Out the private exit, down the long, empty hallway, around the corner to the elevators and dammit, Shirley’s at her desk in the reception area, and she’s beckoning, and she may be the nicest woman in the world, but no, she can’t face this right now, she can’t face anyone, trying to remember just how many years it’s been since she had a panic attack so bad she’s been sent running out of wherever she was.
The elevator dings and she barrels on, jabbing the button over and over as if that will make the door close faster, and the car begins to move, not smoothly as it usually does in this sleek, modern building, but with a stomach-dropping lurch.
The walls shimmer, scrollwork and gold-speckled mirrors showing behind the brushed steel and carpeted walls that surround her. She hears gears grinding, something creaking, and for an instant she can see lattice and floors moving past, and it feels like she’s in free fall. What the hell is happening to me?
She’s heard it said that everything can change in a second – the phone rings, or you meet someone, and poof, nothing is ever the same again, but honestly, you’d think if there had been such a second like that her life anytime recently, she would have noticed.
This is a Six Sentence Stories installment, and it’s taken on enough form that it has a name now: Insomnia. The cue was “second.”