Nothing Out of the Ordinary

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Aira clutched tightly to her lunch bag as she turned the handle of the door with her free hand. There were only three doors left till she reached the freedom of her car. Work was long and relentless and the weekend was far away, but Aira liked her job even though it was exhausting. When she reached the second door Aira quickly crossed the tiny reticular room as she rushed towards the third door. That’s when she noticed the elevator door was open. She barely paid any attention to it before, but there was something different about it. The colors clashed against the ones in the room almost as if it did not belong there.

The walls were covered in sandy tan wallpaper and the floors were neatly tiled in marble stone. She’d forgotten there was another elevator at all, but this one was far fancier than the busted metal box they used to haul supplies in. Her hand pressed against the handle of the third door, as she debated taking a step inside the elevator. She applied enough force to the door that it cracked open, but curiosity got the best of her as she let the door close and walked towards the mysterious elevator.

It wasn’t as dramatic as her imagination led her to believe. From the inside, it looked like any other elevator she had been in. Aira allowed her fingers to trace the soft textured wallpaper as her eyes rolled over the detail on the marble floors. There was a patient hum coming from the elevator that waited for her next move. That was when Aira realized that the elevator had four floors instead of two. She looked curiously at the dimly glowing yellow buttons, letting her eyes wander freely up and down the panel as she counted the number of floors in her head. The buttons were smooth and felt like glass, not like the other elevator buttons warned from use. She hit the button for the first floor and the doors opened again to the room she had just left. She poked her head out and shrugged and allowed the doors closed again. She tapped the button for the second floor, expecting to reach the back hallway of the administrative offices upstairs.

When the elevator lifted it moved effortlessly as the gears and machinery merged together in a marvelous chorus. The doors opened and a light blinded her as the sound of music rattled through her ears. Once her eyes adjusted she looked out at the sea of dancing bodies below her. She peered over the patio at the crowd, all moving to the beat of the music coming from the bandstand. She was shocked at first, unable to take her eyes off the faces in the crowd, who looked so content and carefree; something she had not felt in a long time. Part of her wanted to dwell in this transitional state, as her eyes passed over the sweat covered faces of the people below her. She couldn’t help but feel a little bit envious, but she leaned back into the elevator as the doors closed once more. She stood there for a second trying to wrap her mind around how a crowd full of hundreds of people could possibility be on the second floor. It was so bizarre, almost unbelievable, but she was curious and pressed the button for the third floor.

It was the smell of the ocean that she noticed first when the doors opened. There was a gentle breeze and blue skies when she looked out in front of her. She noticed the endless sea around her, she wondered if she were now on a boat. She looked out onto the wooden deck which was completely empty except for a few patio chairs and tables when suddenly she heard gunshots. She pressed her hands to her ears and ducked. A few yards in front of her a man came hurtling towards her. Behind him were three tall men not far behind. They were shooting at him. She immediately hit the close door button, but as she did she couldn’t help but notice the smug look of excitement and exhilaration on the running man’s face.

The doors closed leaving only the gentle hum of the machinery. She stepped back and leaned against the wall listening to the beat of her heart. What in the world did she just see? A part of her wanted to stop this crazy adventure, but she couldn’t take her eyes off the fourth floor. This time, she was more hesitant, as she reached out and pressed the button for the fourth floor. The doors opened to an all-white office, with tiny light gray cubicles with people crouched over their computers like drones. On the walls were hundreds of clocks with no hands, silently ticking away. No one noticed her on the opposite end of the office; they were too immersed in their work. It was odd, she took a second to look at everyone’s faces – all were stoic, empty, and emotionless.

Aira stepped back into the elevator, her mind reeling as if she had just lifted the curtain on reality. She stared at the floor as her mind shouted to her to hit the first-floor button and run away, but inside of her she couldn’t ignore the tiny spark of curiosity. It burned brightly in the depths of her self-conscious, driving her forward. She reached for the third-floor button.

The doors opened, “What took you so long?” smiled the running man.

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