Estimated reading time — 11 minutes
Ethan Crumbski sipped at his piping hot coffee, strolling into his office. Placing down his cup, he set to work instantaneously. His co-workers know of his seriousness for getting papers done and handed in on time, so they rarely spoke with him. Ethan didn’t mind one bit.
Scrolling down the document he worked on for the past three nights, the brunette man’s florescent blue eyes dashed across each line, revising his work, making sure there were no mistakes. Satisfied with finding no such mistake, he printed the sheets out, quickly standing to retrieve them.
As he hurriedly went to the printer, waiting for the seventeen pages, Ethan’s ear picked up a certain conversation voiced by one of the security guards he knows works the late night shift as well as the owner of the company he works for.
“Another one, last night.” The night guard quietly stated. The boss was silent, grumbling at the confusing news for Ethan. “It was a different time like how the others are. I just don’t understand why they use it. There is an obvious sign on the doors specifically saying it’s out of use.”
“Wish I knew the reason behind it as well, Carson.” The night guard was silent as Ethan picked up his papers. “Keep up the good work.” Ethan moved away, back to his office to finish his hand in.
Ethan’s job is creating ideas for advertisement. He has been in this company for a few years, excelling faster than his co-workers. Over the years working here, Carson has been the night guard but frequents the boss’s office in the day to hand in reports on some nights. The brunette had witnessed this many a time but brushed it off. This month he couldn’t easily shove it to the side.
Being a great observer with the way his personality is, he has noticed over the month a lot of people missing. There was Heidi, who worked at the desk across his office door. She usually pestered him about going to lunch and chatting, not refusing to back down though he rejected her as nicely he could. She worked here for only five months, then she disappeared without saying anything to anyone. He remembered her mentioning something similar, how people were missing from the company. He paid no mind to it until his memory came back of all the people who used to be here. Kade, Will, Jessie, Becca, Ricky, Gene, Clark, Mallory, Avery, Dennis, Florence, and Owen. They didn’t have a thing in common, that he knew. Never saw all of them together. But then, he didn’t know anyone since he kept to himself.
People were missing. He wondered who had gone missing this time. Figuring he would find out soon, he finished up his morning work and headed out for lunch.
Returning from his meal, Ethan passed by Heidi’s old desk, glancing at the new name plaque on it. Sarah Fredricks, it read. He hummed to himself as he walked into his office, leaving the door open for once. He would watch Sarah for a while when he could, not thinking he could be dubbed a creep. The woman didn’t notice at all, too busy typing away as she chatted with her desk neighbor, Robert Stans.
Rob was a comical guy. Ethan overheard many conversations with him dropping jokes at the correct times. If memory served correctly for the brunette, Robert worked just as many years as Ethan. He wasn’t so sure. Pushing his thoughts away, he began writing another advertisement campaign.
Night soon came and Ethan compiled his gear together. He was ready to leave within seven minutes. Briskly walking to the elevators, he noticed one out of the four holding a sign. “Out of Order.” He read aloud. The morning talk between Carson and their boss came back to the front of his mind. Could this be what they were talking about? Now that he thought of it, its been out of order for nearly four years now. He wondered why no one would try to fix it. Shrugging it off, he went to the last elevator on the right and descended down to the lobby floor.
The next morning he came in earlier than he was supposed to. He noticed Carson packed up and ready to head out but stopped him before he could reach the entrance doors.
Carson blinked, surprised that Ethan came up to him. “Is there something wrong, Mr. Crumbski?”
Ethan stared at him, analyzing him to see if anything like what supposedly happened yesterday night occurred again. He couldn’t find anything. “No. Nothing’s wrong.” The guard nodded, standing awkwardly as he stared at the other. “Do you remember a woman by the name of Heidi Sinclair? Her desk is where Sarah Fredricks now resides.”
“Yes. Yes I do.” Florescent blue eyes scanned him over again.
“Do you know what happened to her?”
At this question, Carson paled, lips sealed tight in thought. Ethan instantly picked up on his reaction and continued to wait for a reply. “I-I do not, sadly. She was a sweet woman, though. Bright as well.”
Ethan nodded, agreeing. “’Was’ as in because she is no longer working here, or ‘was’ as in she has possibly passed on?”
The security guard’s complexion worsened. “Have a good day, Mr. Crumbski.” He nodded a goodbye and dashed out of the doors.
He found that strange, but one question was nearly answered. What ever happened to Heidi, she was either gone and somewhere else in the world, or gone for good. His long legs quickly made way for the elevators. Ethan checked the far left one and saw the sign was there as well. An urge to use that elevator rose within him, but he opted for the one he usually uses.
