I was visiting my Aunt in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was raised in Cincinnati, alongside my Mother. There was a fine line between their appreciation for the Buckeye state. My aunt adored Ohio, while my mom hated Ohio. As soon as she turned 18, she up and left to the Volunteer state, Tennessee.
Tennessee, with it’s clear air and tall grass. I grew up in the outskirts of Knoxville. Mom and I, we have a twenty acre plot, a farm, horses, the works. We give kids lessons on the horses, sell our milk to local fresh markets. We make it work.
Vacation is a refreshing change from the country environment, though. I was excited to be near the city, because it’s a whole new world, no matter the number of visits. My aunt lives in a very tall, very old apartment building, with very few residents other than herself. Because of this, she gets the entire top floor to herself.
I will never, ever be able to look at that building the same. Let me elaborate.
I stepped off the bus, in front of the apartment. I took a deep breathe of air. Pollution, ahh. I approached the building, and something was off. Maybe they had bad weather, and it weathered…Or maybe, the red wasn’t as red as I thought it to be. Perhaps, the balconies –
I screamed out, and spun around. I looked for the source of the voice, and found that I was alone in the empty parking lot. I got goosebumps looking around. The wind was my only company. I continued into the building.
The lobby was eerily quiet. I looked around. There was defiantly something up. The walls were a stained yellow, the rose wallpaper peeling back. The hardwood floor was scuffed, and looked dirty. I couldn’t believe it.
I walked towards the elevator. I clicked the up button, then waited. I shifted the hefty backpack on my shoulders, then decided to take it off. I sat, Indian style, waiting for the elevator. It was taking an awful long time, for such a vacant hotel.
I screeched, flailing my arms in the area around me. I flipped, facing the lobby. I was starting to get pretty freaked out now. There was a loud crash behind me. I switched my view once again.
The elevator … oh god, the elevator. The elevator was smaller than I remembered it. I stood, then stepped into the tiny space. There’d only be room for one more person of my size, before it was a snuggle fest.
I clicked the eighth button, then waited. The doors crashed shut, and the elevator slowly moved upwards. I felt and heard every rumble, and it was creeping me out. Elevators already bother me as is, this was the cherry on the cake.
It stopped on the third floor. Someone was actually getting on? I waited, and the doors slammed open once again. My heart almost plummeted to my stomach.
A very much rotund woman waddled into the elevator. She stretched the green fabric of the dress she wore, and it hung over her bulging stomach. You could see the fat curdle on her thighs, which were revealed by her hanging dress. Her foot fat puffed up around her tight green shoes. She didn’t look at the door, either. She looked at the wall my back was against. The elevator dropped a little when she boarded it. She also clicked eight. No one was on the eighth floor but my Aunt. What the hell?
The doors slammed shut, and the elevator crawled upwards. I could feel her watching me, and my eyes kept slithering over to her. Her features got more revolting every time I looked her way. Her orange-red hair frizzed out from her shoulders, making her look like a scene teen’s dream gone horribly wrong. The prettiest part of her, if any, was her brilliant green eyes, which were squished from the chub on her cheeks.
I was in the farthest corner of the elevator, and about smothered. I felt as if her fat was growing, and pushing me into the corner. Finally, we reached the eighth floor. I was trying to be polite, but she wasn’t going anywhere. So, I squished past her and hurried to my Aunt’s door. I heard her waddle out, and I almost unlocked the door, until I heard the lady speak, her voice almost swallowed up by her triple chin.
I scrambled into the apartment, and slammed the door shut. A chill like liquid fire spread down my back, and I slid down the door. I heaved, in, out, one, two. I ran a hand through my hair, and checked my watch.
“Hey, hon!” My aunt strutted over to me, and lifted me onto my feet. “I was wondering…”
The next day, after getting settled in, I told my aunt I could go get food tonight. I grabbed my messengers’ bag, and started for the elevator. I clicked the first button, and waited as the elevator slowly glided downwards.
Then, it stopped on floor six. I groaned, rolled my eyes, and the door crashed open. The obese lady was there, and waddled in. She smiled, her teeth yellow and cracked. Today, she wore everything maroon. She smiled, and moved towards me, her fat jiggling with her movements.
I squeezed by her, and ran out of the elevator, and down the six flights of stairs. I heard my name echoed all the way down, in that same tone. I heard it loudest on the third floor. I looked behind me, and saw her, three inches away from me. I screamed, and fell over the railing.
Aunt Marie scowled at me the entire way to the apartments. “You should have just taken the elevator, Cathy.” I mumbled under my breath, but other than that, I was silent.
We arrived, and I got my crutches ready, while Marie opened the back door. I stood, and headed for the building, her in close pursuit.
“I have to stop by Ms. Bose’s place. So go on up.” She handed me the key to her place.
“Aren’t you going to go with?” I asked, starting to panic.
“No, Cath. She’s on the next floor up. So go.”
“Can I go with you?!” I pleaded, and she shook her head.
She hurried up the stairs, and I was alone in the lobby. I waddled over the the elevator, and clicked the up button. It slammed open immediately. I clicked the eighth button, as usual. It climbed up, slowly. It stopped on the fourth floor, and guess who?
She hurried in this time, and clicked seventh floor. I was staring at her, and she was staring at me. She pressed the STOP button. The elevator jolted to a stop, the lights flickering. Then, she smiled. “Hello, Catherine.”
The lights went out.
Credit To – T.N. Cassidy