TekTalk had been a successful small business that sat at the corner of Elmwood and Main for the last five years. They occupied all of the floors in the tallest building situated in the quaint town of Princeton. Joe had been slowly renovating it since his company took possession of the big old building. The success of the company had been helpful in allowing him to not only hire a great staff but also create an inviting environment.
However, now they were on the brink of disaster with the unexpected quick growth that they were unable to keep up with. Joe realized he needed to bring some new computer technicians on board quickly. It was a delicate matter as the owner believed that much of the success of his company was not only due to the knowledgeable techs but also because of the camaraderie between all of them. He didn’t have adequate time to screen them as diligently as he normally would due to the immediate need of help.
An impromptu meeting was scheduled to introduce the new employees to the rest of the group. This meeting would give Joe an idea of how the other six would gel with the new technicians. He was fervently hoping the quick decisions he had made would not change the dynamics of the group.
Jessie was slightly perturbed when the meeting invite chimed on her computer. She enjoyed swapping ideas and tips with all of her friends at work, but her schedule was already a nightmare for today. She exhaled heavily while accepting the meeting invite and rearranged her schedule as much as possible in order to still maintain her other appointments for the day.
Thankfully, the meeting started right on time. This was crucial for Jessie to make it through the rest of her day successfully.
Emily was the first of the three to stand and discuss her impressive background in the industry. Her vast experience in software development was guaranteed to be of big help to keep this company running. She didn’t seem to have the personality of a typical “computer geek,” which Jessie found refreshing.
When John rose to speak next, Jessie couldn’t help but notice his thick eyeglasses and the fancy white stylus pen in the shirt pocket of his blue short sleeved button-down shirt. He definitely fit the mold for a techie. He had an impressive resume that she knew would be of great assistance to their agency as well. He seemed like a quiet soul that would be easy to work with.
Frankie was the last to stand and divulge his background. Jessie thought he looked more like a mass murderer than someone with a computer background. He had the serious look on his face of many computer gurus, but his was more of a haunting look. A slight chill ran up her spine that she just couldn’t seem to shake. He spoke more in the language of a hacker than of a programmer. “This one is going to be interesting,” Jessie thought to herself.
The meeting ran a bit longer than was expected, which caused Jessie to be running behind for her next appointment. She quickly grabbed her laptop, stuffed it into her brown leather satchel and ran to catch the elevator. She narrowly caught it before the doors slid shut.
Just her luck, the only other person on the elevator was Frankie. Ugh! "Why didn't I take the stairs?" she asked herself. She quickly corrected her thoughts in an attempt to be positive. She reminded herself that she didn’t even know him. It was very unfair for her to judge him in such a way. She said a quiet but polite greeting to him and turned to face the doors. She glanced up to the numbers lighting up one at a time on the elevator panel. They still had three more floors to go before she could be free from the elevator, and from Frankie.
All of a sudden the elevator lurched and jolted both of them to the floor. As it settled, they both rose to their feet in bewilderment and glanced back at the elevator panel. It didn’t take a computer geek to realize they were stuck. Jessie searched frantically in her satchel for her phone. It seemed like hours before she located it, only to realize that it too was on a fritz. Seriously?
Through the haze of her cluttered thoughts, she heard Frankie murmur that he thought there must be some sort of power outage in the whole area. It was the only thing he could assume since both of their phones were not working.
Jessie felt bile rising in her throat. What she was feeling at this precise moment was complete fear. Fear of being stuck in the elevator with no way of communicating with the outside world. Even more frightening was being closed in with him. It had only been about twenty minutes ago that she was thinking he could be a mass murderer.
She slowly turned her head to look over at him. His gaze penetrated her very soul. In a very low voice he muttered, “Don’t be afraid. It will be over soon.”
What would be over soon? Her life? She found herself sliding miserably down the wall of the elevator and whimpered.
She noticed that he was rooting through his bag now. It was a rather large bag. Honestly, much bigger than that of the typical computer geek. This unsettled her even more. What could he possibly need with that big of a bag? What did he have stored in there?
She tried, to no avail, to get her thoughts back on a positive track. He said nothing as he continued to search through his worn gray messenger bag. While keeping his hand in the worn out satchel, he cautiously looked up at her and asked her if she was afraid.
She mulled his question over. She considered the thought that if she admitted fear to him, and they miraculously got out of this that she would look like a fool to her coworkers. However, that thought left her mind just as quickly as it had entered it. She swiftly went back to her original thought of him.
They stared at each other before either one spoke again. The thought suddenly came into her mind that he looked familiar to her. She racked her brain to remember how. Think, think, think. Was it from something she had just read in the news today?
He was still staring at her, willing her to answer his question. His eyes were so unnerving. She tried to find her voice, but it seemed to have escaped her. She tried to assure herself that she was thinking nonsense.
Jessie formulated an answer and started speaking. Just as the first words came out of her mouth, there was another jolt of the elevator and the numbers lit up again. In an instant, the doors slid open and life was back to normal. Or was it?