Out of order

It was late when I walked out of my doctor's office. I was 25 miles from home via the Santa Ana Freeway. On a good day and at the "right" time the trip takes half an hour. This was not only a bad day - Friday - but also the worst time. And it was already dark.I hurried toward the parking structure noting that I was the only person visible in the area. I glanced nervously behind me. The elevator was just inside the entrance to the garage. The building was nearly empty of autos. Earlier it was packed and I was forced to drive up three stories to the roof of the building to park my car. I pushed the "up" button. The door opened and a young man stepped out and nodded to me as I entered. Now I pushed the number three button. The door slid shut and then immediately opened again and there stood the same man. I noticed his workman's uniform. The pocket patch read "Jim's Electric." "I have to go back up to my car. I forgot something," he explained as he entered. I didn't want to imagine an ulterior motive in his hasty return into the elevator, but began to feel apprehensive nonetheless. I pushed the third floor button once more. "Oh, you're on the third floor too," he said. We rode the three stories up in silence. The elevator stopped, the door opened and with a quick move he pushed the button which closed the door again. My heart gave a giant thump. "Hand over your purse, lady," he barked. "Please, no, I have to get home. Just take the money. Here's a twenty and some fives. Just please don't take my purse!" He wrested the bag from my grasp, pushed me to the back of the car and held me there with one hand while he pulled the telephone from the wall with the other. He manipulated the buttons so that the elevator would not move. He knew exactly what to do to disable it and worked expertly and quickly. With a wild smile he looked into my eyes and said, "This elevator is now totally out of order." The car went black and the door opened. I tried to get free and run out but he shoved me back inside. In a moment he was out and slid the door shut from the outside. I screamed as loudly as I could. I tried in vain to pry open the door. I pounded on it and screamed for help and then I huddled in the corner of the cubicle in utter despair. I'm alone in the darkness. He has my car key and my house key and knows my address. The carpet was rough and dirty. I was cold. Again I tried to scream, but couldn't. I was exhausted. Hot tears of frustration streamed down my face and I was unable to control the wild beating of my heart. Finally I cowered in the corner of the place that had become my prison. I felt the walls closing in and suffocating me. I felt the ceiling pressing down on me. I was wild with fear. Nobody would be coming up here until Monday morning. The thought of the isolation was frightening enough, but then I imagined that he would return. Then what? I pounded on the door with my shoe. Nothing. Just silence and darkness. I was alone and he might return. Writers' Workshop West, active since 1962, is open to anyone interested in writing fiction, non fiction, drama, and poetry. Meetings are held the third Tuesday of every month at 7:30 p.m. at the Downey High School library. For information, call (562) 862-3106 ********** Published: February 27, 2009 - Volume 7 - Issue 45