I step out of the lift as a sweating, red-faced man emerges from the staircase.
“I hate tight spaces.” he gasps, gesturing to where the elevator is announcing ‘doors closing’.
“Bloody hell, you just walked up thirty-seven floors?” I’m scanning the walls of the corridor for a defibrillator.
“Who needs gym membership, eh?” He attempts a grin but is overruled by his lungs deciding to cough themselves up.
“Where you headed?” I ask. Please, don’t say my direction.
“Morrison…and Young…I have…an interview,” he manages before a fresh bout of hacking.
Hell, that’s my Company. He’s here for the accountant’s job - if he doesn’t die first, right here, outside this lift. I just know he’s going to keel over, smash his head on the fire extinguisher, then writhe on the carpet for what’ll seem like hours as blood spurts from the gash above his eye and then I’ll vom…I’ll vom…
“You OK there?” Coughing man is shaking me; I think he might have slapped my face, my cheek is stinging.
“I can’t stand the sight of blood,” I tell him. He frowns.
“And vom…vomit,” I add, through the fog of my panic attack.
“But there’s no…” He begins.
“Hemophobia…fear of blood. Emetophobia…fear of vom…vom…”
“Jesus.” He’s not coughing anymore and his face is pink, no longer beetroot. He’ll live.
“You hate tight spaces.” I loosen my tie and undo my top button. “I hate the thought of death.”
“I know that one: Necrophobia.” He looks pleased with himself. “But, nobody’s dying here.”
“I thought you were about to, so…” How do I explain this craziness?
“Imagine the tight space they’ll put you in when you die,” I tell him and watch his pink face drain to grey.
Selected - Weekly Write - Week 11
Published in Issue #27