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TitleThe Thirteenth Floor
PosterDcaf-06
Posted05.13.04 11:12:10 PM
I'm starting to write short stories in my spare time now. This is the first of 2. Let me know what you think.
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Jonathan Milzeri checked his watch. 1:58 PM, right on time. He had talked to his girlfriend, Laura Miller, the day before, and he told her that he would be over at 2:00.
People always marveled at how different and yet so alike John and Laura were. He was average height for being 17, with short brown hair and blue eyes. If it was unusual for a dark-haired person to have blue eyes, then Laura was just as strange by comparison. She was tall, and her blonde hair contrasted sharply with her piercing brown eyes. In spite of being so different on the outside, their personalities were so alike that it was startling. They loved the same foods, had basically the same taste in music, and had been friends for most of their lives. Yet there were distinct differences, and maybe those differences were what kept their relationship so strong. They rarely ever fought, and when they did they always made up quickly. The most recent fight had been a month ago, when rumors were going around school that John was talking about breaking up with Laura. He hadn’t said anything like that, or even thought about it, because as far as he could tell things couldn’t be better. Actually, Thursday would be 11 months that they were dating. Thinking about this, he smiled as he pressed the button for the 14th floor.
Laura’s apartment normally would have been on the 13th floor, but the people who had built the building had skipped the number 13 and gone straight to 14. He had asked Laura about it one time, and she had said that the builders thought it was unlucky for a building to have a 13th floor. Superstitious bullshit, he thought as the numbers above the door began to count down to 1.
“These old elevators are so slow,” John grumbled. It seemed to take forever for the elevator to reach each floor. He checked his watch. He scuffed his foot on the floor. He sighed. Despite being relatively laid-back, John was not a very patient person, and he couldn’t wait to see Laura again. School was out today, though it was only Friday. Something about finding asbestos in one of the classrooms. John didn’t mind, though. He had never particularly enjoyed school, and the second he woke up he showered, got ready, and drove over to Laura’s. Maybe they could go out to a movie, or eat dinner together, or something...if only the stupid elevator would come.
Finally the doors opened. John stepped on and pressed the button marked 14, and as he did he noticed something strange. A white and dark blue sneaker was on the floor, and John picked it up to examine it. There was nothing remarkable about it except for a long tear along the side. This raised John’s interest for a moment, but then he noticed that the sneaker was in bad condition to begin with. Little abrasions and cuts like those acquired from everyday wear were all over the shoe, and after turning it over he noticed a large amount of dried mud caked into the sole. But where had the gash come from? John decided that it didn’t concern him, and he tossed the sneaker aside before the 6th floor.
By the time the elevator reached the 9th floor he began to think about something that had happened that day. That morning John’s mother had warned him against going outside.
“It’s Friday the 13th,” she warned. “Don’t go out today. You’ll have bad luck.”
“I think I’ll be alright,” he said, his tone becoming bitter. Irritated with his mother’s blatant stupidity, he left the house without another word.
John rolled his eyes at the memory and wondered why everyone was so goddamned superstitious. As he rolled his eyes, he noticed something; the red numbers above the elevator door had not skipped from 12 to 14 like they always had before. The number 13 glared down at him. The apartment building did not have a 13th floor, and yet somehow he was there.
His breath caught in his chest. For the first time that day he was scared, and the thought that maybe there was something to the myth of Friday the 13th crossed his mind. As quickly as the thought came, though, it left. Maybe it was a glitch of some kind, or maybe a prank by some joker electrician with too much time on his hands. Even if the building did have a 13th floor, he told himself, it would still be where Laura lived. John wiped a drop of sweat from his brow and shook off his worry.
Then the doors opened, revealing nothing but darkness. He blinked.
“Was there a power outage?” he wondered aloud. Then John realized that this didn’t make any sense. There were windows in the hallway, and it was bright and sunny outside.
John took a cautious step out into the blackness, and then another. He was out of the elevator, but now he was scared. The darkness was absolute, and the silence deafening. Where am I? he wondered. The silence gave no answer for several long seconds, and then he heard a ding and a sliding noise. John whipped around just in time to see the elevator doors close.
“Shit!” he raged, lunging toward the already closed doors and punching the metal. Pain shot up his arm. Before he had time to scold himself for his outburst, John heard a scuffling noise behind him. He turned around again and listened. It was several more seconds before he realized that he was holding his breath, and there was the noise again.
