William entered the elevator, which three others were already sharing. He nodded to them and pushed the button for his floor as the doors slid closed quietly.
The elevator rose swiftly and slowed at the next floor where two of the passengers got off and another got on with a tip of their hat.
The doors closed again and they ascended the next three floors, where the last two of his fellow riders exited, leaving William to himself in the wood paneled lift.
He had never been uneasy inside of elevators, aside from the small queasy feeling in his stomach when they rose and stopped too quickly.
However, for some reason, a creeping feeling came over him, like something, somewhere, was amiss. He looked over his shoulders as if there were someone still in the elevator with him, but he was alone.
As it raised to the next level of the building, the lights at the top of the lift's doors lit up as they reached the next floor.
The light on Williams' floor lit up, but the elevator did not stop.
He pressed the lit button on the panel for his floor but to no avail as the elevator continued to rise rapidly.
Panic came over him quickly as it neared the topmost floor at a great speed and he frantically pressed the emergency stop button. But that too did nothing.
The light on the ceiling began to flutter as William felt the speed of the lift somehow increase, and he back himself into the corner, holding onto the railings with a vice grip. The entire unit began to shake and rattle with speed. William began to scream.
He did not know how long it went on for, an impossible amount of time it seemed; when, the flickering lights, the shaking, the speed, all stopped.
There was no lurching of the sudden cease of movement, everything just instantly went back to normal.
William, who was crouched on the floor in the corner, stood up slowly and the indicator bell dinged. The light on his floor lit up again and the doors slid casually open.
He stepped gingerly out into the hallway; his hallway. The elevator doors began to slide shut so he stepped fully out as he looked around. Everything seemed normal.
As he walked to his apartment he looked back at the elevator. Its closed steel doors standing like a menacing monolith with a dark crack down its center.
He was going to take the stairs from now on, he thought to himself as he took out the keys to open his door. But when he brought them up to the lock, he saw that there was no keyhole. It had been replaced by a flat, silver panel. He tried the hooked handle but it did not budge.
Confused, William looked around at all the doors along the hallway. They all had the same flat panels instead of keyhole locks.
Maybe the elevator had brought him to a different floor after all, but which?
He started for the stairwell at the other end of the hall and, with a look back at the elevator, began to run. Slamming the stairwell door open, he sped down the steps.
As he made his way down, he counted the floors he descended, and when he had reached the ground level it would seem that he had been on his own floor. But what had happened to it?
He pushed on the door leading to the lobby and it swung open into a marble atrium with a fountain and a concierge desk that had not been there before.
The lobby was filled with people in odd clothing, carrying luggage, with bellhops helping them to the elevator at the far end of the high ceiling room.
Some that were closest to him turned to stare at William as he came to a startled halt.
What were all these people doing in his building? This was no hotel.
The young woman behind the desk turned her attention to William and started to ask him if he was in need of any assistance, but he began to push his way through the crowd, making his way to the revolving doors of the entrance. The revolving doors that had not been there before either.
He pushed himself through the doors and out into the bright street. There, he stopped dead in his tracks.
The street was abuzz with noise. Strange looking automobiles crowded the road, their honking horns echoing around the buildings that rose, towering above him. Dwarfing his own building, which had been one of the tallest in the city.
A group of young boys moved noisily down the sidewalk toward him, on flat boards with wheels on the bottom. Their hoots and hollers snapped him out of his stare and he moved swiftly to get out of their way as they rolled passed. They all wore tight pants and had long shaggy hair.
He bumped into a newspaper dispenser and he looked down at the picture on the front page inside the glass case. It was an image of a war ravaged city street, with bodies strewn about as others ran blurry passed in terror. It was horrific, but the thing about it that grasped Williams' attention was that it was in colour.
He looked from the gory image slowly to the date at the top right hand corner of the paper.
His head swirled as he looked at the year.
Looking up at the sky as an impossibly massive plane flew loudly above the high reaching buildings William took hold of his head in his hands as he tried to steady himself.
It had be 1951 when he entered the elevator a few short moments ago. It had not taken him six floors up, but rather it had carried him six decades, into the future.
The small figure of William on the city sidewalk yelled out in terror and fell to his knees as others just passed him by; another poor, unfortunate victim of modern society, they think as they hurry along their busy way.