Another prompt, another round of great stories to choose from. Check the stories out below and vote for your favorite!
“Could you punch the 4 for me?” she asks.300 words by Bill Engleson (@billmelaterplea)
I glance over. Thirtyish. Dressed to the business nines. We’d both just stepped in. Her first. Then me. She went to the far corner, and I was closer to the panel.
She looks like she likes to give orders.
Me? Happy to be a follower.
I punch 4 and then 6.
The door closes and the grind begins.
I hate elevators. Live on an island with no buildings over two stories. Correction. Except for that mausoleum that some high roller built out at the point.
Or so I’ve heard.
Haven’t seen it myself.
We start to move.
Three…nope. We lurch and we freeze.
“What’s happening?” she yells.
I avoid stating the obvious.
Whatever it is, anytime, it’s usually the obvious.
Why bother mentioning it?
On the other hand, why not.
“I think it’s stopped,” I calmly drop the obvious.
And add, “Likely between floors.”
“I have an important meeting,” she yells.
“I don’t,” I say.
Not quite the truth. I have an appointment with a lawyer.
Cheap lawyer, I was promised.
To draft my will.
Always putting the big things off.
“I can’t be here,” she moans.
I glance over again.
She has bent down and is squatting in the far corner against the elevator wall.
“Take a big breath,” I minister to her.
Think I heard someone say that in a movie.
Not a stuck elevator movie.
Maybe it was a soap opera love gone wrong story.
She heeds my sage advice.
“Good,” I console. “We have to stay cool. Someone will get us out.”
She looks up, breaths out, asks, “Who?”
Like I know.
So, I guess.
She soaks that wisdom in.
We’ll just have to wait.
“They created the two-man rule for this reason, you know.”
“Two people, thank you very much. And yes, I know. Are you okay with doing this? I mean, really okay?”
“It’s what we were trained to do.”
“But what about…what comes after? We may not see what happens, but we’ll have to live with what we’ve done. I’m…I’m scared.”
“Scared of what? Nothing’s going to happen to us.”
“How can you say that? Don’t you think turning that key will change you? Aren’t you even a little worried about that?”
“It doesn’t really matter if it changes me. Or you. The clock is counting down, and they’re all depending on us to do our jobs.”
“I know. And I promised.”
“Yes. Are you ready?”
See the two of them there, a man and a woman, two hundred feet underground, hunched over outdated electrical panels, right hands holding silvery keys. This is the five-thousandth time we’ve run this experiment, and this is the five-thousandth time the people in the room turn the keys. Some cry as they’re doing it. Some don’t hesitate.
Some wait until the last possible second. A handful of times, they got naked. One pair tried to have sex between receiving the alert and turning the keys, but neither man quite got there and they had to rush to do their jobs, standing at attention in more than one way.
But they all turn the keys. The pacifists. The bigots. The rich and powerful, the poor and sick.
Some say the world will end in fire, some in ice. It will end, have no doubt about it. We all have our hands on the keys, and we’re turning them together.282 words by drmag00 (@drmag00)
“Is that for Pixie’s birthday party tomorrow?” Puca’s nose twitched attentively.
“Yeah!” Gnome grunted, pushing a stone larger than himself uphill.
“Do you need help?”
Puca laid her ears flat, unconvinced. Then she shrugged.
“Okay then! Don’t say I didn’t offer; I’m headed to grab my gift for her, and it’s awesome!”
The burly little man waved off the black bunny. Puca bolted for the farmland before shifting up to her dog form. Along the way, she found Fox carefully selecting berries.
“Hey, Fox! Is that for Pixie’s birthday?”
“Mmhmm,” Fox nodded. “I’m preparing a platter of her favorites.”
Puca grinned, “That’s pretty good! But my gift’ll be the best one!”
Fox sucked a breath through his grimace, “Gnome won’t like that!”
“Yeah,” Puca sighed. “Could you check on him? He’s on the hill. He said he didn’t want help, but…”
“Why ask me?” Fox arched an eyebrow.
“I think you’re a little less annoying than I am,” Puca admitted.
Fox laughed, “That may be the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me! I’ll check on him.”
Pixie buzzed with excitement the next day, flying ahead of Puca and Fox to the place Gnome had picked for the party. Puca shot Fox a concerned look. Her fellow trickster simply shook his head. As they crested the hill, they saw Gnome’s legs sticking out from under a rock pile and heard the little man crying!
“Oh! Gnome! Are you alright?” Pixie flew urgently ahead.
“Yeah!” Gnome sniffled. “But this stupid gazebo won’t stay up!”
Gnome sat up from under the stones. Pixie alighted next to him and placed her hands on his.
“I love gazebos! Maybe I can help?”
“I wanted it to be ready for your birthday.”
“I think it would be nicer to build it together.”
“Yeah.”300 words by David A Ludwig (@DavidALudwig)
The girl stood on the cliff’s edge, hands on her hips, glaring at the much larger robed figure. “Seriously? Must you keep killing everything? I worked hard to build that garden into the beauty it was.”
He bowed his head, still feeling the weight of her glare. A multitude of options crossed his mind to explain why things had to be this way before an answer came to him.
“Please come with me as I would like to show you.” His deep voice filled the tense space between them.
With a sigh and one more sharp look, the girl took his proffered arm. As she did, the world twisted and blurred, stopping a moment later. They still stood on the cliff, yet the garden below looked as if it belonged in an alien world.
The girl dropped the robed figure’s arm, reached out as if to touch the garden, then put her hands to her mouth.
The plants were a tangled mess, sickly and blighted. Nothing bloomed. Vegetation grew matted and knotted, where each plant had become so enmeshed with the others the garden took on an appearance of a moldy mat.
“Nothing dies here. Ever.”
She blinked, one tear slipping down her cheek. “That’s no way to live.”
The robed figure bowed his head again. “I know.”
The girl sighed. “I get it. We must work together to make things live and be beautiful.”
Beneath his cowl, the robed figure smiled, his pleasure at her understanding coloring his voice. “Yes, death is part of life, just as life is part of death.”
She tilted her face up to his. “Can we go home now? We have a garden to grow.”
The robed figure offered her his arm. “It would be my pleasure to assist you.”298 words by Stacy Overby (@dontpanic2011)