HUMAN/SUPER First Contact 32

“I suppose,” Angela said.

“Listen, if you’re looking for a new job,” Lilith said, “I hear the game store down at the mall is hiring.”

“I’m not good with crowds,” Angela typed, then hesitated. “Wait, how do you know where I live?”

“I’m an admin for the game,” Lilith said. “I can see your profile. Sorry, didn’t mean to creep you out.”

“I have to go,” Angela said.

She logged out of the game. Her hands were shaking.

“That… that was weird, right?” she muttered aloud.

She shook it off, checked her email again. Another company had replied to her application; this one was asking for “an initial investment of five hundred dollars” to join the team. She deleted the message.

She opened her resume. She didn’t have any retail experience on there. Even if she wanted to apply at the game store, what chance would she have?

Genesis’s words floated in her head.

Your talent’s wasted on call center work.

She marched to her bedroom and opened the closet. Tucked away in the back, beneath a box of old tax records: her printer.


Angela downed half a bottle of cough syrup and plunged into the mall. It wasn’t quite noon so the crowd wasn’t too thick. She kept her head down and made a beeline for the game store.

As she reached the entrance, the security alarm wailed. A teenager with blond hair brushed past Angela and hurried away.

“Stop!” someone yelled.

A behemoth of a security guard came barreling up the hall. His massive shoulder slammed into Angela and knocked her onto her ass. She saw stars as she hit the floor.

“Oh God!” the man said. “I’m so sorry, ma’am.”

He reached down and hauled her to her feet. She wheezed and almost lost her balance. Their eyes met.

The layout of the mall flooded into her head, all the nooks and crannies, all the little shortcuts. Images of his family, his coworkers, his girlfriend. Mostly the latter.