Something Strange is Going On

Based on a Game of Fiction

Photo by Ahmed Rizkhaan on Unsplash

I know this is going to sound crazy; Hell, I hardly believe it myself, but it happened. After so many failed attempts, it finally happened.

I'd heard and watched so many stories relating to other people's experiences about this Elevator Game, that I thought it was about time I tried it for myself; maybe I'll get lucky and nothing will happen. Or, if something does happen, I'll have something to talk about, for once. Every time I get with my friends, I hardly have anything to contribute to the conversation that they hadn't heard already; it's rather frustrating.

A couple weeks ago, I'd been sitting outside with a group of people, about three of my friends among them. We were discussing the course the country was taking with the most recent elections, and I wasn't particularly interested in voicing my opinion on the matter, so I let my mind wander a moment.

"You ever wonder why nothing of any real interest ever happens around here?" I asked, casually, more to myself.

"What are you talking about, Chris?" Rich asked, giving me a look. "There are all kinds of interesting events happening every day."

"Maybe in other parts of the world, I'm talking about around here, where we live," I replied.

"Probably because we live in the lowest costing location, nobody would want to bother with us?" Jill offered, seemingly not understanding what I was going for.

"I don't think he wants anyone to rob us, Jill," Paul remarked, turning to me. "What did you have in mind that might make this place more exciting?"

I shrugged, shaking my head, as I squeezed my mod. "I wasn't really thinking of anything, just voicing how boring it can be living here." 

I exhaled, throwing a huge cloud into the air. "I mean, what about all those abandoned factories you see out in the middle of nowhere? Have you ever wondered what happened to shut them down in the first place? Or if there might be a serial killer hiding out in one?"

"Not particularly," Jill said, with a shiver, "I actually find that kind of stuff to be rather creepy."

"That's what I'm talking about, the creepiness factor of certain places or even things. Like how elevators can be seen as moving coffins," I explained. "All it takes is one wrong move, or bad maintenance, and..." I swiped my finger across my throat.

"Hey, if you're interested in elevators," Paul started, "have you heard about this weird game people have played on them?"

We all shook our heads simultaneously.

"Well, I don't know all the details, but supposedly there's a way people can access another dimension through them," Paul replied. "When you get a chance, maybe you should look it up, and maybe we'll make something out of it."

"Hmm," I said, thinking. "All right, I think I will." 

I glanced at the clock on my out-of-minutes cell phone. It was going on three thirty. "Well, I hate to ruin the party, but I've got to go get ready for work. I'll talk to you guys later."

We said our good-byes, and I went to my boring dead-end job that gave me nothing but a way to keep the bills paid. The entire shift I could only think about what Paul had said, about access to another dimension, and how cool it must be to actually travel there.

That night, I got online, and looked up everything available related to the elevator game. I did a search for every type of story available. I even watched as many videos explaining what to expect and the exact process to complete the game.

I was up until about two in the morning, when I started dozing off, so felt that had been enough for one night. I went to bed, thinking about where the best location might be for my first attempt.

The next day, I met up with everyone again; this time, I led the conversation. It almost seemed as though they were all expecting me to.

"So, I checked out that game you were talking about yesterday," I stated. "It seems pretty interesting, would you be willing to try it with me?"

I heard stifled giggles coming from Jill. I gave her a look, so she'd clarify what was so funny. "Did you forget the part that says you have to do it alone?"

"No, I didn't," I replied, sternly. "I meant as friends; we each take a turn and see what happens."

"Well, I for one, am pretty sure it's a work of fiction," claimed Paul. "So, you can count me out. I already know nothing will happen. I just brought it up to see if you'd actually believe me."

"Have you tried it to make sure nothing would happen?" I asked, defensive. "Probably not, so you really don't know what'll happen. I plan to try it out starting tonight, and I found a relatively close hotel building that it should work in."

"Okay, just be careful," Jill said. "Let us know what happens."

"I'll go with you," offered Rich. "Mainly, out of curiosity, and as a backup, if it really does work."

"Thanks, but how could you be backup?" I asked. "There's nothing that states another person would be able to find you if you do make it."

"I know," he said, smiling. "I've always had an interest in these kinds of things. I figure if you don't come back, then it might be that it worked, and I'd try it myself."

We all went back and forth a good couple hours, each stating our opinions, until it was time to go.

"After work, why don't you meet me at the hotel?" I asked Rich, mentioning which one I was referring to. "I'll be there around midnight to give it a try."

"All right, see you then," he said.

Standing in the lobby of the hotel, I saw Rich was waiting for me, as I entered the fancy turn-style door. He had brought a camera with him, though I didn't think it would be of any use, since electronics were said not to work in the other dimension.

"You ready to do this?" He asked. "The place seems quiet, I've been here for the last ten minutes, and all I saw was a couple people who apparently live here; they brought enough food to last a month, at least."

I nodded. "I'm as ready as I'll ever be. Let's go."

Approaching the first elevator, I pressed the up button, and waited for the doors to open. I glanced at the people behind the help desk, and couldn't help but notice as the woman gave us a quick glance before rolling her eyes, and returning to her work.

"Looks like somebody's jealous we have more free time," I smirked, nudging Rich, who just shook his head.

The elevator arrived, and I stepped on, pressing the button for the fourth floor. The doors opened, but I remained in the car.

I pressed the button for the second floor. The doors closed, and the car descended.

The doors opened; I pressed the sixth floor, and waited for the doors to close.

The doors opened; I pressed the second, again.

The doors opened; I pressed the tenth.

