General Fiction posted January 2, 2022


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The Condition

by giraffmang


*One bout of aggression but not enough to warrant a full warning*


Elevators. I hate them. Given the choice I’d never get in one. I can’t stand small spaces and usually avoid them at all costs. Sometimes, though, their use is inescapable.

I’d let three elevators pass me by already. I’m too tired to walk down twelve flights of stairs, especially after such an embarrassing meeting. I don’t know what my boss gets out of belittling me so much…

I waited for an empty elevator. It wouldn’t be long given the lateness of the hour and most folk like to shoot out of here as soon as possible. Number four arrived – empty. It’s about time I had some luck. With my condition, it’s safer to ride alone. The elevator slid past the first four floors without stopping, but on the eighth floor, it ground to a halt.

The doors slid back to reveal a beautiful young woman. She had short, cropped blonde hair which brushed the collar of her grey business suit. But it was her perfume which struck me the most. I wasn’t prepared for her as she stepped into the elevator alongside me.

Less space. Much less space from my perspective. Her perfume clawed at my throat; my eyes itched. I’ll admit, I’m sensitive to these things. I averted my head in an effort to breath more easily, but she was captivating. She gave me a coy smile.

Sweat coursed over me and the hairs on my arms stood on end. The walls… they felt like they were closing in on me, crushing me. I wanted to burst out, but I couldn’t. My soaked shirt stuck to my back, sweat rolled down my thighs.

The fifth floor arrived in a shuddering halt. The doors crept open. I needed to get out, but four men blocked my exit, each jostling for position to enter the small box. I stared at each one in turn. They must have seen the sweat on my forehead, my nostril flaring and the dampness exuding through my shirt.

“Ah, I’ll… I’ll wait for the next one,” one of them muttered. His cohorts hastily agreeing as out they back peddled.

I almost over-balanced as the doors closed. Staring down the group of men had taken my last reserves. I felt the walls closing in, the itch in my skin… the over-powering smell of the woman’s perfume.

It was everywhere, driving me nuts. I gasped and thrust out a hand to steady myself against the wall. I yanked my top button open and loosened my tie. I knew I was starting to lose focus. My condition. It was taking over. I’d lost control of the situation, helpless against my inner self. My terror absolute.

The woman, clearly alarmed, looked over at me for the first time and recoiled in horror as she witnessed my transformation. In reality it took seconds, but it must have felt an eternity for this woman. A sight that would remain burned in her soul for her onward journey. The blood red eyes, snapping teeth and the claws. I spun and ripped out her throat with one slash from my left hand, blood splattering over the mirrored walls obscuring my reflection. I bit ferociously at her chest, smashing the ribcage apart. I pushed my snout into the gap I’d created and devoured her still beating heart.

Tight spaces with my condition are a danger. The close proximity… I can barely contain myself on a good day. I once shared an elevator with a colleague of mine named Gavin. He joked around, laughing at my claustrophobia. It’s hard to laugh with no throat…

The elevator slowed as it reached the ground floor. I waited for the doors to open. I needed to time things perfectly, thankful it was the end of the day, and no one would be going up. The doors slid open, and I spotted a group of men from the far bank of elevators heading for the door. I needed to be perfect.

As the leading man put a hand on the door, I dropped to all fours and hurtled from my hiding place, sliding and skittering across the marbled floor, claws scrabbling for purchase.

I barrelled past them, knocking them aside amid shouts of indignation and fright, out the door and head for the park across the road… into the wide-open spaces.

I should never be contained. Not with my condition.




 



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