Friday, August 5, 2011

Story-A-Day #267: The Stairwell


She walked quickly down the hall with her arm in her purse, all the way up to the elbow, and was digging around for her car keys. As usual, they had slid down to the bottom somewhere, well out of reach, and buried beneath all the other junk she carried around.

Frustrated, she paused to pit the purse on the floor and rooted through its contents with both hands. It worked, and she pulled the mighty ring from beneath the mound of pills and cosmetics.

It wasn't until she stood up that she noticed the opening, a stairwell that descended a story and a half at least.

There were a few things about this discovery that troubled her.

1) She was positive they hadn't been there before.

2) She knew for a fact she was on the ground floor of a building that did not have a basement.

3) The noises rises up from the door at the bottom of the stairs were a weird mixture of chamber music and industrial machinery.

She glanced at her watch and started off down the hallway again, but stopped after only a few strides.

Her curiosity had gotten the best of her and after a moment of hesitation, she quickly descended the stairs and pushed open the door at the bottom. It opened into another stairwell, identical to the first. When she opened the second door onto a third stairwell, she decided she had seen enough.

She quickly ascended the stairs to the first set where she noticed a door at the top where there hadn't been one before. She climbed up to it, pulled it open, and stepped into a third stairwell.

She was sure she had only gone down two flights, but she was rushed so maybe she had miscalculated. She climbed the stairs to a third door, which she pulled open into another stairwell.

She was starting to panic now. At the top of this set was another door. The strange noises seemed louder as well. She scurried up the stairs, struggling to catch her breath, and heaved the door open.

The noise pressed down eerily from the opening at the top. She sighed with relief. No door, so she was right, she ha simply miscalculated how far she had gone down.

She felt a wave of relief as she placed a trembling hand on the railing and slowly made her way up the stairwell.

She stepped through the opening at the top, and froze. She was in a large open room, a dilapidated warehouse of sorts. It was filled with large coppery machines, robots she supposed, but more like the ones imagined by sci-fi writers and Hollywood movies before such things were possible.

Some played classical instruments, accounting for the chamber music while the others danced, their metal bodies parting and slamming together. Periodic bursts of steam rose from the machines and up into the rafters.

After a few long moments of shocked silence, she turned back towards the stairwell to flee, but it was gone.

She felt the world tilt and go black as she slowly toppled to the floor.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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