‘Well done, team. You did a good job yesterday.’
We had been in here for half an hour already. I had been fiddling noisily with my pen for the majority of that, earning me one or two irritated looks from my colleagues. Each week was the same: Ben would go on and on for ages, criticising every little thing. It was the first thing to endure every Wednesday morning, and he seemed to think we had all the time in the world. As if we had nothing better to do than sit in a boardroom and have some undersized balding man patronise the hell out of us.
‘Anyway, off you go,’ he finally finished up, waving us out of the room with a flick of his hand.
The twenty or so people in the room got to their feet and headed quickly out of the door. Nearly tripping over a wonky carpet tile I staggered back to my desk and lunged for my half finished cup of coffee. It was cold, but I didn’t care.
‘You all right, Anna?’ my colleague opposite me, Vanessa, asked with a concerned expression on her face.
‘Yeah,’ I smiled weakly. ‘I was up all night working. Trying to get ahead for this week’s paper, you know.’
‘Going for that promotion then?’
‘Why not?’ I shrugged.
‘Good for you,’ she winked. ‘You’ll get it. Everyone knows you’re the best reporter here, no mistake about it.’
‘Thanks, Ness,’ I smiled, gulping down some more coffee.
My phone rang.
‘Anna Stewart speaking, how can I help?’ I said quickly, picking up the receiver whilst rummaging through my drawer for my chocolate stash.
‘Anna?’ I heard on the other end. I instantly recognised Ben’s voice. ‘It’s Ben.’
‘Yeah, I know,’ I muttered, shoving peanut M&Ms in my mouth. ‘Hi.’
‘I have a story for you.’
‘Oh yeah?’ I replied, sitting up in my chair and reaching for my notepad and a pen. He’d started giving me decent stories recently. Maybe this would be a good one.
‘There’s an Elvis impersonator down at the local primary school. Go down there, ask him a few questions, then write it up. OK?’
‘Did you have to phone me from the next room to tell me that?’ I asked.
‘Just get on with it, Anna.’
I put the phone down and stared long-sufferingly at the pile of press releases on my desk, sighing. They would have to wait. If only I could get this promotion to chief reporter and be done with the pathetic middle page stories that no one ever read or cared about.
I grabbed my coat and headed outside into the busy street. It had started to rain lightly so I rifled around in my bag for my umbrella, whilst ducking across the road.
The next thing I knew I was lying on my back in the road, looking up at a bus. People were running towards me, screaming. I really didn’t know what the fuss was about. I was fine. I scrambled to my feet smiling at them, telling them not to worry.
But they kept coming. Glancing down where I'd been lying I saw something that made my stomach turn. My own body. Right where it had fallen. Dead.