Elevator

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Relive your choices.
Change your options.
Each button takes you somewhere you may not want to go. The devil is not in this elevator, unless you bring him yourself.

Submitted: April 12, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 12, 2016

A A A

A A A


The Elevator

 

 Full moon. Stars pricking the blackness of the night.

He was standing in the dark looking up at the sky, the full moon brilliant; surrounded by the lacy edges of clouds shot through with silver light. Small breaks in the clouds revealed glimpses of the starry night sky and Connor wished he could just stay here forever. There was no desire in him to go back upstairs to his apartment. His parents were fighting, his mom was crying…. Regular weekday evening.

 They never used to fight. Before Dave…

 He swallowed and forced his mind back to the moon and clouds. How cool would it be to fly at night? He always wanted to be a pilot. Flying up above the clouds where the weather was always nice.  He had been in an airplane once at an air show. His Dad had paid for him and his older brother to go. Dave had gotten sick, but Connor had loved it.

 A car passed on the street and he glanced down, his reverie broken. He shoved his hands in his pockets and kicked at the ground. He needed to go back up. He didn’t want them to fight about him too.

 Taking the three steps into the elevator lobby of his building, headphones in his ear, music cranked, he shuffled to the elevator and jammed his hands in his hoodie pockets pulling the hood down tight on his head. Slowly bobbing his head in time to the music.

 Firmly keeping his mind from what waited at home he focused on the music. His mind wanted to dread the long step into his flat, the sound of raised voices and the cacophony of angry energy greeting him like a dense fog when he opened the door, but he kept it at the back of his mind.  A sore tooth that if you don’t touch it with your tongue you can almost pretend it doesn’t hurt. 

The elevator was an ancient thing, groaning and complaining the entire trip it made down the 5 stories to the ground floor. Another reason he kept his music loud. The doors opened laboriously and he stepped in, poked the silver button for the top floor and slouched against the wall.

He yelped in surprise, immediately recoiling from the handrail.

 Something had stabbed his side when he leaned back. He turned and examined the wall suspiciously-

It stabbed him again, a little pinprick of sharp and he turned again.

 He looked behind him and searched through his jacket and shirt, thinking a burr had gotten caught, but nothing.  It poked him again and he turned quickly, as he did it continued to prod him until he had made two more full revolutions. Feeling like a dog chasing his tail he stopped and smashed the area flat with is hand hoping to trap what he was sure was now a bug. The poking stopped and he again came up empty handed. Raising his jacket and shirt he looked in the mirror and saw a small red area on his right side. Bending closer to investigate his eye was distracted by the flashing lights on the elevator panel.

 All the lights were blinking at the same time. He groaned inwardly, the pinching forgotten as the very real possibility of being stuck in the elevator bloomed in his mind. But as he turned to poke the top floor button his hand slowed halfway there and then slowly dropped as he registered the change on the panel.

 The floor numbers were now words.

 He read them slowly and then rubbed his face with both hands, “What the-“

His music changed tracks and he jerked the earbuds from his ears, the sudden silence leaving his head empty feeling, the elevator suddenly larger.

 He eyed the elevator panel again and then slid his fingers around the edges thinking maybe a new panel had slid out while he wasn’t looking. 

Nothing.

 He looked at the panel again and read the words slowly as he counted the floors.

 1 Away

2 Adventure

3 Sorry

4 Memory

5 Home

 The rational part of his mind assumed they should correlate with the floors they were representing, but he wasn’t sure. His friend Jason lived on the third floor. How was that floor ‘Sorry’?

 His eyes kept coming back to floor 2. ‘Adventure.’

Why not? He inexplicably felt silly as he raised his hand and pushed the button. Something to do with the child he used to be fighting with the teenager he was now.

The button felt different as he pushed it. It clicked and sank into the panel, the glowing light around it going out.  A sudden pang of disappointment hit him until the elevator started to move.  It no longer felt like it was going up or down, it had a feeling of weightlessness as it vibrated around him. A small jolt, staggered him and the bell sounded.

 He had been holding his breath. Adrenaline was rising and he felt it in his knees and chest. He pushed back his hood and stood to the side as the door opened.

 

“Hey!  Connor hurry up! We been waiting!”

He stepped from the elevator grinning, his older borthers hoodie over his arm, “Mom made me take this in case it got cold. And the elevator-” His smiled dimmed for a second, “It was…” He couldn’t remember exactly, something about the buttons… “It was acting weird. “ He finished lamely.

 “That thing is gonna fall one day and kill everyone.” Lacey laughed.

 They were all waiting by the steps for him. His older brother Dave, and his girlfriend Lacey from the fourth floor. Jason pushed the door open dramatically and declared, “If you guys, don’t hurry up I’m leaving you.”

