Fiction writers: You’re stuck in an elevator* with an intriguing stranger. Write this scene.
*I use the word Lift.
“Grab my hand, hold it, tight – good” I said as the smooth tiny fingers wrapped around my own. I gave it a little squeeze, some meagre attempt at assurance.
Just hours before I had managed to wedge the lift door open and keep us away from the chaos outside. Just hours ago I had been visiting my Aunt Mabel on the 3rd floor. She would surely be dead now, oh Jesus, I pray she’s dead.It was better than waiting to die, like I was.
A coarse whimper from behind reminded me that I was not alone. The girl – I peered down to see her round face covered in sweat and grime from the debris outside, she was wearing a sweet angel costume, masses of curly hair stuck to her cherubic face.
I tried to comfort her, at first by humming something I’d thought she’d know, but within seconds we were exchanging sheepish glances confirming that I had failed so I distracted her with questions instead. She told me she was eight years old and that her name was Alma. She liked animals – tigers were her favourite – but she didn’t like the animals out there because,
“They’re always chasing me.”
The ringing, I was sure it had distorted my hearing, I kneeled down to hear her properly noticing for the first time that the floor was wet; I strained my eyes to adjust in the dimmed light. Tears started to roll down Alma’s cheeks but she didn’t cry out. She sighed, the way a tired and fed up adult did when life didn’t quite go their way, then added “They killed my guardian”.
She hung her head to avoid eye contact and I was glad. I wasn’t the kind of person who could mask their feelings, not even for a child and what she had just said to me sent shivers up my spine. The sweat that had built up from our hands meant that it was easy for her to slip away; I allowed her to let it fall limp by her side, but felt guilty almost instantly.
Racking my brain to recall where I had found her, I remembered that it had been right after the invasion; the destruction had been very severe. The whole corridor was now a mass of concrete rubble and hanging wires but somewhere amongst the fog of ash I had managed to crawl out from under the mess and guide myself towards the sound of the fire alarms by the stairwell. I had seen her, crouched over the lifeless body of a young woman. Her guardian.
“She was supposed to take me up to the 11th floor” Alma mumbled, she wiped her face and looked at the small gap between the lift doors, “they can sense that I’m here now”, the feathers on her wings fluttered from the draft. I looked at them closely, but couldn’t place why they intrigued me so much.
The fire alarms rang out beyond, engulfing the faint screams of monsters and civilians into its drill. I pulled Alma back gently and turning her to face me, I allowed her to rest her head on my chest. She was still a child.
She tilted her face up towards mine and whispered into my ear “They’re coming…”
press here to go up and out. More elevator stories for your liking