by Ms. Penguin
SCREAMS!!! entry for 7/6/19
|Tessa tapped her foot impatiently as she waited for the painfully slow elevator to make its way to the first floor. She had only lived in Malton Heights apartment complex for a few weeks, but she was already wishing she hadn't given up her expensive, but much nicer and more comfortable apartment just to save a hundred dollars a month. It's not really that she couldn't afford it, she just wanted to have some extra spending cash for once. At the ripe old age of 23, she'd been on her own for 4 years and never did she have any real spending money after bills. A college dropout working as a waitress in a small town diner she fondly referred to as "The Craphole" was her lot in life and she accepted that, grudgingly.
The elevator finally hemmed and hawed and squeaked it's way to the lobby. As the doors haltingly opened, four of her new neighbors suddenly appeared behind her. "Hold the doors, please, hold the doors!" a fifth voice shouted from the front doors. A frazzled woman who appeared to be in her thirties came rushing towards them. "Thank you, thank you!" she gushed, breathlessly, as she joined them in the waiting elevator.
"You're welcome," a young man in his early twenties responded. "Seeing as I'm standing by the buttons, what floors are you guys going to?"
"3," Tessa and the still out of breath, slightly chubby woman spoke simultaneously.
"4," A gruff older man in and ill-fitting suit and raggedy looking tie huffed.
"We're on 5, please," one of the last two tenants spoke shyly. "Thank you."
"You two live together?" Tessa asked. "I just moved in and haven't really had the chance to get to know anyone yet."
"Yeah," the shy one nodded. "This is my boyfriend, Kurt. I'm Lisa." She held out her hand and Tessa shook it politely.
"Nice to meet you."
Kurt was staring down at his feet as if he couldn't bear the thought of looking at the other passengers.
The frazzled looking woman smiled and held out her hand for Tessa to shake. "Hi, I'm Lorna," she introduced herself, still a little out of breath, but the redness in her chubby cheeks was starting to fade. "I've lived here for over 10 years, so if you ever have any questions, don't be shy! I'm in apartment 312. You're in 308 aren't you, dear?"
"Yes, ma'am," Tessa smiled at the friendly woman.
"Please, dear, call me Lorna. Ma'am makes me sound dreadfully old."
They stood in silence, as the elevator creaked its way past the second floor. A sudden jolt startled them and Lorna let out a small scream. Kurt continued to stare at the floor in silence as the elevator gave one more unexpected jolt before coming to a complete stop. The lights went out.
"Oh dear," Lorna moaned. "Not again."
"This happens often?" Tessa grumbled. "I just got off work and my feet are killing me. I just want to sit down, have a beer and watch some Netflix."
"We've called the building super numerous times. He keeps saying he'll get it fixed, but he's a lazy son-of-a-bitch." Kurt spoke without looking up. "I called the city inspector, but he won't be here to inspect the building until Friday."
"Typical," snapped the older man. "Just typical." He had wedged himself into a corner as if he was afraid he might catch something deadly if he so much as bumped against any of the other passengers.
The quiet young man who had pushed the buttons for them picked up the emergency phone and held it to his ear.
"I don't think this phone is working," he told them. "I don't hear anything."
"Oh dear, oh dear," Lorna moaned. "Whatever will we do?"
"I'm scared," Lisa whimpered.
"We'll be fine," Kurt snapped. "Someone will try to use the elevator and will call the super. We just have to be patient."
Tessa sighed. "I'm sitting on the floor, my feet can't take anymore pressure!" She sat down and leaned against the wall, inadvertently bumping the older man.
"Don't touch me!" he shouted. "Nobody better touch me!"
"It was an accident, sir, please calm down,"
"Don't tell me to calm down, little girl," he yelled. "I don't want any of you people touching me, got it?"
Kurt turned toward the sound of the man's voice, pulled a small object from his pocket and said, "What's your problem old man?"
"Don't call me old, I'm 65 you disrespectful little shit."
Kurt inched closer to the older man. "Respect is earned old man," he whispered as he quietly plunged his pocketknife into the man's throat. Despite barely being able to see in the dark, he hit him directly in the larynx, effectively silencing him for good. The man dropped to the floor and bled out slowly and quietly. The others couldn't see what happened, all they knew was the man was suddenly quiet and lying on the floor.
"What happened? Did he have a heart attack?" Tessa knelt by the body and tried to find his wrist to check for a pulse. The older man made some gurgling sounds and then went silent. "I think he's dead," Tessa gasped. "What do we do?"
"Nothing we can do for him in the dark," Kurt replied. "Hopefully he's just unconscious."
The passengers waited in silence for what felt like forever, but was only 15 minutes.
"Did you do something to the old guy, Kurt?" Lisa spoke softly. "You moved away from me right before he fell. You didn't touch him, did you?"
"Shut up, Lisa. Why would you even ask me something like that?"
"I'm sorry, don't be angry. I just....I don't know. Forget it."
"Okay, we're all a little nervous," Kurt pulled her close to him and kissed her forehead gently. Before she realized what was happening, he hit her hard with an uppercut to her nose, driving the bone deep into her brain and killing her instantly. He gently lowered her to the floor. "Take a nap, dear," he murmured. "I'm sure someone will rescue us soon.
"I can't stand this darkness any longer," Tessa complained, pulling her smartphone from her purse and turning on the flashlight. "Oh my gods, there's blood! The old guy is covered in blood!" As she turned toward Kurt and Lisa, she was just able to register that Lisa was also dead before Kurt punched her in the temple as hard as he was able to. She dropped to the floor like a sack of potatoes.
"Shut up!" Kurt yelled. "If you two want to live, just shut up!" Tessa's phone had landed flashlight side up on the floor and it cast an eerie glow over the remaining survivors.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" Lorna snapped. "I know the old guy was annoying, but that's no reason to kill someone."
"Goes to show how much you know, bitch. He's the asshole that called the cops a few weeks ago when Lisa and I were fighting. I sat in jail for a week because of that prick. I barely touched her. He shoulda minded his own business."
"How do you expect to get away with two murders committed in front of two witnesses?" the other man inquired. "If you kill us it will be obvious that you're guilty, so there's no escape for you. You're going to go to prison."
Kurt lunged at the man, but he wasn't fast enough. A knee to his groin caught him off guard and he dropped to the floor, clutching his balls and crying in pain.
"Oh, thank God," Lorna gasped. "I was so scared."
"You should be scared," the polite young man smiled at the older lady as he dug the heel of his work boot into Kurt's throat, crushing his windpipe. As Kurt asphyxiated in front of them, he laughed. No longer did his eyes look kind, she realized, but dead, emotionless, empty. The last thing she saw as he backed her into the corner were his insanely sharp teeth.