So I Met an Owl in an Elevator... (Part 1)

Submitted into Contest #58 in response to: Write about a character who’s stuck in an elevator when the power goes out.... view prompt


Funny Mystery Fantasy

I have never wanted to hear terrible elevator music more in my life.

Yuck. That’s almost as sad as that time I attended my ex's wedding without a date and tried to drown myself in the supposedly ‘bottomless’ shrimp (I found the bottom, which makes it so much worse). At least I knew how I ended up in that situation (a history of stress eating)—and I kinda deserved it because I used to be an asshole. But this one? This one is nothing but proof that God is either merciless towards the innocent or playing video games and not paying attention to earth at all.

Just five minutes ago I was having fun flirting with the bartender at Cher Hotel for free drinks in my favorite red dress—because it perfectly hides wine stains from when I’ve had too much, when this guy with terrible blonde frosted tips sat next to me. Right away, I got bad vibes from him and his frosted tips. He looked at all the wrong places for way too long. Keeping one hand on my drink, I tried to back away to the safety of my hotel room.

So I took my free drink and made my getaway. But he must have slipped the bartender a little something (money) so he slipped me a little something (roofie). I noticed it too late. My mind started to buzz and shut down on me. The traitor. I blinked slowly, each eye separately like they were unaware the other existed.

I dug my nails into my arm, dug enough to draw blood, hoping the pain would keep me awake enough to reach the elevator. Staggering, I leaned against the hotel walls as I inched my way closer. As a five-year-old, those walls made me feel like the fastest person alive. Now, as a twenty-five-year-old they made me feel like a slug about to crushed by that stupid creeper.

Behind me, he lurked closer. Keeping his hands off me for now to avoid suspicion. I cursed under my breath. I didn’t know anyone here. I didn’t trust anyone here.


Five feet till the elevator. I stopped, and so did he. I couldn’t get on slowly or else he would jump in too and it would just be the two of us. No, I had to make sure I got alone or it was all over for me. I needed to time this perfectly.

My eyes watched the numbers on the screen above the elevator count down until… Floor 1. A couple nestling each other in their arms stepped off and I lunged into the elevator. I smacked the close-now button and watched the creeper's face fall into anger as the doors closed on him.

I sunk to the ground along the back wall after hitting my floor number. Safe for now. 

Or so I thought. The elevator’s screen that displayed floor numbers reminded me to worry. The creeper could see what floor I left on and meet me there. Dammit.

And I couldn’t do anything about it now.

My breathing slowed and my eyelids turned to lead. The elevator got dark as I closed my eyes and passed out.


When I woke up, the elevator was still dark. That’s not right. How long was I out for? All the lights and glowing numbers were dim and the elevator wasn’t moving. A power outage must have stopped it. I sighed and tried to rub the drowsiness from my eyes. At least I was safe for that creep for now. I’m probably the only person to ever be happy to be trapped on an elevator.

I stood with a pounding headache screaming at me.

“Shuttup,” I shouted.

Oh right, I’m alone.

Except for the part where I’m not.

An owl—like the night bird thing that can twist its head around like a demon? That thing—sat on the floor in front of me with its head twisted in a one-eighty. That’s not right. I rubbed my eyes and pinched my arm. Still there.

It’s funny because it wasn’t there when I got in the elevator and I don’t have any ideas about how it could have gotten on. Above me, an emergency hatch creaked as it swung back and forth like someone just opened it. Alright, I have an idea now.

I’ve never seen an owl in real life before. Is this what they all look like? It had a mix of brown and muddy-red feathers with swamp green eyes. Big swamp green eyes. Did they all have such big eyes? I took a step back. “Ugh, stop. It’s like you’re staring into my soul.”

I swear to y’all, the owl glared at me, then turned his little feathery owl head around. “Did you just glare at me?” I snapped.

“I think a better question to ask is ‘did I deserve to be glared at?’.” The owl said.

Sweet baby Jesus and mildly annoying toddler God, do that owl just talk?

Is hallucination a symptom of being roofied?

I whipped out my phone to confirm with a little Googling. No signal. And no wifi without power. Figures.

“So…” I said awkwardly. “Do you talk here often?”

He didn’t answer. I slid back down the elevator wall. “What are we doing here, owl? I mean, you can fly. And I have a bachelor’s degree from Columbia.”

