First Week

Kathy collapsed into her old, moth-eaten couch – her favorite. No dust clouds plumed upwards, but it certainly looked like there should have. Her parents kept telling her to get rid of it. No such way. She’d sit it on the day she died. It was the ultimate comfort on days like this.

She was thoroughly exhausted. Working at the distribution node center had been physically taxing and emotionally numbing, especially during the longer shifts. But working here at NCR Labs was an entirely different animal. All this time, she had thought that acing her classes at MKU was the epitome of challenge in her life. That it would pave the way for a brilliant career that would bring her a sweet life of ease and respect.

For one, the pay was a long way off from a life of ease. And two, the respect would be a long time coming. Sure, the hiring manager had been suitably impressed by her resume. He’d expressed astonishment that Kathy had lasted as long as she had maintaining rune nodes. “Not the kind of work for a brain like yours” he’d said. She’d taken the tour, met some of the faces, and felt like she’d finally found her niche.

Then came day one. The people were still friendly. The office was still shiny and well-kept, with just enough of the macabre vibe to keep up appearances. Kathy could goth up to her heart’s desire and get nothing but kudos from the boss. But damn was it overwhelming.

Only ten percent of what they did hear resembled what she’d learned in school. The majority of the runic script was improvised, modified, and sometimes completely off formula. She had no idea how it even worked. There was no doubt it did. NCR produced quality enchantments and paraphernalia. In just the first week, she’d had been subjected to enough that she felt like her degree had been rendered useless.

Some part of her despaired that she’d ever amount to anything there. Her mind was completely drained and it just kept on coming. She sighed and pried herself up from the couch. At least there was a good distraction to take her mind off for the weekend.

Date tonight! Time to her make herself up something special.

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