It was an old building with an old elevator, a very small elevator that could hold three people. Martin, a skinny twelve-year-old, had been nervous about him since the first day he and his father moved into the apartment. Of course, he was always uncomfortable in elevators, he was afraid that they would fall, but there was something special unpleasant about it. Perhaps it was its sinister atmosphere due to the light from the only fluorescent a ceiling strip, dull and dull against dirty walls. Perhaps the problem was the door, which was never left open all the way.
long enough, and slammed shut with that ominous, clanging finality. Perhaps this was the mechanism. trembled with exhaustion every time he left the floor, as if he had never reached the next one. Perhaps it He was simply concerned about the size of this device, so small that it seemed uncomfortably cramped, even when there was only one person in it. Coming home from school the day after they moved in, Martin tried to climb the stairs.
But they were almost as bad windowless, in the shade, with a few dark stairwells where light bulbs had burned out. His footsteps echoed behind him like slaps on cement, as if another person is climbing, approaching. By that time he reached the seventeenth floor, which seemed to take forever, he was out of breath and out of breath.
His father, who worked at home, wanted to know why he was so out of breath. But why didn’t you take an elevator?” he asked, frowning at Martin as he explained the stairs. the expression seemed to say, but you are also a coward. After that, Martin forced himself to go up the elevator.
He’d have to get used to it, he told himself, just like he used to being bullied at school, and always were chosen last when the teams were chosen. The elevator was an undeniable fact of life. He’s not used to this. He remained tense in the trembling box, his eyes fixed on the numbers above a door that blinked so inconsistently, as if at any moment they might just give up.
Sometimes he made yourself to look away from them, the emergency stop button or the red panic button. What happens if did he push one of them? Will the bell ring? Will the elevator stops between floors? And if that were the case, how would do they release it?
That’s what he hated about being alone in this thing, the fear of being locked in there for hours alone. But it wasn’t much better when there were other passengers. He felt too close to any rider, too close. And he I have always been very aware of the effort people make not to stare at each other, staring into nowhere. His short stature in this situation was an advantage, as his face was below the level of the eyes of adults, and after a short look, they ignored it.
Before morning, the elevator stopped at the fourteenth floor, and a fat lady entered. She wore worn the green coat that puffed out around her; her ankles stuck out over her dirty sneakers. As she hobbled in the elevator Martin was sure he felt him sink under her weight. It was so big that it filled the entire booth; her coat is brushed against him, and he had to squeeze into a corner to give her room—certainly, there would be no seat for another passenger. The door quickly slammed shut behind her. And then, unlike everyone else, she does not stand facing the door. She stood with her back to the door, wheezing and looking straight at Martin.
For a moment he met her gaze. Her features seemed very small, squeezed into loose, fleshy mounds. from her cheeks. She had no chin, only a huge swollen neck, barely covered by the collar of her coat. Her sparse red hair was pinned up at the back with a plastic clip. And her blue eyes, though tiny, were sharp and penetrating, thrusting into Martin’s face. Suddenly he looked at the numbers above the door. She didn’t turn around. Was she still looking at him?
His eyes flickered to her again, and then quickly away. She was still watching him. He wanted to close his eyes; is he wanted to turn around and look around the corner, but how could he? The elevator creaked to twelve, down up to eleven. Martin looked at his watch he looked at the numbers again. They weren’t even there until nine.
And then, against his will, his eyes flickered back to her face. She was still watching him. Her nose turned up, there was a large space between her nostrils and her upper lip, giving her a pig-like appearance. He looked away again gritting his teeth, fighting the urge to close his eyes at her. She must have gone crazy. Why else would she look at him like that? What was she going to do next?
She didn’t do anything. She just stared at him, breathing loudly, until the elevator finally reached the first floor. Martin would have rushed to her to get out, but there was no place. He could only wait for her to turn. reluctantly, he thought, and slowly walked out into the lobby. And they ran. He didn’t care that she thought. He ran past her, out into the fresh air, and then ran most of the way to school. He never felt such relief in my life.
He thought about her all day. Did she live in the building? He had never seen her before, and the building was not very large – only four apartments on each floor. It seemed likely that she did not live there and had only been visiting someone. But if she was just visiting someone, why did she leave the building at 7:30 in the morning? At this time of day, people did not go. Did that mean she really lived in the building? If so, then it is probably there was a certainty that someday he would ride the elevator with her again. He was frightened when he approached the building after school.
