Short Story – No Way Up

This is another older story.  I believe it was written for a horror contest during Halloween and it was supposed to have some sort of Christian spin on it or something.  I don’t normally like putting blatant Christian messages in my stories, but that’s why this one has one.  Oh yes, and there was a prompt for this story which was an elevator button going up.

I run through the dark corridors as fast as I can, breathing hard, sweat pouring down my forehead. Straight ahead is the elevator, the way out. Footsteps echo behind me along with horrid snarls. I sprint as hard as I can and press myself against the elevator doors, slamming my fist against the button.

The elevator dings and I dare a glance over my shoulder. A flicker of movement catches my eye and my heart leaps in my chest. Why isn’t the door opening? Just open already, it’s going to get me!

Something rushes out of the shadows toward me and at the same moment the doors open. I stumble into the elevator and smash the button to close the doors. They close slowly, and just as they come together I see a pair of jaws opening wide as a creature rushes forward.

There’s a bang on the doors but nothing more. I slide down to the floor and curl up, breathing hard. I wrap my arms tight around myself and try to calm down. No, why now? Why’d I have to have a panic attack now? But it’s only logical, I suppose. Why shouldn’t I be panicking with something like that – whatever the hell it is – chasing me?

I slowly push myself back up, breathing shakily, and press the up button on the elevator. Nothing happens. I blink slowly and press it again. Still nothing happens. I gaze at the controls for a time, trying to assess what to do. There are only three buttons on the console; up, down, and the button to open the doors. I press the up button one more time, holding it down, but still nothing.

Why isn’t it working?” I hiss under my breath, tears slowly beginning to well up in my eyes.

Why don’t you try the other button?” a cold voice says in my ear. I shudder for a moment and glance over my shoulder. A dark figure hovers over me, seeming to be made of pure shadow, red eyes gazing into my soul.

I turn my face away, shutting my eyes tight. “No, not you again, go away.”

But you’re lonely, aren’t you?” it asks, resting a hand on my shoulder. “Don’t you want some company?”

I don’t want you,” I whimper, shaking under its touch. “I just want to go home. Why do you keep bothering me?”

I’m a part of you,” it murmurs in my ear. “I’m your own personal demon, as it were.”

I don’t believe you.”

And why is that?”

Because if demons did exist they wouldn’t…” I falter, unable to finish the sentence, not knowing how to.

They wouldn’t follow you and entice you with kind words and promises of love and security?” it says in a soft voice.

I nod quietly, letting out a soft breath. Despite my fear of him, whatever he was, his presence did set me at ease.

And how do you know that?” he asks me, his arms slowly slipping around me. They feel light and cold, yet they still give a strange sense of security that I don’t want to struggle away from.

Demons are supposed to be bad,” I say softly. “They’re supposed to want to hurt people… aren’t they?”

Perhaps some,” he purrs in my ear. “But others are more subtle in the way they do it. They may prey upon humans who feel hopeless and lost and just wanting someone to care about them. They’ll give the humans what they want, and in turn have control over them.”

If that’s true, then why are you telling me this?”

Because it’s already too late for you to escape me,” he says with a chuckle. “I’ve been with you for so long, even when you fear me you’ll always come back to my embrace. Isn’t that right?”

I don’t answer. I don’t want to admit that what he said was true. I curl up tighter and whisper, “How do I get out of here?”

There’s only one way out.” He slowly lifts me up and sets me on my feet so I’m facing the control panel. “Push the down button.”

I blink slowly and glance back up at him. “But… we’re on the ground floor. We’re in the basement. We can’t go any lower than this.”

How can you be so sure?” He tilts his head, gazing down at me with those burning red eyes. “Press it and find out.”

I blink again and then slowly reach out to press the down button. A cold feeling washes over me, a feeling of immense dread. I pull my finger away from the down button and press the up button once more.

Something does happen this time, but it’s not what I expect. The down button flashes, as if I pressed it. I go still, swallowing hard. I hold my finger down on the up button, but the down button continues to glow.

There’s no way up,” he says behind me. “Only down. It’s telling you to go down, so go ahead and do so.”