Ethan walked onto his floor, the top most floor of this seventy story building, and gazed at all the desks. He went around, remembering exactly where all the past co-workers sat and hung around. Kade sat next to Mallory who always talked with Gene across from her. There was a time where the young woman didn’t show up to work one day, which turned into weeks, then months. He realized years had past since he last saw Mallory. Gene never talked much once Mallory went missing.
Heidi was the first one he remembered coming to him and asking about the other workers who hadn’t showed for a while. She was there when Avery was. They were good friends. Her worry for her exceeded the limits when she asked around about her.
“I’ve been asking around about Avery, but no one remembers her! How can that be? Please tell me you remember her, Ethan.” She sounded desperate as she stared at him, pleading for him to say he did remember. He didn’t.
The next thing he knew, Heidi was gone. It was only two days after she went around the floor asking about Avery. Questions revolved around his mind, now, wondering what happened, if the same thing occurred to Heidi.
Sitting at his desk, he turned on his computer and decided to research on the missing people he remembered. Time passed with his research. People started coming in, not giving him any attention as usual. Though, the out burst form his room shocked many near by. Ethan was furious. He couldn’t find anything on any one person he knew before in this building.
A knock shocked him out of his thought process. It was Sarah. “Are you okay, Mr. Crumbski?” She asked, concerned.
He started at the woman. She fidgeted in her spot. “Yes I am, Miss Fredricks. Sorry to have bothered you.” He closed out of the browser, deciding it was best to leave it alone and get some work done. Sarah only shook her head saying she wasn’t bothered, only concerned. He merely passed by her as he left his room for the boss’ office.
The hefty man sat at his computer, eating a donut, not expecting Ethan to walk in and sit in front of him. With a raised brow, he asked, “Yes, Mr. Crumbski?”
“I was wondering about Miss Heidi Fisher. Do you remember who she is?” Blunt and straight to the point, Ethan stoically gazing at Mr. Hyden.
Mr. Hyden’s brows knitted together, unsure of the name though he felt he heard it before. “I do not. Is she your girlfriend?” The old man grinned. “’Bout time you got one.” He joked.
Shaking his head, Ethan spoke, “No, she isn’t. She used to work here. I was just wondering if you knew where she went.”
“Oh, well then. I do not remember any employee with that name, and I remember all the employees I’ve hired.” The man boasted about his memory only for Ethan to mentally disagree.
“Okay.” He stood, knowing full well the man didn’t remember anyone who had gone missing. “Thank you for your time, Mr. Hyden.” Ethan left without looking back. He didn’t need to.
His research continued though he knew it was futile. He kept searching for the names with a specific picture attached to them. No such luck. Ethan wasn’t one to give up though. He kept at it for days. At home. During free time at work. On his phone on breaks. He was so busy looking things up that when he returned from his lunch break, he didn’t realize he got off the wrong floor.
Ethan strolled around, eyes on his cell, until a worker came up to him. “Mr. Crumbski! So nice of you to visit our floor.” He blinked, looking up and seeing a fellow acquaintance of Heidi’s. He remembered the man used to go out with Heidi in place of him when he rejected her. “My name’s Tom.” He continued speaking. “I know you don’t know me, but, well, I know you because a friend of mine was obsessed with you.” He chuckled. “She was sort of loony, but I still liked being with her. Sad she’s gone though. Don’t know what happened to her.” He stuffed his hands in his pants pockets, mulling over his lost friend.
The brunette didn’t hesitate to ask. “Who was your friend?”
“I don’t remember.” Tom hummed. “She had shoulder length blonde hair, though, and fetching green eyes. I feel bad not remembering her name.”
“Could it have been Heidi?”
Thinking about it, Tom nodded. “That sounds about right, but… I don’t know…” He shrugged. “Wish I could remember.” Glancing behind himself, he smiled. “I need to get back to work. Nice chatting with you, Ethan!”
He watched as the energetic man fled to his work desk. He stared, wondering if it wasn’t just his floor that people were missing on. As more questions popped up into his head, he went back to the elevator.
The next few days, he spent some time on other floors. He randomly approached people and asked them if they had noticed anyone missing from their floor. Out of the bunch he questioned, only a hand full could say they remembered descriptions but not names. The puzzle pieces were beginning to fall slowly into place, but the main question still needs to be answered.
Carson avoided him at all costs since Ethan made the habit of arriving when his shift ended. The brunette took every chance he could get to confront the man that knew more than he would tell, but each try failed. One day, though, he went towards the out of order elevator, about to press the button.
“Don’t go on that elevator!” Ethan turned around, wide eyed. Carson’s face was full of panic. “Whatever you do, don’t go on that elevator. It’s dangerous, and not just because it’s out of order.”
Ethan raised an eyebrow at that. “Is there something about this elevator only you know about, Carson?” The security guard froze. “I’ve been doing my research on the people I know who are no longer here. There are no-”
“You shouldn’t do that.” Carson interrupted. “You should just forget about it all. Forget about them. It’s safer that way for you.”
