Julian Files Chapter 4, scene 2:
Monday, June 27, 2005
The Sun office building, Crandall Park
The Sun’s office was crowded at eleven in the morning. The sound of phones ringing, keyboards clacking, and papers shuffling was a comforting undertone to the day. Cedrick half-listened to the murmured conversations of his coworkers, and wished not for the first time that Reisler would learn to temper his voice. The man’s conversations became everyone’s business in the entire floor at his superhuman decibel level. It wouldn’t be so bad, but it was usually so incredibly inane that it left Cedrick twitching for a good song and a set of headphones to replace the ones he’d lost on his last assignment.
With a sigh, Cedrick tipped back in his chair and kicked his feet up onto the desk. He swayed back and forth, rocking on the swivel chair while his gaze automatically roamed the fabric partitions. He’d managed to commandeer the cubicle despite being mostly freelance these days, because it was far off in the corner with no hope of ever seeing one of the windows gracing The Sun’s walls. And it couldn’t keep a light working for the life of it.
The staff called it Suicide Cubicle, because everyone who had previously used the space with its oppressive darkness had… Cedrick was still unclear on the transition. Somehow, in Generic-”They” Logic, it became a cause/effect of bad lighting to the people from this cubicle getting all the worst assignments.
Well, that, and because it was rumored someone had died or been murdered in this corner before The Sun had taken over this building. It was the ghost, his coworkers said, who made this cubicle always feel cold and uninviting. The ghost who always made the fluorescent light overhead flicker endlessly, frantically, calling out for help or maybe revenge.
That last bit was Cedrick’s touch. He liked getting poetic about mundane things. It made life interesting.
Cedrick rather liked the cubicle, truth be told. It did have a creepy vibe about it, but he liked it for that reason. It was good inspiration for Red Sunset. He had the mystery novel mostly plotted out, with just a few last minute touches to be made on the final chapter, and had all but settled on the pseudonym of Andre Bute. He hadn’t had time to write much of the actual book itself, but a possibly-haunted cubicle was certainly mood-inducing for a novel about a woman who stalks and kills the son she learns her husband had with a mistress.
One particularly hearty rock had him nearly twisting his feet off the desk, and he caught himself with a hand braced on the cubicle wall. Paper crinkled beneath his fingertips, and a soft smile grew automatically.
He looked fondly at the wall, covered in Boyd’s drawings. He could track Boyd’s age by following the rows of art; they grew more detailed and realistic as time passed, and as Boyd became more used to using colors.
The one he’d touched was of a dog lying in the grass, and it brought the memory vividly back to Cedrick with mixed emotions.
This was one of the first pieces of Boyd’s art that Cedrick had saved from that time period.