No, I can’t,” I whisper, taking a step away from the controls. “I’m afraid…”

His hands rest on my shoulders, sending an icy chill down my spine. “Would you prefer to stay down here with that creature that’s hunting you?”

I shudder and shake my head. “What… what is it?”

I don’t know,” he says in a soft voice. “But it certainly can’t be good, can it?”

I close my eyes and take another deep breath. “You’ll follow me wherever I go, right?”

I will.”

But you’re not going to protect me from anything that tries to hurt me, will you?”

Correct.”

I close my eyes, resting my head against the door. After a long moment, I press the button to open the doors and peer out. There’s no sign of the creature now. I step out of the elevator and murmur, “There’s always a way to get back up. I’ll just have to find the stairs.”

If you think so, I’m not going to stop you from trying,” he says.

I ignore his words, feeling that he’s just trying to put doubt in my mind. I run from the elevator and through the dark basement, being as quiet as I can. That creature is still around here, I don’t want it to hear me.

I stop at the end of a corridor and glance around. Everything’s so dark, I can barely see a thing. If only I had a flashlight, or even a match.

You don’t need such things,” he murmurs in my ear. “The darkness keeps you safe. Hidden. Concealed.”

But I can hardly see anything,” I whisper.

But you can see a little,” he says with a hint of a smile. “That should be good enough for the moment.”

I sigh, knowing that just wishing for something isn’t going to give it to me anyway. I keep walking, sliding my palm against a wall to keep my balance in the dark. The wall soon ends and I find a place to turn. I glance up and see the faintest glow of light illuminating a staircase.

See,” I say with a sigh of relief. “A way up.” I begin climbing up the stairs as fast, but quietly, as I can. I go up perhaps two floors and then find the rest of the way blocked by rubble.

Or perhaps not,” he says with a grin.

A snarl sounds behind me and I shift around, my eyes growing wide. I see a faint flicker of movement down the stairs and my heart throbs with fear.

Oh, God, it’s coming up here,” I whisper. “Someone help me, please. God, please help me.”

God?” He hisses against my neck and I shiver. “Why are you calling to God now? You never have in the past. Not when I first came to you, not even before that. You were raised to believe in God yet you never called for him. So why now? Why would you think he would come to you now when he didn’t come before?”

The footsteps grow closer and I shrink back against the wall, curling up. “I… I don’t know… I don’t know…” Tears fill my eyes and I curl up tighter, another panic attacking setting in on me. “Stop it, stop it, please, I just want it to stop.”

Then let it end,” he says in a soothing voice. “Let that creature come and take you away. Or maybe you could let me take you. It would be painless, and you would never feel alone again. You would be with me forever. I would take care of you and love you.”

No,” I whisper, squeezing my eyes shut tighter. “I don’t believe you… no, I don’t want to die, I just want to go home.”

This is your home now,” he says, running his shadowy hands over my neck. “Submit to me. Let your pain end. Let your fear wash away. Let me hold you in my embrace.”

You can’t save me that way,” I whisper. “There’s only… one person who can save me.”

He growls and shrinks away. “What the hell are you blathering about?”

You said it yourself. I grew up learning about it, but I never really believed. But… but I’ve been told if I do that I can be saved. I’ve been told that someone will come to save me and live with me so I don’t have to be alone anymore. I just have to ask him and he’ll come. No matter where I am, he’ll come.”

He hisses behind me again. “And what if it was all a lie? What if this supposed savior doesn’t come?”

Then I’ll die,” I whisper. “What other choice do I have?”

He doesn’t seem to have an answer for that. The footsteps grow closer and now I can see the creature approaching me. It looks like some kind of hideous hound, but at the same time, it’s unearthly and evil. Its jaws drip with blood and slime.

I shudder, a stabbing fear ripping through my heart. I shut my eyes and cry out, “Christ, please save me!”

A warm light wraps around me and I gasp. The hound yelps and seems to vanish. The demon that haunted me growls and murmurs, “Very well, I see you’re no longer fair game. It was nice while it lasted, though.”

I look up slowly and see the face of a man who looks both old and young at once. He smiles, a kind smile and whispers, “You’re safe now, child. Come, I’ll take you home.”

I sigh shakily and close my eyes, resting my head on his chest, at last feeling safe.

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