“Just…believe me, Mr. Crumbski.” He sighed. “You’re a really great man. It would be a shame for you to wind up like them.” Ethan’s eyes narrowed at him. “Shit, I said too much already.” He skedaddled as fast he could. Ethan cursed under his breath, taking one last look at the elevator for that morning, and going to his regular one.
This night was a late night for Ethan. With his mind on researching the missing people, he strayed behind on work. The entire day he did project after project, trying to get all of his work done so he wouldn’t need to stress about it. When he was finished, he packed up all his work, neatly set everything on his desk for tomorrow, grabbed his coat, and walked to the elevators. He instantly noticed something different.
The far left elevator no longer had it’s sign. Curious, he walked over to see if it fell down since it was taped up. He couldn’t find it. Humming to himself as he stroked his chin, he didn’t expect the doors to open. He jumped at the sudden beep of the elevator, signaling it’s arrival. He peered in once they were fully open, the slowly crept in.
From the looks of it, it was an ordinary elevator with a different interior design. He complemented the maker, but then soon found and odd indentation on the metal wall. Two steps closer he took to further examine it. There were four long streaks of what could be called fingers. The palm, a oval big c underneath the streaks. It was too big to be a human hand, that’s for sure, so what could have made this? He reached out to finger the indentation only to jump as the doors closed with that same, eerie ding. Ethan tried to get out before they could fully close; he didn’t make it.
Sighing, he leaned against the wall after pressing the circle button for the first floor. He waited for what he knew would be a few long minutes. Nothing out of the ordinary was happening. The ride was slow and relaxing. He closed his eyes only to open them back up when the elevator lurched to a stop. Furrowing his brows, he looked at the floor number. It said 66. He looked down at the buttons to press the first floor again, but soon saw that the 6th floor button was lit up. Ethan isn’t a religious man, but that doesn’t mean he knows that devilish things are out there.
He backed away from the panel of buttons into the metal wall. The feeling he felt as he looked at the numbers wasn’t good. Waiting for the elevator to continue its descent, he stood there, staring. It wouldn’t move. He began to worry. What was going to happen to him? He knew he didn’t live a fascinating life, but he got by fine. What could be the connection with this elevator?
A sudden memory that was a year ago popped up. He had brought up this elevator, asking why it was never repaired or taken out. The group he asked was surprised to hear his speak, but speculated as well. Guesses were thrown out here and there, but one struck him.
“I heard that elevator was torn out of the building before, but wound up being put back for unknown reasons. The repair men also wouldn’t go near it. Maybe it’s cursed or something.” The group laughed, but Ethan thought on it.
It made sense to him now. If the elevator was cursed, what was the curse on it?
Ethan’s ears twitched as the elevator speaker turned on, static flowing out. It was just a buzzing sound at first, but then became an uproar. He covered his ears, shielding them as best he could. He picked up two words, though, even with his ears clogged.
“Going down.” The spoken voice sounded gravelly, like the person lost his voice box but still spoke. Very hoarsely. Ethan shivered.
The elevator soon began to move again, slowly at first, soon accelerating. The brunette gripped the bars for his life, only to be pushed off into the middle of the floor. He glanced behind himself, eyes widening the instant he saw what pushed him.
A creature. Black foggy appearance with a red outer line to it. It’s hands were huge, the same size as the indent on the other wall. It loomed over the scared man, showing a red grin with yellow glowing teeth.
“Last stop.” The speaker said with the same voice.
Ethan trembled on the floor, backing away as far he could. The creature followed him, placing its hand in the same spot as the indent. The terrified man now understood what happened to the other people that went missing. They went through the same fate he was going to end with. The only question he wanted an answer to now was: Why these specific people who are instantly forgotten?
He clenched his eyes shut, ready for his death. Only, it didn’t come. He was too afraid to open them, but did once the elevator fell off its tracks. He slammed against the ceiling. His skin rippled with the force of air against him, close to tearing thin sheets of it off. The pain was unbearable. Ethan wished for this to stop, for him to get off and go home. No such luck would come to him. The creature materialized through the elevator and engulfed him.
The next day, Carson, pale as a sheet of paper, went to Mr. Hyden for another report. He stood at the door, wringing his hat. The boss took one look at him and knew instantly that it happened again. A fist pounded his desk. He was livid, but didn’t know why. He couldn’t remember who the person was the name Carson spoke of belonged to.
Sarah Fredricks peered into the empty office of the previous employee who worked in it, wondering what could have happened to him. Knowing that he never missed work, she frowned, worried about him. As she went back to her desk, she slowly sat down. Thinking it over, she knew something was wrong. Ethan Crumbski. Who was that again?
Credit To – ChamirianBels