Ever since the incident in the elevator, the dog had been his constant companion, teaching a path to recovering his old love of heights, extremes, and adventure.
Boarding the elevator that morning hadn’t seemed any different than most mornings. The elevator was empty, except for the dog. The stray dog in the corner was unusual, but not entirely unheard of. It was clearly a mutt, with pieces of poodle, beagle, and lab showing. It sat calmly in the back, and seemed to be just waiting for the right floor. Michel pushed “14”, noting once again the custom of leaving out the thirteenth floor. As if renaming the floors was going to change anything. His office was there partly because it was the actual thirteenth floor, and he enjoyed the hidden symbolism.
As the car sped upwards, the dog turned and looked at him.
Michel looked back, then at the indicator, then at the dog. The dog smiled, and stepped closer.
The elevator came to a sudden halt between ten and eleven, then began to plummet, leaving both Michel and the dog airborne for a moment. He grabbed the dog, noticing that it had no collar but was clearly well fed. Before it had fallen more than a couple of floors, the emergency brakes came on, and the car ground to a halt.
He and the dog huddled on the floor for a minute, then the car began to creep back upwards.
Now that was unexpected. Usually the brakes are designed to lock in place once triggered, preventing the car from moving at all. But perhaps it wasn’t the emergency brake that had halted the car. The indicator counted up, sounding a bell at each floor. Ten. Eleven. Twelve. Thirteen. Thirteen. Thirteen.
There is no floor thirteen.
Yet the car seemed stuck on it for multiple dings, then skipped to fifteen.
And plummeted again.
This time it didn’t stop until it was almost the basement. But again, it crawled back up.
At five, it dropped back to three. The started back up.
Each time he reached for the emergency call button, the car jolted him away from the panel.
The dog leaned on him, and shivered, clearly needing to be calmed as much as he did.
Together they endured the ride for what seemed like an eternity, but was likely only ten minutes.
When the door opened in the garage, he and the dog crawled out together, quick before the elevator snatched them back into whatever strange malfunction it was having.
Getting to his feet, he turned to the dog and said “well my friend, looks like home is the better option today.” The dog nodded. “You coming?” The dog nodded again. “I can’t continue calling you ‘dog’. How does ‘Otis’ sound to you?”
The dog said “works for me, Michel.”