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366 Days of Writing Prompts – Day 149

May 28, 2016

Elevator from the past

You’re stuck in an elevator with a person from your past.
Write this scene.

I was reading a mystery on my Kindle when the elevator opened. I didn’t even pay attention to the new occupant. The door closed and the elevator began its decent. Suddenly, the elevator jerked and stopped. The lights flickered and went out. Seconds later, the emergency light -a pale, yellow, barely visible light – came on. I looked up from my Kindle and there she stood. My childhood nemesis, Janice*.

Janice pushed at the buttons a few times and then swore under her breath. She finally hit the red emergency button.

“May I help you?” a voice asked.

“Yes, dammit. The elevator is stuck. I have places to be.”

I stayed in my corner, hoping she wouldn’t recognize me. It had been thirty plus years since I’d last seen her, but I could tell by her attitude that she hadn’t changed much.

“Our techs are working on the situation, ma’am. Just remain calm.”

Janice turned around and stared me in the eyes. “Calm! How am I to remain calm when I am stuck here?” She glanced down at her cellphone. “Shit! I have to be at a meeting in ten minutes.” She held the phone up. “No reception. Can you get reception?” she asked me.

“Sorry, I don’t have a cellphone,” I said quietly and went back to reading my Kindle.

After a moment of silence, Janice asked, “Do I know you? You look familiar.”

I looked up at her. “I don’t think so.”

“Are you sure? Do you work for Sherman and Schultz?”

I shook my head.

“I know!”

My heart sank. Would my torment begin again? I held my breath.

“You work at that little cafe down from the library, right?”

I exhaled. Thank goodness. She really hadn’t a clue. “No, sorry.”

“Never mind. You must have one of those faces… you know, so common as to be familiar.”

I shrugged my shoulders and went back to reading. Janice paced about the small space a few times and then went back to the controls and hit the emergency button.

“May I help you?”

“How much longer?”

“Our techs are working on it, ma’am. Just remain…”

“Calm. Yes, I heard you the first time.”

Janice huffed and leaned against the silver wall. She poked at her cellphone a few times and then put it in her jacket pocket.

“So, what do you do for a living?”

I glanced back up at her. “Writer,” I said flatly.

“Oh really? Bestseller?”

“Short Science Fiction stories.”

“Oh… I don’t read Science Fiction.”

The elevator came to life and I breathed a sigh of relief. Within minutes we reached the bottom floor. As the door opened, she turned to me again.

“Are you sure we don’t know one another?”

“Afraid not.”

Janice exited the elevator with a pondersome look on her face. I waited until she’d exited the building and then went on my way. I was thankful she hadn’t recognized me, but I wasn’t really surprised… the tormentor never remembers, but the victim can never forget.

*Janice is just a fictitious name. An accumulation of all the people who tormented me in High School.


  1. I love this prompt! There are so many people I could insert in that elevator scene, ranging from wise college professors who helped me a lot to my much younger, and admittedly dumber, self. Thanks for the cool prompt and story!

  2. G. R. McNeese permalink

    I could write a similar story. There were a few people who tormented me throughout the years. It would be funny to write them in a scene like that.

    I probably should.

  3. Deb permalink

    The doer easily forgets. Lovely story.

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