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It was a cold, snowy night in New York City.
I was packing up to leave, when a report on the police radio informed us of another abduction. The most recent victim of the serial rapist described the man as having unusual green eyes and a bag. I felt sorry for this girl; to feel so helpless. The worst part was, he was never caught.
At eleven thirty, I got into a cab. I felt so exhausted from my day. I wanted to get home and sleep. We arrived at my building and I paid the driver.
“Have a nice night,” he said.
“You too,” and closed the door to the taxi. It was freezing out, the snow falling rapidly, lining the streets. The business and chaos so late at night still amazed me. I yawned and walked toward the revolving doors. New York was not the only thing that never slept. My fingers felt frostbitten and the tip of my nose was red. There was no one inside the building.
“Hi, Carrie.” The doorman, Pete waved hello. “Back so late?”
I nodded and explained the article. I laughed as he told me that he tells people he knows Carrie Brinkley; the writer from New York Times.
“Well, goodnight,” I said, and walked to the elevator. I pressed 18, and took my hair down from its clip. It hung below my shoulders, wavy and dark. I remembered my haircut appointment. The elevator began to close.
Suddenly, there was a foot between the doors.
A man’s foot, wearing black loafers. He stepped inside. He was tall with jet black hair, and when he looked at me, my heart stopped. His peculiar piercing green eyes met mine and he smiled. The man, probably thirty-five, had on a grey suit and jacket. He was holding a bag. I had never seen him before.
He did not press any button. This felt unsettling to me. The elevator then felt very small.
I then remembered where I heard about green eyes. The article.
The man did not speak; the sound of his foot tapping on the ground filled the whole space. My head began to hurt. Who was this man?
What was going to happen to me?
I had heard this story too many times; I had written one the hour before, after all. The innocent girl helplessly abducted by a complete stranger. I imagined writing the story on myself. Carrie Brinkley, journalist, stalked and raped in her elevator. Died of shock. My once cold hands began to sweat mercilessly.
I then looked at the wall. We were only on the third floor. Time felt like it was slowing down. I secretly glanced at this mysterious man and tried to determine how it was going to happen. He would knock me out with his bag. He could push every button on the keypad, making it impossible for me to escape. I put all of this out of my mind and tried to make casual conversation.
“Hello.” I said, sounding as scared as I felt.
“Hi.” The man bluntly replied, pursing his lips and then looking away. Was avoidance of eye contact a sign of guilt? Why had this man raped those innocent women?
I noticed how weather beaten he look. His black hair matted and his suit dirty. The hauntingly beautiful emerald eyes seemed sad, cried for help. The man’s hands had scratches. I wasn’t going down without a fight.
We were on floor 8 – only ten more to go. Beads of fear induced sweat clung to my forehead. The beat of my heart quickened as the man began to whistle a song I did not recognize. My hands began shaking as he shifted his position. He angled himself more towards me now.
The man looked at me. His eyes frightened me in a way I could not explain. He looked away. Could he tell how afraid I was?
Suddenly, I realized, we were on floor 18. The doors slid open slowly, and the man told me to go first. His voice was deep and soft. Nervously, I stepped out of the elevator and made a right turn to get to 18L. The man made the same right turn.
My head began to spin all over again. I realized he was going to follow me into my apartment. I started to walk much faster.
I made a left. So did the man.
I turned right down a hallway. He followed.
I was practically running when the fear rose through me and I swiftly turned around, staring him right in the green eyes.
Not expecting this, he stopped short and we fell to the floor. I felt the tears stinging behind my eyes. This was it. He laughed.
“I’m so sorry, really,” the mysterious man said, standing up. “I didn’t say anything in the elevator and I could tell I was creeping you out. It’s been the longest day of my life. I left sunny California for this snow storm, and my flight was delayed… it was a mess. I’m staying at my friend’s apartment for the night. Sorry to bother you.” The man held out his hand, which I could now tell had only paper cuts, and he helped me up. He nodded and walked off.
“Goodnight,” I whispered for only myself to hear.