Elevator buttons blinked with different colors showing what floor the cabin was passing. Olga uncomfortable started feeling after the fiftieth floor, but it looked like the height didn’t bother anybody else. 110, 111, 112, 113 … wow, the buildings with floors numbers ending with 13 still exist, despite the prejudices! Well, here all is different … Oh! Suddenly the walls of the narrow elevator shaft disappeared, and only a thin layer of glass was separating the people inside it from the 300 meters height. Blinded by the opened picture a few seconds she silently stared around from a bird’s-eye view.
When the elevator dived into the narrow vertical shaft again, Olga began glancing at neighbors in the cabin. Rightward a business woman of about forty stood very straight, with tired face, in a dark color suit with indefinite tincture. Just behind her there was tall and thin man in glasses, with gray face and unkempt hair; he was nervously snuggling a large blue folder. In the far corner a young man with headphones was funny bobbing his head in time with song and tuning out. And finally, this strange short old man to her left, a little plumpish, in a checkered jacket with something like a dog-lead in his hand. His whole appearance showed impatience, almost annoyance about the fact that it took so long to go up even by this most modern high-speed lift.
157, 158, 159 … Someone coughed, and only then Olga noticed another “passenger” – a thin, dark-haired girl with a funny horsetail guiltily looked at her from behind the old man. In her hands she held a rag doll with the same funny horsetail, and even facial expressions of the girl and her doll were similar. Olga smiled to show her liking, the girl also smiled and embosomed her doll tightly. Olga suddenly thought that it is strange that this child is here at all. And then something strange happened.
Olga realized that she doesn’t know what she is doing here. A strange sense of calmness couldn’t stifle questions about where she was going and why. Olga looked around again. Now she began to feel that the people around are somewhat lost as well. The man in glasses swallowed hard and began to examine his own shoes. The man in a checkered jacket dropped his dog-lead and quickly picked it up, as if trying to hide its presence from the eyes of others. Woman in a suit pursed her lips and stood even more upright. Even the guy with headphones stopped wiggling.
Then Olga thought that he couldn’t remember not only where she was going to, but from where. But how is it possible? She knew that this morning she woke up in her warm bed in the apartment on the third floor of Khruschev-era house; that it was cold when she got out from under the blanket; that she couldn’t find her slippers under the bed for long time. Then there was this incomparable smell of coffee in the morning, haste and icy road to work past a small kiosk that sells spiced Georgian bread shoti … And after that? And after that she couldn’t remember anything.
When flashing elevator buttons become blurring in her eyes into one big bright spot, Olga felt that someone touched her hand. “I’m scared,” whispered the girl with a doll. Frightened eyes of a child made Olga compose herself: she gently squeezed the child’s palm, looked in the girl’s eyes and smiled: “Do not be afraid, I am with you.” At this point a pleasant bell sounded, then the elevator door opened softly and bright sunlight filled the cabin…
“Do not let anybody here! Rope off the area! No cameras!” a young lifeguard commanded trying to protect the spot from onlookers and reporters. There was a large crater, twisted metal, shattered glass and seven dead bodies, one of them of a little child! That day the war came to their city.