An Adventure in a Building
- (tentative title) I'm not very good with titles
Thanks for being here.
This is my attempt of a fantasy story. It's a bit like a dream sequence, so some things may seem not to make too much sense – think of it, maybe as blurry rather than concrete.
Am I dreaming? I do not know. All that I do know is I am walking, I am stuck, I am entrenched into a dilapidated city – it's big, yes, it's a big city. There aren't too many people here. There seem to be beggars – they are ragged and look like scum.
I'm numb. I really am… I am however, not alone. I am with three individuals. Paul, Wang and Raja. "Where are we?" I ask.
They do not respond. They give me looks of great scorn. But beneath that scorn is worry and fear. They do not mean me harm.
Paul then says. "We must enter that building."
This building was a tall super structure. In fact, since we were so close to it, we couldn't see the top… when did we get so close to it… if we came here, we must have been at some distance where we could see how high it went… but again, I do not remember. I do not remember much.
"All Right," I say. "We shall go in."
Wang and Raja were not too comfortable with this decision. "No!" said Raja. "I won't go inside!"
"Why?" I say. "Do you have a legitimate reason? Or are you merely acting on your whims and fancies. We do not have time for your fear, friend. This is the thing to do."
Raja stooped down and fell on the floor.
"Get up. Do not expect us to lift you up."
Paul said, "Ignore him. In, we must go."
Wang, followed, docile. He was a docile guy. Whether he had a charming personality deep within, I do not know. I don't care much either.
We walked up closer. I did not look back. But I could hear the thumping of Raja's shoes. He did not want to be left alone. Good that he's coming with us.
We pushed open the door – at least, Paul and I did, with such ferocity, that the door banged against the wall right next to it and boomeranged back, crashing onto the face of Paul. He was pushed backwards, again onto the ground. This time, I did lift my friend up. I opened the door much more carefully.
I don't know to describe the place. This was a lobby – or at least, it was. Now, things were crooked and crinkled. I saw a staircase leading up. I saw the desk where the receptionist would sit. I think of one colour, only. Brown. Reddish brown. Everything here was reddish-brown. Perhaps it was once deep resonating mahogany. The sofas and tables, where people would once have relaxed and eased them on, were broken in many pieces… I could even see the ceramic bowls where toffees would be placed… and where children would grab them at a bunch and keep them to themselves. The staff merely would smile indulgently…. No one missed them… No one seems to be missing this place either… maybe, people are happy they are gone from here. It looks like they have put all their fear and misery and crammed it onto this building, this large, ever engorging superstructure, which we were now on the ground floor of.
"We must go to the elevator. I think we should visit a floor."
"Very well," said Paul.
Raja seemed different. He wished to prove himself now. So he raced past us to the elevator. But we could see through his act. He was a petrified young boy – a lad who had no meaning or purpose in the world. Yet we took with us not for pity, but because we could see some potential in him… had he this? But now, he pushed on and pressed the button to open the doors of the elevator. And they opened.
Paul, I and Wang followed.
The elevator was tiny. There was no space in it. There was also a very small hole on the right corner. We could not fall into it, but if one of our legs fell in, we would be forever entrapped, most of our body out in this lift, one entire leg – or at least up to thigh paralysed downwards – into the gorge of the bottom of this high-rise. And then, we will stay like this forever, until we die of starvation. Of course, one of us could help the other up. But the hole seemed so small – just the right side for our heavy legs, that one could not lift the other without tearing the body off the leg. And one didn't possess the strength or muscle for that.
So we were careful. And squished ourselves on the left side of the lift. The button panel was on the right, but at the front corner away from the hole, so we delicately pressed a button. Floor 6.
And the elevator moved. Quite speedily, in fact. We went on above. And in a few seconds, the doors opened. And then they shut again. We pressed the open button once more and Wang pushed against the door to allow us to get out. We managed.
Outside the elevator, we saw a huge corridor. It was octagonal in shape, with rooms at either end. It went on and on. Until we saw a body on the ground. I knelt by him and held his hand. And his hand squished mine.
"You are here… goodness…. Help us…"
"What do you mean? Help you how?"
"I am dying. But others may live. Only the outside world can stop what's within the floors of this building. Go to the fifteenth floor. You will find contentment there."
I doubted this very much. His words were in marked contrast with the context he had just established. I doubted I would find, 'contentment'. And then, I realised, I had to interpret that word more scrupulously.
Then his head hit the ground with a bang. And his eyes opened greatly. And snoot went out his mouth. He was dead.
"We must go to the fifteenth floor."
"What?" said Wang. "Why?
"Listen to me. We have to go there. If we do not, we will live here in eternal misery."
Raja came up to me, and then, slapped me hard on the face.
I then punched him on the stomach and kicked him between his legs. I punched him on his face, until a leak of blood left his chin and a drop of it touched the rusted carpet beneath us.
"We must go, Raja."
He looked at me, stern. He looked at Paul, then, who said:
"Let us not be violent. That solves nothing. I feel, Tesir is right. We will go."
And then our four pack member went back into the elevator and inside it, the grey walls sealed themselves.