Chapter 12: The Hack

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Kim hopped off the Metro at LAX, wearing jeans and a zebra-striped sweater thing. 

She turned back and watched as Alexis appeared behind her. Alexis had been a blonde in an asymmetrical black dress on the Metro, but now she was wearing cutoffs over tights, and her bright red hair flowed out from under a white beanie. 

Kim tried very hard not to be put off by Alexis’s ever-shifting appearance. In order to mitigate the weirdness Kim found that she either had to stay looking at Alexis and basically never blink ever, or just not look at her at all, keep her eyes trained elsewhere, landing anywhere but Alexis. These were the only ways for her to be reassured that she was still talking and sitting next to the same person. It was kind of not that fun. 

But still. Alexis had been very eager to help Kim learn The Hack, and that meant a great deal to her. 

“Where to?” Kim asked.

Alexis pointed to a sketchy-looking building at the end of the street. “The Championship Business Center.”

“Ugh, I hate that building,” Kim said. “It’s filled with randos.”

“Exactly,” Alexis said. “Come on.”

Kim followed Alexis into the building. Inside it was like a rat maze of boring offices, hallways that twisted and turned in every direction and seemed to stretch on forever, every path lined with rooms that all looked exactly alike. Alexis seemed sure of the way, turning left and then suddenly right and then left again. Kim was amazed that anyone could ever find their way in or out of this building. It all felt incredibly corporate.

Kim paused outside a few of the offices to peak through the windows.

“Every single one of these offices has someone inside.”

“Yes,” Alexis said.

“They’re just, like, standing in the center of the room, staring at nothing.”

“They’re waiting.”

“For what? 

“For you. Or someone like you.”

A chill went up Kim’s spine and she hurried to catch up to Alexis.

As they walked deeper into the building, down a flight of stairs, around a corner and down another hallway, Kim’s phone buzzed. It was a text from Michelle.

Hey I had a really great time on our date the other day, can we hang out again later?

Kim declined. She felt terrible about it but there was more important stuff going on right now, like major life stuff. She didn’t have time for a relationship and all the headaches it would inevitably cause. 

After a few more minutes of tracing through the building, Kim wondering if they were ever actually going to arrive anywhere, Alexis stopped abruptly in front of a door that looked exactly the same as all the others.

She turned and looked at Kim. She was brunette and wearing the flying skull sleeveless T now. Kim was relieved she hadn’t worn the same thing.

“We’re here,” Alexis said.

Kim looked through the window of the door. “This one’s empty.”

“All is not as it seems,” Alexis said. She held the door open for Kim to pass through, then closed and locked it behind them. 

“You will need to complete three actions inside this room in order to become one of The Hacked,” Alexis said. “I can guide you and show you the way, but you will need to complete the steps by yourself.”

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