‘Elevator Cat’ By Nathan Lewin

As a strange man with sharp green eyes rushed towards the elevator, Ennis Hathaway holds the doors open for him. The man gets in and presses the button two floors beneath Ennis’, bemoaning that the one directly below is out.
When the elevator reaches its first stop, the man walks out, leaving Ennis thankful to be rid of the strange passenger. Something about his appearance feels ‘off’, as Ennis envisions him as a malevolent Cheshire Cat. His intuition is justified, as the man turns around before leaving the elevator, wearing an evil smile and holding a pistol out in front of him.
“I’m going to kill you,” the man explains patiently to a mortified Ennis, “but not on this floor. On the next. I’ll be waiting for you there.” And with that he vanishes, rushing up to stairs to catch the slow-moving elevator two floors up.
Ennis stands frozen in the elevator, unable to stop it, unable to alter his course, hardly able to think clearly. The voices that suddenly appeared in his head argue and stammer, trying to find some way to prevent this seemingly inevitable demise. Time seems to slow down, giving Ennis time to think – but is thinking what will help him in this situation? He tries stopping the elevator, considers climbing out of it, but all is in vain. In the extreme situation he was thrust into, a part of him already accepts his fate – what other choice does he have?
With no clear options to aid him (and the limited ones he could find fruitless), and with part of his mind succumbing to the inevitable, the chaotic mess that is his own thoughts grows and consumes Ennis – the arguing voices, his own fear and anguish, the laughing face of his killer taunting him in his mind. They grow and shift, suffocating Ennis as he tries desperately to fight off their debilitating effects. With an effort. he manages to awaken from this mental tidal wave, still moving slowly towards the killer, realizing that this is the end. He cannot change the course of the elevator, nor that of his life. His life is nearing its finale, and although unprepared for it, part of him accepts this verdict. He contemplates the short, uneventful life that he had lived up to this point, wondering if losing a life that had no bigger meaning isn’t better that an eventful life cut short in its prime. He hadn’t left any big impact on the world, and so it wouldn’t be derailed by his premature passing. And even those who would morn him and his death, they would do so without him, as he passed on to whatever happens after (if such a thing exists). Now that death and fear were out of his hands, what reason did he have to fear it, to fight against it? One small voice still calls out that he cannot die, that he must fear his death, that he must refuse to accept it, but Ennis feels at peace. It is out of his hands. If he dies today, he dies.
The elevator reaches its destination, and with a small ‘ding’, the doors begin to open.

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