Masks for Beginners

Chapter 1: Wake up Call

The streets seemed empty and desolate, while the lamppost flickered ever too gently with its unique buzzing, giving the street its ambience of a somber day. Right in the middle of the street, there seemed to have been an accident with two cars destroyed and up in flames, the flames seemed to light up the whole world as they raged on. Close to the flames as one could be was a nine-year-old child with black hair, sobbing inconsolably while staring at the flames with a defeated look in her bright blue eyes, as she walked closer to the flames she slowly muttered one word over and over.

”Mom…mom…mom… ” muttered the child with the same empty look in her eyes as she marched forward with no regard for the flames till she too was consumed by the flames, she continued her muttering as she closed her empty eyes for the last time.

Suddenly a woman in her early twenties shot up from her bed, sweating heavily and panting. She reached for her face, holding on for dear life as tears streamed down her face.

”It was that damn nightmare again… ” muttered the woman who finally got her breathing back under control, she checked her clock and groaned at the time she saw. Seven oclock in the morning.

”Of course, Im gonna be late on the first godforsaken day, just my damn luck. ” She exclaimed with clear irritation as she got off her bed and sprinted to the bathroom with the clear intent of getting ready as fast as humanly possible.

The streets of Illinois were rather busy for it being eight oclock in the morning, there could be seen a woman running as if her life depended on it through the hordes of people on the streets. She runs into a large skyscraper with the name ”SABER INDUSTRIES ” written clearly on the top. As she checks her ID card and enters the elevator, she hits the seventh floor and waits while tapping her foot impatiently.

As she exited the elevator she ran into the one face she most definitely did not want to see, a tall dark-haired man, Jay Peterson.

”Ah yes Ms Bale, how wonderful of you to join us today, I had assumed you were going to drop out at the last second, ” he said with a sadistic grin on his face. ”But it seems you had just decided to arrive half an hour late on your first day instead, truly spectacular professional conduct, ” he said with scorn as he walked away towards another latecomer who he greeted quite heartily. Jay walked away with the man before the woman could even speak one word, she walked towards the reception ashamed and discouraged.

”Hello Im Lyra Bale, I start work today in the nuclear engineering department. ” she introduced herself with as friendly a smile as she could give. ”I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction. ” She politely asked the receptionist who informed her to head right down the hallway and wait in Mr Petersons office.

As Lyra waited inside the office, Jay walked in with arrogance in his gait as he chose to sit in his comfy seat.

”Lyra Bale. Graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in nuclear engineering as the valedictorian, ” he said as he read her files with a disinterest very evident in his intonation. ”The first female valedictorian MIT ever, no one ever expected this much from you, did they? ” he asked with a patronizing tone.

”Regardless of what anyone expected of me, I graduated the best nuclear engineer MIT has ever produced and that is an irrefutable fact, ” Lyra said with a cold tone as she was quite frankly tired of the constant disrespect.

”Indeed, the mark sheets would indicate as much. But in the real world, these mark sheets mean absolutely nothing, ” he said as he tore her mark sheets right in front of her wit

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