Up & Down
This is a completely new story!
Ok - that's a lie... It's based on a it's a new idea, but I took some elements from a very short story I wrote back in 2003.
Still - it's fresh...
Up and Down
By Oded Naaman
I stepped on the escalator, going up.
I was browsing music on my phone, eager to find the right tune to test the new headset that I just bought on the ground floor of the mall.
Finding the perfect song to play with a new pair of earphones is a serious task, and one which I didn’t take lightly.
I was almost ready to give up when I noticed that I’ve been on the escalator for quite some time. I looked up and saw that the top was still far away, and then I looked down I couldn’t even see the bottom anymore.
Around me the mall disappeared, and I was going up in a foggy void.
I should have been scared, but for some reason I was calm, and even eager to get to the top, even though I didn’t know what was waiting for me there.
Finally, I reached to the top where the escalator ended, and I stepped off.
For a moment it felt weird to stand on a solid ground, and I was a bit disoriented. When I came to my senses, I saw a man, dressed like an old-fashioned butler standing next to an elevator door.
“Good evening sir.” He said with a thick British accent.
Good evening? I was pretty sure it was noon when I arrived to the mall. How long was I on the escalators?
“Good evening to you.” I answered.
“They are waiting for you sir.” He gestured towards the elevator.
“Sure.” I replied, and then realized I had no idea who ‘They’ are.
The butler gestured towards to elevator doors as they opened.
Only after I stepped inside a wave of panic washed me, and I had no idea why I got into the elevator in the first place.
“Wait! I…” I yelled and tried to block the closing door, but the butler just looked at me with a sealed face, until he disappeared behind the closing gap.
The elevator started to go up (or down? I wasn’t sure…).
When the it finally stopped the doors opened into a huge, lavish apartment. In the center of the living room stood a poker table, and around it sat an old man wearing a sailor’s outfit, a beautiful woman, with a long long red hair, and giant black wolf.
In the center of the table was a round fish bowl, with a golden fish swimming sluggishly in it.
“Come in. We’ve been waiting for you.” It took me a second to realize it was the wolf who said that, and for some reason I did not find it strange at all.
I stepped to the table and sat in the empty chair. The gold fish was staring at me, and even though it did not say a word, I knew he could speak as well.
“We are playing poker.” Said the wolf.
“I only have a twenty on me.” I pulled out the bill from my wallet and discovered another five dollars bill there as well “Sorry – twenty-five.”
“And a new pair of earphones” said the old man eagerly, licking his lips gently with the tip of this tongue.
“Sure. And a pair of new headphones.” I placed them and the money on the table.
“Good. We have a game.” Said the wolf.
It was a fun evening and I had great luck. I turned my twenty-five dollars to almost six thousand. We drank some wine, some whiskey, and we ate some sandwiches that were there. They were good. We laughed and told stories, and when it was obvious the game was over, the woman took me by the hand and guided me to the bedroom.
We made amazing passionate love, like I never had before. Afterward she fell asleep, but I couldn’t. I was too excited.
I got up a got dressed. I quietly walked out of the bedroom, and back into the living room, where I found the old man and the wolf sound asleep on the couch, cuddled together.
I walked towards the door, and then I noticed the fish was following me with its eyes. I stopped, and we stared at each other for a few seconds. Then the fish winked at me, and I smiled.
I walked into the elevator. I pressed the only button that was there, and the doors closed.
When it finally stopped and I stepped out, the butler was waiting for me.
“Here you go sir.” He handed me a warm towel.
I wiped my face with it. It was refreshing.
I gave him back the towel and he walked into the elevator. I watched him as the door closed, but he avoided my gaze, like real butlers do.
I turned around and realized the escalators were not there. I returned to the elevator thinking I would go back to the apartment and ask them what to do but discovered there were no buttons next to the doors, to summon the elevator back.
Even worse, it dawned on me I left all my poker game winnings up there, on the table, together with my new headphones.