The owl turned back around to me. “Are you done being rude to me?”

“I guess?”

“Then I will gladly answer your questions.”

I leaned forward. “Okay. What are you doing in an elevator?”


“What enables you to talk?”

“My lungs and vocal chords.”

I always heard owls were wise, but this one is just a wise ass.

“Do you know what caused the power outage?”

“A lack of power.”

My right eye twitched. That’s it. “Can you just answer one question with actual answers?”

“All my answers have been actual.”

“Like… with the correct answers.”

“I didn’t realize you know the questions’ answers enough to determine if mine were correct. If so, why ask me in the first place?”

I pulled on my hair. “Alright fine. Keep your little owl secrets. I never needed to know how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop to begin with.”

“364 licks.”

Oh sure, that’s the question he answers. If this is how he wants to play it then fine. “Why are you sitting in an elevator?”

“I do not feel like flying.”


“Flying is tiring.”


“Because it consumes a lot of energy to defy gravit—”


“Because gravity is a—”





“Why? Why? Why?”

This time, it was his right eye that twitched. “Would you just ask actual questions?" He snapped.

“All my questions were actual,” I mocked.

He chuckled. It was more of a murder-lose-his-last-straw laugh than a light-hearted we-like-to-have-fun-here laugh. I gulped. Maybe I pushed the bird too far…

“Very funny. Throwing my own words against me.”

Whew. Everything’s fine and no lessons were learned.

“Are you going to answer my questions now?”

Why…" He held for dramatic affect. "...not.”

Ha. I almost laughed. “What caused the power outage?”

“I did.”

“Why would you do that?”

“Because that guy was after you. He’s already waiting on your floor for you. Looked like trouble.”

I straightened up and squinted at him. “Why do you care?”

The owl stretched out their wings to look more impressive than the tiny bird that eats mice that he was. “I am Howl, your Guardian Owl. I did it to protect you.”

“What’s a Guardian Owl?”

“An owl that guardians people.”

I gave him the side-eye of ‘really?’.

“I swear, that’s the best way to describe it!”

“It doesn’t make any sense.”

“Neither does pineapple on pizza, but you humans did that didn’t you?”

“Is there anything else you were sent here to help me with?”

“Well, I suppose I should warn you—”

Before Howl could finish, the lights flickered back on and the elevator spurred to life. “Damn, we’re out of time. Your level is next and I need to go.”

The elevator grinded to a halt, but the floor number said ‘Floor 8.5” instead of “Floor 9” where my room was. Regardless, the doors opened. But instead of hotel rooms being on the other side, it was bright, swirling lights.

“Woah, what is that?” I asked.

“A portal,” Howl said. “I have to go now, but there’ll be a distraction for you to get past him. I promise. Until we meet again.” He handed me a business card with his name, address, and a smiling, glittering owl with perfect teeth on it.

Howl fly up towards the portal, but just before he went through it, he called out to me, “Goodbye, Beautrice.”

And like that, he left through the portal. The doors closed and the elevator kept moving towards the floor with the creep waiting for me. I slipped the business card into my purse clutch, confusion buzzing in my brain.

My name wasn’t Beautrice.

The elevators doors dinged open, and I pressed against the button side to avoid being seen. Roofie Guy was right there. He stalked closer to the elevator, his nose in the air like he was trying to sniff me out. Weird.

I held my breath. Where was that distraction Howl promised?

Oh, here is it.

One by one, brown feathers fell from the air vent about Mr. Roofie. They twisted in the air, whirling into a mini tornado that surrounded his head. His hands clawed at them as he screamed, “I’m blind! I’m blind!”

Wasting no time, I dashed out of the elevator to my hotel room. Once out of sight, I swiped my key, went in, bolted the door, and collapsed onto my head. All I wanted one weekend getaway for myself and this is what happens. Absolutely awful.

I pulled out my phone and started looking for nearby available hotels. No way I'm staying here tonight with that guy looking for me. Here. The Herbert Sherbert Hoover Hotel ten blocks away has rooms. I booked one and packed up my stuff. Now for the tricky part.

With my suitcase at my side, I cracked open my door and peeked outside. Coast is clear. I ducked out and headed towards the emergency stairs. Right by the doors were two officers in uniform. One had a large sun-shaped mole above their eyebrow (so circle-shaped). The other had a large scar on their neck that would have partly disappeared under their uniform, but they drew a continuation of it with a sharpie on their clothes.