In the vestibule, he examined the stairs. But this was funny. Why should he be afraid of the old woman? If he was afraid of her, if he let her control him, then he was worse than all the nicknames he was called at school. He pressed the button; he stepped into the void elevator. He stared at the light as he urged the elevator on. He stopped at three. At least not fourteen, he told himself; the man she visited lives for fourteen years. He looked at the door swings open to reveal a green coat, a pig face, blue eyes already fixed on him as if she knew he would be there. It was impossible. It was like a nightmare. But here it is, very real. “Get up!” he said, his voice humiliating screech.
She nodded, her flesh trembling, and stepped forward. The door slammed shut. He watched her plump hand move towards buttons. She pressed not fourteen, but eighteen, the top floor, the floor above his own. The elevator shuddered and began its ascent. The fat lady was watching him. He knew that she got up at fourteen that morning. So why was she a three and now an eighteen? That the only floors he ever went to were seventeen and one. What did she do? Was she waiting for him? It was did she go with him on purpose?
But it was crazy. Maybe she had a lot of friends in the building. Or she was a cleaner who worked in different apartments. It should have been like this. He could feel her eyes on him as he stared at the slowly flashing numbers. and away, slower than usual, he thought. Maybe the elevator had problems because of how heavy it is. It was. It was supposed to carry three adults, but it was old. What to do if stuck between floors? What if it fell?
Now they were in fifth. It occurred to him to press seven, get out there and walk the rest of the way. And he would do it if he could reach the buttons. But to pass by her without clinging to her, and he could not bear the thought of any physical contact with her. He focused on being in his room. He’ll be home soon, in just a minute or so. He could take anything for a minute, even this crazy lady. watching him.
Unless the elevator is stuck between floors. Then what will he do? He tried to push the thought away, but she kept coming back. He looked at her. She was still looking at him, there was no expression on her flattened little neck. Peculiarities. When the elevator stopped at his floor, she barely moved out of the way. He had to walk past her, rubbing against her terrible scratchy coat, terrified that the door would close before he could enter. She turned quickly and watched him as the door slammed shut. And I thought: “Now she knows that I live at seventeen.”
Have you ever noticed a strange fat lady in an elevator? he asked his father that evening. “I can’t say how I am,” he said without looking up from the TV. He knew he might be making a mistake, but he needed to tell someone. “Well, she was in the elevator with me twice today. And the funny thing is that she kept looking at me, she never stopped looking at me. minute. Do you think… do you know anyone who has a weird cleaning lady or something?
Why are you so upset now? his father said, turning away impatiently from the television. “I’m not excited. It was just funny that she kept looking at me. You know how people never look at each other in the elevator. Well, she just kept looking at me.” — What should I do with you, Martin? his father said. He sighed and shook his head. “Now you’re afraid some poor old woman.”
“I’m not afraid.” “You’re afraid,” said the father with complete certainty. “When are you going to grow up and act like a man? Are you going to be timid all your life? He managed not to cry until he got to his room, but his father probably knew he was crying anyway. He slept very little. And in the morning, when the elevator door opened, a fat lady was waiting for him. She was waiting for him. She knew that he lived on the seventeenth floor. He stood there, unable to move, and then backed away.
And when he did, her expression changed. She smiled as the door slammed shut. He ran to the stairs. Fortunately, the unlit flight he fell on was between sixteen and fifteen years old. He should only A flight and a half dragged along with a terrible pain in his leg, Father was silent on the way to the hospital, disappointed and irritated with him for being such a coward and a fool. It was a simple fracture. He didn’t need a wheelchair, just a cast, and crutches. But he was sentenced to lift now. Is that why the fat lady smiled? Did she know it would?
At least his father was with him in the elevator on the way back from the hospital. There was no place for the fat lady to get on. And even if she knew, her father would have seen her, would have understood how strange she was, and then maybe he’ll understand. And once they get home, he can stay in the apartment for a few days. The doctor said that he should use his leg as little as possible. A week, maybe a whole week without getting into the elevator. Having driven up with his father, he, leaning on crutches, looked around the booth and felt some triumph. So far, he’s outrun the elevator and the fat lady. And the rest of the week was very far away.
“Oh, I almost forgot.” Father held out his hand and pressed nine. “What are you doing? You’re not coming out, are you?” he asked him, trying not to sound panicky. “I promised Terry Ullman that I would visit her,” his father said, looking at his watch and leaving the house. “Let me go with you. I want to visit her too,” Martin pleaded, moving forward on crutches. But the door was already closed. Are you afraid to ride the elevator alone? his father said with full contempt. Grow up, Martin. The door slammed shut. Martin hobbled to the buttons and pressed nine, but that didn’t help.
The elevator stopped at ten, where the fat lady was waiting for him. She moved quickly; he was too slow, too staggering on crutches to work past her in time. The door closed them; the elevator worked. “Hello Martin,” she said, laughing and pressing the stop button.
The Elevator By William Sleator