Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Going Down

In my dream I was in an elevator. I was going down and my sister's pretty head came tumbling down with me, pooling blood around my feet. Her hair lay curled around her face, blood drenched gold. Just when she opened her mouth to scream I woke up, alone in my hotel room, sweating all over. My breath came in sharp, short gasps. I grabbed for my phone in the dark with one hand and fumbled for the lamp switch with the other. While the phone rang I slid my feet into my sneakers and my room key into my pocket. My sister's bemused voice sounded in my ear and I smiled inwardly, stepping out into the hallway.


"It's almost midnight, why are you calling so late?"


"Where are you?"


"I'm taking the elevator to the lobby's vending machines, do you want me to get you anything?"


My heart skipped a beat. I turned left and bolted down the staircase that led down the two floors to the hotel lobby.


"Why are you breathing so hard?"


"I'm running down the steps to meet you in the lobby, stay on the elevator."


"What's going on?"


The last part of her sentence was in stereo as the doors to the elevator slid open. She smiled at me, her nose wrinkling like it always did when she thought I was being particularly silly, and put her phone away. She stepped a foot outside the doors and I marched forward across the lobby floor, putting my hand up like I was the crossing guard of the elevators. The motion felt a little too dramatic at the time, even to me.


"Don't get off the elevator!" I shouted, surprising the man who had been waiting patiently to the side and was about to step on.


"Susan, seriously?"


"Am I allowed to get on?" asked the man, completely confused by now.


"There's something wrong with the elevator. Just stay there and let me get a maintenance worker to look at it, ok? I just have a bad feeling about...all of this." I said ending my warning lamely, my hand tracing the space in front of her in a big circle.


"I was just on it, it's working fine and you're being weird." She accused me.


Nevertheless her foot had returned to just in front of the doors. Whether she thought this was a prank or not, she was at least heeding my advice for the time being. For that I was grateful. The man to the side of the door however had enough and rolled his eyes at me.


"Well I need to get to my room." He said.


Or had started to say I guess. He got halfway through his sentence and took a step over the threshold when the elevator started a descent to the street level. My sister, eyes wide, gasped and took several steps back. She looked at me in surprise. The man, however, lost his footing and fell to the floor, half in and half out. I grabbed hold of his legs and tried to pull him away. Him and I had just got most of his body out but either we were too slow or the elevator was too fast. I'll never be able to get the sound he made when the top of the door met the back of his neck and kept descending, out of my head. Or the sounds his hands made. Hard thumps against metal and carpet turning into wet slaps that kept going even after my sister's high pitched shrieks faded away to the floor below. And I don't think my sister will ever be able to get the look of his face out of hers.
***


I was originally going to have a maintenance man be the hapless person who got decapitated by an elevator, then I realized that I have no clue how elevators are checked or fixed. A quick Google search told me that some hotels apparently have a street/ground floor and then a lobby above that so here we are.