Bastian turned to see the elevator arrive. The unmistakable smell of Oleander waltzed from the cab and enveloped him. His mind retreated backwards to the summer he and Patrice happened upon basement level three. They'd snuck from their respective bedrooms late one night and spent those invisible hours between bedtime and breakfast sitting in the elevator, working it's maniac controls and giggling at what they found.

They took turns as captain. Pull a lever, spin the gyroscope, step on the pedal. The doors stutter closed, the lights flicker and all at once the cab is alive and groaning through its acceleration pains. After some time the cab slowed to a stop, and the doors slid into their pockets. Bastian and Patrice held hands and grinned in eager anticipation:

14 - An empty hallway, floral wallpaper and crushed Berber carpet, lined with unnumbered doors.

They peeked out, rolled their eyes to one another and stepped back to the controls. Patrice wiggled her fingers as her hand floated across the wall of controls. She stopped on a promising looking leather handled lever and pulled. Spin the gyroscope. Step on the pedal. Shutter, flicker, groan:

62 - A small room containing no doors or windows, save the elevator; a single dusty armchair sat in the middle of the room.

Patrice seemed interested, but Bastian worked the controls before she could step from the cab.

Pull, Spin, Step:

87 - A small wooden landing and a staircase that ascended endlessly upward into darkness.

17C - A sprawling ballroom inhabited by hundreds of tidy piles of brick and concrete rubble.

108L - A closed and locked door, under which black smoke seeped.


Bastian and Patrice sat with their backs against the elevator cab's wall. He loved the way she smelled. Even in the idiocy of his youth Bastian appreciated the soft and delicate smell of her hair. He let his gaze trace the curve of her chin and the angle of her neck. The cab slowed to a gentle halt and sounded a cheery beep. The display read B3.

The metallic clattering of the elevator doors pulled Bastian back into reality.

1 comment:

Fitter Happier said...

I edited the last two sentences of this post to clarify the daydream/memory sequence I'd written and pull the narrative back to the present.