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That Elevator

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The excruciating pain surged up my leg, my broken right leg on seeing the staircase in front of me. I had an accident around 2 months ago resulting in my broken leg and the bedridden me. I was advised to use the staircase but my apprehension won’t allow me to do so. I stood frozen before the first step while my conscience constantly reminded me of my doctor’s advice.

Great! You can walk properly now. A quick recovery! Try using the stairs now, you’ll get better.

I was well, according to Dr. Pathak. I knew it too which was why I decided to visit my friend here. But I completely forgot, he lived on the third floor. I could definitely try to use the stairs, my new start it would be, but the fear of the excruciating pain wouldn’t let me get better.

I lost from my fear and turned towards the elevator. 

Aah! Great! Seems like God’s playing a game. 

I had claustrophobia. The horror of getting on the elevator struck me hard. I, then, looked towards the staircase from the corner of my eyes but pushed the elevator’s button hoping that a lift attendant would be inside. The door slid open and the absence of a lift attendant was evident. 

I took a step back. I had already decided to leave that place when I saw a senile lady getting on the elevator. I thought to get on the elevator too as finally there was a company. 

I took a step forward shutting my eyes to the menacingly welcoming doors of the elevator.

I had finally got on the elevator.

“Floor?”, I asked.

“2”, the lady replied with an ear to ear smile.

I took a deep heave and pushed the button 2 as well as 3.

The lady had a deep, horrible cut on her right hand which seemed like an old injury.

I was constantly calming myself down for not to get too nervous as the elevator doors slid shut.

“Claustrophobic?”, she asked.

“Uhh…yeah.”

“Me too..”

“But….but you look so calm.”

“I am.”

“Are you sure, you’re a claustrophobic?”

“I was…once.”

“And now?”

“I overcame it.”

“Great! But how?”

“That’s a long story, young lady. It’ll take longer than the time we reach the third floor.”

“I wish I could hear it.”

“You want to?”

“Uhh…yeah, I do.”

Suddenly, a great thudding noise met our ears and the elevator stopped. It stopped but my adrenaline rushed, my phobia triggered. 

It took no time for the elevator lights to start fluctuating. 

It took no time for me to start panicking more. I started sweating, my heart now pounded with twice the speed, I started taking deep heaves.

The lights went off and my heart sank. I could feel my palms sweating. I tried to speak but nothing came out of my mouth.

It was then, the lady beside me kept her hand on my shoulder in order to pacify me. 

“I think you said you want to hear my story”, said the old lady.

“Uh…yeah…but I think it’s not the time..”

“Sorry, darling. I don’t recite but show my story.”

“I think….we should call somebody for help.” As soon as I said that a hand grabbed my wrist firmly. I could feel the pain it caused, so, I screamed. Loudly. That’s when the other hand of the lady grabbed my throat. It hurt. A lot. It caused no problem to my respiration but I couldn’t speak anything. No voice came out of my throat. So, now I couldn’t move nor could I speak. That’s what she wanted, after all. She wanted to show me her story.

“It was when I was 11. It was 2 in the morning when my dad woke me up asking me to take him to the Ground floor immediately. I could see his red, watery eyes. He had often had trouble breathing as he had lung cancer. But this time, it was different. He was suffering way too much. I had no time to panic. I took him to the elevator immediately” narrated the old lady’s voice.

Suddenly, the lights again started flickering. The old lady was nowhere to be seen but I could still feel those hands around my wrist and throat and I still couldn’t move an inch.

I saw a lift attendant who sat in the corner of the elevator now. He was drunk.

The elevator door slid open. A girl of around 10-11 years, wearing an old-fashioned frock came in along with her father. His father seemed sick. Extremely sick. He was coughing and trying hard to breathe. But he couldn’t. The little girl pressed the button “1” and asked her father, “Pa…but why are we going down?”

“I’ll…ask Sharma Ji…for help. He’ll take me…to..the hos..pital. You take care…of yourself, bud.”

