“How much longer will we be stuck here,” Kim muttered before returning to her slumped position against the steel wall. Her hands shook as they clasped her head.

Jeremy reached a comforting hand to her knee, “It won’t be long. We can’t be trapped here like this for much longer.”
“Yep, no worries,” Rita cut in, her face deadpan.

In the other corner, back against the cold wall: Thomas. He lightly thumped his head against the metal. Layers of sweat formed beads across his face and neck as he tried to breathe in the musty air.

“I can’t stand this prolonged claustrophobia,“ Thomas checked his watch, “It’s been three hours.” He sent Jeremy a wild-eyed stare.”You sure you hit that button.”

Thomas clenched his fist and punched the button repeatedly. The emergency bell rang and rang and rang; occasional oscillations in the resonating metallic noise from being struck so many times.

“Thomas, I called the security office, left a message, even posted on Facebook, they know we are here, wont be long.” Jeremy spoke sternly, sighing at Thomas adding to the already heightened levels of intoxication.

Kim was aggressively punching updates on her twitter page. “Yes, but no answer, you just left messages.” She shook her phone between her fingers. “Damn phone is almost dead.” Her eyes felt heavy and tried to shut tight. She allowed herself to close her eyes, and for a moment, she felt comforted by the soothing approach of sleep.

Rita just remained fixated on nothingness, wide eyes focused, just a vacant stare.

Jeremy stood up, roused to some activity, and examined the ceiling latch. He then rested his palm against the metal, it was vibrating. “This is too odd.”

“What,” Thomas asked panting from battering the alarm.

“Don’t you feel that, vibrations.” Jeremy puzzled threw Thomas a quizzical look, “If I didn’t know better, I’d say the lift is moving, up.”

“Course it’s not moving,” Kim said and then stretched out on the floor before curling into a foetal position.

“You ok Kim.” Jeremy asked wiping his perspiring brow.

She stirred her head slowly, a sort of acknowledgement.

Thomas had started trying to pry the door open, his stubby sweaty fingers helplessly searching for a wide enough gap. He slapped the door hard. "AGGHHHH," he cried out, "IS NO-ONE OUT THERE, DAMN YOU." He faced Jeremy, panting in a state of frustration. “How could it be moving, I don’t feel any movement, and the digital...” Thomas then realised the panel display was off.

Jeremy noticed Rita now asleep, the same foetal curl as Kim. For a moment, he thought he heard an ambulance, its sirens, he wiped his face. “Anyone else hear that,” his voice shaky.

“What,” bellowed Thomas glaring at the alarm again, his failed panic button.

Jeremy checked his phone again, 10% charge remained. “I don’t get it, lots of calls, twitter messages, and no-one. Thomas, try your....”

Thomas lay in the same foetal position. Him, Rita and Kim, curled into a state of surrendering unconsciousness.

He searched the lift with his eyes, the silence, and the thinning air, alone.

Jeremy slipped the phone back into his pocket. He reached up for the latch and thumped it. No joy. The latch had not budged. He tried again and again. Now he was frantically leaping up at the latch battering it with his hands, ignoring the pain.

Then he heard something again while relentlessly trying to budge the latch: the beeping sound similar to a truck backing up in a street.
Each relentless tight fisted punch not even causing the slightest shudder on the door, the cold metallic latch just smiled back at every lunge. The monotonous sound continued, and then instead of a continuous beep, it oscillated into short beeps, and pauses.

A creak followed, the lift door opened allowing a sharp burst of light to fill the lift. For a moment, he noticed, they were gone: Kim, Rita and Thomas.

“C’mon Jeremy,” A voice echoed through the blinding white light.

Then he breathed as a group came into focus through the fading intensity of the white light. The beeps - a regular pattern. A pair of defibrillator clamps retreated into the air.

As the world around him fell into focus, he felt a gnawing cold sensation digging into his back. The woman cried, smoothing his brow. To another side, a taxi and a Volkswagen car, torn to shreds were being towed away on a damp motorway dimly lit by the breaking dawn, and car headlights.

“The others, Kim, Thomas, Rita....” His voice low and broken.

Then Jeremy’s eyes fell on the open ambulance doors, and three body bags lying on the floor.

The night slowly gave way to the flush of dawn’s light. Jeremy focused his eyes on the first light of a new day, and then his eyelids closed little by little.


Please do not post promos (unless you are an author, and then ONLY your work). Please do comment on any fiction published here. I am keen to hear from writers starting out to published authors.

The Observer - Based on Night Hawks

There have been so many variations of the Night Hawks painting, some funny, some outright tongue in cheek reproductions. The original (i think....) is this one:

night hawks


I just thought: what are these characters thinking and rolled into a series of flashes from 30s and 40s detective stories. So, on that, I wrote a quick short short story, 441 words based on wht may be transpiring from the point of view of someone looking into the cafe:

The Observer

It was a quiet, gloomy evening. 

The New York street was illuminated by floods of light from the cafe. Inside the cafe, an elderly man behind the counter reaches for coffee mugs as three rather nondescript regulars appeared to stare vacantly about their surroundings. 

At the far edge of the counter sat a couple brooding over their lives, never actually so much as glancing at each other. On the other side of the counter sat a quietly thinking gentleman, stirring his coffee as though it may reveal the answers to his questions on life’s anxieties. 

The counter assistant muttered something. It was muffled from where I was standing but I think he simply asked, ‘Anyone for an Irish coffee?’ The three patrons barely acknowledged his query, seemingly locked in whatever troubles beset them on this night. 

Then for a dashing moment, the lady casually shook her head. Her partner, presumably her partner, just held his transfixed vacant stare while he appeared to be dwelling on thoughts of misery or possibly just thinking quietly to himself. His facial features never moved as though chiselled out of stone. 

The lady’s satin red dress was the first glimmer of life in the cafe I noticed on my approach to the corner. Now, I am up close, neither her nor the cafe or the occupants appear to offer any value or interest. It’s quite a shock, almost unnerving how I am standing here unnoticed by the cafe occupants. 

‘Ah, what the hell’, I muttered to myself.

It was the guy peering down into his coffee seeking out answers to his troubles who matched the description I was given: blue double breasted suit, grey crushable fedora hat, sits at cafe every night by himself.  I cared little for the problems bothering the guy in the shiny tuxedo setting the standard for worthless gentlemen in this city, and his estranged woman.

I fail to feel for whatever problems fill their empty worlds while the war on Germany intensifies claiming more and more American lives.

Boy, placing a welcome sign on this cafe would fail to change its sombre mood.  Anyhow, it is time for this wise guy to answer some questions. He is in for a real surprise if he is the mobster we want. If he is the guy, the Commissioner will give me that huge shining smile.

I stubbed out my cigarette, and made my way closer to the cafe window. As I approached, the postures of the three remained static. Will they even notice me when I stroll my butt in there, I thought. Well, time to shake one of them up.

                                                ** END **


Please do not post promos (unless you are an author, and then ONLY your work). Please do comment on any fiction published here. I am keen to hear from writers starting out to published authors.