The Elevator

“So, who’s going to die today?”

“Excuse me?” I say, turning toward the man in the back of the elevator.

The stranger looks at me with a puzzled expression. He gestures to the phone at his ear.

_Sorry_, I mouth. Embarassed, I twist back to face the door and wait for my floor number to appear on the display.


Could this thing go any slower?

“Yeah, I should be there in an hour. Think you can have them wait until then?” He says it quieter this time, as if he doesn’t want me to overhear what he’s saying. Maybe he thought I was eavesdropping on his private conversation….or maybe he was up to something nefarious. Something he didn’t want others to repeat.


I start tapping my foot, willing the elevator to speed up. Whatever was going on, I wanted no part of it. I envision the man holding a knife, sharpening the blade as he asks “So, who’s going to die today?”

The man ends his conversation with a humorless laugh. “Leave some for me, man. Seen ya soon.”

Sweat slickens my palms. I discreetly wipe them on my sleeves.


The elevator lurches to a halt. The bright red seventeen flashes. One floor away, damnit.

“Ugh, of course this would happen today. The landlord really needs to get this thing fixed. My buddy got stuck in here the other day for two hours.” He grumbles.

“You’re joking, right?”

“Wish I was. Could be awhile before they send anyone out to get us.” The man looks me up and down. “Say, have I seen you around before? You look so familiar.”

“Probably not, I just moved here this week.”

“Ya don’t say? Well, welcome to the building. It’s a real great place, as you can see” he gestures around us. I give a short laugh, hoping he can’t tell the panic that is beginning to set in beneath my nonchalance.


He bangs his fist against the wall. “No one can hear you. These walls are solid metal.”

I need to find a way out of here. Looking around, I see the emergency hatch on the ceiling. If I could just get up there, I might be able to pull the lever to open it and climb out. The man, following my gaze, says “Need a boost?”

“Yes…uh please?”

He lowers into a crouch, like a panther ready to pounce, and motions for me to step on his shoulders. Once I’m up, I grasp the lever and turn it counter-clockwise, the door releases. Pushing it open, I start to pull myself onto the roof. Half of my body is through the hole when meaty hands circle my ankles and tug me back down. I collapse into a heap on the elevator floor. Dazed, I look up into the cruel face of the man.

He laughs, holding his stomach. “Did you really think I would just let you go? Where’s the fun in that?”

Terror fills me and I let out a scream that no one will be able to hear.

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