I missed posting this last week, because I just couldn’t figure out the ending! But now I have and I hope you like it.
Topic for this week: Put two people who hate each other in an elevator for 12 hours. What happens?
He heard her heels pounding on the marble floor. That didn’t stop him from pushing the “Close Doors” button though; he was already three minutes late for a board meeting. It was a small miracle he got the elevator to himself and he had no desire to share it. Goddamn his luck, it was raining that day. She managed to jab her umbrella between the closing doors. It slowly opened and to his utter dismay it was Sarah from legal.
It could have been anyone else in this building of 700 employees, but it had to be Sarah. There was no one in his world he despised more than that woman. He knew the feeling was mutual.
He glanced her way. She was resolutely staring at the numbers going up. Floor 14, 15, 16 – and that’s when the numbers stopped going up. They stopped doing anything at all. The lights dimmed and the red light on the bottom of the button panel came on. They both stared at that red light for a few seconds.
He checked his phone – no signal. Such terrible reception in this building at the best of times. And this was definitely not the best of times. He pressed the button and a voice came through the tiny speaker. “Maintenance.”
“Yeah this is Greg Maxwell. What’s going on with the elevator?”
“I’m seeing a minor problem with the hydraulics sir, shouldn’t be a moment. Anyone else in there with you?”
“Yeah. Sarah Peterson.”
“How long will this take?” He detected irritation in her voice and just a touch of underlying panic. No surprise; if they were the last people on earth, and all that.
“No worries Miss Peterson, we’re already working on it. I’ll keep you posted. Try not to panic.”
To this she snorted derisively and got her phone out. He didn’t even glance at her. “Thanks Jerome. Do me a favour eh? Let Krista on the 32nd floor know where we are so she can alert whoever needs to know. Thanks.”
“No problem Mr. Maxwell, right away. I’ll be in touch.”
He took off his suit jacket and loosened his tie. They might be there awhile, despite the optimistic Jerome. He placed his case on the floor. All without even glancing her way.
“Well this is just great. You plan this Greg?”
“Don’t flatter yourself Sarah.”
Another snort. “It’s been a long time Greg. Just not long enough.”
“Sarah just leave it will you? For chrissakes it’s been what, six, seven years?”
“It will be seven next month. And the month after that would have been my goddamn wedding anniversary and you know it!”
“Sarah, for the 50 millionth time I did not break up your marriage. It was long dead by the time I came along.”
“No one at the office even knew you were gay! But my husband quickly found out at the Christmas party didn’t he?”
All of a sudden there was a loud bang over the speaker. Then a high pitched buzzing noise. Then nothing.
“Jerome you there? Jerome? Goddamn it!”
“You just couldn’t help yourself, you said. Same thing from Charles. He found his fucking soulmate he said! I trusted you Greg. And you took my husband.”
“Maybe I did but he wanted to be taken, Sarah! You were both miserable, which of course you won’t admit! And – ” Suddenly screams filled the tiny speaker. It was oddly deafening in the confined space. “Jerome! What’s going on? Jerome!”
“What the hell is that? It doesn’t even sound….human.”
“Sarah get a grip! This is not one of your vampire novels. Jerome! Anyone, can anyone hear me? We’re stuck in the elevator in the middle bank on the 16th floor. Anyone?” Slowly the screams faded. The buzzing sound was back now.
“Greg something’s not right.”
“I agree. Look we might have to try to get out the top. Do you think you can climb up onto my shoulders and out?” She looked at him then. He could still see the anger on her face, but along with it was desperation. She was scared. Frankly, so was he.
“I guess.” She slipped off her shoes and he rolled up his sleeves. He hoisted her up and she pushed on the tiles and eventually they popped upwards. She poked her head into the hole and looked around. “I see the next floor. I think I can get to it.” She dragged herself up, not very ladylike but it got the job done. Carefully she crawled over to the closed doors of the 17th floor.
“Well Sarah? What do you think? Can you force the doors open?”
“I can try.” She could see a sliver of light through the doors, which she found encouraging. She dug her fingertips into the grooves and pulled. The doors moved a little bit. “I think I can get it!” She pulled harder, moving her legs to get a better grip. Just a little bit more and she could get her hand through. More, and she got her arm through, all the way up to the shoulder. Now she had more leverage the door edged open faster. Soon her head and upper shoulders were through and just like that the doors opened all the way. She rolled onto the carpet and looked around her. Then she started screaming.
“Sarah? What is it? What’s going on? Sarah! Sarah!!” Greg couldn’t see anything beyond the hole in the tile. He tried jumping up to grab the edges and maybe pull himself up but he was’t tall enough. “Sarah I’m trying to get up there! Hold on I’ll – ” He could hear something being dragged across carpet. Then a thump as someone landed in the elevator shaft. “Sarah?” And then Greg started screaming, as a hideously misshapen face emerged from the hole in the ceiling, blood dripping from it’s long fangs. Greg saw its green eyes look deep into his and then Greg saw no more.
There will be no 642 Things Thursday post for next week as I am going on holiday. Topic for Aug 15: Something you lost.
This is the latest exercise in my 642 Things to Write About Project. Click on the link to find out more, or click on the category 642 Things to Write About Project to read past exercises. 🙂