The Elevator {Marc Lowe}

O'Conner stood before the elevator and pressed the "up" button. Sweat ran down the back of his neck and behind his stiff collar. Interviews made him nervous, especially when they meant the difference between being able to maintain one's rather extravagant lifestyle and going hungry.

The last time he had had to show up to a place like this, dressed to the hilt, was when he was 21, fresh out of college; his father had told him that, despite the seemingly endless store of family riches, he would need to get a job "like anyone else" and hold his own for at least a few years. However, this had not been the case. O'Conner had worked for said company for less than a year before they fired him for "inappropriate behavior" (though he was never really sure whether this applied more to his behavior on the job or off it; he had been quite the playboy, quite the drunkard, quite the…).

As he was thinking these mostly useless thoughts, the elevator arrived, the doors opened, and O'Conner stepped inside, his heart beating wildly. This was really it. He was about to interview with ___________, the largest manufacturer of silicon (used in breast implants, among other things) in the country. So lost in his thoughts was he that he did not even see the woman standing behind him. Had he been a bit more observant, he would have realized that she was quite beautiful, almost exactly his type (her breasts were perhaps a bit too small, her face perhaps a bit too round…). But this will come later.

O'Conner bit his lip, and warm, salty blood flowed onto his tongue, though he did not take note of it. Instead, he wondered whether he would be able to make a good impression on Mr. __________, who had contacted him about the interview and was known to be a bit of a bastard, though surprisingly honest and exceedingly hardworking. O'Conner didn't like such men, for he himself could never quite live up to their standards; he preferred men who were kind in an external way, but in fact rather corrupt when it came right down to it.

There was a loud, grinding sound of a sudden, and the lift came to an abrupt halt. "What the fuck?" O'Conner said in a rather loud voice, and at the same moment he finally noticed the attractive woman standing behind him, wearing a tight-fitting suit that conformed to the contours of her body almost too perfectly. O'Conner opened his mouth to apologize post-haste for uttering a profanity, but the woman smiled (coldly, he thought) at him and said, "Well, I guess the elevator is stuck. What a drag." "Yes," O'Conner agreed. "Actually, I'm on my way to an interview. A very important interview. So, well, this is more than just a little inconvenient. Why me? Why today?"

The woman smiled again (maybe she wasn't exactly cold; maybe that was just the way her face looked when she smiled?), but did not respond. After a moment, she introduced herself, and O'Conner did the same. Somehow he felt as though they had met before, though he realized it was probably just his imagination (there had been so many parties, so many women, and they all blurred together now). They shook hands. Her palm was cool and dry, his warm and moist. Meanwhile, the elevator did not give any indication that it was going to move anytime soon. "Perhaps we should push the emergency button?" the woman, whose name O'Conner had already forgotten, said, a bit nervously, O'Conner thought. He nodded and pressed it, his voice catching in his throat when he tried to speak.

But pressing the button did not seem to have any effect. He tried a second time, but there was no sound, no response. O'Conner felt a combination of dread and relief (maybe he would have to reschedule the interview, which meant that he was off-the-hook for the time being?). The woman (Sarah? Samantha? Selena?) looked tired, older of a sudden, O'Conner thought. She did not speak, but looked at her watch and shook her head from side to side. "I can't do this…" she finally uttered in a sort of whispered hiss. "I need to…I need…" O'Conner was perplexed. Could this woman actually be just as high-strung and mentally unbalanced as he was? It seemed unlikely, and yet…

What happened next perplexed O'Conner even more. The woman, without acknowledging him in any way, began to take off her clothes. At first O'Conner was certain that she would stop at her jacket, but after taking it off and letting it drop to the floor, she peeled off her tight-fitting skirt, then her blouse. O'Conner tried not to look, but it was no use; in such close quarters, how could he not look? He was a man, still a man, he reminded himself. But he would be good; he had to be good; he was here for an interview, after all, not a quick fuck in the elevator. And yet, that part of his mind that usually won out screamed "Go for it!" the entire time.

