Daniel Bird Daniel Bird
Recommendations: 47

" - I jerked my head up, at the polished wall of the elevator, instantly shoving the little girl around to the other side of me. - " This is a good, telling sentence that allows us (Readers) an image of an elevator, giving us a look at the actions and setting the tone. Good stuff!

Daniel Bird Daniel Bird
Recommendations: 47

" - Everyone will be trying to spy on everyone else without getting noticed - " I think this could be used in a more immediate way by simply saying that it IS indeed happening; e.g. " - Avoiding eye contact, everyone spied each other carefully - " or something like that. I do appreciate those little details that follow from the reflective walls to her shoes

Daniel Bird Daniel Bird
Recommendations: 47

" - My heart skipped a beat, triggering a drop of adrenaline into my blood stream which got it gearing up like an express train for the next station. - " I do enjoy those little moments when an action or an emotion (and sometimes both - as you have done very cleverly,) spilling out into a full, brightly lit image, if only to express the beating of one's heart and the gathering of tension. Very good! Satisfying!

Daniel Bird Daniel Bird
Recommendations: 47

" - The tumblers in my head grind and cartwheel. - " Ticklish, and a damn good way of saying she is a fuse about to blow!

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Bill O. farmer Bill O. farmer
Recommendations: 14

Darkness on the 35th.

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She had a friend.

Lifts are scary confines for many, give you that spin in the head so you just lose your balance when you least expect it to happen. Those express types, all glass and mounted on the side of a building will sure get me regretting as to why I chose to use them.

‘Get your eyes off of me!’
I was looking down chattering away at Jenny about the endless fun for the upcoming weekend. You know that twos company three a crowd thing, when I heard the words. I jerked my head up, at the polished wall of the elevator, instantly shoving the little girl around to the other side of me. The metal plate was as shiny as glass you could see your reflection on it. The old man was peering around my skirts at Jenny. I turn around and look at him. 1 comment

My granddaughter and I were on 54th Avenue Kings Cross at the Science Proto Inc. building. I had just picked her off for the weekend as her mother would be out on a trip. The doors had hissed shut and being too taken up with ourselves, I didn’t notice much except for a glance at the old geezer across through the reflective steel wall of the elevator car.

‘Excuse me?’ I frown looking from him down to the kid cowering behind me and back at him.
‘Tell her to get her eyes off of me!’ He replies vehemently. He now glares at me like he is noticing me for the first time. Which I think was true because I was noticing him for the first time anyway. The tension in an elevator makes the needle jump immediately the doors close. Everyone will be trying to spy on everyone else without getting noticed. Your eyes then roam from the reflective walls as you try to avoid eye contact to the ceiling, the digital display, your toes, his fly, her shoes etc. So it was just a perfect excuse for me to concentrate on my grand-daughter. 1 comment

‘Oh come on she’s just a kid, ‘I brush him off tousling Jennifer’s golden curls. My heart skipped a beat, triggering a drop of adrenaline into my blood streams which got it gearing up like an express train for the next station. 1 comment

We, Jenny and I, backup to a corner in the process I involuntarily tread upon the only other occupant in the elevator who scuttles across to the other wall of the elevator like she never wants to get caught up in the hail of bullets that just started flying. I look beyond the old man to the polished wall where I can see the young woman with out turning to look at her directly. It’s hard to tell whether they are in this together or not.

‘Don’t worry Jenny, everything is just fine.’
‘nena nena nene, nene nini nini nene,’ he mimics shaking his head at us.
‘You got a problem?’ I ask the question but my mind is getting pummeled with a lot of what I have gotten myself into; at my stupidity in putting my grand child in harms way. Had I been more careful, watchful, maybe I should have seen something unusual before stepping in. I look from him to the woman across somewhere in her early twenties obese and a perfect recipe for an early heart attack. I look at her askance trying to reach into my handbag for a pepper spray or something. At my age, fourty-eight, I never did see any use for those sorts of stuffs in my bag, but I wish I had something of the sort for this moment.

‘No! Just the kid. Don’t like her one bit... the look anyway.’ He locks eyes with me, but keeps jabbing a gnarled finger in direction of Jenny. ‘Could bet everything thats left of me, that she's as impish as they get...’