The elevator stopped working, again. The little girl panickingly asked the attendant to do something about this. She screamed loudly and had tears in her eyes. All she wanted was to save her father at any cost. She tried to wake the drunk and drowsy lift attendant but all was in vain. The father made desperate efforts to breathe but apparently, couldn’t. One could easily tell that he was suffering from severe chest pain. He coughed. Coughed a lot.

The little girl seemed helpless. Her father fell down on his back on the elevator floor. He was nearly unconscious by now and his eyes were red as a lobster. One of his hands was on his chest while other trying to grope something for support. He coughed. Now, he coughed up blood. He coughed up blood right on my shoe. My shoe was wet with blood. Horrible red color. I tried to move my foot but couldn’t. He coughed up a lot of blood. The little girl panicked, cried helplessly while this chaos seemed to have no effect on the attendant who was dozing off in the corner.

Suddenly, everything stopped. Her father’s coughing, his sufferings stopped. The little girl stood frozen now and gazed at his father, white with horror. She fell on her knees and started crying seeing her worst nightmare come true. He was dead.

The elevator lights which were flickering till now, went off, again.

My dad was the single parent. I lost him that day. My worst nightmare it was. I never got on an elevator since that day. I didn’t even want to see one. It took my dad’s life, after all. I wandered alone, starving and thirsty. No one beside me. I was claimed insane. Insane I was. But I had one thing left to do. And I did it when I was around 16, I guess”, narrated the disembodied voice.

The elevator lights started flickering again. The attendant was still there, in the corner of the elevator, a bit older now, still dozing. The door slid open and a 16-17 year old girl entered. Her hand was bleeding severely due to a deep cut. She had a piece of glass, maybe a broken mirror. The door now slid shut. She pressed the button “10” and the lift started to move up. Out of the blue, she raised the piece of glass in the air and to my horror, she started stabbing the drunk attendant’s throat continually. She stabbed him and the blood sprinkled on my face like a fountain. I stood frozen with horror. The door now slid open again and the girl stepped out of the elevator, hopping like a kid. Really elated she was while I still looked towards the horribly stabbed body lying beside me. I was now standing in the puddle of blood. Blood of the attendant. 

The next thing I remember was that I was lying down on elevator floor while the old lady tried to pacify me. I tried to find the attendant’s body and blood but thankfully, couldn’t find them.

“It’s okay, okay. Don’t worry. You’re okay. You just panicked a lot, I guess and fainted. See, the lift’s working now” said the old lady.

“Uh…thank you and I’m…. I’m sorry for being such a mess.” I was really embarrassed. I took deep breaths to calm myself down and tried to convince myself that it was just a vision…a dream. Not a reality.

“Oh, it’s alright. Umm… it’s floor 2. I should get going. Are you sure, you’re okay?”

“Yeah, thanks a lot.”

“Okay, take care, dear.” 

The door slid open on the second floor and the lady left.

I stood up and waited for the elevator to stop at floor 3. 

The elevator, after a few moments, slid open on 3rd floor before I could be anymore trouble.

I took a step forward and came out of the elevator. I was glad I was no far away from my friend’s place.

I was moving towards his front door when I felt something weird. I could feel something wet on my face. I touched my face and drew my hand in front of my eyes. The sight that awaited me was pure horror. 

I turned towards the mirror fit on the wall of the corridor and saw my face red with blood.

It was blood.

It was the attendant’s blood.

I looked at my shoe which too had a horrible red stain.

It was blood.

It was the father’s blood.

________________________________

This incident took place several years back.

Now, I confidently moved in an elevator where a girl of about 20 years was standing already.

“Uhh… I’m claustrophobic”, I said.

“Oh. So, you could use the stairs, couldn’t you?”

“I have a story. A long story.”

“But surely, I haven’t got anytime to hear your story.”

Hear? I’m sorry, darling. I don’t recite but show my story” said I.

The elevator stopped with a thud and the lights went off.

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