Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Wednesday Writings #12 - At the Tower

Today's "Wednesday Writing" is a continuation of a story started a few weeks back.

Since it's continuing to move on, I figure I may as well link to previous posts and create a sort of 'table of contents' to make it easier to follow along or catch up:
  1. Morning Machinations
  2. Communication Between Friends
  3. Daydreaming Decisions
  4. Off to the Park
  5. Driven
  6. Coming Home
  7. Revealing Photographs
  8. Just a Dream?

I hope you're enjoying the story thus far and that I can keep it interesting and cohesive enough that you'll like where it's going. By all means, feel free to provide thoughts, critiques and feedback. This is primarily a writing exercise for me to keep the creative juices flowing and as such none of these have been edited/polished at all, so I'll be the first to admit that they can certainly use some work.

For now, I'm enjoying this story arc and am having fun keeping it going. It's also keeping me motivated to do other non-blog writing, which was a large part of the purpose in doing these 'wednesday writings.'

Anyway, here's this week's episode.


At the Tower

In spite of being one of the biggest buildings downtown, Gabby had somehow expected the Fidelity Towers lobby to be smaller. Dozens of suits and dresses scurried around in the large open area she was certain was larger than her entire apartment. Instead of walls, the entire lobby was surrounded by floor to ceiling windows, slightly tinted to diffuse the sunlight trickling in on the east side. A steady flow of people circulated past the coffee kiosk on the west side to buy their morning pick-me-up before heading to the elevators.

Julie and Gabby joined the crowd of people waiting patiently to disappear into one of the four elevators on the north side. After a moment, Julie grabbed Gabby's arm and pulled her over to a free standing building directory. Three names were listed for floor 16. "Sproust Vision Clinic", "The Legal Offices of Henderson & Jones", and "Carlson Consulting"

"Any of those mean anything to you?"

Gabby shook her head and read the names again. She recognized the vision clinic from their radio ads. She always promised herself that some day she'd go there to have her eyes checked for their corrective eye surgery so she could ditch her glasses. Maybe she'd stop in today after picking up whatever else was waiting for her on the 16th floor.

The girls turned and watched as twenty people crammed into the two elevators that just arrived. A woman in a light grey dress ran between Julie and Gabby and squeezed herself into the elevator on the left.

"Um, we'll wait for the next one" Julie replied to the unspoken question of a professional looking man who stared at the two girls.

After the elevator doors closed, Gabby glanced around the lobby again. A handful of people milled around the coffee kiosk. A security guard sat at a lonely station near the north doors. An elderly man with a grey suit and greyer hair sat on a leather sofa near the windows and read a newspaper. Otherwise, the lobby was empty. All the hustle and bustle of people rushing to work had vanished.

Gabby was a generally punctual person, but it seemed strange to her just how quickly the lobby had emptied out. She expected a steady flow of employees rushing to get to their desks right up until 9 AM or maybe even beyond. Still, her bouts with claustrophobia were grateful that the elevator would be less crowded. She glanced at her watch.

8:45 AM

Staring at the floor indicator above the elevators, she watched as two elevators slowly worked their way down to the lobby. As she did, the lights above her flickered briefly from white to red and back to white. She stared up at the track lighting overhead to see if they would flash again but nothing happened. Then huge flashes of bright red and green exploded at the edges of her vision. She whipped her head back and forth, looking for something that could be generating the lights but the flashes of color moved along with her gaze, always staying at the periphery.

The sounds around her garbled and then nearly muted. Her vision turned wavy as though she were underwater looking out. She looked to Julie who calmly watched the elevators as though nothing was happening. Gabby's breath became shallow and she reached out and grabbed Julie by the shoulder. Julie's head started to turn but it was barely moving at all. Gabby opened her mouth to talk but no sound came out. She stared at Julie who still slowly twisted her head. Gabby let go of her shoulder and whirled in a circle, taking in the inhabitants of the room.

Red and green flashes of light still bounced in her peripheral vision. The lobby looked the same as it had a moment ago, though even less active as everyone stood or sat almost stock still. She heard almost nothing, but what sounds she did hear were muffled and distorted. The world felt heavy and Gabby began gasping for air. Her head felt thick and her arms and legs began to feel weighed down. She started to stoop and felt as though she would fall down.

With a sudden *ding* a pair of elevator doors slid open. Gabby felt a cool breeze rush over her and she suddenly felt revitalized. She coughed violently as she took in a huge breathe of air. The flashing at the corners of her eyes stopped and sounds rushed back into her head like someone had just turned on a radio but forgotten that the volume was all the way up. She staggered slightly and Julie quickly caught her and asked if she was alright. Gabby nodded in confused response and looked around the lobby again.

