“There will always be a reason why you meet people.Either you need them to change your life or you’re the one that will change theirs.” - Angel Flonis Harefa.
“How can someone get lost twice in one day”, Nora Collins thought to herself as her eyes searched the city she thought she knew well for “SDS’s” Headquarters. She was standing in the middle of a busy street. Her feet were throbbing due to her hunt for the building. After standing there in the warm autumn sunlight and looking around for a minute she considered it best to ask someone for directions. Her eyes landed on a tall boy who was ruffling his butterscotch blonde hair with his one hand while his eyes were focused on his phone. His amber eyes matched those of Nora. He seemed a local. Although Nora had been living in Tulcolossa all her life too but still she got lost twice in the past hour. Slowly approaching the boy,she asked him for directions.
“I’m looking for the same building too. I think its a few blocks ahead.“,Jackson Vann replied in his deep voice. After exchanging names the two teenagers resumed looking for the office. The silence between them as they walked was making Nora fidget so she thought it better to start a conversation.
“So,you got an Email from company too...about the job.“,she asked. To say that Jackson was relieved upon breaking of ice would be an understatement.“Yeah!Its quite odd though. I don’t remember applying for the job.”
Jackson replied. But Nora was not listening to him. Rather her eyes were focused on the tall building across the street.
“I think that’s the building we have been looking for.“,She said,relief evident in her voice. They made their way across the street and into the building. The building was posh but empty except for a receptionist. As prescribed in the Email they received yesterday,they boarded the elevator to reach floor no. 7.The elevator started going up as soon as the doors closed in front of them.
The elevator stopped at Floor no. 2 and Audrey Prescott entered the elevator carrying at least eight shopping bags,her sleek black dress swaying with her every movement.
“I didn’t knew that the mall had a seventh floor”,she mumbled thinking about the announcement she had heard earlier saying that she is required to come to the security office at floor No. 7 ,after which she had excused herself from her mother and hurried towards the elevator. She couldn’t help but notice that the two people behind her were eying her queerly.
Floor no. 3...the doors pulled apart and an Asian boy in spongbob pajamas with an empty water bottle in hand entered. Ji Iseul Joon had sleek black hair complementing his black irises which were popped open on realizing that he was in an elevator while a second ago,he had opened his bedroom door which he was sure, didn’t lead to an elevator. As confused as he was already,the piercing eyes of people around him were not helping a bit.
Floor no. 4...Connor McGlynn entered the elevator in his swim suit with water dripping from his body. Upon seeing him Joon got a little happy as he wasn’t the only one standing in a weird outfit now. Before Connor could question others or himself as to why his closet door opened into an elevator,the elevator halted again.
Floor no. 5...A girl in Pooh costume stood before them as the doors opened. The costume looked like a bag in contrast to her petite figure. She smiled brightly at Connor as she entered the elevator.“Hi! I am Winnie.“,she declared,looking mostly at Connor. Connor turned her attention toward her and retorted “The pooh? I can see that.” The poor girl’s face turned as red as a tomato.“No...Taylor...Winnie Taylor.“,she strutted for a minute and then retreated to the corner,away from Connor.
“Are you guys here for the job interview?“,Nora finally questioned.
“No,I’m here for the costume party.“,Winnie answered first.
“Shopping”, Audrey replied curtly.
“I was going to my kitchen to get water.“,Ji Iseul Joon said failing at the choice of words.
“I’m looking for my closet.“,Connor retorted.
Jackson tried to hide his smirk as he whispered in Nora’s ear,“nice conversation.”
Floor no. 6...the doors opened yet again to reveal Evan Smith holding a cup of hot coffee in his one hand and a book in another. His carrebean blue eyes traveled from Kai’s pajamas to Winnie’s costume to the wet floor under Connor’s wet self. After a moment’s pause he turned around but before the elevator doors could close again,another man took Evan by arm and entered the elevator while mumbling “hurry up,would you.” under his breath. He was wearing a pink coat over his striped shirt and a Persian blue tie and dress pants. He had a wide grin plastered on his face as he made his way to the corner where buttons were.
“Are you sure we are in the right building.“,Jackson asked Nora in a hushed voice.
She ran a hand through her strawberry blonde hair and replied,“I choose to believe that we are.”
The elevator was already crammed and all of them just wanted to get out. It was getting harder to breathe properly. Before the elevator could reach the seventh floor the man heralded in his outuned voice
“So,you all must be thinking that why have I gathered you here” and before any of the teenagers were able to register what he had said,the man pushed the emergency button. The lift stopped for a moment and then started going down at a speed that made all of them hold on to whatever they could lay their hands upon-which was obviously whichever human being was next to them. The seven of them cursed loudly but were not able to find strength to say anything else. Joon’s hands slipped as he desperately tried to cringe to Connor’s wet arm. Connor was trying to maintain his balance as the twelve year old kid held onto him for support. In the other corner,Evan shoved Winnie’s arm away as she tried to balance herself by holding his arm. Jackson’s one hand was on the elevator wall while the other held Nora by her arm so that she doesn’t fall. As Audrey tumbled in the elevator,the man in the pink coat gave her his hand to steady her as he stood there enjoying the frantic expressions on everyone’s face. It was quite evident that he was having the time of his life.
After five more minutes of cries and curses,the elevator finally stopped and the doors opened. The seven gasping teens stumbled out of the elevator,their legs wobbly and shaking. After a few more minutes of “What was that!“,”Oh my God!“, “Shit!” and “damn!“,they calmed down enough to look at their surroundings. They were in a place that looked like the living room of a luxurious penthouse. Well,all penthouses are luxurious but to describe this one without the word “luxurious” seemed an offense. There were two couches placed around a glass table in the center. On the wall opposite to couches was a 42 inch TV. The floor was carpeted and the blue walls held several paintings. There were stairs leading down in the right corner while there was a large window in the center of the wall opposite to them which was closed.
“So,if you have calmed your nerves, let me introduce myself. I am the Devil but there’s no need to be so formal. You can call me Lucifer.“,The man announced in his unnaturally loud voice from behind them,making them jump in surprise.
“I guess this is not where the costume party is supposed to be.“,Winnie’s soft voice said. Lucifer chuckled a little before answering her,“No sweetie!it isn’t. If you have any further questions,ask away before I tell you what you all are here for.”
“Yeah!Can I get a towel?“,Connor inquired making them all remember that he was standing in a swim suit. “Sorry but I don’t share my towels.“,Lucifer retorted.
“Moving on I-“. Before he could say any further Audrey broke in “Sorry to interrupt you Hello kitty”
“It’s Lucifer”,he barged in
“you sure?hello kitty is more believable.”
“yes. I am young lady.”
“So, Mr. Lucifer! Where the hell are we?”
“Right where you just said. In hell.”
“Oh really! are we going to Narnia and Hogwarts next?”
“Firstly,you need to calm down. Secondly,if you don’t believe me you can go and look for yourself outside that window.“the devil spoke in the same calm and casual manner.
Audrey said something under her breath and marched towards the window and opened it. The rest of them followed her as well. After standing there for few minutes,they returned with pale faces and foreheads beaded with sweat.
“It’s quite hot out there. My body got dried. I don’t need the towel now.“Connor was the only one who able to say something.
The Devil smiled,“That’s good. Now go sit there on the couch. I’ll be with you in a minute.“With that he left them standing in the middle of his living room,ashen faced and unnerved.