My heart leapt out of joy. First a Guardian Owl, then the cops. They'll help me. Maybe God was in between rounds of video games or it was karma from donating to charity last month, but my luck was finally turning around.

As I approached them, they didn’t seem to notice me. I was about to call out to them, a glossy photo they held turned in my direction enough to see was on it. My heart no longer leapt out of joy and my gut twisted. It was a picture of me.

Immediately, I backed up and flattened against the wall of the corridor where they couldn’t see me as they glanced in my direction. They shrugged and kept talking. Then, Mr. Roofie jogged up with them, shaking his head. “I can’t find her anywhere.”

Awe, poor you. Bitterness took up every ounce of my mind. Why were the cops helping him find me? Something wasn’t right.

Quietly, I headed back to my room and re-bolted the door. I ran my fingers through my hair. God, how do I get out of here. My breathing picked up and sweat oozed my palms. Was this room always so small? I need air.

I unlocked the windows and swung them open when they banged against a rusty fire escape, halfway-open. The fire escape. That’ll do. I grabbed my bags and clambered out the window.

With only a few elevated worries about tetanus that I'll ignore soon enough, I made it to the parking lot and hopped in my car. I started it, gripped the wheel, but didn’t drive yet.

The Herbert Sherbet Hoover Hotel was waiting for me. I know that, but… I took Howl’s business card out of my clutch and let its words shimmer in the lamp post’s light. Don’t do it… Don’t do it…

I punched his address into my GPS and stepped on the gas.

Goddammit, me.

September 12, 2020 03:06

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17:53 Sep 12, 2020

Wow, awesome. Howl has such a funny it. You should totally make him say this joke: “Why can’t a T-Rex clap?” “Because it’s arms are too short?” “No. Because is dead.” Great job!


Lily Kingston
12:00 Sep 13, 2020

Thank you so much!!


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Anshika Goyal
17:45 Sep 12, 2020

A very well-written story, I loved it!! P.s- would you mind checking out two of my recent stories?


Lily Kingston
11:42 Sep 13, 2020

Thank you! I’ll check them out now :)


Anshika Goyal
12:29 Sep 13, 2020

No problem and thanks hehe.


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The inexplicable, madcap elements of this story really work well with your style of writing. Glad to see you wandering out further from normative reality and applying your wit to the glory of the absurd. :)


Lily Kingston
16:16 Sep 12, 2020

Thank you :)


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Bianka Nova
18:45 Sep 15, 2020

Your stories are so funny. Thanks for commenting on mine because I've totally meant to Follow you before, but had forgotten to press the button! Off to Part 2! Can't wait to see if the owl is real. I think it is. Let's see if I get it right 😜


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Jade Young
14:22 Sep 15, 2020

I loved reading the exchange between Howl and "Beatrice". Very witty ;) Overall, this is a good story with an even better plot. A nice blend of surreal and reality. Almost makes you wonder if she imagined the owl because she was high. Very controversial.


Lily Kingston
14:48 Sep 15, 2020

Thank you :)


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Kit Davis
00:13 Sep 15, 2020

Argh! Don't leave me hanging! This was great. Surreal with a generous blend of humor!


Lily Kingston
01:54 Sep 15, 2020

thanks! I actually just posted part 2, so maybe check it out :)


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Princemark Okibe
08:45 Sep 14, 2020

I loved the way you kept using intrigue and suspense to keep me hooked to the end. You have an amazing plot that is coupled with a great story. Nice read. I do have some questions and suggestions though. 1. In paragraph 6 there was a displacement error. You used the phrase 'keeping his hands me off...' instead of 'keeping his hands off me...' 2. In paragraph 8 there is another minor error. You used the word 'til' instead of 'till'. You can take your very time during editing in reedsy. 3. In paragraph 14, the term 'in an elevator...' is...


Lily Kingston
18:53 Sep 14, 2020

thanks for the kind words and for pointing out my mistakes :). I fixed them. Have a wonderful day!


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Molly Leasure
14:47 Sep 13, 2020

I really enjoyed your story! It had me laughing for most of it. The character voice is brilliant!


Lily Kingston
14:52 Sep 13, 2020

I’m glad you enjoyed it :)


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