Meredith woke up in a shroud of darkness. Her head throbbed and she felt a mass of warm sticky blood oozing from the side of it. She could taste the metallic tang of blood on her lips and in her mouth. Her body ached from the fall and attacks he had set upon her. She throbbed with pain, trembling in the oblique cover of blackness surrounding her and anticipating every sound outside the elevator where she was now trapped. It seemed as if she had been running from him her entire life, although she only really had known him a few months.

Yet, he had been stalking her forever. He followed her in her dreams, her daily life and her inner thoughts and fears. Steven was not a man to give up or relinquish anything or anyone. To her he was no longer a man, but a monster. And now her only refuge was the space between herself and the monster, in this cubicle of ensnaring steel, simultaneously acting as both her temporary prison and refuge. The lights had gone out in the store with the outage that had occurred throughout the city. She was trapped in the elevator prohibiting any escape from her stalker. The power outage was both a curse and a blessing. Everyone had left at least half an hour earlier, and Meredith was just clocking out when she heard the crash. Turning around she saw the shadow in the lingerie department. The outside doors to the payroll department were a few feet away, but not far enough. He rushed at her, knife in hand before she could dodge out the exit door. She escaped to the side but his massive body was blocking her exit. Her one escape was to run back into the store and find the security guard. They could dial 911 once she reached safety. The knife had grazed the side of her temple and she was blinded by a surge of blood in her eye. The monster surged ahead attacking her with massive arms as she fell and screamed in terror. Using her wits she managed to bite him and stun him enough to push him off. Grabbing the knife that he had dropped in her surprise attempt to escape, she ran with it, towards the elevator downstairs. Meredith was glad for her persistence in having taken track and field and her committed daily running routine. Managing to run down the escalator, she prayed that the elevator worked fast and promptly for her as she pushed the button. Just as the doors opened she saw his form stretching towards her. As he reached her, she lunged the knife at him and rushed inside, pushing the button to lock the elevator. A crash was heard as his head hit the door. The elevator lunged down and as she fell backwards, the lights went out inside. The power outage had begun.

When she came to her senses, Meredith had no idea what floor she was on, as she lay between heaven and hell. She just knew that she needed a plan. The knife was clutched in her hand and she realized the blade was penetrating her grasp of it. Meredith tore a piece of her blouse and in the darkness wrapped it around her cut hand.

What a mess she had gotten herself into when she accepted that blind date those few months ago. He had been friends with her married friend Janet and her husband Craig when they suggested the date. Reluctantly she went against her own opinion of blind dates and had a good time. Soon they were dating infrequently, but Meredith told him she didn’t want to get into any relationship, and she wanted to keep things light. Steven agreed, but each time he crept a little closer into her life. Little idiosyncrasies began to appear and by three months time, she knew she had to shut all doors to his presence in her life. That was when the messages and voice mails had started. Soon he was lurking in the shadows, in every crevice of her social life and job. She spoke to Janet about it, and Craig said he’d have a man-to-man talk with him.

Things only escalated after that. When Janet had been found dead in her home a week ago, there were no links to the intruder. Craig was crushed and inconsolable. There was nothing to do but tell the police of her suspicions and what had been happening between she and Steven after the “breakup”. They investigated but found an alibi and no concrete evidence of any connection with Steven and Janet’s murder. He hadn’t even gone to the funeral and was out of town the entire week. Crushed over her friend’s death, Meredith continued to work and carry on with daily activities. That was when she saw the shadows outside at night and heard the noises. The police were called twice but they found nothing and suggested she get a guard dog and maybe seek some counseling over her friend’s death. They would continue to patrol the area. It didn’t stop and tonight was the climax to her nightmarish experience.

If the elevator was between floors and the power out, her only choice was to wait it out, but for how long? The nightmare lay behind her, with her and before her. Meredith had always kept a nightlight in her room, since she was a child. The darkness was never her friend, since that night of her sister’s death. It had been dark in the bedroom then and she could still remember the screams as her sister was attacked. Her father entered the room and chased the intruder. After that, she remembered only screams and darkness.

Now she was entombed in darkness again. Shadows of the past swirled around her and entered the tiny space in which she was entombed. Monsters, both real and imaginary threatened her and she broke out into a cold sweat. Her heart started racing, and her breath became shallow. Her clammy hands grabbed at her face and head, only to reintroduce the pain from her slashed temple and hand. She was frozen, unable to move.

Suddenly she heard it. He was above her in the elevator shaft. He had managed to gain access before the outage occurred. The tiny crawlspace above her was opening and Steven was lurking on top, ready to pounce down and finish her off, as he had done to Janet and her sister! The darkness encircled her and the fear overpowered her. He dropped down and she grabbed the knife in her good hand in an attempt to stab it into him. She screamed and forced the knife into the monster. But it landed inside her and the darkness overcame her as the sharp pain of the blade entered her body, bringing forth a new rush of blood and issuing out her life force. The monster had caught her in the dark silence of the elevator.

When the power came on again, police and EMT were there. There in the elevator lay the lifeless form of Meredith Stevens. She had been stabbed, but not by Steven. It was a self inflicted wound, set to lay judgement upon herself as she tried to chase away the monsters from her dark past and unstable future. Steven had not been stalking her. No one was stalking Meredith Stevens except her memories and her insane illusions.

When she had punched out, she imagined the form of a man that she had fallen in love with months ago, who had broken it off with her. Little idiosyncrasies and talks about her past had set him off. He confessed to his wife Janet and warned her of Meredith’s bizarre obsession. His only sin was getting involved with his wife’s friend for a one night stand. The rest was contrived in Meredith’s mind, brought on by guilt, jealousy and rejection. The man in lingerie had been Detective Raymond. The store had called him after closing because of her bizarre actions that evening. Detective Raymond and his homicide department had finally found a connection to Janet’s killer and Craig’s stalker. Upon investigation into her past, they found Meredith had been institutionalized as a child for the murder of her sister. Schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder had been kept under control with medication. But Meredith had stopped it months ago.

So in the elevator plunge, as she ran from the judgement she knew laid ahead of her in the system, her monsters returned in the oblique darkness of her tomb. She remembered fragments and became her own judge and executioner. The body was removed and taken from the elevator to the morgue. Janet’s murder was solved, Craig had his own guilt to deal with, sentencing him for life in his own overburdened conscience, due to one illicit act. He would live forever imprisoned in regret and remorse. And Meredith had carried out her own sentence.

The lights shone in a surreal brightness throughout the store. They returned throughout the city to pronounce judgement on what had occurred in the darkness of individual lives, and the monsters in the elevator were exorcised when Meredith’s body was removed. But monsters in cases like this always present a residual effect. Demons can never be exorcised from the darkness of one’s mind. Can they?   

September 07, 2020 19:09

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☆ Ariadne ☆
06:14 Sep 15, 2020

Oh wow. That was an abrupt change. I loved the dark thrill embedded within this story - it was powerful and chilling at the same time. Please review my story! I would appreciate it. :)


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14:18 Sep 10, 2020

Oh wow that was dark.... I love it!


Cynthia Grove
19:03 Sep 11, 2020

Thank you. I love twisted endings.


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