Fiction Fantasy Romance

Another day… another tax dollar… I thought to myself, as I boarded the cramped train on my way to work. Being an accountant for a law firm was ironic, as I was constantly in control of millions of dollars but none of it was mine. Our offices in the Sydney CBD, were opulently decorated and a very nice place to work in. Especially as we were located on the twentieth floor of an Art Deco building, with amazing views of the Royal Botanical Gardens and Sydney harbor that laid beyond it.

By some miracle, I was able to grab a seat for my forty-five-minute commute, so I had a chance to peruse my social media and see ‘what’s what’. My ‘what’s’ included Facebook groups and Insta’ pages focused on forty’s jazz, fashion, culture and to say that I was borderline obsessed with this epoque, would be an understatement. I prayed for the day when double-breasted suits came back into fashion so I could look more the part but, in the meantime, I wore my dark brown hair short and clicked back and sported a pencil mustache.

Mum had told me on numerous occasions that I was born in the wrong decade, and I believed her, because of my interests, which weren’t common for a twenty-three years old but on this trip, something strange occurred. While I had my Ear-pods in, listening to Monica and the Moochers rendition to ‘Hey Daddy’ I stepped into an empty lift to my floor when suddenly, I was joined by a young woman.

I removed the Ear-pods, and we did that facing forward, no eye contact thing but then something grabbed my attention. Her perfume was quite unique, almost soap-like but I thought I detected hints of plum. Young girls of her age normally wore perfumes like Dior J'adore or Chanel N°5 so I was intrigued to know what fragrance she wore. So much so, that I turned to her and asked,

“That’s a pleasant perfume. Do you mind if I asked what it is?”

The young girl then faced me, smiled, and responded,

“It’s Femme de Rochas…”

Suddenly, I was unable to speak. In fact, I felt a little faint as blood drained from my face. The young woman had blond hair, bright blue eyes and wore a bottle green two-piece suit, consisting of a jacket with large shoulder pads, short skirt, and white blouse. A small black cap with a fascinator sat upon her head and her makeup was quite simple apart from long lashes and bright red lipstick. She had an uncanny resemblance to Lauren Bacall, who was one of my favorite actresses, so she pulled off the entire look exceptionally well.

The young girl seemed a little concerned that I hadn’t moved or responded so I broke out of my funk and said,

“I’ve… never heard of that brand. Do you work in the building?”

“Yes. On the thirteenth floor. I work for the David Jones corporation as a secretary. I love it there and last week, they provided us new typewriters!”

She added with a little excitement. My initial instinct was to laugh at her cute joke, but something told me not to, then a few moment later, we stopped at the thirteenth floor.

“This is my stop.”

As the door opened, I was presented with old world charm and even the smells seemed strange. Wood paneling and wallpaper on the walls and an elegant mahogany table that sat directly in front of the lift. Behind it, sat a matronly looking woman in her fifties and she looked up at the sound of the ding of the elevator bell. It was a little later when it dawned on me that an actual bell chimed and not the beep that I would normally hear.

The more I looked around, the stranger it seemed as there were beautiful Art Deco decorations like ornate lead light lamps, sconces, and chandeliers but before the young girl stepped from the elevator, she gave me smile and said,

“Well… Goodbye.”

Then the doors closed, and I continued to ascend to my floor. Walking to my desk, I kept replaying the meeting in my head, as it was so bizarre! I had stopped on the thirteenth floor many times before and it had been decorated in the similar modern design as my own. Had they recently renovated?

Once I was situated at my desk, I decided to Google the Sydney office locations for David Jones and curiously, none were anywhere near me. I proceeded to do some research on the occupants in the building, specifically the thirteenth floor and could only find reference to a Reinsurance Company.

Eventually, I let the matter go and returned to my normal routine. I’d often be reminded of the encounter with the goddess from the forties, when watching classic movies like Key Largo, then during a cold and rainy morning, I stepped into an empty elevator on the way to my office and I was once again joined by the same girl. She wore a bright red dress that had a sweetheart neckline. Her hair was curled, and I think she had a pomp, if that was the right word for it but what was strange is that she wasn’t wet.

She looked at me strangely then said,

“Good morning. Why are you wet?”

“Because it’s raining outside…”

“No, it’s not!”

We continued ascending in silence until I finally had the courage to introduce myself.

“By the way, my name’s Julian.”

“Oh, hello… I’m Constance. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

She gave me a smile that took my breath away and before I could say anything else, I heard the ding of the elevator bell. She was just about to step out when I held the door open and said,

“I hope you have a wonderful day, Constance.”

“Thank you and you too, Julian!”

