Warning: Not for people with weak hearts!


The elevator of doom

I stood on the ground floor waiting impatiently for the elevator. I looked around and noticed that I was the only one on this floor.

It was quiet.

I couldn't hear a sound anywhere near me.

The floor was completely emptied. For a moment I stood wondering about that. After all it wasn't usual for there to be nothing standing around at all. Nothing indicating that someone was there just a short time ago…

I waited.

Looking at the door of the elevator I let my eyes take in all the small details. The rust along the edges, the way time had eaten away on the previously very lively green color, the little screen showing where the elevator was at the moment,…

I stood very still.

I wasn't sure, if I even blinked. I just waited motionless in front of the very old door. My world seemed to have halted as I waited with halted breath.

It was very important that I used the elevator. In fact it was like an unsurpassable urge that pushed me to spend my time impatiently watching the orange letters of the screen in front of me to count down to zero. It felt like a life depended on it….

The awaited 'beep' sounded and I had the door open and the correct floor pressed before I knew it.

My vision fixated on the screen again. This time inside of the little room I was so eager to get into.

So, now it would finally…-

SCREECH

I heard my heart pounding in my chest as I watched the door being wrenched open. Inch to inch the gap between me and the outside world became bigger….

Someone entered.

For some reason I was frightened, terrified even, of whoever just came in.

Huh, I was being childish. It's not like whoever just came in was about to bring my doom.

Yeah, very immature thoughts I had indeed.

I half-laughed to myself as I turned around.

I froze

I stood frozen in my place unable to move or breathe. I hadn't managed to turn around completely, because my eyes got stuck to the little screen inside the elevator.

My whole world seemed to be centred on the seemingly harmless orange letters.

'- 1'

It read '- 1' not '1' or '2', but '- 1'.

My mind seemed to be incapable of handling the implication.

There was no floor called '-1' in this building, was there?

I mean I haven't seen it before anyway…maybe I missed it? Yeah, surely that had to be it. After all there –

'- 2'

Ok, ok, no reason to panic. Some building surely had a second basement, didn't they? Or maybe the basement went deeper? It doesn't matter at all that I didn't even know that there was a base-

'- 3'

I was officially starting to freak out. The air rushed in and out of my lungs making focused thinking more and more difficult by the second.

A second floor for the basement I could have accepted. After all some people had a lot of stuff that they needed to deposit somewhere.

But a third one built in the earth below the others? Who in their right mind would do-?

'- 4'

I calmly noticed that I was hyperventilating. Black spots were dancing in my vision. Ohh….that particular one was really-

'- 5'

Oh lord, what was going on? Why wasn't the elevator stopping?! What the heck-

Laugher, I could hear a deep voice cackling just behind me. Chills ran down my body, the hairs on my neck standing on end.

I felt a cool breathe on my neck and almost vomited.

An icy hand was gliding across the exposed skin on my neck.

For a moment I couldn't see, couldn't hear and couldn't feel anything else but the icy something behind me.

Then a 'beep' sounded. I whirled around.

….There was nothing there….

Slowly turning towards the door I saw the familiar floor of my destination. It looked warm and inviting, flooded by light.

I hurried out and slammed the door behind me. The knot in my throat slowly retreated and I closed my eyes for a moment simply enjoying the clean air filling my lungs.

Without looking back I raced away. I never noticed the silhouette of a human standing behind the glass window of the elevator.

I was back again, right in front of the elevator staring at the orange letters of the screen.

My palms were sweaty.

I took a moment to take notice of my surrounding. The floor was empty, lifeless almost. Nothing stood around. No noises could be heard.

I gulped

I didn't like this. I didn't like this at all. This was way too close to the last time…to the last time-

No, I shook my head. No way was I letting myself get back there. This was different. Completely different and had no similarities to the last time whatsoever.

I was staring so hard at the letters in front of me that they didn't look like letters anymore. More like little dots dancing across the screen…

Hmm…fireflies…yes, they looked like tiny orange fireflies….

A 'beep' penetrated the air.

I was in the elevator in a second. Half-afraid and half-excited to be in there. The excitement was surely a result of my eagerness to prove myself that I only imaginedthe whole fiasco last time.

The being afraid part on the other hand was surely based on claustrophobia. There was no way I was so illogical – again – as to think that anything else would harm me in here.

It was just an elevator. Just a tiny little room made of metal that was not capable of hurting anyo-

SCREECH

The door was wrenched open. I could almost feel each inch that the gap widened.

Well, people on the other hand could hurt other people. Not that I had any reason to believe that whoever just entered would want to hurt me.

It could be just the nice nurse I met the other day…

I started to turn around and froze.

'- 1'

My breathing hitched.

No

No. No. No. NO!

This couldn't happen. No way! I was just imagining this. If I closed my eyes and focused really hard, I could make it go away. It was impossible.

I screwed my eyes shut forced myself to calm down and took a deep breath. Nope. The letters were still there.

Still declaring the same number proudly to the wo-

'- 2'

Maybe the screen was defect? Maybe it was supposed to say '1' instead of '- 1'?

Yeah, that had to be it. There was nothing to fear. Just a small technical defect, no reason to become so freaked out. Everything was alright.

'-3'

If just my stomach could think the same, it would be really helpful. For a moment I imagined myself scolding my stomach.

It was whimpering and apologizing hovering in the air. Dr Cox grumbled something about 'Annette's' stomach being as whiny as she was'.