A distinguished but tired looking man walked out of the elevator and past the girls. Regaining her composure, Gabby led them into the elevator pressed the button for 16. A young man rushed over from the coffee stand, sticking his hand between the doors to keep them from closing as he hopped aboard. He pressed the button for the tenth floor and then flashed a wide smile at the girls as the doors closed.

The air turned wavy again and Gabby saw red flashes at the edges of her eyes. She closed her eyes tight, swallowed hard and breathed deep. When she opened her eyes again, everything was normal, aside from the worried look on Julie's face and the slight smirk on the mouth of the businessman at the other side of the elevator.

He eyed the girls carefully and Gabby gave him the same scrutiny. His stylish navy blue suit had all the earmarks of professionalism from subtle lines indicating it was recently pressed to the distinguished yet subtle silk tie. His black shoes were well shined and even the laces looked new. His smooth black hair was meticulously well combed but full and light with a casual air to it.

"What are you girls up to today?" His smooth voice matched the smooth smile he gave them.

"We're, um, just on our way to work." Julie quickly replied, not sure how to describe their real task or even if she wanted to.

"Work, huh?" He raised an eyebrow in curiosity and moved his head up and down as he scanned the girls' apparel. Both girls wore blue jeans and while Gabby's dark green shirt could almost pass for a 'business casual blouse', Julie's light pink T-shirt wasn't quite so classy with the words "Yes, I know I'm a princess. But don't expect me to kiss a frog." Gabby caught the implied accusation and felt the need to defend herself.

"I'm actually going up to the vision clinic to get my eyes lasered. She's dropping me off on her way to work but wanted to come up with me to get more info in case she wants to do it." Julie glanced at her briefly then turned back to the man and smiled. He grinned slightly then nodded and took a slow drink from his styrofoam cup.

"Ah. Alright. Well good luck with the eyes. Though I must say, your glasses are very becoming. You'll have to keep a pair just for the sexy factor." He widened his grin and winked. Gabby's cheeks got hot and she fought hard to hide her embarrassment. Julie forced a smile and just stared uncomfortably from Gabby to the man and back to Gabby. Fortunately, a moment later, the elevator stopped and gave a *ding* to announce arrival at the tenth floor.

Gabby stepped back from the door to give the man enough room to exit. But as the doors opened, a pair of men in brown khaki pants and plain black shirts rushed into the elevator and situated themselves between the girls and the door. Instead of leaving, the man in the suit let the doors close. He then pulled a key from his jacket pocket and put it in the slot in the control panel and twisted it to stop the elevator.

"I'm sorry we had to go through all this Gabrielle. But it was the only way." He turned to the control panel and, after pressing a few buttons, the elevator began moving again, back towards the lobby.

The two men who had just entered each grabbed a girl by the shoulders, forcibly turned them around and pressed them against the wall of the elevator. The girls flailed their arms and struggled violently, but a moment later their hands were handcuffed behind their backs. Julie screamed. Gabby started to ask, with a slight whimper in her voice, what was going on. A cloth gag quickly covered the girls' mouths and then a heavy cloth bag was pulled over their heads and everything went black.

Both girls continued to struggle, but the hands held them firm. Gabby kicked at her assailant but missed. Off balance, she fell and groaned in pain as her hip slammed against the floor. She lay still for a moment and listened to the sounds of Julie struggling nearby. She wriggled on the floor, pulling her arms against the cuffs on her wrists. Finally, she gave in to despair and rolled to her back. Tears began forming in her eyes.

Gabby desperately fought down her fear and worked to replace it with anger. Closing her eyes and listening intently, she tried to determine everyone's location. She lashed out hard with her leg and smiled as she felt her foot make contact with something soft. He smile quickly faded as she heard the sound of a body collapsing followed by Julie groaning. A sob launched its way into Gabby's throat and she could no longer hold back the tears that leaked from her eyes in fear, sadness and pure hatred.


Brian Miller said...

i am enjoying it...there was a change in your voice it seemed when the men grabbed the girls...

Okie said...

Thanks for the heads up...I appreciate that. It seems I was having too much fun trying to add the tension/action to the moment and lost the general voice.

logankstewart said...

Ooh, I just read through every part to be caught up. They've been sitting in my TBR list for a bit, and I gotta say, I love it. Excellent use of tension, suspense, mystery, and occasional humor. Great stuff. I can't wait to see where it goes. I've got my theories...

By the way, I noticed that your first two parts spelled Gabby as Gabbie. Not sure if you consciously switched these or not.

Okie said...

Thanks Logan. Yeah, I did change from Gabbie to Gabby. I started with Gabbie and then kept misspelling it myself so I decided it was somewhat precocious and just swapped to the more common spelling. I really should go back and change it in the first couple of segments.