The woman stopped when she got down to her bra and panties. O'Conner saw that she was sweating, sweating profusely. And shaking. At first subtly, but then more violently. "A-are you all right?" O'Conner finally managed, feeling awkward and trapped now, his arousal subsiding. The woman did not respond to him, but just began to shake more. From her bag, she extracted a needle, which she then filled from a small vial with a clear liquid. This, she injected into her vein (amazing that she could get it in, O'Conner thought, considering how much she was trembling). Moments later, the trembling subsided, and, although she was still covered in sweat, her face began to take on a less tortured look.

"I'm sorry," she whispered. I'm ill. Very ill. Claustrophobic. And some other things-more serious things-I can't tell you about. It's all because of a certain…bastard… But that, of course, has nothing to do with you, does it? Anyway, I have to get out of here. I-I…I simply can't be in this situation, I just can't. You don't understand, can't fully grasp what I'm saying, right? But, you see, I mustn't be in this elevator right now, not like this."

O'Conner felt the bile rising, tasted it on his tongue. Wasn't he the one who was supposed to be freaking out right about now? And wasn't he still a man, a man who, when he found himself alone in a stopped elevator with a beautiful, half-naked woman, would most definitely have taken advantage of the situation under any other circumstances? This wasn't the old O'Conner, not at all. He felt as if there were an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other, and that the angel was, for a change, winning out. What was wrong with him? Why hadn't he ravaged this strange, apparently fragile woman while he had had the chance?

He remained calm. He had to think things through. He didn't want to screw up his chances of getting the job. But he found himself aroused again, looking down at the helpless woman, still half-naked, still covered in sweat (how sexy, he now thought, that sweat was!). What would he do? What should he do? The woman must have seen something flash in his eyes at that moment, he thought, for she backed away slightly, toward the wall of the elevator. Or maybe this was just normal behavior for someone in as precarious a situation as she was?

Swallowing audibly, O'Conner decidedly took a step forward. "How about it?" he said. "You and me. Here. In the elevator." Now it was he who saw something in her eyes. Not exactly fear. It was, rather, a look that, if he admitted it to himself, quietly disarmed him. "Sure," she said in a low, raspy voice that did not tremble. "You can have me right here on the floor. I don't care." In that moment O'Conner felt the strangest combination of lust and a feeling that he was about to do something he would regret forever. But of course he was a man, and he was, broke or no, him, and so he knew the choice he would make, the only choice available to someone of his nature.

He stripped out of his clothes in no time at all. He was standing in the elevator, naked, when he realized that, in fact, she was still partially clothed while he was completely nude. This was something he would rectify in just a minute. He was about to move forward and grab her by the hair when, in that instant, he felt a surge of energy so strong that it paralyzed him, knocked him off of his feet. His head crashed against the doors of the elevator, and he realized, too late, that he had been shot with some sort of a stun gun. She must have had it in her purse, the same purse from which the syringe and vial of medicine had come. Now, he guessed, he was the one who would be fucked. And it was all because he couldn't control his damn urges.

But what happened next was not at all what he imagined. Far from it. The woman began licking his body all over. She rubbed her skin against his, coating his tanned body with her sweat. And then what happened was even stranger. She went back to her purse, got out a syringe (a new one, from the looks of it, thankfully), and put it into a vein in his arm. Then she extracted some blood and emptied it into another container. Was she a vampiress? What was the meaning of this? She then put her clothes back on, almost casually, he thought, stood up, slipped something into his mouth (it was very bitter, perhaps a pill of some sort?), and pressed a button on the elevator door.

O'Conner could not understand what had happened, or why. All he knew for certain was that he was naked, stunned, and lying on the floor of the elevator when it started to move again, upupup, until it reached his floor, the fourteenth, and the doors opened. The woman stepped out, fully-clothed, his blood in a vial inside her pursue, and walked into the office where he was supposed to have been interviewed today. The elevator doors closed again, and then the elevator began to descend. O'Conner was tired now, so tired. His eyes flapped closed, his breath slowed, became shallow. A moment later he finally recalled the woman's face and where they had met before and what had transpired. And then he knew, without a doubt, that he would never reach the bottom floor.