The Unlucky Level

            The rectangular slabs of shining steel slid mechanically apart, as the elevator came to a halt. It was a new floor. And though it bore the number fourteen, it was in fact the thirteenth floor.

            Had the elevator's passengers not been so ignorant, that detail may have worn heavy upon their hearts. However, they were the only thing that wore heavy upon each other's hearts as they stepped out and the doorway closed behind them.

            The room would be perfect square, were it to be drawn upon a floor plan. In its center was a thickly walled pillar, another perfect square, from which the elevator opened and closed at the push of buttons. The panel held the common spaced for an up arrow and a down arrow. However, the up arrow's socket was smashed, as if someone had jammed something into it. But rooms were unbreakable, weren't they?

            The lights overhead flickered eerily, and in the corners of the room were four vigilant security cameras that turned with every new motion of Don and Cynthia.

            They faced a blank wall. It was molded out of gray concrete, and seemed to frown at them with its dusty cracks and vandal-etched marks. Graffiti was strewn across it in the script of the common tongue. The messages were like a myriad of warnings, as if the walls and the building that was the world wanted to admonish too much at once. Every sentence was at an angle of its own, in a font of its own, as if written by many.

 

            Thanks for coming. Means a lot to me.

            Your pants just want into your boyfriend!

            WAR IS PAIN AND PLEASURE.

            lockchanger was here.

            BETH LOVES SAMUEL.

            They are coming.

            You told me I was everything.

            THE FIFTH MONTH IS A TRAITOR!!!

            Doors always open if you say the right words.

            HE IS NOT YOUR BROTHER.

            The button's in its proper place.

            Give me your keys, all your keys!

            So many flavours, how will they choose?

            All's well that ends well? No, I think not.

            Tell me, do the onions make you cry?

            TURN THEM, SPURN THEM, GIVE THEM TO ME.

            I think not, therefore I am not.

            NOT AS I AM, NEITHOR GODDESS NOR GOD. I AM THE BUILDING AND THIS IS MY MIND!

 

            Don and Cynthia scanned what was legible, and turned to each other with confused looks on their faces.

            "It's nonsense," he said, looking up at the stucco ceiling that was as white as bone.

            "Yeah." Cynthia answered. "But let's look around."

            On the other three walls, were doors; one on each. Those perpendicular to the graffiti-covered wall had no handles. They were just slabs of soundproof metal that swung open from the other side.

            However the third door had a gleaming silver door knob, and it was hinged to open into the room. The door was painted a solid shade of orange. And upon it, was a white sign at eye level. Red letters on the sign said: "DO NOT ENTER" and on the line below, "EMPLOYEES ONLY".

            Cynthia bravely turned the door knob, which had no hole for a key, and tried to pull at the door. But it was stuck.

            The lights flickered more often now, threatening to bask the room in eternal darkness.

            Behind their turned backs, new words etched themselves onto the wall, scrawled by unseen hands that did not exist: Nonsense, eh? I suppose it is so.

            "Damn it," Cynthia cursed, kicking the door in frustration. "We've gotta go back to the elevator."

            But then the sign upon the door faded, sinking into the thick orange paint like a paper dropped upon calm water. And then the door came open on its own accord.

            "What the heck?" Don wondered.

            They looked cautiously through the door frame. There were many, many vibrant colours. Gaudy clothes hung from hangers, and masks lay unwatchful upon the stark white walls of the room beyond. Each mask was an animal. And each was vibrant and wild in its ostentatiousness.

            Cynthia gasped, in wonder, as she stepped in.

            Following behind her, Don eyed the empty hangers and hooks. And then he turned, as the door slammed shut behind them.

            He looked down at where there should be another doorknob to push it back open. But there was nothing. It was like the doors they'd seen before. In but not out.

The End

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