 Dave tossed his football to Jason and said, “Hit me!” Before dashing out the door.

 Jason fumbled it and yelled. “You can’t out run this arm buddy!”

 Lacey laughed and grabbed the door for Jason as he stepped forward to throw. Connor hurried a few steps so he could see Dave sprinting across the parking lot.

 Lacey was laughing, “Run baby!”

 Jason threw the ball. It was a perfect throw, lofted and floating well out of Dave’s reach. 

And right into the street on the other side of the parking lot.

 Dave put on a burst of speed just as Connor and Lacey saw the van coming. Connors stomach lurched.

 It wasn’t like the movies at all, nothing slowed down

 Dave saw the van and jumped forward as the ball came down in front of the vehicle, who was slamming on his brakes in a sickening squeal.

 Dave caught the ball and took a quick step as the van swept behind him missing by less than an inch. The van screeched past him and Dave turned. His face was triumphant and scared at the same time.

 Lacey had her hands over her open mouth and Jason still had his hands in the air pointing like he had just scored a point.

 Connor broke the silence, “Holy crap!”

 Dave took a step backwards tossing the football as he did, tripped over the curb and fell. His head smacked the concrete and he lay still, the football landed beside him and rolled away.

 Lacey screamed and Jason and Connor broke into a run. They reached Dave as the van driver reversed and jumped out.

“I didn’t hit him!” he yelled.

 Dave was still, a small pool of blood spreading from the back of his head.

 “Call 911!” Jason shouted. The van driver pulled out a cellphone and started dialing.

Lacy arrived, flinging herself on Dave, screaming and grabbing at his face.

 Connor pulled her off, “Don’t move him Lace! Just wait for the ambulance!”

 She was sobbing and freaking out, “Is he ok? He is gonna be fine!? The car didn’t hit him he just bumped his head right?!! He…he…Dave!” The rest was gibberish as the van driver knelt next to Dave and checked for a pulse.

 “They are on their way. Just hang in there.”

Jason had Dave’s wrist and was checking a pulse. Connor was holding Lacey and staring, his ears roaring with the sound of his blood pounding as he focused on Dave’s face. His older brother, who had taught him to tie his shoes and how to cut the sleeves off a t-shirt to make a muscle shirt.

 By the time the ambulance arrived, the guy in the van had stepped away to have a cigarette and Connor had his hand on Dave’s neck.

But he couldn’t find a pulse. He stubbornly refused to believe it telling himself he could feel it and telling Lacey the same. He tucked his hoodie under Dave’s head where the blood was leaking from and kept feeling for a pulse.

 The paramedics took over efficiently but Connor was watching when the man checked for a pulse and looked at his partner shaking his head slightly.

 He started chest compressions and Lacey really lost it then. Jason had to drag her away. The other medic caught Connors eye.

 “You his brother?”

 Connor nodded, not taking his eyes off Dave.

 The medic snapped his fingers.  “Hey, look at me.”

 Connor looked at her. The girl had a pretty face and she was looking at Connor intently.

 “I need a hand getting your brother on the stretcher while my partner works. Can you help me?”

 Connor nodded and the next few minutes went by quickly as he followed the directions of the medic.

 The paramedic working on Dave never stopped. Even when they lifted him and put him in the back, the paramedic only stopped long enough to climb in and then went back to pushing on Dave’s chest.

They closed the doors and the medic looked at Connor.

 “I gotta get Mom.”  He panicked slightly. “Where is he going?”

 “We are taking him to St. Mary’s on 34th. Do you know where that is?”

 He nodded.

 “Ok, get your mom and meet us there.”

He turned and sprinted back to the apartment his feet pounding the pavement in cadence with the words NO  NO NO NO NO NO NO NO in his head. He heard the siren start behind him and he started crying.

He crashed through the doors and pounded the elevator button until the doors opened and slammed through-

 

 Silence.

He was sitting on the elevator floor, the hood still around his neck where he had pushed it back, the doors closed and the only sound was the chiming of the Elevator in time with the pulsing red lights on the panel.

 He stood. “That’s not an adventure?!” He yelled. He kicked the wall viciously and swiped at the tears still on his face, “That was the worst day of my life. My parents are still fighting about it and they will probably get a divorce! That wasn’t an adventure! That was hell!”

 It was several minutes before he calmed down.

 He stood looking at the panel panting.

5 Home

4 Memory

3 Sorry

2 Adventure

1 Away

 

 He stood looking at the panel for a moment then rage took over him and he began punching the panel, sharp pains lancing up his fists but he didn’t stop until he heard a familiar click and saw he had punched the button number 4.

