Short Story Fiction
Stairway to Hell
Scott A. Gese

The stairwell to the sixth floor was more than he could handle.

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There was an out of order sign on the elevator door.

“Great, just what I need.” Gary pushed the button a couple of times just in case the sign was wrong. It wasn’t. He was visibly upset as he picked up his bag and walked over to the main desk.

“May I help you,” asked the clerk.

“How long is the elevator going to be out of order?” he asked with a touch of anger in his voice.

“Well, today’s Friday. Won’t be anything happening over the weekend. My guess is it’ll be out for a couple days or more,” replied the clerk.

Not the answer Gary wanted to hear. Now his anger was beginning to show. “Listen buddy, when I booked my room I asked for one on the ground floor. It’s the only request I had. You told me the only available room was on the sixth floor. Room 666. Not exactly my favorite number, but I didn’t complain. You assured me there was an elevator just down the hall. This was the last available room in town and I needed it, so I took a chance… on the floor and the room. It’s beginning to look like I made a big mistake. How in the hell do you suppose I’m going to get to my room now?”

The clerk kept his cool, smiled and pointed to his right and stated, “The stairs are just down the hall… next to the elevator.”

“Stairs?” Shouted Gary. “Look at me. I’m an old out of shape fat man. I haven’t walked a flight of stairs in years.”

“Well, maybe the stairs will help with that,” the clerk calmly stated with a touch of snarkiness in his voice. He once again pointed in the direction of the stairs.

Gary was livid as he stomped down the hall, cursing all the way. “I can’t believe this. Your boss is going to hear from me. This is an outrage.”

“Ya ya”, replied the clerk. “Sorry ‘bout your luck… asshole.”

Gary opened the door to the dimly lit staircase and peered in. He took a deep breath. Six flights would be close to an impossibility, but what choice did he have. How many times am I going to have to do this, he wondered to himself.

He reluctantly started up the first flight. When he reached the second floor, he sat down to catch his breath. He was mad, out of breath and now he was sweating. All the while cursing everything under the sun.

Once he caught his breath he resumed his climb. This flight was a little harder. When he reached the third floor he sat down again. This time it took him a little longer to catch his breath. More cursing. His blood pressure was up and he knew it.

After ten minutes he decided to tackle the next flight.

He was sweating profusely and breathing hard even before he made it to the fourth floor, but he did make it. His anger had reached a boiling point. “If I die before I get to my room I’ll come back from the depths of hell to haunt this place.” His screaming threat echoed off the hard walls of the empty stairwell.

Just then the door to the fourth floor hallway opened. A mysterious figure in a black hoodie came through and sat down on the step next to Gary. “Yo bro., what’s up. Looks like you’re having a time of it. How high you goin’?”

“The sixth floor. Room 666, can you believe it?” Replied Gary.

“Ohh, I know that room bro. That’s my room.”

Gary whipped his head to the side. He looked deep into the hood but couldn’t make out a face. “Your room??? Bullshit. I booked that room days ago.

The mysterious black hooded figure replied, “I know,” then suddenly vanished.

Gary was extremely confused. I must be hallucinating, he thought. He got up and resumed his climb.

They found Gary on the hotel stairs in front of the fifth floor door.

Death had found him first.

© Copyright 2023 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.

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