We hope you’ve had a good week of writing! It’s time to see what our writers came up with for this week’s prompt.
The prompt this week was: Two strangers are trapped in a stuck elevator. Try to write in a specific genre.
Three of our writers came up with stories this week, mostly slanting towards the urban fantasy/horror direction…
I checked my watch. Yeah, it had been thirty minutes now, and I was still stuck in a damn elevator. My involuntary companion, a man with long dark hair and a black coat, leaned against the wall across from me staring at his phone. After pressing the elevator’s help button and calling the front desk of this New York skyscraper, he hadn’t said a word and just stood there.
It really annoyed me.
I tried, yet again, to engage in conversation with him. “You’d think they’d have told us on the intercom that they’re sending help, or something.”
“There’s a sound system in here for music but I doubt anyone can speak through it,” He said, not even look up from his phone.
I straightened my tie, and crossed my arms. “how much longer do you think we’ll have to wait?”
“That’s the third time you’ve said that.”
He didn’t sound angry, but there was a twinge to his voice that made me not want to test his impatience. He probably had somewhere to be too. All I knew was that I sure as hell wasn’t going to get this job, not if I couldn’t make it to the interview.
And in today’s market, like I could use being stuck in an elevator as an excuse.
“You’d think they’d give us an update.”
The man looked up, and his dark eyes threatened to burn a hole through me. There was something unsettling about him, alright. Though I couldn’t put my finger on it.
I paced around the elevator, taking care to not disturb his majesty on the far wall, but there was only so much space on an elevator intended for a two minute ride, not a forty minute claustrophobia trip.
“My interview should have started ten minutes ago.”
His utter indifference was really starting to get at me. I sucked in a breath, but then slowly let it out again.
“Don’t you have somewhere to be too?” I asked.
The man brushed his hair behind his shoulder, and raised an eyebrow at me. “What were you applying for?”
“Entry analyst at Devcorp.”
The man chuckled. “Trying to be a cog for a bloodsucking organization?”
“If all you need is a job I have something much better I could offer you.”
I tried to give him a look, like a ‘dude I don’t know you, what the hell are you talking about’ look, but I must have failed, because the smile that slowly spread on the man’s face shot ice down my spine.
“Like … what?” I asked, not because I wanted to ask but because I couldn’t stop the words from coming out of my mouth.
“It’s not a desk job, but there’s benefits. And the health care lasts a lifetime.”
That’s when I noticed the fangs in the man’s toothy smile.
That’s also when the elevator dinged.
“I can’t believe no one has come to get us out of here,” I complained. I was sweating like a pig in this stupid elevator. It had lurched to a stop nearly an hour ago; the lights dying along with the downward motion, leaving only pale emergency lights. I’d been looking at the floor numbers as we went down, eager to get out of this cramped space.
Eager to get away from Creepy Boy.
There was something not quite right with him. Maybe the way his eyes didn’t focus. Maybe the way his clothes hung on him as if they belonged to someone else. Maybe just the way he was huddled in the corner of the elevator, glaring at me. As if I was the one who had made it stop.
We were somewhere between the fifth and sixth floors. High enough that my terror of falling elevators was trying to take over. Trying to make me cower in a sodden heap on the floor, keening. I clamped my teeth tighter together and glared at the panel. Where a call button should have been. Where there was just an empty hole.
From overhead, I heard a strange skittering. The car seemed to tremble, ever so slightly. I glanced up as the sounds continued, growing louder. And now it wasn’t just skittering noises overhead. There was a heavy, deep rumble. Almost a growl. Except, I could almost make out words. I looked over at Creepy Boy, planning to ask him if he heard it too, but my words died in my throat.
Creepy Boy was shuddering, hands clamped over his mouth. He’d managed to cram himself further into the corner, which I hadn’t thought possible. He flinched every time one of those growls came; eyes bulging as they darted around our hot, confining prison as if seeking for some way out.
I opened my mouth to ask what was wrong. Maybe he was claustrophobic. I could relate to that. But he shook his head at me desperately, eyes flashing a warning. Begging me not to speak.
A strange pinging sounded above us, and the elevator car sagged ever so slightly to the right. I managed to keep on my feet, but the idea of crouching into a little ball on the floor sounded even more appealing.
Then something dripped from the ceiling, something dark and tinged red. Blood? Was that blood? I bent over and sniffed. No. Not blood. But it was something just as bad. It was oily. A lubricant, or hydraulic fluid perhaps. Definitely not good.
There was another growl from above us and Creepy Boy wet himself. The stink of urine was sharp, burning my nose.
He turned to me and whispered, “I’m sorry.”
“Shit happens,” I said, although, that wasn’t exactly appropriate under the circumstances.
