I hate my boss, I really do. This is the third time just this week he has made me stay until the night shift comes in. No one in their right mind wants to be in this building after then.
I work at the call center for a huge multi-national insurance company. I don’t work the phones, thank god, but I do work directly for the claims division manager. The man is a sadistic creep. I know he is only keeping me here because he knows how afraid I am. At home, I have three locks and a crucifix above my front door and have covered my windows with plywood and 2 by 4s. It makes it hard to check the weather without going online, but I would rather that than have something come in off my balcony. The landlord will crap a brick when he finds out, but I can’t be bothered. I’m only 14 stories up. Anything could be out there.
The elevator is slow to arrive. That tells me lots of night shift people are on their way in. Great. I wait impatiently, trying not to fidget and bounce like a toddler needing a bathroom, but my heart rate is sky high by the time the elevator dings and the down light turns off. I blindly stumble into the car as soon as the doors open.
The floor gives a lurch, and I feel the familiar sensation of falling as the car starts down. I sigh in relief before I realize I am not alone. I swear I nearly jumped out of my skin when I noticed the man in the corner.
No, not a man. It is the vampire from the floor just above mine, the 108th. I mean, there are lots of them, night shift is kind of their thing, but I have seen him around a lot. I suspect he is a day-walker, which means he is really, really old. He scares the hell out of me. To be fair, most everything scares the crap out of me. That is really just in my nature.
“Kind of tall for a pixie, aren’t you?” His voice is quiet and dry.
“That’s kind of personal question.” I try really hard not to squeak. In my heels I am almost 5 feet tall, I think I pass for human quite well, thank you. It isn’t my fault that most of my kind have a reputation for being a bit flighty. I work really hard and I am pretty sure that if my boss knows, he isn’t going to say anything.
“No need to get your wings in a knot.” The vampire gave a wheezing laugh. “Just trying to be friendly.” My heart was beating so hard now I thought I might actually faint and we still have 75 floors to go. I wish I could say I have a witty retort in mind, but I was really at a loss. The grinding noise followed by the dimming of the lights and sudden lurching stop of the elevator saved me from having to come up with anything.
The backup power came on quickly, but the car was not moving. Holy crapola! I’m stuck in a broken elevator with a vampire! It is like all my worst fears coming true at the same time. If I lived through this, I was going to tell my boss where he can shove his overtime tomorrow.
“Well, isn’t that just lovely?” The vampire groans. “I go and miss breakfast and now I get stuck in the damned elevator with a pixie with an attitude trying to go find a snack in the lobby.”
Even better. A hungry vampire. Why did I get out of bed this morning?
“Don’t even think about it.” I don’t care that he can hear how scared I am not; my knees are practically knocking together at this point.
“Don’t worry, I wouldn’t. Your kind are not edible. In fact, pixies are essentially the same thing freeze dried noodles are to people. Starvation food, and I am not starving.” He literally stuck his nose in the air and gave me a look like he might a cow patty or a dog tick.
“I am not inedible.” Stretching to my tallest height, hands on my hips I told him. “I will have you know that I am a strict vegan from an impeccable bloodline. I would be delicious. But it is a shame you will never know.”
“Nonsense,” he says with a wrinkle of his long nose. “I imagine a Nixie would taste better than you.”
“A NIXIE!” I cannot help but shout. “You think one of those water logged flibbity-jibbits would taste better than I would?” I go stand right up close to him; my nose does not even come to his shoulder. “They probably taste like week old fish.”
“They are not particularly tasty, no.” The vampire shrugs nonchalantly. He is not in the least bit worried about my close proximity, and frankly, I am too mad to worry about how close I am to the vampire. “I guess there would really only be one way to find out for sure.”
Oh crap, his cold white hand is already around my wrist. I’ve done it tor sure now. The lights blink again and the car gives a lurch. We are heading down again. Oh, thanks to all the gods and spirits. I pull my arm away and start mashing buttons. I don’t care which floor I get off on, just that I get off this elevator.
The car stops again; I haven’t taken my eyes off the vampire again, my back is to the doors and when they open I fall out onto my butt, right there in the lobby of the headquarters of the Vampire Anti-Defamation Association.
“Are you kidding me?” My voice must be too loud since a couple of vampires look at me curiously from the front desk. I have no choice but the meekly pick myself back up and get back into the car. The vampire has held the door open, so I didn’t get stuck there. I do not know if this is genuine courtesy or predatory self-interest. It really did not matter to me. There was no way to win today.
He can hardly keep from laughing as the doors slide closed and we start down again.
“That was the funniest thing I have seen in my very long life,” he says. He iss laughing so hard red tinged tears rolled down his face. “The look on your face…” He is howling with with laughter. “I wish I had a camera.”
The vampire was still giggling like a girl when we reached the lobby and I scrambled off. He called after me as I fled through the crowd, trying to get either to or from work. My ears burned bright red.
“You may not be good to eat, but you are one hell of a show!”