I pouted.

Why did Dr Cox have to call me girl names even in my own day-dreams? That was so not fair! Also good that my mind didn't go into any details on the stomach surely wouldn't have been a pretty sight…

I grimaced and accidently looked at the letters again. Just catching the '- 4' being replaced by '- 5'.

I felt like a bucket of ice water had been dumped over my head.

I sighed and turned to the door fully intending to step outside. Somewhere in the back of my mind I registered that I didn't hear the resounding 'beep' that usually accompanied the arrival on the destined floor, but I shrugged it off.

I shouldn't expect too much from a defect elevator.

I froze mid-turn

For a moment I could have sworn I saw something out of the corner of my eye. Something white peeking out of a black mass.

Not tempting my luck by looking directly I finally heard a distinct 'beep' and I was out of there faster than ever before.

I hurried down the hall purposefully ignoring the – surely imagined – cackling that followed me all the way until I rounded the next corner.

Here I go again.

I was waiting patiently in the hall, waiting for the elevator of doom to arrive.

That was my new nickname for it: Elevator of doom. The nickname was very fitting in my opinion. After all I did feel doomed standing here ready to open the doors that potentially lead to hell itself.

I chuckled

I was over-reacting again. It only happened two times and I was very tired each of those times. The possibility of my over-exhausted mind simply playing tricks on me was very high.

I had to supress a laugh as I imagined my mind making a pact with Dr Cox to do its best to help him 'man me up'…whatever that may mean….

Beep

The doors to Herdes home itself was waiting to be opened by me.

I rolled my eyes as I stepped into the elevator.

Really, I should try to sleep more tonight. All this double-shifts were getting to my head.

I could almost see the 20 pounds heavy weight pressing down any rational thought that dared to try and surface.

As lost as I was I never heard the groan of the door as someone came in.

I was still busy with imagining the war-cry of the last bit of my logical thinking side bravely standing up against my tiredness when I suddenly realized what number the screen in front of me showed.

'1'

Not '- 1' but '1'!

I breathed out a sigh of relief. I laughed as the tension, which I hadn't known existed, left my body in a big 'whoosh'.

It was an exhilarating feeling to watch the numbers steadily increase. This was so much better than the heart-stopping reaction I had when the numbers went down-hill.

I was still happily floating around on cloud nine when the number switched again.

'4'

So, the elevator was broken after all! See, my all too smug sounding logical side proudly proclaimed in my head, there was no reason for freaking out.

Everything was fine. The ghost-thingy was only a fragment of my – probably with Dr Cox working – imagination and maybe the Janitor played with screen on purpose to scare me.

Though I had to hand it to him that he did reach his goal. However mean it was of him, it indeed was a good worked out plan.

Maybe I should congratulate him later? Hmm…that might even make him like me a bit.

I snorted.

Yeah, right, like that would ever happen.

I looked at the orange letters again. I only did it, because I was curious how far we had progressed, but then my heart stopped.

For a second everything was still. I didn't breath, I didn't blink and my grin seemed frozen on my face.

Instead of the number I was expecting there was a single word.

'Chance'

I blinked and blinked again, going as far as to rub my eyes, but the number didn't reappear. No, the word was still there glowing in intense orange.

'Chance', whatever was that supposed to mean?

What kind of chance did I have? Was it even I chance I had? Was that word for me?

I laughed.

I admitted to myself that I sounded a bit hysteric as I wheezed for air and couldn't stop finding it incredibly funny for some reason.

There was no one else hear that could be meant. Not that a few digital letters could mean anything with what they declared. It was just an elevator screen and elevator screens as everyone knows do not have a mind to implicate anything.

I was just about to go through another bout of hysteric laugher when the word changed.

'Sway'

I chocked. What in the-!

Suddenly there was a loud boom from above than it seemed like something snapped and then the screen changed color.

It first turned to a blinding orange before turning black.

I stood there frozen. Not daring to do anything.

Then I heard it: The cackling. The same terrible hoarse sound I could still remember from the first incident.

There was someone else here…or maybe something.

I was not alone.

The elevator started to sway. At first it was very slow. A soft rocking nothing bad, but it steadily got worse.

Each passing second the tremors started to increase it got so far that I couldn't tell anymore what tremors shook the floor and which came from my own trembling form.

I turned around slowly, trying to ignore the now flickering light.

With halted breath my eyes searched for the source of the sound. I don't know what I hoped to see, but it was not that.

I wasn't prepared for that at all.

My eyes locked onto the all-too-familiar face and then…

I screamed.

I screamed so loud I heard ringing in my ears, but I didn't care. I screamed and shouted and cried and didn't stop.

I couldn't bear this. I couldn't, I just couldn't.

The only thing I could do as the light turned off and the elevator started descending at rapidly increasing speed was to stare.

Because that face was imprinted so deep in my mind that I wouldn't have mattered, even if I did close my eyes.

In the complete blackness I could barely make out the terrible grin that stretched over the lips of the being opposite me.

The last thing I could think of was the lifeless face of my neighbour when I was a child. His dead eyes gazing at me as his body still convulsed and vomit spread further and further over the floor.

The voice of my mother was still clear in my mind as she shouted at me to not look. But it was too late…the same way as it is now.

I choked out a last sob as the elevator hit the floor and I caught a last glimpse of my long dead neighbour laughing at my dying form.

Then the darknesss took over...