Memory

 With a feeling of dread and sinking stomach he realized the elevator was moving in an undefined direction.

 A sudden lurch and then the doors opened.

 His breath caught-

 

 He rang the bell on Lacey’s door and then waited for her to answer. She had been doing better the last few weeks. For several months after Dave had died, she had been depressed, barely eating and Connor had caught her cutting herself in the park one day.

 But recently she had seemed to be doing well, smiling and laughing with her friends at school and when he had gotten her note today to come over after school she had put a smiley heart face on the bottom the way she used to.

 No answer.

 Connor frowned and knocked. Nothing. He tried the door, it was unlocked.

 “Hey Lacey! You here?” He hollered in the door.

He heard her from the sound of the kitchen. “Yeah, in here.”

 He closed the door behind him and walked to the kitchen, hanging his hoodie on the coat hook by the door.

 “What’s going-?” He stopped as he entered the kitchen.

 Lacey had the window open and was sitting on the edge of it, a picture in her hands. The sun was behind her lighting up her blonde hair and edging her face with gold.

 “Lacey, what are you doing?” he asked slowly.

 She looked at him with steady eyes, “Connor, I’m going to jump out this window and finally be with Dave.”

 Connor felt panic envelope him and he tried to shake it off, “No, no, Lacey listen to me, -“

 “Connor, I’m going.”

 “Why did you leave me that note? You wanted me to be here so I could stop you, Lacey.” He measured the distance across the kitchen.

 “Connor, I read about it. If I pass onto the next realm with a picture of my loved one in my hands and someone in his family present I will find him in the afterlife.”

 She looked so peaceful and almost happy. She was wearing red shorts and a white shirt that Dave had always liked. She looked so pretty. As he stared, desperate, she shook her hair to one side and pulled it over her shoulder.

 Connors mind was screaming, he felt so helpless and he couldn’t seem to talk normally, “Lacey don’t do this, think of your parents, think of me! Dammit Lacey don’t…Don’t!.....”

 She smiled at him and fell backwards as he lunged for her.

 He wasn’t even close to reaching her. He got to the window and looked out. She lay twisted and broken at the bottom of the three steps leading into their apartment building.

 An inarticulate scream broke from his mouth and he turned, racing to the elevator tears and red hot emotions blinding him.  The doors opened and he rushed in-

 

“Why?!!” He screamed to himself. “Why did she jump? Why?!” He sobbed to himself on the floor of the elevator his breath coming in gasps, thoughts whirling.

 He sat up and stared at the elevator panel.

 “I’m sorry Lacey. I should have jumped out that window after you.” His lips quivered and he felt despondent with self- pity.  “I’m sorry.”

 He reached up and hit number 3.

Sorry

The sense of motion without movement and then the lurch. He stood slowly. Dusted off his pants and wiped his eyes on the sleeve of his hoodie.

 The doors opened.

 

 

 

“Come in!”

 Connor pushed open the door to Jason’s apartment and found his buddy standing casually with one leg up on a box in the entry way his hands on his hips looking off into the distance. “Here I am!”

  Connor shook his head and laughed. “Nice.”

His friend yelled across the living room to where presumably his mom was, “Hey! Connor is here, we are gonna go to my room and make plans for taking over the world.”

 He grinned at Connor as his moms voice returned. “Ok, but if you succeed you owe me back rent for the last 16 years.”

 Connor laughed again and followed Jason back to his room.

 “So what’s the plan?” he asked as Jason shut the door.

 Jason’s face turned serious.

 “Ok, I found the book Lacey was reading from.”

The smile vanished from Connors face. “And?” He demanded.

 “It’s very confusing and full of rambling phases like ‘I call to the watchtower of the north to close and protect this spell’ and actions like sweeping outward from the center to cleanse your aura and drawing pentacles with your ‘athame.’”

 “What is an ‘athame?” Connor asked.

 “Blade?...I think?” Jason answered hesitantly, “Anyways, the page that refers to what Lacey-”

 He paused and swallowed, “did.  Refers to following a loved one and using blood and an object.”

 Connor stopped him, “She said member of the family.”

 “I think because you are brothers, she took it to mean blood like you have the same blood.”

 Connor nodded. “What else?”

 Jason took a deep breath, “I don’t know if any of this crap is real or not, but from what I have read, if it is real, we can send you to get them both and bring them back.”

 Connor just looked at Jason waiting for him to laugh.

 Jason didn’t laugh.

 “Seriously?” Connor stood up. “That’s messed up. Why would you-“

“Connor! Listen to me. I’m not talking about bringing back the dead, I’m talking about undoing what happened. What if you could change one thing about that day and everything is off by a few seconds?”

 “So like time travel?” Connor looked at Jason.