I look for an explanation from the young lady across. it's that silent question at her like, ’Do you read this old man?’ But the young woman is slowly flattening her obese frame against the wall. The free fall of the lift does not help matters. A glance at the display and there are forty floors to go from a hundred.

‘... and right now, I see an imp!’ The old man finishes.

Chest rising and falling visibly now like it’s the source of motion for the lift, I square up my shoulders and step forward. Jenny holds me back, my skirts gathered in her fists.
‘You got a problem with my grand daughter?’ I jerk my chin at him; ‘If so you go through me first!’ I thumb at my chest short of rolling up my cardigan sleeves ready for battle.

He looks me up and down, a quick assessment before replying; ‘In my prime!’ I arch my brows in suprise, lifting my head up so am looking down my nose at him. The tumblers in my head grind and cartwheel. I edge Jenny away from the woman across as well who is hyperventilating now. She is like a woman doing the breath cycles associated with birth. One, two, three then the deeeeep in and ooout breathe. Her eyes wide. 1 comment

Just when am about to figure out what in my prime means, the lift jerks to a sudden stop. The clatter of the elevator hoist ropes and D.C motor high above are loud in the silent shaft as the braking systems clamp into place. The fluorescents die on us. The insignificant hum of ventilation motor is choked, making that sound more of a comfort now that things are out of hand. It’s a wonder I have taken the hum of that fan for granted all these years of using elevators.

The sudden stop knocks us off balance, exerting weight on our feet than ever imagined before. Jenny’s grip on my skirts nearly drags it off. We fight to keep on our feet. The old man involuntarily comes hurtling into us; thank God Jenny is behind me. Careful not to smother her with a bum, I shove the geezer back and raise the hand bag over my head ready to strike. Being a tall woman, I have to reconsider how high I raise it for its already scraping at the ceiling.

‘Try that again and you have it.’ I declare into the darkness. From the way he started off on Jenny, I didn’t want him a mile near us let alone in the car right now. Thinking about it, maybe I should have remained silent because had he had much more sinister motives, then he could easily have taken me out in the darkness. The backup system kicks in restoring the lighting. The old man, hands braced against the wall ducks when he notices the raised bag. We all for a moment focus our attentions on the flickering tubes like they are the enemies. I move a foot away from the young woman who has gone on all fours and is crawling with difficulty towards the doors. She is still doing her birth drills.

‘You okay Jennifer?’ I steal a glance behind me.
‘Mmh,’ she replies.
‘Hang in there, we’ll be out of here in a moment.’ I look up at the ceiling my ears straining for the sounds outside the lift. Nothing.

The old man steals a peep at the display, I follow suit. 35th floor, the polka dots declare!
‘It could be anywhere between the stupid floors.’ The old man blurts out.
‘How comforting!’ My reply is as stupid as it comes for it suddenly fills me with guilt and rage like we are on the same side.
‘Some coffin!’ the old man keeping his corner eyes the bag over my head with suspicion. ‘You really need that?’ From below the waist he points at the bag like it could take his finger off with a single snap of a bite.
‘Long as you are into something foolish.’ Over the shoulder; ‘don’t worry Jenny, we’ll be out of here in a moment,’ I try to keep her going.
‘Mmh,’ she replies.

Some life seems to come into the young woman, she is rising to her feet and digging her nails between the lips of the double doors. She is frantic in her efforts that the silly artificial nails get pried off. ‘Let me out.’ She whimpers. 'Just let me out.'

‘Hey, miss, for all I care you might be prying open a dead man’s lips. Just knock it off!’
I open my mouth in shock. ‘Do you mind?’ this time round I really feel like bashing in his head. ‘One more word from you and you have it.’
‘Oh!’ The old man tries to move his head out of the line of fire, the bag tracks him.
The woman flattens the edge of a fist against the door in a resounding thud startling me.
‘See?’ the old man gestures with open palms.
I glare back in disapproval. At the young woman, I really start to worry. Getting stuck in a lift with a crazy old man and violent freak of a youngster isn’t a perfect cocktail. She could be blazed on drugs. Between the two, the old man and her, for a moment I consider the old man more sane.
The lift suddenly hiccups. The old man and I look around the ceiling, I wonder why people look at upwards under such circumstances anyway; but we all there bracing and checking out the ceiling. Processors hum up, resetting themselves. The hoists clatter repeatedly in the shaft. Between us, we keep casting glances at each other in silent communication, 'Did you get that?'

