I Promise

Standing before the broken elevator I quickly go over the escape plan in my head one more time. We found it on some forums on the internet written by those who had made it out. It was risky to blindly follow instructions when we haven’t first staked out the route. I pause to wipe sweat from the back of my neck. The gesture gives me goosebumps. There is no other choice, this is the only way to freedom. I look up and down the hallway, no one is there but I’m not sure for how long. It has to be now.

My hands are shaking as I reach out to the crevice between the elevator doors and begin to pull. They don’t want to budge, my arms struggle with the exertion. You hurry to my side and grab the door to the right with both hands. I do the same with the left side. After a few seconds that feels like an eternity the doors begin to part. This is it.

You turn towards me, eyes wide and filled with tears. “Call up to me when you get down there so I know that your ok.”

“I promise.” I answer while embracing you for a moment. A moment is all we can risk without getting caught. I slip a note I had written to you earlier into your hand and squeeze it shut around the paper. I turn and jump into the unknown without further hesitation.

The rope is just where they said it would be. I grab at it with my hands, burning, sliding through the thin and frayed material. My mind begins to panic as all the important moments of my life pass before my eyes. My hands find purchase on the rope and I take a breath as I realize that it will indeed hold my weight. The rest of the way down is quick and easy.

I must have screamed on the way down. I must have made some kind of commotion although I don’t remember any of that. My feet are firmly on the ground giving me the illusion that I am safe. I am anything but. There are footsteps running, closing in on the distance. I can not disclose my location. I take my shoes off to keep them from echoing and quickly tiptoe to the nearest pile of crates to hide. The footsteps are closing in. It sounds like a lot of people trying to find me. To find us.

What if you have already been found? My mind races as I look up into the darkness. There is no sound coming from that direction. You were supposed to jump right after me, right after… Right after I called up to you. I never spoke a word but that is a good thing because it seems like I will be caught any minute now. It’s been too long, you might think that I’m dead. I want to scream into the shaft that I’m ok but don’t come down! My fear gets the best of me as I allow myself to be silenced. I can not risk being found.

Hours pass and they haven’t found me yet. You never came down the elevator shaft. I’m assuming that you think I am dead. And for that I might as well be. The words are echoing in my head and torturing my soul. “I Promise”.


Copyright 09/23/2015 – I Promise by Kerry Milauskas