A Journey Begun Alone

A Journey Begun Alone

A Story by Rawhide
"

There is no scientific term for the fear of elevators, but is a very real phobia that affects many people including our main character in this story.

"

A Journey Begun Alone

.

Jason always felt a little uneasy on the elevator. He wasn't phobic or anything like that. It just felt unnatural. The door closes in one place and when it opens again, he's in another place. Well, technically, it just moved him from one floor to another, but he had a deep-seated fear that the door was going to open up one day, and he'd be somewhere completely different. Another place and time maybe.

.

Jason had that tingle in the pit of his stomach again. As he waited for the elevator, his mind dwelled on the ride down. Twenty-two floors to the bottom level and then three more floors down to his car in the underground garage. Twenty-five floors and when the door opens, the air will be cooler and heavier and the light will be dimmer.

.

The doors slid open and Jason stood in front of the little compartment. He reluctantly blocked the doors with his hand when it started to close and entered the elevator. He watched the doors slide closed and felt the elevator jerk as the mechanisms engaged. He leaned back and let his backside rest against the back wall. He recognized the jazzy music that seemed to ooze out of the elevator ceiling as an instrumental version of some 1980's pop song. He couldn't quite place it, but he was sure he had danced to it a time or two when he was younger.

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He watched the digital counter count down the floors as he descended. He was always one of the last to leave the building each night and usually made the long ride alone. Sometimes a woman with long brown hair that smelled like flowers would get on at the fourteenth floor, and he would forget all about the elevator and just enjoy being in a confined space with her. He had never talked to her, but she always gave him a warm smile, the way some women do when they see someone that they only know from seeing them in the same place repeatedly.

.

The counter flashed fifteen, and the elevator started to slow down. For a moment, Jason thought about nothing but the long haired brunette. The counter changed to fourteen, and the doors opened. He waited, but no one entered. The doors started to close, and he held it open and stuck his head out to see where she was. There was no sign of her, so he let the doors close.

.

The elevator stopped again on the sixth floor and again there was no one waiting. Nervously, he stuck his head out again and looked around. No one was in the halls. He called out "Elevator," but no one answered.

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The doors closed again, and took him the last eight floors to parking level 3. As the doors opened, he could hear a car's engine humming somewhere in the garage. He walked toward the sound of the car. It sounded like someone parked close to him was about to leave. The other car was on the other side of the aisle and a few slots down from his own car. He pushed the button on his key fob to unlock his car. The tail lights of his car flashed twice and he heard the familiar click of his car door. The engine of the other car started to sputter.

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The other car died. Jason would have sworn that it sounded like it had run out of gas. He waited to see if its driver would try to start it again or get out and pop the hood. Nothing happened. He thought of the stories you hear on the news about some poor sap who falls asleep with his car running and never wakes up. To no one in particular, he said, "Carbon monoxide."

.

He walked slowly over towards the other car. He took his time hoping that he would see movement, but as he got closer, he realized that he couldn't see anyone in the car at all. He tried the door, and it was unlocked. Who would leave their car running by itself with the doors unlocked in a public garage?

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He opened the door and did a quick check of all seats front and back. No one was in there. There was a wallet and a cell phone sitting on the console between the front seats. Weirdest of all though was that the driver's side seat belt was fastened.

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He could find no logic in any part of this so he closed the door and hurried to his car. He jumped in, started the engine, and quickly pulled out of his parking space. There were very few cars in the garage at this time of the evening. Most people had gone home a few hours ago.

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He had to stop at the exit. A car blocked the gate. A woman stood next to the car looking a bit frantic. Jason was relieved to see someone else. He got out of his car, and the woman started ranting about the guard.

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"I gave my money to the guard, but then he was gone," she cried out. She was waving some dollar bills in her hand.

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He told her to slow down and tell him what happened. She looked at him like she couldn't understand him. He put his hands on her upper arms and asked her an easy question, "First things first, what's your name?"

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She opened her mouth and hesitated for a fraction of a second before answering, "Angela."

.

"Okay Angela," he said, "Just tell me what happened."

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She took a deep breath and started again, "I gave my money to the guard and waited for him to raise the barricade. When the barricade didn't go up, I turned back to the guard, but he wasn't there anymore. I found my money lying on the ground by my car when I got out."

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Jason talked to her in soothing tones to try to keep her calm. "Here's what we're going to do. I don't know where the guard went, but I have a pass. I'll scan it, and the barricade will open by itself, and then we'll both drive out. Just keep the money and be ready to drive out when I scan my card."

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The woman replied tearing up, "Okay. Okay, thank you!"

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"Just be ready," Jason said again. He wanted to ask her if she had taken the elevator down, but he wouldn't know what to say if she asked him why.

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The woman got in her car, and he walked over to the scanner. He turned to tell her to start her car, but she wasn't there. Her car sat there empty, silent. There was no sign of her in the garage.

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He called her name, and there was no answer. There was no sound at all in the garage except for the idle of his car engine. He yelled out "Angela" into the garage and he noticed that there wasn't any echo.

