The Elevator (A Short Story)

AXE MURDERER STILL ON THE LOOSE” read the massive headlines on a rack of newspapers. I grabbed a complimentary copy from the hotel lobby, then shuffled towards a bench in front of the elevator doors. I sat down and read:

Another murder was reported late last night and it seems the police are still no closer to finding the madman who has been terrorizing what was once a tranquil community. Three bodies were found in gruesome shape in a local motel after a maid noticed a putrid smell coming from one of the rooms. According to police reports the identities of the three victims have yet to be confirmed due to the horrific state of their corpses…

‘Bing’. The familiar chime of an arriving elevator prompted me to look up from my newspaper. A young couple, arm in arm, got on ahead of me. As expected, they held open the door, as people do for an elderly gentleman, I hobbled onto the lift, using my cane for support. There were four of us inside. I sized them up. The couple who got on with me were grinning excitedly at one another – probably newlyweds, Next to them stood an odd looking man. His cold eyes and pronounced jaw took me aback. He looked out the window of the elevator at the busy street below, his expression glassy. He glanced at the headline of the paper, then to me.
“Dreadful business these murders… Looks as though the police haven’t a clue who is responsible.”
“Yes, I read that too, in yesterday’s paper.” I responded, noting the man’s slightly foreign accent, “But it seems that now they have a description.” I flipped the page to show a sketch of the suspect. It looked familiar. The couple glanced up at the two of us, looking apprehensive.
“Well, that’s… That’s interesting” exclaimed the man. He smirked eerily. “What else does it say about his description?”
“Tall, brown hair, brown eyes, and approximately 180 lbs.”
“Well I hope you’re not getting any of the wrong ideas.” the man stated, his amber eyes and hair considerably more noticeable than before. “After all, I’m only 160 lbs.” His smirk became more pronounced.
I could see that the couple in the elevator were becoming more and more agitated by the second. Although we had been on the hotel elevator for less than a minute, it seemed time was at a standstill. As the four of us watched the ticking of floor numbers on the dial, the man give an ominous chuckle.
Finally we reached the 20th floor, where the man and the couple both got off. I gave the nervous looking pair a small nod of encouragement as they headed off after the man. The woman managed the smallest of smiles, then took the arm of her partner and hurried off. The doors closed behind them.

As the elevator once again began its ascent, I stood up straight and rubbed the wrinkly mask covering my entire face and head. I tried to blink away the irritation caused by my colored contacts. The two thin strips of plastic concealed what my mother, before her “accident”, had called “balmy brown eyes”.

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