The door opened silently on the small unassuming room and the strangers all entered, filling it. “Welcome,” the disembodied voice said, “to my home. I hope you enjoy your stay.”
That was a little creepy, but the doors were closing and no one wanted to be the first to admit it spooked them.
“Now say hello to my little friend.”
Ok, that was going a touch far. No one moved. No one wanted to admit to hearing that. But it was easy to see that each of the strangers were quietly checking the others out, trying to decide who was the joker, and who could be counted on if something happened.
Then the elevator slowed to a silent and smooth stop, but nothing else happened. Notably, the doors did not open.
Then a panel folded down to make a small stage.
We all shifted uneasily, to make as much room for the stage as we could without looking afraid. But this was getting more than a little odd.
“I said, say hello!”
“Hello,” we all muttered.
“See, that wasn’t so hard, was it?”
There was a presence to the voice. It didn’t sound like it was coming from a typical safety intercom or PA system. It was here in the car with us. But where? Was it one of us? In a small space like this it should have been obvious.
Then something stepped out of the opening behind the panel and on to the stage, where a small pin spot picked it out as the light in the car dimmed. It was about ten inches tall, and moved smoothly, but with occasional jerks. It turned its head and looked each of us in the eye.
“You are in my world now. You will find that you can only leave when I’m ready to let you go.”
We took another look around in the gloom. That was odd. The doors weren’t there at all. All the walls were smooth faux-wood panelling, except where the stage had folded down. Behind the stage it was dark in its tiny wings. One of us reached towards the stage, probably to push back the rear curtain for a peek, and suddenly yanked their hand back.
“Now, now. None of that. You are mine to entertain, to educate, to eliminate. I choose not to eliminate any of you just yet, but keep poking at things that aren’t yours and that option will return to the table.”
Now what. Strangely, we didn’t seem to feel any more fear at all. It was peaceful. It was so easy to just let the strangeness be expected and wait to see what was coming next.