The young woman too looks over her shoulder at the ceiling.
‘Is that sound normal?’ I ask pointing. I immediately regret it.
‘How am I supposed to know? Am no elevator mechanic.'
The other woman starts clawing and scratching and kicking and pounding and screaming to be let out.
‘Jeez! What’s wrong with her?’ the old man is incredulous. The elevator gives another hiccup before falling away again to its final destination. It’s like I leave my heart on the 35th floor. The rush of blood in my ears is deafening.
‘How am I supposed to know?’ I echo shakily taking Jennifer in my arms. The bag is abandoned on the floor.
‘Shut her up, she’s crazy!’ the old man yells at us.
‘Its okay, honey, everything is going to be fine,’ I whisper into Jennifer’s ear.

‘Leave me alone,’ the woman screams. I open my eyes and glance over the shoulder. The old man has grabbed her by the waist and is dragging her away from the door. In a space of five feet by four, thats like trying to commit suicide.
‘Let go off me you jackass!’ she screams again.
‘Stop it!’ the old man yells, ‘stop it!’

She wriggles, raising both legs and shoving against the walls slamming the old man against the elevator wall. The elevator shudders. He doesn’t let go. They stumble forward toward us. I rise up in time to intercept them with a bum. The bump sends them sideways against the wall the elevator viberates again with the impact of their weight as they collapse in a heap.
‘Just calm down, hey!’ the old man yells. ‘Calm down.’ Heavy breathing fills the small space. For a moment the birth drills resume. Beads of sweat form on their foreheads. Jenny is wriggling her head to catch glimpse of what has transpiring. I grab her head tight against my bosom. She is strong though.

‘You have to wait till when the doors open,’ the old man pants. ‘Now watch your weight!’ He winces suddenly leaning back and shoving at her back. ‘You are sitting on my leg!’
The birth drills continue. The woman is staring at me like she’s clamped to the floor and can’t move.
‘Get her off, quick!’ the old man cries out shoving hard.
I rise up turning around to help pull the woman aside just as the lift docks at the ground floor. I lose balance and come tumbling down upon them.  We are milling about in entanglement trying to extricate ourselves from each other when the lift doors slide open.
There are gasps as the doors reveal the human mess writhing on the floor. A woman shrieks jumping away from the door as people stumble backwards. A few heads are cautiously stuck in and the ceiling inspected, the floors and the walls. Some one snatches Jenny out of the car as I regain my feet straightening the pleats on my skirts. The old man has managed to extricate his leg from under the young woman who has rolled onto her side.

‘Is everything okay?’ Someone asks.
‘Yes!’ I reply snatching my bag off the floor and dusting off.
‘Whatever happened in there?’ Another is incredulous.
‘The damn thing died on the thirty fifth.’ The old man says between clenched teeth grabbing his knee. No sooner does he mention that than a few helping hands leap of the elevator. He just has a way to scaring people. I smooth the last of the creases on my cardigan, with bag hooked on the crook of my hand I step out of the car. They pave way like am royalty.
‘You might want to call an ambulance for the young woman …,’ I say turning around. ‘…and have a medic look at his knee. Jenny?’ I call out as Jenny takes it.

The woman waves me off. ‘I’ll be fine.’ She is massaging her chest as she rises from the floor. ‘I’ll be just fine.’ She repeatedly slaps off outstretched hands.
‘You better be sure,’ the old man limps out hanging on shoulder of a suited gentleman.
She closes her eyes for a moment and waves the old man off. She is still too shaken to talk.
‘So what was that all about?’ The old man hops around so he can look back at her.
Just then Jenny lets go off my hand and steps back towards the elevator.

‘I was brave.’

There is hushed silence as heads turn and people peer over shoulders to look at her. Jenny and the young woman lock eyes for a moment.

'Oh.' The woman sags for a moment, then gets down on one knee and takes my granddaughter by the shoulders, ‘Am sorry I freaked out. Thanks for being strong. And brave.’ They hug. The clapping of hands fills the hall.

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