- 2032 Undisclosed Nuclear Plant in Texas.
I was falling asleep. But it wasn't my fault. My leather chair was just too comfortable. I stood up from my chair briefly and grabbed my backpack, which to this day still carried trash from my college days.
"Man, I am down to two energy drinks," I said. "Fuck it."
I popped open one of them, the bittersweet taste making its way down to my mouth.
My friends had all said that working as an engineer was easier and less time-consuming than college. Yet here I was popping two cans of Poison just to stay awake. Not that I could complain, I was lucky to have a job. This entry-level job required ten years of experience just to apply. Thankfully, one of my gaming buddies had an uncle working at upper management.
As per our agreement. I smurfed my friend's account back to Diamond, and lo-and-behold! the algorithm in charge of proceeding job applications crashed when it was time to proceed with my application. HR had to manually evaluate it, but after seeing the rubber stamp from upper management, they automatically hired me. Modern society was stupid.
"Don't you agree, little one?" I said. Luna, my pet spider, didn't respond. Not that I was expecting an answer.
As my body pressed further against the softness of the chair, I couldn't care less about all the blinking that the monitors in front of me made.
"I need to find a stronger energy drink."
My vision focused only on Luna. She was finally devouring the ants I fed her a few hours ago.
I wasn't a sadist like her, but I loved to see how she stung and devoured the ants. It was my revenge, for during all of my childhood those little creatures bit me to hell. My eyes closed for too long. My mind did not reboot until I felt as if I was falling. My head bounced back into an upright position out of reflex, and with it, so did my mind.
I was met by total darkness. I took out my phone and turned on the flashlight. When the light dispersed the darkness. My heart started pounding. I immediately dialed home, but the line was dead. No signal. Everything in the room was destroyed. Even Luna's cage had shattered on the floor. She was nowhere to be found.
"Fuck.... fucking hell."
I checked my digital watch.
[Radiation level: Low]..... September 23, 2324, 2:42pm, USA Central. I stared at my watch until the yellow light burned my eyes.
"Is this a joke?"
My "office" looked abandoned. Mold covered the white walls. There was trash everywhere, everything was ruined. Even my chair.
I grabbed my backpack. Pulled my keycard. Unlocked the door and dipped into the darkness of the corridor. The lights and ceiling had long since fallen.
"Holy shit, is that a rat!?"
That thing was huge. The rat looked about the size of a cat. When the creature saw me, saliva drooled from his menacing mouth. I blinded the creature with the light of my phone and charged at it, roaring like an idiot. The rat fled. Stupid rodent.
I made my way through the corridor. Everything was busted or shattered, windows, floors, ceilings. I couldn't make eye contact with any of the skeletal remains that I stumbled upon. My gaze refused to look. I was breathing heavily. This was not because I was tired, but because my mind was asking way too many dangerous questions.
When I reached the main door that connected to the lobby, the steel doors stood unwavering. The security was tight as a young maiden's lower lips. This is because the bigwigs were paranoid about industrial espionage. The soviets were increasingly suspicious of our advances in nuclear and quantum technology.
I myself was a commodity to the state. Instead of commuting from the city fifteen miles away, the government forced me and other engineers to live in a compound in between the city and the nuclear plant. It was a closed community, armed guards and all. This made sense considering that our lead quantum researcher was assassinated, not even two miles away from the town square, in the middle of broad daylight.
The race to the top did not stop there, our government retaliated. Which then resulted in the soviets terror bombing our universities. Soon enough, there was martial law. It made sense. The first country to get quantum computing or nuclear fusion would win the war to end all wars without firing a single shot. While both of our governments increasingly reached the point of open warfare. I worked as an engineer, not because I was a patriot, nor because I was a tech enthusiast, but because the salary and health benefits were better than working minimum wage at Johnny's Burgers for $20 an hour. Maybe I should've voted for a third party.
When I finally swung open the door by sliding my keycard. The door made a satisfying noise as the digital system authorized my command. The door opened and.
Oh, is that a girl? What is she doing crouching like that... huh, what is that on her hand? Was she trying to lock pick the door?
When the girl saw me, she just started making cute noises. She looked dumfounded, embarrassed, and it seems I had scared her for a second. I had caught her red-handed.
"Hey stupid, this is not an area for kids to be playing around. Leave or I'll call the guards," I said. Quickly realizing that the skeletal remains of Jerry, our security guard, were just dumped there on a neat pile a few meters into the lobby.
The girl just stood there dumfounded, then pulled a revolver.
My watch started beeping. It was blinking orange.
[DANGEROUS LEVEL OF RADIATION DETECTED]
This did not mean that I would die, but that if I stayed exposed, I was at risk of developing cancer in my late fifties.
"Don't you fucking move!" She said.
Maybe she is hungry. I have food in my backpack.
"Don't worry, I have something for you," I said. I smiled, knowing that if I fed her, maybe she would become my companion in this wasteland. Hey at least she had a gun.
I dipped my hand into my backpack, then heard a loud pop. Hmmm. I fell to the ground.
"DID SHE JUST FUCKING SHOT ME."
When my mind rebooted, I nosedived down from my leather chair. Almost dragged Luna's cage along with me.
"Was it all a dream?" I asked. "Fuck, I need to stop drinking this garbage. My heart was pounding like crazy. It probably induced a nightmare."
I stood up from my chair and made my way into the clean and pristine corridor. I needed some water. The employee lounge smelled like cigars. The blue carpet and plastic chairs just showed how poorly management cared about the employees. I checked my watch, September 23, 2032, 2:40pm, USA Central.
It was Peter. He was in his early twenties, just like me. We had so many similarities; it was impossible not to be friends. But the cunt went to Ivy league and resented me for getting a job he had to earn. I the lazy fuck who went to community college then transferred to a state school.
Our conversations were always stiff and scripted.
"I heard you were bringing your pet spider to work. How is management treating you for that?"
He already knew, that is why he asked. They were bitching at me for days, but nowhere in my contract or employee's manual does it say that I can't bring a pet spider with me.
"Oh, that - yeah don't care."
He knew I was lying. He laughed a bit.
"Wonderful, anyway..." He looked at his watch. "I'll tell you a secret next time I see you."
He was likely getting a promotion and wanted to brag. But I said nothing. As he left the room. The lights turned red.
"MELTDOWN IMMINENT, all personnel are to evacuate at once, this is no drill, all personnel is to evacuate at once," the alarm went on for a full minute. I made it as far as the lobby before I heard a loud bang.
When I woke up, I found myself covered in darkness. The time? September 23, 2324, 2:42pm, USA Central. I turned on my flashlight and scrambled out my "office" carrying my backpack.
This was no dream. It felt too real. If my theory is correct, whenever I die in the present I get transmigrated 300 years into the future. Then whenever I die in the future, I get sent back to the past.
"IS THERE ANYONE ALIVE!? HELLO!?"
The same ugly rodent I scared in the previous loop tried to bite me. I kicked the rodent, and it fled. I rushed towards the lobby and unlocked the door. I kept yelling, not because I wanted help, but because I didn't want to be alone.
When the door to the lobby opened. My watch started beeping. But there was no Loli. I didn't understand why the time was looping or why I was here. I just wanted to go home.
I was about to step outside when I heard a gun cocking.
"DON'T MOVE, OR I WILL SHOOT."