The Hopeful Wanderer – Getting Collected

When I went to ride the elevator back downstairs, I found a pair of legs sticking out of the doors of the only working car. They had not been there when I first came up, looking clean but uncomfortable against the grimy concrete floor. Unmoving. Out of place.

The elevator dinged and the doors started shutting. They bounced off the sides of the woman lying half in and half out of the car, then slid back open with the realization that someone blocked their path. She made a little ‘oof’ noise, but otherwise didn’t move.

I stopped next to her legs, looking down at her. “Not a great place for a nap,” I observed.

She just blinked at the wall in response.

Once again the elevator dinged and the doors began to slide. I slipped between them, pressing them open with my back. Then I leaned there, wondering if she was having a fit.

“Just let them close,” the woman mumbled.

At least she was coherent. I scrunched my face in skepticism. “I don’t think I will,” I replied. “It’ll just hurt you more.”

Her shoulders hitched with a heavy exhalation. “Whatever.”

We stood that way a long time, the doors bumping my back every now and then. One or two other people showed up to use the elevator, but I shooed them in the direction of the stairs. They cast quizzical looks at me over their shoulders.

Sometime later, the woman got up on hands and knees and crawled into the elevator car. I stepped inside with her. The doors closed behind me with a relieved sigh.

She flopped down on the tiles and looked up at me. “I think I can make it home now.”

I nodded, hand hovering over the buttons panel. “What floor?”

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