With that, she stepped onto her floor and the elevator door closed. Again, I thought about the chance meeting on the way to my little cubicle and tried to remember the last time I uttered the words ‘wonderful day’. Normally, I’d say something like ‘ciao’ or ‘later, dude’ so I don’t know what happened there.

Then there was the whole rain thing! She didn’t even carry a jacket or umbrella so maybe she drove in and parked in the underground parking lot but that didn’t explain her confusion when I said it was raining. The rest of the day went by slowly, as I was preoccupied with the re encounter then once again, things went back to normal.

A month had passed, and I had forgotten about the strange meetings. While I had my head down, looking at my phone, I stepped into the elevator and was joined by my mysterious friend. She smiled as she entered and said,

“Good morning, Julian. Looking forward to a great day?”

“Yes, I am, Constance. Especially as it’s Friday. Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?”

She was beautifully dressed in her usual retro forty’s style outfit, and we exchanged some pleasantries as we ascended. I was about to ask her about her clothes when the elevator stopped abruptly. Constance began to panic but I assured her that it was probably a brief malfunction, then after a few minutes of waiting, I opened a small panel near the lift buttons and retrieved the emergency phone to alert the powers that be. I was amused to see that it was one of those old-fashioned black handsets but when I checked for a dial tone, I heard none.

“I wonder where Harry is today. He normally operates the elevator but it’s funny how each time I meet you, he’s not here…”

Said Constance. I didn’t really understand what she meant by that, so I pulled out my phone and decided to call building maintenance but had no service. It was then that Constance asked,

“What… is… that?!

“It’s my new Samsung phone. I got it last week.”

She then laughed and said,

“That’s funny… It doesn’t even have a phone cord to attach it to a phone line so how can you speak to anyone?”

“It… doesn’t need one.”

We started looking at each other with a little worry but I tried to continue,

“It’s a twenty-twenty-one model but has all the features of the twenty-twenty-two.”

I then showed her the screen and her worry turned into fear. She stepped backward toward the far side of the lift and asked.

“What is that?!”

The light above us flickered for a moment and it seemed to alternate from a blue tinged white to a yellowish opalescence, so I looked up and couldn’t comprehend what I found. The ceiling of the elevator seemed to shimmer like the surface of a pond and the three low voltage down-lights kept disappearing and being replaced by an old Edison type light bulb, enclosed by an alabaster dome. It seemed to occur every five seconds and I couldn’t help but duck down in fear of what I beheld.

We both began to panic, and I attempted to open the elevator door. Constance joined me and after a few moments, opened it by about two feet and what we found was truly horrific.


Actually, it seemed to be ‘blacker’ than black, if that made sense and it was freezing cold, so we let go and allowed the doors to spring shut. Constance began hyperventilating and I attempted to calm her, while also trying to calm myself then after about an hour, we sat on the floor of the elevator. The carpet that we sat on seemed to change color from a rich burgundy to a light grey and we remarked on it.

“What is happening, Julian?!”

Asked a tearful Constance but I only shook my head. After a while I thought that I’d take her mind off things and asked her questions about herself. She mentioned that she lived in a Federation style home in Leichhardt, so I added,

“It’s hard to renovate those heritage listed homes, huh?”

“Heritage listed?”

“Yeah. You know… Because they’re over a hundred years old.”

Constance remained quiet for a while then eventually responded,

“My father bought it new in nineteen-twenty-three…”

I felt the hairs stand up at the back of my neck as she looked down at my clothes and continued

“I didn’t want to say anything until now, but your clothes seem a little… strange.”

“I was going to remark on your retro styled clothes as well… When were you born?”

I asked and it dawned on Constance where our conversation was heading.

“Nineteen-twenty-three. You?”

“I was born in nineteen-ninety-nine…”

We were quiet for the longest time before we began asking questions about our lives. It eventually occurred to us that we were in some sort of cosmic crossover… or time distortion… or wormhole… Pick your favorite Sci-fi story and go with it but what may have been even stranger than this, was my rapidly increasing feelings for Constance. We had so much in common, ironically but while her interests were current to her, for me they were retro and vintage.

I couldn’t help myself from saying,

“We better make sure we get out of here soon or your boyfriend or husband would get worried!”

Constance looked down at the floor and said,

“Well… I was engaged to be married but my fiance died in a battle with the Japanese in Fiji. Since then, there hasn’t been anyone, until…”

She then stopped as she realized that she had divulged more than she intended to, but I prompted,


“Never mind. What about you? Are you betrothed?”

