Healthy Meal

“Well, the easiest way to keep a secret is to pretend it doesn’t exist.” Walt, a short wrinkled man in a black business suit, gestured at the open, empty elevator. Cameron stepped in, unsure why the company vice-president was interested in him.

Cameron glanced at the panel while the old man joined him in the elevator. Two columns of buttons numbered 1-12 lined the panel. The number ‘7’ was listed in the same small box that held the other numbers, but there was no illuminated button next to it. He watched the old man touch the smooth spot where the 7th-floor button should be; the polished metal sunk in. It popped up again invisible and perfectly smooth with the rest of the panel when he pulled his finger away; the elevator doors closed.

“There’s a seventh floor!?” Cameron said in surprise. Walt nodded; Cameron’s eyes widened.

“Then… we really grow babies here?” he asked.

“We do a lot more than that, but the nursery is your new assignment,” Walt replied.

“Why me? I didn’t apply for a new position, and I’ve only been here for a year.” Cameron was genuinely curious, though he also wanted to be able to explain to his friends how he got promoted over them.

“The truth is we hired you for this job, but we needed you to complete a probationary period. Paperwork, medical exams, and trust-building, you know how it is.” Cameron nodded.

“Yeah,” Cameron chuckled. “I visited your doctor more this past year than I ever did in 43 years of being alive. And, thank you, Sir. I’m honored Sharp Development trusts me enough to give me this position. But I don’t have any experience with infants or any biological sciences,” Cameron shrugged. Walt nodded.

“Don’t worry. At Sharp Development we employ people, not positions. Trust me, you’re perfect for this job.” Cameron could tell Walt meant what he said. Something about the older man’s confidence in him inspired Cameron to believe in himself too.

If this guy at the top thinks I can do this, then I probably can,” Cameron let the thought run through his mind for encouragement.  He subconsciously stood up straighter and puffed his chest out.

“So, what are my duties?” Cameron asked. The elevator slowed its ascent.

“When I said we grow babies, I meant it quite literally,” Walt said. The elevator came to a stop. “Ms. Sharp, our owner, is growing fae-children for experimentation.” The door chimed. Albert gestured for Cameron to step out first.

“Huh?” Cameron asked as he stepped out into a surprisingly dim hallway. Several toddlers started walking and wobbling toward him. “Fae?” he turned to face the old man still in the elevator. Walt nodded.

“Faeries, vampires, werewolves and so on.” Cameron paid closer attention to the approaching infants. Some were unusually pale, some had fur and some had wings; all of them had fangs.

“Uh, I’m not -” Cameron protested and tried to step into the elevator. His foot banged an invisible wall that prevented him from getting in.

“Don’t worry,” Walt said. “You can handle it. You don’t need any special training to be eaten.”

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