“No, it’s my fault,” he whispered. “I’m sorry you were in here with me.”
Were? Past tense? As a writer, I noticed things like that.
“Why?” I asked. Then there was another ping, even louder, and the elevator sagged further, tossing me onto my knees.
“I thought I got away from them,” Creepy Boy said from his corner.
“From who?” I demanded, images of spies or serial killers flashing through my head.
“From them,” he said, as the top of the elevator ripped away and something dark and full of teeth peered down at us.
I didn’t even scream when the elevator gave way and began to plummet toward the ground. Going splat seemed infinitely preferable to being eaten by whatever that horror wa—
The elevator dings, stops, and slowly the doors crawl open. Seriously? This garage only has four floors. Someone’s actually lazy enough and selfish enough to stop the elevator on floor three, just so they can take it up one measly flight of stairs? I seriously consider just getting off and taking the stairs myself from here, but—well, I’m already stopped, so what’s the point?
A woman in a smart business suit steps in, and we avoid eye contact, the way you do in elevators. Even though I’d sort of like to give her the stink eye for making me stop. What’d she do, get out on the wrong floor to look for her car, and decide to take the elevator again to go up one more?
I have to jab the “door close” button three times before the doors slowly crawl closed again. Why do elevators in short buildings take so damn long? I’m already running late to my dinner date. The guy will probably bail before I even get there. If I hadn’t got stuck with all that paperwork at the office, and had got out at a normal human end-of-work-day time…oh well, if some guy from the internet doesn’t think I’m worth waiting for, he’s not worth my time anyway.
We’re slowly, slowly creeping up towards floor four when the elevator gives a surprisingly dramatic lurch for something that was hardly moving. And stops.
That’s the fourth floor, right? Right?
The door doesn’t open.
“Oh, you have got to be kidding me,” smart business suit groans, echoing my thoughts exactly.
I jab the “doors open” button a few times. Zilch.
“Guess I better hit that emergency button,” I say doubtfully, and stab it.
Nothing but static, and I feel a mounting frustration.
“I’m supposed to get a person, right?” I say.
Business Suit shrugs. “Maybe it’s an alarm. Like when there’s an emergency at a bank. It sends a signal somewhere.”
“Yeah, or no one’s at their desks anymore,” I mutter. Seven pm on a Friday night. Who’s going to be paying attention to a stupid little garage elevator? We could be stuck here for hours. I check my phone—no signal, of course.
Okay, no need to catastrophize. My therapist kept telling me I do that. It’ll all be fine. It will all be fine. It will all—
The lights flicker.
“No, no, no,” I protest. “Stuck elevator, okay, but I will not accept the lights going out too!”
“It’ll be fine,” Business Suit says. “You’re not afraid of the dark, are you?” Her voice kind of echoes. Weird elevator acoustics.
“No,” I snap. “But I’m late for dinner and—”
The lights go out, all except for the red glow of the emergency button. I jab it several more times, with absolutely no result.
“There has to be some way out of here,” I say, trying to contain my growing desperation. “Maybe we could open up a ceiling panel, or get behind this door panel—was there a ‘break in emergency’ thing?” It’s hard to see anything in the red light.
“I think the ceiling panel thing only works in movies,” Business Suit says. Her voice seems to come out of the air, like it’s not even attached to a person anymore. Which is dumb, because I can see the outline of her body. There’s enough red light for that. But still, something about darkness—people never seem like people to me, in the darkness.
Though that does make some recreational activities, shall we say, less nerve-wracking.
“Why don’t we just sit down?” Business Suit continues. “Relax. Get to know each other.”
“I’m hungry,” I complain, knowing I sound like a petulant child, but I can’t keep the whine out of my voice. Man, I should not have skipped lunch. Between that and the late hour and the darkness, I can feel my control slipping.
I try to focus my thoughts on my dinner date. He looked super tasty in his photos online.
This helps not at all, because as time ticks by I’m increasingly sure he won’t wait around. So I’ll miss out on him and dinner, because I had to get stuck in a stupid elevator with this stupid woman who keeps making soothing noises at me. And it’s her fault to begin with, because she couldn’t walk up one dumb flight of stairs.
“Why don’t you tell me about yourself?” she suggests, and I see that I have only two choices.
Either I can try to control my increasingly ravening hunger, spend potentially hours life-sharing with this annoying woman, and then have something cold to eat at home because it’s way too late for my original plans.
Or I could eat.
“Aw hell with it,” I say, and go for her jugular. Going to be a nightmare to clean-up and cover my tracks, but I really hate life-sharing. It’s why my therapists never last long.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading! Come back tomorrow for next week’s prompt, and next Saturday for the results.