 “Kind of, but not really. Look, in here it is talking about influencing spirits not actually affecting corporeal forms.”

 “What?!”

“Corporeal is like flesh and blood. So you can’t show up in a corporeal body and tell yourself, “Dave is gonna die, don’t let him run across the parking lot. But if you can make your Mom mad so she won’t let us go, or like make the van driver have to pee and so he stops at a gas station.

 Connor was frowning, “Ok so how do we do it?”

 Jason leaned forward excitedly, “We are gonna use the elevator as our conveyance and you as the passenger.”

 “To go where?” Connor asked.

 “That I am not quite sure. But since you are his blood relation I am hoping it will take you to him.” Jason said.

Connor was looking at Jason and thinking in the back of his mind his best friend was crazy. But another part of him wanted to believe. Lacey had believed enough to jump out a window. 

“I’m not crazy.” Jason said. He rubbed the back of his head, “Well, maybe I am but I don’t think I am. This sounds looney I know, but after Lacey, I just…” He shrugged. “Ya know?”

 Connor sat back down. “Yeah.”

Later Jason and Connor stood next to the elevator.

 Jason looked at Connor. “I feel like a geek. Or maybe I should be wearing a pointy hat or something.”

Connor just chuckled nervously, he felt apprehensive and like he was gonna throw up. He didn’t really expect anything to happen but he felt weird about doing all this.

“See you on the other side.” The doors closed and he heard Jason completing the circle they had constructed out of copper wire they had found in the basement and saying the last lines of the spell.

 Silence.

 He took a breath and turned backwards.

 One.

 Two

 Three.

 

Connor slumped back into the elevator. He hated that memory. It showed him how foolish he was. He lived it screaming inside his own head trying to tell Jason it didn’t work and he was stuck in an endless cycle.

 He wanted to quit. He had lived each floor countless times and he couldn’t make any changes. He had battered the inside of the elevator with his fist until he left bloody marks on the shiny steel. He had screamed his voice out and yanked the handrail off the wall smashing at the panel of buttons, but each time, he would hit a floor and it would all go back to the way it had been. His hands healed, the bar back in place, the mirror unbroken.

The only floor where he was aware was Jason’s. But he couldn’t change anything. He was stuck riding in his own body.

 The only floor that offered relief was 1. Limbo. Of sorts.

 While he was on floor 1 he wasn’t aware of the elevator spell. He found himself looking at the moon and stars and dreading the return to his apartment where his parent were fighting.  

Why not go home?

 Dave was gone, Lacey followed him. He had been stuck in a magic elevator for who knows how long. Maybe a month. Maybe a year.

 Why not just let it go? Find peace with his brother’s death.

Like they said in the movies. Time heals all wounds.

 He stirred, examining the blood stain on the lower part of his hoodie, Dave’s hoodie actually. He had been unable to find his own that fateful day and grabbed his older brother’s dark blue hoodie with the number 187 in white on the chest. Part of the white was rubbed off and the lower part of the pocket was stained a darker blue from where Dave’s blood had soaked into it.

 Connor stood.

 This was it. Jason had been wrong. He had been unable to change anything. He was done. He said his goodbyes to Dave and Lacey in his mind and reached a shaking hand to hit button number 5.

 Home.

 He stopped. His hand shook and he clenched it, raked his fingers over his face and screamed with his teeth clenched.

 Why did his brother have to go?!!!

 His breath caught in his throat again and he took a deep breath.

He leaned against the wall and without thinking reached out and hit the button.

 The feeling of motion without direction, the sudden lurch and then the doors trembled open.

 

“Connor!” His mom yelled.

 “What?!!”  He skidded to a stop and leaned back in the door.

 “Take a jacket with you it’s supposed to get cold later.

 “Mooomm! Dave didn’t take a jacket, I’ll be fine!” He protested.

 “Connor if you want to leave this house you will take a jacket!”

 He sighed and ran to his room. Jacket…jacket. They were waiting on him! His big brother was taking him to the park and they were gonna stay for the live concert later and he had to take a stupid jacket. He glanced at the clock.

 “MOOMMM! I can’t find a jacket and Dave is gonna leave me!!Lacey is already down there and he won’t wait!!” Connor yelled in frustration.

 “TAKE A JACKET!!!!” His Moms voice had that tone suggesting she might actually ground him.

 He grabbed Dave’s hoodie off the chair and headed to the door.

 “Did you find one?” His mom asked coming around the corner to see him as he left. Connor suspected to make sure he wasn’t lying.

 “I found Dave’s I’ll just borrow it.” He said.

 “Or you could get yours, it is in the living room by the TV.” His mother suggested.

 Connor hesitated with his hand on the door.

 

 

 

 

The End

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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