Holding Lori’s hand, Nat pulled her into the empty hotel elevator, pushing the button for the sixth floor. Smiling up at him, Lori slipped her arm around his waist. The doors slid shut, the elevator lurched and began to rise. The bell tinged as it passed each floor, counting off the numbers, then stopping at the sixth floor, but the doors didn’t open.
“Nat why aren’t the doors opening?”
“I don’t know.” He pushed the button to open the door, but nothing happened. He began to randomly push buttons.
“Are we stuck?”
Probably for a few minutes, but maintenece will be called out.” Nat reassured her. He stepped closer to the control box and pushed the phone button, but there was no connection. They were trapped until someone freed them.
“Well, since we’re waitingand alone…” Nat pulled Lori close to him, pressing her against his chest, but just as their lips met, the elevator groaned, lurched and began to descend.
“Great, we’re going back down. I guess maintenence found us.”
“Uh, Nat, we just passed the lobby floor.” Lori pointed up at the numbers lighting up.
“I guess the elevator is going down to maintenece.”
“I’m beginning to get the heebie jeebies. When this thing stops, I’m getting off and taking the stairs.” Lori said stubbornly
Before Nat could reply, the elevator stopped and the door slid open. A damp, musty smell assaulted their noses. Lori wrinkled her nose and looked around.
“Nat, where are we?”
“Looks like we ended up in the basement.”
“Let’s get out of here, now.”
Grabbing her hand again, Nat hurried away from the elevator into the dimly lit basement, looking for the stairs. Going to the opposite side of the elevator, he saw they had run under the indoor pool.
“What the…?” Nat said, peering into the pool.
“Wow we can see into the pool and the people swimming. I wonder if the can see us?”
“Let’s see.” Nat watched the swimmers until a man swam toward them underwater, and he smashed his face against the side and began to wave. The man did not aknowledge Nat’s presence.
“Well I guess that’s a no.”
Nat scanned around the room again. There were no doors, or stairs.
“I guess the only way out is the elevator.”
“I guess you’re right, but I wish we didn’t have to.”
They ran back around to the elevator, but just as they reached the doors, they slid closed and the whirring of the motor told Nat that the elevator was rising. He felt a pang of fear.
“Nat what do we do now?!” Lori cried out, grabbing his arm.
Nat pulled out his cell phone, but he had no service this far down. He began to randomly push the buttons on the control panel, but after fifteen minutes there was no sign of the elevator returning. Lori was beginning to panic.
Suddenly both of them heard clattering of chains against the concrete floor. Nat whirled around and looking for whatever was making the sound. Lori sidled up behind him, holding on to his shirt in her hand.
The clanking continued around the corner, the air around them suddenly becoming cooler and damp. Nat and Lori clung to each other as the rattling became more intense until they were surrounded by the noise. A chilling cold enveloped them and then a greenish light appeared before them and materialized into two transparent bodies, hovering above the floor, chains encircling their forms.
Nat held Lori’s trembling body close.
“What do you want? Who are you?” he finally asked, but before he got an answer, one of the forms leaped forward and slid into Lori’s body. Nat pulled back staring in shock at her. A gravely voice replaced her soft alto voice.
“Our host bodies drowned in the pool a few days ago. These chains keep us tethered here until we could find new host bodies that will enable us to leave here. Your two bodies were perfect. Young and healthy.”
“No! We don’t want to be replaced by you! Leave us alone!” Nat shouted, panicked,backing up, but without warning, Nat felt cold slice through his body. He closed his eyes for a moment and when he opened them he saw his beloved Norma. She smiled and he took her hands.
“Shall we go to our room?” he asked as the elevator descended once more, the doors sliding open in front of them.
“Oh, yes Henry, oh yes.” She answered as they stepped into the waiting elevator.