“The lift never stops on the nineteenth floor,” the two guys from IT were talking beside me.
“Sure,” grinned the bigger guy, “ that’s because of the ghost.”
They didn’t see me shiver.
They stepped out and the lift lurched upwards. The truth was I always felt colder as I passed the nineteenth floor. I’d never seen anyone go there.
“Nineteen used to be a law firm,” my boss said when I asked her, “A tough place I heard. I don’t think there’s anyone there at the moment.”
I didn’t ask her about the ghost.
I’d almost forgotten about it, until I was working late one Halloween night. It was just after midnight when I got in the lift to go home.
The lift shuddered and creaked as usual. Then it stopped. The sickly red light showed we were on level nineteen.
The doors opened slowly.
I saw my reflection on a glass wall. Beyond the wall were some empty workstations and partitions. Most of the floor looked abandoned.
Then among the shadows, I saw a figure.
She walked toward me and stepped inside the lift. She pressed the button and the doors closed.
“Working late?” I asked.
“Those partners work you to death,” she muttered under her breath. She was young – barely more than a kid. She must have been a law student or a graduate.
I nodded in sympathy.
We reached the lobby.
“It looks so nice outside,” she was staring at the treetops in the park, “I never go home this early.”
Those partners must have been really tough, if she thought midnight was early.
“I’ve been inside so long,” she added sadly.
“You should make sure you go home now.”
“Really?” her eyes widened.
“Sure,” I pressed the after-hours button to release the door. The doors slid open and a gentle breeze blew through the lobby, “You deserve it. Have a nice night.”
“Thank you,” she said solemnly.
She skipped outside, turned to me once and smiled, then disappeared into the evening crowds.
I never felt the chill on the nineteenth floor again.
* * * * *
© 2014 M. C. Dulac
An exercise in micro-fiction – stories which run from zero to fifty
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