The doors opened; I pressed the fifth, and held my breath. When the doors opened, an old woman got on. Oh, my god, I thought. Is this the woman I'm not supposed to talk to? I pressed the button for the first floor, and waited. The doors closed, and the car began its descent to the lobby. I hung my head, as I asked, "You were going down, right?"

"Yes, thank you dearie," she responded. "I just came to drop off some supplies to my grandson, and I'm now on my way home."

"Game over," I said, under my breath.

Once in the lobby, I called Rich over to tell him the bad news.

"I don't think that old lady is who you're supposed to wait for," he said, pointing, subtly behind us.

I shook my head. "Nope." Then, shrugging, "I'll just try again later, in another building. You willing to join me?"

"Nah, I got plans," he replied, shaking his head. "Maybe another time."

We parted ways from there, and I planned for the next two weeks to hit every building I could travel to in the city until I found the right one.

That's exactly what I did, until I came to this skyscraper of an office building. It looked really important, and I had to bribe the night watch to let me in. I lied; telling him my father worked late on the upper levels, and I needed to drop something off to him.

He didn't believe me, of course, until I glanced at the directory behind him. "Office 3022a," I stated. "I promise, I won't be long, ten minutes tops."

He sighed. "Hurry up, but if this costs me my job, I'm coming for you, kid."

It always seemed to rub me the wrong way whenever anyone called me "kid." Especially when we're roughly the same age. I didn't let it get to me this time, as there were more important things to worry about. I headed to the elevator, and pressed the buttons.

I went in the order I had done so many times, that it basically became second nature. Five minutes of my ten minute deadline had passed, and I was only on the third step: the sixth floor. This had to have been the slowest elevator ride I'd taken in my entire life.

The doors opened; I pushed the button for two, and waited. I looked at my phone's clock: the time read twelve twenty-three. I was starting to get bored, and nearly dozed off, had the doors not opened, so I could push the button labeled ten. I was getting close, now. One more step, and I'll know if this is the real thing.

On the tenth floor, I pushed the button for the fifth, and as with all the other attempts, I held my breath in anticipation. Part of me wanted it to be as Paul suggested: a work of fiction, so I could just go home and forget all this nonsense. But, the other part of me wanted it to be true, so I could hold it over their heads.

"Look at what I did, aren't you impressed by me?" Is kind of what I would say, but if I have no way back, how am I supposed to be "that guy?" Yet, do I even want to be him?

The doors opened, and entering the car was a girl, no older than fifteen. She had long black hair, covering her face, so I don't know all the details. Yes, I wasn't supposed to look at her, but I saw her through my peripheral vision. I pushed the button for the first floor, my hand shaking so badly, I almost missed and might have hit the third, if I didn't stop myself.

The doors closed, slowly, with a rusty creak to them now. It seemed the mechanism had aged a good century just over the last minute. The sound was agonizing, as I kept my attention fixed on the closing door, then shifting it to the wall on my right. I stared at my reflection, hoping I wasn't making a mistake.

"It's kind of surprising you'd choose this place, Chris," she said, sounding an awful lot like Jill. I had to ignore her. "I thought you always said you wouldn't be caught dead in a place like this?"

I stared at the wall, not seeing anything in particular, as the car began to climb up toward the tenth floor. The floor numbers dinged by, one-by-one; I focused my attention on that sound.

"Why aren't you looking at me?" Pseudo-Jill asked, her voice squeaking in the way it does when she gets worried. "Are we no longer friends? Why the silence?"

We were approaching the ninth floor, only one more, and I can see what this other world looks like. Beside me, I could hear her crying. I knew it was just a trick to get me to look at her, so I remained vigilant, still as a statue, though inside I was fighting the urge to scream at her to '"just shut up, and let me finish the ride." However hard it was, in a matter of minutes, it will all be over, and hopefully, it will have been worth it.

The sound came that signified the final stop, but the doors remained closed. I waited another moment, nothing happened. I closed my eyes, and rubbed them with my fingers, trying to think if I'd forgotten anything. Everything had played out as it should have, maybe the door is just stuck. I put my hand out to try opening the door manually, when the door flew open catching me off guard. I pulled my hand back for fear of having it ripped off by the force used.

I looked out beyond the elevator and what I saw shocked me more than any of the stories could have. I noticed the giant red cross in the distance first, because how could I not, right? But, other than that, the entire building had been shrouded in darkness. I looked out one of the closest windows, and saw just a slight amount of light cutting through the thick cloud cover outside.

I stepped off the elevator, wanting to have a closer look at what this place was about.

"Where are you going?" She asked, as I exited the elevator.

I had been silently waiting for what seemed like an eternity; waiting for that specific question to be asked. I turned around to face the girl, her visage slowly changing with each passing second. I began to doubt myself, as I watched her, standing there.

No, this was the whole reason I did this in the first place. I wasn't going to back down, not now.

"I'm going out there, and I'm retrieving that relic," I stated, pointing to the cross in the distance. "I know, I wasn't supposed to acknowledge you, but I have to right now. This world will be mine, and there's nothing you can do to stop me."

There was silence for a long minute. I waited for her to respond, maybe even try to stop me venturing beyond the hall; all she did was smile slightly, before disappearing completely.

What have I gotten myself into? When they claimed I was supposed to be the only inhabitant of this world, I didn't take into account they were referring to humans. I've spent the last three nights, running and hiding, terrified from all the sounds coming from the streets below the building. The worst ones are the sounds of fingers tapping on the glass of the room I'm currently occupying, and the scratching along the walls of the hallway outside the door. I wish I could remember what the sequence was to get back home; my mind clouds over the more I think about it. Then, it hit me:

I now know why that girl smiled at me.

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