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He walked around the barricade and out to the streets. There was no traffic. There were no cars and no horns. No planes were flying overhead. He didn't know what to do any more. He was too afraid to go home now. He would rather stay in the garage than go home to an empty house. Maybe his wife would still be there when he got home, but right now he was pretty sure that he no matter how far he went, he wouldn't find anyone. He was the last man alive.

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He drove back to his parking space. He wasn't sure why, it just seemed like the thing to do as if he could undo everything that had gone wrong. He saw that he had left the door of the other car open, so he went over and closed it. From the side of the other car, he could see the elevator. The elevator doors were still open. Had the doors failed to close when he got out? He couldn't remember.

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He went back to the elevator, paused at the doors and then entered. The doors closed and the elevator started moving. The button with twenty-three on it was already lit up. It seemed that he was supposed to go back. It took him back to his floor. He got out and headed for his office.

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He opened his office door, and there was a man sitting behind his desk with his back to the door. He called out, "Hello?"

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There was no answer at first. Jason was about to call again, when the chair turned around. The man was wearing a dark suit. He was slender and his skin was pale and waxy. There was no hint of color in his cheeks. His hair was dark and very neatly slicked back. He smiled and finally spoke.

.

"My sincerest apologies for being late."

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Jason asked, "Who are you? Late? Late for what?"

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The man replied, "I'm very sorry that I wasn't here for the start of your journey. That's the most difficult part. I'm here to escort you to the next world."

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"You're Death, aren't you?" he asked with no incredulity or doubt in his voice.

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"Actually, I have no name," the man said, "Death is one of many monikers people have given me over the years. I'm not here to claim you or drag you away. I'm just a guide. I'm here to help you. Are you ready?"

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Jason hesitated, and the man added, "Let's take the stairs, shall we?"

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Jason smiled and said, "Yes. I'm ready."

 

 


© 2009 Rawhide



Author's Note

Rawhide
I was inspired for this story by an experience in the parking garage at work a few days ago. It's a little spooky how quiet it gets underground when you're the only one down there.

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It was a very good story, really sucked me in. I would take out the passive voice, you stumble into it on occasions, especially once he gets to the garage.

Now, The end didn't make sence. There was no indication that he was anywhere near death, or that he was an old guy, and I don't get how the diapering of people had anything to do with his Journey. I was really into it till those last few passages where he's talking to death...it didn't work. Everything up to that point was creepy and good.

Also, this part was little choppy, I think if you just smooth it out a bit it'll be fine.

"The doors closed again, and took him the last eight floors to parking level 3. As the doors opened, he could hear a car's engine humming somewhere in the . He walked toward the sound of the car. It sounded like someone parked close to him was about to leave. The other car was on the other side of the aisle and a few slots down from his own car. He pushed the button on his key fob to unlock his car. The tail lights of his car flashed twice and he heard the familiar click of his car door. The engine of the other car started to sputter.

.

The other car died. Jason would have sworn that it sounded like it had run out of gas. He waited to see if its driver would try to start it again or get out and pop the hood. Nothing happened. He thought of the stories you hear on the news about some poor sap who falls asleep with his car running and never wakes up. To no one in particular, he said, "Carbon monoxide." "



Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

The story is invoking Rawhide. I loved it very much. The end should though be a little more morbid. Unless, you don't mind leaving the reader with a smile and a giggle. It seems like a nightmare, and then an ascension to a relief. Great write! Ps. loved also the part of the woman and the casual smile she gives to him, and the description as to it, ---mishel

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

It was a very good story, really sucked me in. I would take out the passive voice, you stumble into it on occasions, especially once he gets to the garage.

Now, The end didn't make sence. There was no indication that he was anywhere near death, or that he was an old guy, and I don't get how the diapering of people had anything to do with his Journey. I was really into it till those last few passages where he's talking to death...it didn't work. Everything up to that point was creepy and good.

Also, this part was little choppy, I think if you just smooth it out a bit it'll be fine.

"The doors closed again, and took him the last eight floors to parking level 3. As the doors opened, he could hear a car's engine humming somewhere in the . He walked toward the sound of the car. It sounded like someone parked close to him was about to leave. The other car was on the other side of the aisle and a few slots down from his own car. He pushed the button on his key fob to unlock his car. The tail lights of his car flashed twice and he heard the familiar click of his car door. The engine of the other car started to sputter.

.

The other car died. Jason would have sworn that it sounded like it had run out of gas. He waited to see if its driver would try to start it again or get out and pop the hood. Nothing happened. He thought of the stories you hear on the news about some poor sap who falls asleep with his car running and never wakes up. To no one in particular, he said, "Carbon monoxide." "



Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on February 22, 2009

Author

Rawhide
Rawhide

Maple Valley, WA



About
He puts his quill to parchment to preserve his story. Eons from now, no one will be able to fathom the depths of the suffering he felt nor the expanse of the suffering he caused. He will be villified,.. more..

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