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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Romance/Love · #2321217
Two people are trapped in an elevator.

Erik was about to hit the 11 button when the girl stumbled into the elevator, heels click-clacking on the hard floor. Her face was buried in the parcels she was hugging to her chest, but one eye peered around the edge of the pile to look at him.

“Nine, please,” she said.

Erik moved his finger down to the 9 button, clicked it, and returned to 11. It settled into its bed with a reassuring click when he pressed it.

Both of them then lifted their eyes to watch the numbered lights come on in turn, the girl still peeking around her parcels. The numbers glowed in obedient progression as they counted out the floors. The elevator hummed with speed and a slight vibration, allowing some sense of its rapid ascension. Two pairs of eyes were held in rapt attention on their progress as the silent tension between two strangers in an enclosed space increased.

And then the elevator stopped with a lurch.

The light had frozen at floor 7 but the doors remained closed. The two passengers looked at each other.

“I guess it’s stuck,” said Erik. “I didn’t touch anything.”

“Press the emergency button,” she suggested. “Or maybe there’s a phone or something.”

Erik studied the panel. There was one button separate from the serried ranks of the rest. It had a picture of a bell on it. He pressed it.

Nothing happened.

“Maybe it rings somewhere else,” he said. “The janitor’s office, perhaps.”

“Is there no phone?” she asked. “It might be behind a panel. They do that sometimes.”

There was no sign of a panel anywhere on the board. Erik turned to look around at the walls of the elevator. There was nothing that looked as though it might be a small cupboard with a phone inside.

“No, nothing that I can see. Why don’t you put those parcels down? We might be in here for a while.”

She turned and awkwardly piled the parcels in a corner. Her sombre business suit fitting perfectly and her dark hair, carefully controlled in a severe bun, told a story of a serious lady on the way up, a creature of the boardrooms and offices. She was pretty but with a no nonsense air about her expression when she straightened and faced Erik.

“D’you have a cell phone?”

“Ah, good point,” said Erik as his hand dived for an inside pocket. It retrieved the inevitable dark slab of technical genius and his thumb hammered at its screen. After a moment, he shook his head, and started to hold it up at different angles, obviously looking for reception.

“Looks like we’re outa luck,” he muttered. “Can you try?”

“Left mine in the car,” she said. “I suppose we’ll just have to wait for the janitor. My name’s Franki, by the way. Franki with an i.”

“Erik,” he replied, then added, “Do you put a little heart over it?”

She shot him a sour look. For a moment Erik cursed his mischievous humour, but then she smiled and said, “As a matter of fact, I do.”

The smile completely transformed her face. From being a person in the crowd, one of thousands of career-bent women in the city, stalwartly keeping their noses to the grindstone, she became a vision of perfect beauty, a creature so stunning that Erik had to turn away and pretend to look at the ceiling in search of… What?

There was a sort of trapdoor set into the roof of the elevator.

Of course there was a trapdoor, he thought. There was always a trapdoor in elevators. At least, so the movies maintained. He pointed at it.

“A trapdoor,” he said. “Maybe we could…”

“You could try.” The voice made it very clear who was to do the trying.

Erik reached up to the ceiling. The trapdoor was inches from his stretching fingers. He gathered himself and jumped. His fingers collided with the door, lifting it slightly, and it slid sideways a bit so that a sliver of darkness beyond was revealed in one corner of the square. A few more jumps and he had pushed the door aside and they were looking at an empty square of darkness in the ceiling.

“Can you climb up there?” asked Franki.

“Don’t know till I try.” Erik took a breath then wound himself up and leaped upward, arms at full stretch and fingers seeking a handhold. He caught the edge of the opening and held on.

“Can you sorta give me a boost upward?” he asked breathlessly.

She leapt forward, grabbed his legs and shoved upward. At the same time he levered himself up and managed to get an elbow on to the roof. After that, it was a wriggle and a heave and he clambered on to the top of the elevator.

It was not as dark as it had seemed. He could see the walls quite clearly and, to his astonishment, a door was set at exactly the height needed for them to step from the elevator and through the door. If it would open. A round, perfectly ordinary handle beckoned.

Erik crouched down and spoke through the trapdoor. “There’s a door up here,” he said. “If I can pull you up, we should be able to open the door and escape.” She looked unconvinced but seemed prepared to try, so Erik reached an arm down to her.

In the event, she was much lighter than Erik had expected, and a brief struggle brought her up to the elevator roof with him. They looked at the door.

Erik reached out, gripped the handle and turned. The door opened and brilliant light flooded in. With the door wide open and their eyes becoming accustomed to the light, they could see beyond into a place of green fields, flowers, and the sun beaming down from a blue sky.

She breathed a word. “Magic.”

He held out a hand, she took it and they stepped out into a fantasy.

Word count: 999
For "Game of Thrones The North Remembers, What’s His Story? Prompt 7
Prompt: Write about two people striking up an unlikely friendship.
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