A million thanks to everyone who came out to play! This challenge’s eligible entries came from these awesome writers:
- Terry Brewer | @Stories2121
- TL Reeve | @tl_reeve
- David A Ludwig | @DavidALudwig
- Mark Ethridge | @mysoulstears
- Daelyn Morgana | @DaelynMorgana
Thank you for your infinite patience while we coordinated schedules to get this post up. Now let’s get to the reason we’re all here: the winners!
Daelyn Morgana | @DaelynMorgana
Cara says: This is another entry that took the prompt and gave it a twist, though a much darker one. The public face created to endure abuse is the heartbreaking core of this “fake relationship,” and you root for the MC to find her way free. She does… bringing me to my only disappointment in this story. Though vague understanding that something has happened is there, the ending just doesn’t quite pack the punch of the rest of the story. Guess that just means you have to write more!
Siobhan says: This story was well crafted and gave all the warnings from the beginning, but how often do we ignore them in order to fit in and make others happy? A chilling tale with a rather final solution at the end that left me satisfied if not happy. Great story.
Ever says: You took the Fake Relationship trope and ran into a dark alley with it. I was blown away by how much you packed into the snapshots of time you showed us. And I genuinely cheered when what I thought was Amanda’s last moments turned out to be her Fight For Freedom! W00t w00t!
Miranda says: I loved Daelyn’s maybe due to it being closer to home for me (I witnessed that stuff as a child). I liked how she worked up to the ending, slow and steady making you read faster and faster. Great execution and never saying too much, just enough for you to know and pique your interest until the end.
Katheryn says: A great take on the prompt. The story was tense and kept me on edge until the very end. You can really feel for the narrator – her pain, her stress, and her dread. For such a brief piece, its intensity lingers long after you’ve finished reading it.
Mark Ethridge | @mysoulstears
Cara says: What I love most about this story is the calm, enduring sweetness of it all. The “trapped in an elevator” trope easily lends itself to all sorts of tension, shenanigans, even conflict. I love how you took us on a much kinder, gentler journey, instead. Valid concerns were soothed with thoughtfulness from the MC, and the characters bonded thanks to that. The generational difference in responses to the situation are adorable. This is a wonderfully sweet story that turned a standard trope into something unexpected. Well done!
Siobhan says: What I loved about this story was the gentle connection between strangers. It was powerful in its kindness and interaction. I came away with a smile on my face and warmth in my heart. Totally won the internet for me that day.
Ever says: You turned the Stuck In An Elevator trope on it’s head and I loved every moment of it! By turns sweet, endearing, and memorable, I was utterly charmed and chuckled out lout more than once. This is an absolutely lovely piece! Kudos!!
Miranda says: Mark’s was excellent, a complete story where you really got to know the characters and how it went from creepy to fatherly love, it portrayed making a connection – much needed in the current world.
Katheryn says: Though I’m a sucker for romantic love, this piece about easy friendship was my favorite. I really liked this take on the trope and that it was all about a sweet, gentle encounter between strangers. The tone of the story was lighthearted, hopeful, and left me feeling warm and fuzzy after I finished reading it.
The winning tale
It was Two in the morning, on February 14th. Valentine’s day. We’d been stuck in the elevator for almost an hour. An hour earlier, the floor had bounced, and we heard two loud pings, and the elevator came to a dead stop.
I’d used my cell phone to call building maintenance, but no one answered, and my call went to voicemail. She’d used her phone to post her status on Facebook, and Twitter, and to send messages to her friends. No one answered. No one texted back.
We were stuck. “I figure we’re stuck here until the maintenance crew gets here at five or so.” That didn’t make her happy, and I’m sure her being stuck in an elevator with someone who was probably older than her parents, wasn’t something she wanted.
At the one hour mark, I decided to sit down in the back corner of the tiny room we were trapped in, and see if I could take a nap.
She watched me like I was some kind of predator, waiting for her to pass out, after which there was no telling what I’d do.
“Well, since we’re stuck here,” I pulled out my phone, and put up a picture of my daughter. “This is my daughter. She’s 31, and married. Expecting a baby in a few months.”
The girl looked at my phone. I let her hold it. “She’s older than me.”
“Yeah. I thought she was.” I shrugged, and leaned my head against the wall. “I’m too old for a lot of things, you know.” After a big sigh. “A lot of things are for younger people.” I almost laughed, “Getting stuck in an elevator at stupid o’clock is exhausting. I need a nap.”
She sat down in the other back corner. “I could use a nap too.”
“I have a son, too. Want to see his picture?” She nodded. I brought the picture up on my phone. She looked, and smiled, “He’s kind of cute.”
“He’s not married yet. Think he has a boyfriend. But he doesn’t talk about it.”
She handed my phone back to me. “Are you married?”
“I was. She died early. Way too young.”
“Oh. I’m sorry.”
Since we were talking anyway, I asked, “You married?”
“No. And not in a hurry.”
“Can’t blame you there.” I shook my head, “Men these days. I’m telling you.”
She actually laughed about that.
“If you want a nap,” I tugged at the shoulder of my coat, “You are welcome to put this out on the floor. I mean. I wouldn’t sleep on this floor. Holy crap.”
We talked a bit, about families, and work. About cats, and dogs. Even about how no one would ever believe we got stuck in the elevator all night. Eventually, she did take me up on my coat offer, and stretched out on my coat, on the floor. I drifted off to sleep myself.
I woke up when the elevator floor bounced again. So did she. I was surprised to see she’d put her head in my lap. “I needed a pillow.”
“Well. At least I’m good for something.”
We heard two more pings from the elevator, and it finally started to move. It was five-fifteen in the morning. We staggered to our feet. Well. I staggered. She bounced right up. “Work is gonna suck today.”
She laughed, “I know what you mean.”
“Nine for me. You?”
“At least you get to take a good nap.”
“I got a good nap. You make a good pillow.”
As we got off the elevator, finally, she tapped me on the shoulder. “For what it’s worth. I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather get stuck in an elevator with.”
“You make a good person to talk with.”
“Happy Valentine’s day, old timer.” She gave me a hug.
“Happy Valentine’s day.”
Congratulations to Mark and Daelyn!
Thanks again to everyone who participated. If you haven’t already, you can check out the rest of the stories HERE.