He could taste the air, stale and cold against his lungs. The light burned a dull yellow above him, playing against walls of once-proud lumber, playing off his rising, echoing heartbeat. He was a wreck, completely drained. Nothing was going all according to plan; reality had stepped in to burst his bubble. It was nothing like his superiors had said, nothing like taking candy from babies. It was more like taking candy from strangers. He leant forward above the turquoise and gold embroidery on the carpets, illuminating the numerals, written in bold, reassuring Times New Roman.
The doors slide open and she steps in, level 12, smiling beneath her blonde bob. She whispers to herself, looking down into the electronic visage of her mobile phone. They stand, together yet alone in that steel womb, the tension in the air palpable. Gliding upwards, traveling heavenward in the steel balloon.
“The salmon sky is perfect.” He whispers, breaking the unwritten code of elevator conduct. She glances up at him, blankly, her uncomprehending eyes flicking down to the briefcase he has placed at her feet. She steps unconsciously away from it, awkwardly returning his gift.
“You are the Free Bride, are you not?” he almost begs his question, as she shakes her head, avoiding his gaze. The lift shudders to a standstill, level 22. The hotel’s swimming pool lies waiting before them, empty and aquamarine, silent. They are waiting for him, outside the doors. He slumps forward, defeated. She steps passed him, dancing a hurried quickstep away from trouble. The elevator doors close onto a menacing silence.
The elevator descends into some new madness.
Another InMon story, using the prompts Free Bride, All According to Plan, Traveling by Balloon and Candy From Strangers. I also used the 3WordWednesday‘s prompt words: Bubble, Lumber and Wreck. This week also marks my first foray into the StoryDam challenge, with the notion of a gift returned. Thanks for reading!