Prakash swayed and steadied himself as the elevator suddenly came to a stop and he was plunged in darkness.

“What the hell? Of all the days, this had to happen today, isn’t it?”, he muttered to no one in particular.

He waited for a few seconds. It must be a power outage. But surely they must have backup power in such a fancy office building? It won’t be long before he started moving again. He just wished they got the damn power back up on soon.

What a frustrating morning it had been. Just like a set of toppling dominoes, one disaster led to a series of disasters and he was now running late for his first day at work. And now the icing on the cake, a fucking power outage in the elevator! Could it get worse?

How long had it been? He took out his phone to check the time and realised it hadn’t even been a minute. Why did it feel like it had been hours already? He switched on the torch on the phone for some light. They should have one of those emergency lights, he thought angrily.

“No signal..great. Why the fuck isn’t this stupid elevator working?”

Great, he was talking to himself now. 

He checked the time on the phone again. Strange. Was his phone broken? It didn’t make any sense. The time was exactly the same as he had checked a while back. His phone showed 9:00 AM.

Huh! Simply great.

He pressed the button with the bell icon on it. Wasn’t that what it was supposed to be for? An alarm in case of an emergency? He hoped someone would realise he’s stuck here. He couldn’t hear the alarm make any sound. He couldn’t pray either. He didn’t believe in prayers. He knew he had a very low supply of hope as well. 

He started counting in his mind. 

One, two, three, four, five, six….fifty six, fifty seven, fifty eight, fifty nine, sixty. 

One minute.

One, two, three, four, five, six…fifty nine, sixty.

Two minutes.

Three minutes.

Five minutes.

His mind started to scramble. Had he counted up to four minutes or five? Argh, he wished he had a pen and a paper with him. He needed to keep himself distracted. None of his apps were working on the phone and he needed to save the battery for the torch light.

He forgot when he stopped counting the minutes.

Why wasn’t anyone coming for him? What was wrong with this elevator? Hadn’t he pressed the alarm button a long time back?

He started pacing. A step forward, a step backward. A step to the right, a step to the left. He almost laughed. He was dancing with himself inside a fucking elevator. He hated dancing.

He was bored now. How long had it been? He could really do with some water. And he wanted to desperately take a piss too. His palms were clammy and he could feel a bead of perspiration cover his upper lip, his nose and his forehead. He wasn’t dressed for an overheated stay inside an unlit elevator. He was dressed in a suit and a tie, dressed for this first day at work in this shiny new office.

That was when his phone decided to die on him. His only friend, his only saviour. And he was again thrown into the darkness of an abyss. He felt like he had been swallowed by a black hole and no one would even realise, since he was certain no one would miss him.

Beware of new beginnings. They will bring known horrors and darkness”…

Why did he suddenly remember this? It was the silly old fortune teller squatting on the road side, last week. He had just bent down to give her money, when she had grasped his hand and looked strangely at him, staring at him and yet not looking into his eyes, when she uttered those words. He had been shaken that day. Not with what she said, but because the silly old hag had touched him. It had made his skin crawl. He had washed his hands at least twice after that incident. Ugh!

He needed to get his control back. He started to shout. HELP!! IS THERE ANYONE THERE?? I”M STUCK INSIDE THIS ELEVATOR! HELP ME PLEASE!!

Nothing. There was an absolute silence, which was eerie since he realised he wasn’t able to hear the sound of his breathing as well. 

He tried to kick at the door. He tried to pry the doors open. The maddening doors wouldn’t budge an inch.

“Oh fuck this! Is this someone’s idea of a sick joke? ARE YOU ENJOYING THIS??”, Prakash was losing it now. He was close to breaking down and crying like a little baby. He hadn’t felt this scared, this suffocated, since he had moved out of his home two years back. 

He had worked hard with his therapist in the last two years, to fight his demons. But the nightmares had never fully disappeared. 

It hadn’t been his fault. He shook his head as the nightmares surfaced again. He thought of her suddenly. But that was a big mistake. He felt trapped, and he felt her presence, with him, in this dark, quiet elevator. The hair on his arms rose with an instinct that said, RUN! But there was no where to run.

He clenched his fingers tightly into two fists to stop them from shaking. Then he walked backwards, two steps back until he bumped into the wall of the elevator. He started to slink down slowly, until his whole body was contorted like that of a child’s. Crouching. With his arms covered around his knees. And his head buried deep inside his knees.

“Please..I’m sorry. Please Annie. You know there was nothing I could’ve done that night!”, he pleaded to no one.

The nightmare started to flash before his eyes. The booze filled party at his place. The game of truth and dare. The new girl Annie, who had turned up and become the latest target of their game that night. They were a harmless bunch, but it was always fun to trouble a newbie at work. They’d apologise and make up later anyway. It was all in the name of fun and team building.

Flashes of a dare that they made Annie do. To hide in the closet until they told her to come out.

Flashes of more drinks.

They had forgotten her. 

Until Prakash found her white, pale body, and her wide open eyes, staring back at him, before her lifeless body toppled out of the closet, when he opened it the next morning.

Her death had been marked as an accident. A panic attack due to too much alcohol in her system and being locked inside a closed space. She had locked herself in by mistake and they had forgotten about her.

Prakash had had nightmares of her face, staring at him, since that night. For two years. Until he decided to move out of the house and start a new job and see a therapist.

Oh gosh, the images were killing him now. He was so scared. He was sure if he opened his eyes, he would see her face. He didn’t dare to open his eyes. He could feel her arms circling him in an embrace and he shuddered with revulsion.

He could really do with a smoke right now. 

“Oh! I can use my lighter to get some light! Or light a smoke to start the fire alarm!”, his brained suddenly lit up at the prospect of escape from this cage.

He unfolded himself and felt his pockets for his cigarettes and his lighter.

He took the cigarette out with shaking fingers and put it between his lips. It quivered there, in anticipation.

He took out his lighter, rubbed his thumb on the spark ignitor and clicked.

And right then, her pale white face, with eyes white as milk, flashed in front of his eyes. The last thing he knew, was his scream.

September 07, 2020 17:42

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Judith Buskohl
17:29 Sep 17, 2020

Your story was interesting and scary. Thanks for the scared feeling I will have riding in an elevator now! LOL! Well written and interesting to the end of the story


Prachi Pati
09:29 Sep 21, 2020

Thank you for the feedback Judith! I just read your story too and enjoyed it as well :)


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