit as inconspicuously as possible. No one would notice if I left a few minutes early if I pretended to walk out for a stretch or something. I could always talk myself out of any sticky situations so I wasn’t too concerned. Thankfully Greg was nowhere to be seen, but I knew he would be around shortly. That guy was nothing if not persistent.

The water cooler was close to the exit of the office. This made it very convenient for me. I poured some water into a plastic cup, took one more glance around and quietly slipped out the door without making too much noise.

Yes, free! Free at last! I could only chuckle to myself as I headed down the hallway of the office building towards the elevator.

My day was finally finished and I could head on home to my family, but especially to my light novels. I had purchased a few new ones and was anxiously waiting to read them. Pushing the button to call the elevator, I waited for a minute or two, and the elevator door finally opened and I stepped inside. I pushed the button for the ground floor and listened to the plain elevator music while the elevator moved downwards toward the ground floor.

This was a comfortable feeling for me, finishing up work, heading down in the elevator by myself listening to the soothing music. The elevator ride was not a long one, but I always enjoyed the relative silence whenever this time of day came. It was a moment when I could reflect on my life.

To put it bluntly, I wasn’t very happy. There was a time when I was, and it wasn’t even that long ago, but somehow, at some point, things changed. I guess I had always chosen the path of least resistance and this made life quite simplistic for me. It was hardly a challenge and the lack of a challenge made me bored. In truth, my intellect and natural abilities were quite high.

If I were to compare myself with the average person, my intellect was far superior and even my natural instincts, reflexes, and abilities were higher. I had been very athletic, but at some point, I had become lazy. I gained weight, I stopped exercising, and I didn’t need to interact much with other people because of my work, married life, and interests. I began to look down on those around me because I believed myself to be better in so many ways, and I came to hate myself because my life seemed to lack purpose.

It was quite the predicament and I didn’t really know how I could change the situation around. Well, that’s not entirely true. I knew how I could change things, it was more that I didn’t want to change things and I had found an easy escape. Yes, the interesting and complex fantasy worlds I could read about in Anime, Manga and light novels! They brought me to worlds I could only imagine and offered me an escape from my dull life. I had become so entranced in the many different worlds that I began to yearn to be just like those characters myself. I knew it was impossible, but at least I could escape in my mind.

Yeah, I am pathetic, I already know that.

Only a few moments had passed as I was deep in thought. The elevators descent seemed to be slowing, but that might just be my imagination. Actually, it seemed the elevator had stopped. What the hell is going on? I began frantically pressing buttons but the elevator was not responding.

Oh man, don’t tell me the elevator broke down? This can’t be happening!!! How the hell am I supposed to get home now? I even pressed the emergency call button but that wasn’t working either. Wasn’t the whole point of the emergency call button supposed to be for emergencies?

I started yelling at the top of my lungs and banged on the elevator door hoping someone would hear me. It was stuck on the second floor so someone should hear me. There were plenty of offices on the second floor and it was about time to leave for most work places so it wouldn’t be strange to think that someone would notice soon.

No one came though. One minute passed, then two and before long, several minutes had passed without anyone hearing my cries for help or anyone coming to use the elevator themselves.

What is going on out there? Why is no one responding? This sucks! My day is completely ruined.

As I was thinking those thoughts, the elevator lurched, surprising me and sending me head first into the elevator door. I quickly braced myself with both hands and saved myself from the pain of banging my head against the elevator door. What was that?

The elevator lurched again, this time I was a little more prepared for it and was able to stop myself from flying in the other direction.

After the second lurch, quiet. The light went out in the elevator and I was now standing in almost complete darkness. I was getting scared. I didn’t know what was going on. I moved to the center of the elevator and looked at my surroundings. I could see a little, but didn’t notice anything especially strange. It was then that the elevator suddenly lurched one last time. This time was different, though. There was a sense of weightlessness for a moment as the elevator made a loud screeching sound and then fell.

I felt like I was falling for a long time, I couldn’t tell how long. I screamed at the top of my lungs in fear, knowing I was about to die. I couldn’t understand it, though. The elevator was only on the second floor, but I felt like I had been falling forever. How deep did this elevator go? Was there even anything below the ground floor?

I could only think about this as I fell until finally, the elevator hit ground, and I lost consciousness.

[Table of Contents]               [Next Chapter]


5 thoughts on “Prologue: Just another day at the office.”

  1. The author himself had recently told me that he wrote a light novel and I had just gotten the chance to start reading it. Overall I highly enjoyed the novel and would recommend it to anyone. This light novel is a nice twist to parallel universes. I’m intrigued to find out what happens next. 5OutOf5sStars


  2. Thanks for the comment! However, the elevator didn’t actually “fall”
    It was more of a “supernatural” phenomenon than a “real” thing.

    The science behind it doesn’t matter (If you read the prologue, the elevator was only on the second floor and he felt like he was falling for a long time, which obviously wouldn’t be scientifically possible!)


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