“Who’s there?” he asked, squinting into the gloom. It was no use; he could see almost nothing. In the dim red glow cast from the descending glowing numbers above the elevator doors, he could see something on the ground. John knelt to pick it up. It was a piece of pipe, maybe a little more than a foot long. While kneeling he rubbed his hand over the ground. It was cement, but it was covered with enough dust that it might as well have been a thin layer of sand. A third scuffling noise, which John now realized was a footstep, and he was on his feet again.
Then he heard a chuckle, low and derisive. John clenched the piece of pipe tighter in his hand, but said nothing. If whoever it was wanted him, he wasn’t going down without a fight.
“Who’s there?” he demanded again, getting the same answer he got before. The sound of a footstep came again, coming distinctly from the left. John squinted and saw a dark form. He couldn’t make out what it looked like, or who it was, but he could see it. He drew back and threw the pipe as hard as he could toward the person. He heard a thud and another noise that made his heart skip several beats: a hiss.
The person darted back into the darkness and spoke, and as soon as it did John could tell that he was not dealing with a who, but a what. Its voice was a low hiss, like that of a snake. There was a malicious tone to this voice, though, and it chilled him to the bone.
“Do you believe in bad luck?” the creature asked.
John took a step back and bumped into the elevator doors. He took a deep breath and delivered his answer into the void: “N-No.”
The creature laughed, a grisly sound that caused John’s heart to begin to race faster than before. Then it asked, “Do you know what day it iss?”
“Friday the 13th,” was John’s reply.
“Yess. And do you know what floor thiss iss?”
“The 13th,” John said, suddenly becoming dizzy with fear.
“How unlucky for you,” it said, and suddenly John could hear rapid footsteps. He turned from right to left in fear. Where was it coming from?
Searing pain in his right leg gave him his answer. He cried out, fell to the ground, and his hands shot down to his leg, his eyes squinted in anguish. Then he got the biggest shock of his life: his calf was gone! Below his knee there was nothing but warm blood gushing out. He started to cry out of shock, fear, and regret. John rolled onto his back, and then he heard a ding. Looking up through teary eyes, he saw the illuminated number above the elevator change from 2 to 3. The elevator was coming back up!
His vision was sliding in and out of focus, but still he held on to the vague hope that help was coming. Then he felt great pressure on his chest and knew that the creature was on top of him. His last thought was that he would never get to see Laura again, and even if help did arrive it was already too late.
**********
Laura Miller had been out riding her bike and completely lost track of time. When she had checked the time and saw that it was 1:45, she turned around and pedaled furiously for home. She made it back to the apartment complex at exactly 2:00, and she knew that John must have been waiting for her. His truck was in the parking lot, and she had put her bike in the back of it. Laura hoped that John wouldn’t be too insulted that she wasn’t home, knowing that he wouldn’t be. If you set aside those days that he was irritable, John was a very easy-going and understanding person. It was one of the reasons that she loved him so much.
Waiting for the elevator she was not alone. An old woman was waiting, too, and she carried several plastic grocery bags in her hands.
“It’s a beautiful day out there,” the woman said.
Laura smiled. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, there was a light breeze, and just enough cloud cover to make the sky picturesque. “I know. I was out biking a minute ago.”
The old woman smiled. “It’s Friday the 13th, you know. Bad day to be outside.”
“I’m not really superstitious,” Laura replied. It was one of the many things that her and John had in common: disbelief in superstition. He was more extreme than she was, though. While she merely didn’t believe in it, John hated it with a passion. She couldn’t tell why, though. He had always been like that.
“I’m not very much so, either. But one can’t help but wonder,” the woman said, trailing off as the elevator doors opened.
“Let me get those for you,” Laura offered as they walked on.
“Thanks, dear. You know, I wouldn’t even be out today if it weren’t for the fact that my cat needs food,” the old woman said, pointing to the grocery bags that Laura was now holding.
Laura smiled again. Their apartments were the only ones in the area that allowed pets. “We have a Pomeranian, Mackie. What floor are you going to?”
“15,” she replied. Laura pressed the buttons for both the 14th and 15th floors.
The two were quiet for the rest of the ride, even though Laura noticed a shoe in the corner of the elevator. She didn’t give it a second thought, however, and the elevator stopped its ascent.
The elevator doors opened.
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The preceding was a work of pure fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead, not to mention unknown creatures inhabiting darkness, is purely coincidental.

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