She asked, trying to deflect the question and I explained that I couldn’t find a girl that I could connect to. Then I mentioned what my always said about being born in the wrong decade. She asked me questions about what it was like to live in my time, and I was able to let her listen to some songs that I had downloaded onto my phone. She wasn’t impressed…

Constance became cold so I removed my jacked and placed it around her shoulders. She smelled the lapel and said,

“Every time I meet you, I smell your wonderful cologne and it sticks with me the whole day!”

Our eyes then locked together, and I felt something profound stir inside of me. Apart from being in an actual nightmare, Constance was my dream girl and I had become afraid of learning more about her. We became quiet once again and just watched the strange alternating carpet colors and lighting for a while. Looking down at my smart watch, I found that it had gone flat and when I looked at the time on my phone, the clock app had disappeared. I asked Constance for the time, and she too found that her little windup time peace had stopped working at around 8:45 AM. The approximate time we had entered the lift.

“Will we ever get out of here, Julian?”

She asked and I put on a brave face and responded.

“Absolutely! Maybe the universe is trying to tell us something… Maybe, we were meant to meet but time kept us apart.”

Constance began to shiver but no from the cold, so I put my arm around her shoulder to provide some warmth and comfort. As there weren’t any windows or watches to track the time, we had no idea how long we were there for and fell asleep with our arms around each other. I awoke some time later when I felt her stir and I did the craziest thing that I had ever done.

I kissed her…

Just a short peck then I felt emotions explode inside of me like fireworks and it seemed that Constance felt the same way too. So much so that she kissed me back! It was sweet, gentle, and affectionate and I never wanted to stop but I did for a moment to caress her face and stare into her beautiful blue eyes then as I went to kiss her again, we felt a rumble.

We both sprang to our feet as we felt the elevator begin to move and I noticed that the shimmering effect on the ceiling had stopped. The alabaster dome light was the only source of illumination, and burgundy was the only shade of color that appeared on the carpet.

Suddenly, we heard the ding of the bell and the doors opened on the thirteenth floor, but it seemed to be morning, with people walking around and getting ready for the day. Before doing anything, I place my hand on the elevator door to stop it from closing again and Constance and I looked at each other with overwhelming happiness and relief. She was just about to take a step out of the elevator when she abruptly stopped and said,

“Wait… What if… this was our only chance and that we may never see each other again? Come with me, Julian!”

Part of me wanted to because I would be living my fantasy and maybe, there was a chance for us to be together but... I wouldn’t see my family again. I would have nothing apart from the clothes on my back and while thinking about the offer, I extended the same invitation to Constance.

“Come with me, Constance! Come to my time! I have an apartment and you could live with me while we figure things out!”

It seemed that she had similar thoughts that I had and simply whispered,

“My family…”

We both seemed to be struggling with a huge decision that was thrusted upon us and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that she was my person. I wanted to go with her, ‘and’ I wanted her to join my life, but the choices were split so equally, that it felt like was being torn apart!

Constance took my hand and the yearning from her glistening eyes only made the decision even harder when suddenly, we both stepped off the elevator… but it wasn’t ‘us’! They were like apparitions of us… ghosts and although we could see through the specters, they were definitely me and Constance.

At first, I thought that only I could see them until I heard Constance gasp and the sound caught ‘our’ (their) attention! The transparent doppelgangers then looked back and smiled, and we smiled back then a moment later, became… real. In my shock, I had released the lift door and they closed in front of us.

The next stop was the twentieth floor and the twenty-first century, then we both stepped out into my busy office. Constance looked around like she had just landed on an alien planet, so I asked her to take a seat in our little reception area while I looked for my boss. I asked him if it were possible to take two weeks leave, effective immediately, due to a family emergency and he gave me his blessing. When I returned to collect Constance, I found her wide eyed, watching a commercial on a TV in the reception area.

I attracted her attention when I walked up to her and asked,

“Are you ready to go home?”

And with that, she took my hand and we left for my little apartment in Parramatta. It took a few months for Constance to become acclimatized to me, the decade and she did better than I thought. We had become inseparable from that time on, and we had arranged for her to obtain a new identity by pretending she had amnesia.

After some research, I found that our other selves had died years ago but I decided not to open that can of worms as far as children and so forth. Constance and I opened a store that sold forties style everything, from clothes to furniture and never looked back. Besides, we had our future to live.

July 15, 2022 05:15

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Emma G.
21:37 Jul 20, 2022

This pulled me in immediately! Crazy to think different versions of them could have been living at the same time as they were. Loved the elevator being a time machine concept. Great work here!


Mark Nero
23:46 Jul 20, 2022

Thanks! :)


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Shaun Scott
04:41 Jul 20, 2022

Great read!!!


Mark Nero
06:54 Jul 20, 2022

Thanks! :)


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