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Sep 11, 2020

Thriller

He hits the print button on the keyboard, closes the Microsoft Word, and clicks shutdown. He stands up, and walks towards the photocopier machine. He picks up the printed papers piled on the upper tray, and exhaustively, spiral binds the-150 printed report.


He walks exhaustively to his boss' office, and places the finished report on his desk. He turns off all the lights, and locks all the doors.


He jokingly salutes at a security personnel who passes him as he walks towards the elevators.


With four elevators to choose from, he presses the 'Up' button of the second elevator. In a few seconds, the slide doors of the elevator open.


Inside the car, he presses the 'Ground' floor button.


He yawns, and touches lightly at his stomach. He hadn't eaten the whole day except three pieces of bread and a cup of coffee.


Thinking whether he should skip the supper, the single fluorescent light flickers with every second. Slim isn't bothered with it. It's a normal thing, he thinks.


He glances at the floor display on the control operating panel (COP). He's on the fiftieth floor.


The bright-white light is replaced by a reddish-blinking light. Knowing the blinking red-light signifies danger, he readies himself for the unexpected. To his surprise, he's thrown back at the wall facing the closed door before falling on all fours.


Power outage? It sounded more of a blackout than one of the steel ropes having loosen its grip on the car.


He lifts his head and stares at the closed door before redirecting his gaze at the COP. Slowly, he stands up, and takes a closer look at it.


He sees floor and alarm buttons, a light and emergency stop switch, and a key lock. The key lock! What is it for? No need to know, he tells himself. In any case, the key isn't anywhere in the cabin.


His eyes linger for some seconds on the alarm button before pressing it. He expects to hear the alarm sound. Instead, the sound he can hear inside the elevator is his own rapid breath.


Beads of sweat have formed on his forehead. Calm, Slim. Calm. He repeats those words in his thoughts having recognized the signs of anxiousness. Calm yourself before your heart explodes at the insane speed its bumping blood.


He engages a breathing exercise he learned from a friend, a few years ago to calm oneself in a fearful state.


After regaining his composure, he takes three steps backwards and bends backwards his head.


There it is, he smiles. The hatch.


Stepping on both walls of the elevator, he lifts himself up. A few inches from the hatch, he tries to yank it open. It doesn't give in. He looks closely at it. He sees a keyhole. So, the hatch is locked.


In utter frustration, he jumps on the elevator's floor. Facing the closed door, he engages his mind to find another means of getting himself out of the elevator. He can't bear the notion he might be stuck in the elevator for several hours to days.


A scene from a movie he saw three years ago flashes in his mind. Muscling all the strength he has, he detaches the door in the middle. Facing him is a slab of wall with a little opening to the hallway of the fiftieth floor.


He jumps up, and holds the top of the wall with his folded fingers. He strains himself up to get a better view of the hallway. It is dark, poorly illuminated with emergency lights.


Exhausted, he loosens his grip, landing on the floor again. He folds his right fingers into a fist and hits one of the walls. I have to get out, he says loudly.


But, how? He has run out of ideas. Tired, hungry, and defeated, he slumps on the floor.


He feels something heavy in his trouser's right pocket. The phone! How could I have forgotten the phone, he mutters. He cusses himself for his forgetfulness. He slides the phone open and dials the emergency number, 111.


A low battery warning message flashes on his phone. When the ring gets through, the phone's battery is drained of its remaining life. He throws it against one of the walls.


Damn it! he says. Why does everything fails in succession?


What should I do? Think, Sam. Think.


Bang the door? Yell? Not someone accustomed to such actions, he fights off the idea. On a third thought, he stands up.


Feeling drained of any potential energy, he stops banging the door and yelling.


His back falls heavily on the wall opposite the door. His weak legs unable to bear the weight of his body, he slides down to the floor.


A minute passes. Another one. Nothing. No one. Only silence. And the irritating dancing red-light.


He looks at his wrist watch. It's thirty minutes past eleven.


He falls on his back. He stares at the ceiling. With no other option left to try, he closes his eyes. He'll wait for help. If he dies, then he's never meant to see past the following day, Tuesday.


He hears a sound of a door closing. He opens his eyes, and looks towards the elevator's door thinking that the rescue time have arrived.


In dismay, he sits up. He notices the fluorescent light has replaced the emergency light. The power is back. He shoots up to his feet.


The floor display indicates he's on the fortieth floor.


As the elevator descends, he feels lighter and lighter. Suddenly, he


hears clack! clark! clark! clark! What now? The elevator halts, thrusting him forward. He shields his forehead from bumping on the door with his hands that had formed a ninety degrees angle on the door.


"Sh*t," he mutters.


Regaining his posture, he bangs on the door, yelling for help. No response. No human voices. Nothing. Alone. On the tenth floor.


Maybe one of the steel ropes has broken up, he thinks. He prays the remaining ropes will remain intact. Intact till he saves himself from the waiting arms of death.


As before, he inserts his fingers between the tiny opening of the sliding doors. He struggles for five minutes to pry the doors open. He sees three-quarter of the hallway. This will be easy, he thinks.


He hears a sound. It's giving in. What if it crashes down? He has to get out. Now.


"Stay where you're," he hears a voice calling out to him.


He directs his eyes to the origin of the cautious voice. He sees firemen rushing to where he is.


"Don't try to get off," a slim-tall man tells him.


"This thing is about to fall," Slim says.


"Be calm. It's under control," the fireman says.


He feels anger boiling inside of him. Keep calm when the thing will break my bones into pieces when it hits down. No, I can't keep calm. Fighting the urge to shout back, he wills his body to relax. Relax, everything will be okay, he reassures himself. He steps back from the door.


The door closes. The elevator makes a slight descent then the door opens.


Sighing softly, he gets off the elevator.


What a night, he thinks as his feet touches on the hallway of the 10th floor.


"That was certainly death waiting for me," he tells the fireman.


"It must have been difficult to keep still," the fireman tells him. "We're sorry this has happened to you."


"What time is it?" he asks the fireman.


"Thirty minutes to one."


Damn, he thinks, as he takes the stairways; not having faith with the remaining elevators. I have to be back at the office at a half-past seven.

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