The cold gray walls brushed against Eloise’s fingertips as she pranced up and down the toy-filled hallways. “One, two, three,” she counted each toy in the hallway.
Cindy placed her hands on her hips while tapping her foot, “Eloise, hurry up. I need to get to work. I have a really big meeting, I can’t be late.”
Eloise slid down the stairs. Her grip tightened around the banister as the steps bounced her up and down. The dismount from the bottom step was near perfect. She giggled because she knew her favorite toy would rate it a ten out of ten. The hair on her arms stood up from her feet brushing against the stained white carpeted stairs. Eloise then darted towards the family room to collect her favorite toys before the day’s journey.
“Eloise, get in the car!”
“Coming Mommy,” she shouted while grabbing her rainbow wood blocks and her fluffy white stuffed unicorn.
Once buckled in her cushy car seat, she bounced up and down to the upbeat sounds that shook from the speakers.
“Are we there yet?” She exuberantly questioned from the backseat.
“You seem excited for Bring Your Child to Work day,” Cindy smiled.
“Are you going to share your idea on the magical potion in your pitch for the new commercial?”
“No, they are corporate honey, they won’t understand.” Cindy sighed.
Once they arrived at her mom’s work, Eloise took note of the men in suits, women in fancy suits and skirts, and few kids. Both of them walked into the tall sterile building flooded by people. Each employee walked in lines through the hallways as if they were trained to do so.
“Mommy, are these robots?”
“El…” Cindy began to snicker while covering Eloise’s mouth.
Once arriving on the fifth floor, she looked around at the navy floors and stark white walls. Eloise shielded her eyes from fluorescent light. Eloise walked to her mom’s office, passing all of the meeting spaces. Once walking in, she sat down in the hard office chair with her pink backpack on her lap. She noticed her mom had “that look”, the look similar to when she arrives late to picking her up at school. The look with sweat droplets drizzling down her face, and her face slightly droopy, like she wants to apologize.
“What’s wrong mommy?”
“I don’t know sweetie. I don’t see any other kids.”
A fellow coworker walked in and greeted Eloise with a grin. “Are you here to check out the office?”
“I’m here for Bring Your Child to Work Day!”
A tall man with slicked back hair, who clearly worked in management, pulled Cindy aside. His neon-white teeth smiled, but his eyes did not. Words fell out of his mouth with an arrogant tone, he talked through his teeth, “Today is not Bring Your Child to Work Day. Perhaps you didn’t check your company email? You should take her back home immediately.”
Cindy hastily walked toward her and asked her if she wanted to go back downstairs to get some food. Nodding her head, Eloise ran to the elevator doors. They stood in line with a croof people waiting for the elevator. The doors opened. Eloise was rushed in with a bunch of grey suited employees.
Cindy called out, “El come back here!”
“I can’t!” She exclaimed as they shut in her mom’s face.
The doors shut, El looked around squinting. She was pushed toward the corner of the elevator and forced to look up at the giants around her. Her hand covered her mouth as she giggled- scaring the tall, broad shouldered woman in front of her. Eloise uttered, “You don’t have a big brown nose like mommy says.”
The woman furrowed her brow then opened her mouth to respond, but the elevator began to shake, forcing her to clench the walls causing her fingers to lose their color. The elevator lights flickered then shut off. Stiffly dressed individuals in the elevator looked around trying to touch the walls and figure out the space they were now confined in.
Eloise heard a voice say, “How do we get out?”
Seeming unfazed by the unknown, she plopped on the small corner of the elevator and unzipped her backpack.
A random employee questioned Eloise, “Where’s your mommy?”
“She’s at work, she’ll find me.”
An uproar of chatter began in the elevator as they heard a banging outside of the door.
“I guess they’ve found us,” Eloise said so matter-of-factly.
“Who?” a stout man in the back corner questioned.
A voice chuckled, “The facility management team.”
The chatter began to slow down. A woman struggled to catch her breath, “They better have medication.”
The banging stopped.
Eloise stood up. “Finally”
“This is crazy;” someone sneered. “I just want the lights to come back on.”
She reached into her backpack and everyone in the elevator scooted away. Her shiny gold keys jingled as she pulled them out. Each key had its own personality. Eloise chose the one with the rounded tip and gold-covered handle.
She’s going to get us out!” Someone yelled. “I can’t be late for my Ten o’clock. “ Another person mocked.
Slowly, Eloise inserted the key and twisted it, causing sparks to fly.
“How did you get those?” a deep voice questioned.
Eloise grinned, “My mommy.”
The room shook aggressively yet again. Sparks flew from the keyhole while the lights flickered. The doors slowly began to open. Everyone’s eyes glimmered with hope and their jaws hung open preparing to shout with joy. Instead, one man slowly raised his hand to his forehead.
A voice from the back of the elevator spoke up, “What?” “huh?”
A giant gust of wind blew through the elevator doors as a blindingly bright light shined on the corporate zombies. Dark shadows grew bigger as they got closer to the elevator doors. A sandy cloud of vibrant colors twisted into the air in the distance.
Eloise walked out of the elevator skipping.”Lets go guys!” She clapped and the elevator was empty.