The Killing Floor

(http://www, I’m not gonna talk about this PC game, even though I heard it was good for some Co-Op Zombie killing fun of an evening. I just liked the title.

When I lived in New Orleans in 1996, I worked at a place in the 200 block of Baronne Street downtown. It was in a bank building. We worked on the ground floor, but we supported some clients on the upper floors of the building. For some reason, when you called the elevator to go down, it would stop even if it was on its way up. If you got in one that had the “up” light on, you would first have to go up, then down to your destination floor.  This was true even if someone below you had used the elevator to ascend, and then left it.  So the elevator doors would open into an empty elevator, and you’d get in, and although you pressed a button for the lobby, the elevator would still go to the top floor, open, and then close and take you back down. Even if no one on the top floor had called it, which was usually the case. I don’t know why the elevator behaved this way and didn’t know why then.

The true mystery probably had something to do with the everyday machinations of elevators, about which I know nothing. However, I maintain to this day that that elevator was haunted. The top floor of the building was not in use. It was a dark, grimy, disused office space with low ceilings and a definitely creepy cross-elevator door panorama. I only saw what the wall across from the elevator looked like, because absolutely nothing could induce me to leave the elevator on that floor. When I was alone in the elevator, and the doors opened on that floor, with its silence and general aura of a “prime zombie spawning point,” I would actually squeeze my eyes shut and plug my ears against the silence until I heard the elevator doors close again.

See, there was never anyone on the top floor to call the elevator. Therefore, why would it continue to ascend after someone had used it to get to one of the lower floors? Why not stop there and wait for someone else to press the call button? I was irrationally afraid of those few moments in the elevator on that top floor, so much that I took pains to avoid them. If alone, I would not get into the elevator unless I was certain it would descend. Still, sometimes the elevator would trick me, and I would end up on that top floor, frantically pressing the “close doors” button. The worst was when someone else was in the elevator with me and it took us up there. I had to act like I wasn’t terrified that the abandoned office floor was going to eat us both. Sometimes I wondered if they were just as afraid of that floor as I was, but I never had the courage to ask. I mean, after all, it was just an empty floor. Silly to think something was lurking in the unknown darkness to devour anything stupid enough to pass beyond that rectangle of light shed by the open elevator doors.

Even sillier to think that maybe that elevator took everyone in the building up there, one by one, alone. And the abandoned floor replaced them. Silly to think that all those replacements are now living their lives, having children, going about their business. Waiting. Utterly ridiculous. Right? . . . Right?

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