Prompt Images

“The last thing I remember was I was driving my car, Lola. And then some jerk smashes into the side of my beautiful ‘67 Chevy, and suddenly I was here.”

“Here” was an elevator. It was about 5 feet by 8 feet, and the ceiling was too high for him to touch on his own, despite his tall stature.

Occupying the other half of the elevator was a man in a red hoodie, which is casually tugged over his head, and a mask left over from the pandemic with sharp teeth printed on it.

The man turned to the person in the hoodie. “Sorry, I haven’t introduced myself.” He sticks out his hand in awkward offering. “Alfred, “ he said. The other person’s eyes took in his bow tie and button down shirt, then took his hand politely to shake.


“Jamal, do you remember anything from before you saw me arrive?”

“I think we arrived together. “

“Oh?” Alfred peered at his strange sudden acquaintance.

“I think I was in the other car.”

Alfred snarled and advanced on Jamal, who backed away until he was pressed against the door.

“Look-look-look, if you’re here and I’m here, then where are we?” asked Jamal.

But Alfred was beyond rationalization and reasoning. “You killed Lola! Do you have any idea how much that car was worth?!”

Just then the door opened, and Jamal tumbled backwards into the open waiting room. 

Alfred walked over Jamal and straight to the head of the line, pushing an elderly nun out of the way.

The woman behind the glass panel turned around. She was a sharp redhead with a sweater and nametag. Alfred glanced at it.

“Ah, Susan. Perfect. Let’s finish this up.”

“I’m sorry,” she said, “please take yourself to the end of the line.”

“I’m not supposed to be here.”

“Yes, yes. Back of the line,” she said dismissively.

“No, I refuse.” Alfred crossed his arms and uncrossed them. He pointed at the countertop. “This needs to stop. All of it. This dream or shared hallucination or whatever.”

“Back. Of. The. Line.” She enunciated each word, then closed the window blinds.

Alfred screeched in rage. When he got to the end of the line, there were more people getting off the elevator. He pocketed a ticket from the red dispenser. Then Alfred grabbed Jamal and tried pulling him out of the queue.

“Get your hands off my jacket or we’re gonna have a problem,” Jamal said.

Jamal and Alfred stared into each other’s eyes for a minute. The doors started to close. “I’m getting out of here,” Alfred said, his height imposing. “You coming or what?”

“I’m staying,” said Jamal. “You do what you want.”

Alfred released him and darted to the door, slipping through as the doors closed.

The world went bright white, then reddish-yellow, then black, then blurry again. 

He blinked his eyes, and he was in his mangled car, head ringing with the alarm bells of a thousand sirens. A police officer was knocking on his window, projecting muffled statements through the glass. Blood gushed from a head injury, and Alfred felt dizzy.

He tried opening his door, but it was stuck. Alfred rolled the window down for the officer. “Hey.”

“We’ll get you out of there. License and registration?”

Alfred nodded mutely. He produced the information. “I got a… nevermind.”

“No, no, go on,”prodded the police officer kindly.

“I had a nightmare, and it was so real.”

“They can be.”

“And there was this elevator, and a waiting room…”

“Uh-huh.” The police officer signaled for his other partner. “We’ll need the ‘jaws.’ His door is stuck.”

“Nevermind.” Alfred reached in his pocket and produced a line ticket. The numbers flickered then landed on double zero. He immediately flushed pale, and the officers opened the door.


V. Buritsch

A freelancer, fiction writer, podcast listener, fantasy reader who sometimes remembers to write for herself on occasion. She has a BA in English and Management, and currently lives in the Pacific Northwest.

learn more
Share this story
About The Prompt
A sweet, sweet collective of writers, artists, podcasters, and other creatives. Sound like fun?
Learn more