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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Eternity (03/10/11)

TITLE: The Elevator Ride
By Lori Jones


“It feels like an eternity since this thing stopped. We’re trapped in here like animals -- caged animals!” Derrick bellowed, his voice quivering and growing in pitch, bordering on hysteria.

“Relax, Derrick. We’re going to be okay…” Brian soothed his law firm’s senior partner again, leaning against the opposite elevator wall while Tara nodded in agreement.

“You’re not sweating? I’m sweating like a pig!” Derrick loosened his tie and paced two steps toward the elevator door, pivoted, and paced two steps to the back wall. He yanked his tie from his neck and tossed it on the floor next to his discarded suit coat.

“It’s not that bad in here. You need to relax and conserve your energy.” Tara said, still wearing her beige suit jacket that she had on since the flight from Pittsburgh to San Francisco on their client’s private jet. It had seemed like quite a long time since the elevator trembled tossing them like rag dolls for what felt like minutes, then jolted to a halt, stopping a floor short of their final destination.

“It’s been hours. I can’t hear anything – no alarms, nothing. Did everyone evacuate? Isn’t anyone looking for us? We were going to meet five people in that deposition – aren’t they looking for us?” Derrick’s breathing became labored as he wiped sweat from his forehead and his crimson cheeks. He checked his cell phone again, tossing it to the ground indicating that it was dead. “Why aren’t our phones working? Why isn’t the elevator phone working?” He yelled at his associate and his paralegal who said nothing. “My god, how are you two so calm? There’s no air. I need air! I need water! I need to get the hell out of here!” He screamed, walked back to their vault’s door and pounded in vain against the metal.

Tara rested her hands against her boss’s shoulders and guided him to sit on the floor next to her and Brian.

“We’re going to die,” their usually stern and stoic boss whimpered, “it’s been too long, no one is coming. We’re going to die…”

“Why don’t we all say a prayer together, Derrick?” Tara suggested, glancing at Brian and then back to Derrick.

“What?” Derrick sneered and smirked, “No. I’m an atheist and the only Maker I’m praying to is General Electric – maker of this elevator. Ha… pray? There’s no God! If there were a God he wouldn’t have allowed that earthquake to happen.”

Brian interrupted, “Well, then Tara and I will say our own prayers.”

Tara and Brian closed their eyes, giving them a rest from the lights in their tiny box which seemed to be getting even brighter.

A high pitched bell-like sound filled their chamber causing them to rise to their feet. Smoothly as if gliding on ice, the elevator pulled them upward. No one spoke, no one moved or breathed, but all their eyes watched as the digital number above the door began to increase: 14,15,16,17 and so on, well beyond the number of floors in the office building. They turned their heads toward the ceiling as the bell ringing intensified and the light grew brighter. The elevator gently froze and the doors opened unimpeded.

A woman stood before them, her gold gown glowing and swaying in a windless tunnel. “Tara, Brian, you’ve been saved. Follow me.” 

“What about me?” Derrick pleaded.

“I’m sorry,” the glowing woman answered as the doors shut in front of Derrick.

Washed in a total flood of knowledge, Tara said to her hostess, “Our plane never made it to San Francisco. There was no earthquake, it was a plane crash.”

“Yes, my dear, that is true. Follow me. I think you’ll find your permanent accommodations quite heavenly.” She grinned, spinning away from them.

Tara and Brian followed the swaying golden gown through a tunnel of light and into a rainbow of glistening paradise.

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Bonnie Bowden 03/17/11
Well written and very suspenseful. Your words captured my attention from beginning to end. I have been trapped in an elevator, so I have a slight fear of them anyway. The ending was surprising, but it really was a good way to sum up the truth. I liked the added humor, The only one I'm going to trust is General Electric.

This is one of my favorites for this week.
Mary Toll03/19/11
Wow!!! I am jealous. This is a 'master' read. I laughed about the "General Electric", and grieved for Derrick as the doors shut in his face. This is a powerful, grim reminder of the realities of rejecting our Saviour's work on the cross. Beautifully done.
Dolores Stohler03/21/11
Wow! Your ending took me by surprise. I was remembering the time I was stuck in an elevator with a ten-year-old boy who kept yelling, "I can't breathe. I think I'm going to die." Great writing; very original.
diana kay03/21/11
great story. loved the character and clever ending a funny, original story with a serious undertone
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/21/11
You did a great job with the dialog and characters It felt so suspenseful and I felt sad for the boss.If only he had believed and asked Jesus to forgive him. If only...
diana kay03/24/11
well done lori onwards and upwards!!
Allison Egley 03/31/11
Wow. This is good! I was definitely not expecting the ending. But it works! Good job on this one. :)
Charla Diehl 04/06/11
Derrick's voice was so aunthentic in representing non-believers. My heart grieves for those who won't accept Jesus as their Savior. Your message comes across beautifully as you bring this entry to its conclusion. Congrats on winning with this one.