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Death in the Elevator

AN: Two hints to help you find the murderer. Hint number one: the murderer is either one of the eight guests or Lupe or Lola. Hint number two: the events in each chapter are in chronological order, but sometimes there are time gaps between each event. Happy reading! (P.S My favourite chapter)

“We’re back in the main dining room,” Maximino observed as the power came back on. Looking around he realised he was alone. Where was Olivia?

“Olivia?” Max called out in his husky voice, “Olivia?”

“Over here Max,” Olivia said strutting into the room through a side door.

“Where were you?” Max didn’t like his things to get too far way from him.

“I must have taken a wrong turning,” she said brushing the question away, “but, it looks like we found our way back to the lift.”

“Just when the power comes on, now that’s what I call luck,”

With that the two of them walked into the lift, the black doors closing behind them. Max pressed the ground floor button and the lift creaked into action.

“Nope, I think the high rollers lounge lift is definitely better. Has a more luxurious feel, don’t you think?” Max asked.

“Yes, this place is nothing compared to the cat track.”

Max was a bit taken aback by this complimentary response. Recently Olivia, even though Max didn’t want to think anything bad about his girlfriend, seemed to be very icy, bored and even distant. It was like she didn’t want to be with him. Ever since she had met Hector Lemans… Hector didn’t have anything that he, Maximino, didn’t, well maybe more money and power, but Olivia wasn’t shallow like that. He and Olivia were in love, maybe Olivia was just going through a bad patch… Well, everything seemed alright now.

Max looked up at the numbers, as one by one the lift went past each floor.

23...22…21…CLUNK!

The lift stopped suddenly as the power went out.

“Not again,” Maximino groaned, pressing the lift buttons furiously, finally hammering the control panel with his fist.

That’s right Max, hitting the machinery will make it work Olivia thought.

He at last gave up and added: “We’re stuck. We should just wait for the power to come back on.”

“We don’t know that the power will ever come back on again,” Olivia said, not wanting to spend an eternity in an elevator, “isn’t there a hatch at the top we could climb through to get out?”

Maximino didn’t answer to that. Climbing through small holes was not one of his greater skills.

“If you crouch down so I can stand on your shoulders we can find out,” Olivia said.

“With you’re heels?” Maximino replied liking this plan less and less.

Olivia would have liked to have said: “Well, you could stand on my shoulders, but there is the slight problem that I’d be crushed by your enormous gut!” Bit she resisted and compromised by pushing Max into a crouching position.

She elegantly stepped onto his back, balanced herself and run her fingers over the lift ceiling until she found a handle. Twisting it, she opened a hatch leading out of the lift. Using Maximino is a spring board (“Ouch!”) Olivia pulled herself up and onto the top of the elevator.

“I’m up,” Olivia called down.

“Good, now how am I supposed to get up?” Maximino yelled, massaging his back where Olivia had dug her heels in.

“Surely you don’t need me to help you up? Try using the bar on the side of the lift to stand on, and then pull yourself up from there.”

Max wasn’t going to argue and so felt his way to the side of the lift and to the bar, which he knew there was no hope of being able to climb onto it.

Olivia meanwhile, strained her eye sockets to look around in the pitch black. She was in a narrow lift shaft and on either side there was a long drop to the ground. She stretched out her hand to find a thick cable that run down all the way to the ground.

“We could slide down these cables and get out that way,” Olivia said taking a firmer grip on the cable with both hands.

Max was still trying to get on top of the bar and was failing miserably. Finally he managed it, out of breath but up. He awkwardly ran his hand over the elevator ceiling, while still trying to clutch the sides, and found the hatch opening. Grabbing the sides of the hole, he tried to pull himself up, was unsuccessful and was left hanging in the middle of the lift.

“Olivia,” he breathed huskily, “Olivia!”

He couldn’t hold his weight for a second longer when two hands reached down to him and pulled him up.

“Thank you,” Max breathed, “Now where did you say those cables were?”

The soul guided him to the edge of the lift where Maximino tried to make out the cable in the darkness.

“You, first,” Max said taking a step away from the edge.

“No, you,” and with that the soul shoved Maximino off the lift. He fell, his bones shattering onto the floor below.

---

Lola held her camera up to take another shot of the exterior of Vertigos Tower. With a small click and a flash, her camera spat out a black and white picture of the building in all it’s glory.

Studying the picture, Lola shivered. The night air was icy cold and so she decided to move on to taking photos of the interior of the building.

Walking tentatively up to the intimidating front doors, she tapped on the knocker and waited for someone to open the door. After a few minutes went by, she knocked again; still no one answered the doors. She knocked again and again but still no one answered.

Lola was finally about to try opening the doors when an arrogant voice said: “You can knock all day but that door ain’t gonna open up.”

Lola jumped, then blushed as she saw a man leaning lazily back on the tower wall. How long had he been watching?

After a few seconds of him smirking at the surprised look on Lola’s skull he added: “I don’t think you really want to be going in there anyway.”

“Wh…what do you mean?” Lola asked, turning away to avoid his smirking gaze.

Domino took a cigar out of his jacket pocket and replied: “You don’t want to know.”

Lola stood in silence as the stranger lit his cigar, “Please tell me,” she said curiously.

“Now, why should I do that?”

“Because…because…” Lola stuttered, not liking this man one bit.

The stranger sucked on his cigar, fully enjoying the situation he had created. He blew a smoke ring towards Lola’s skull and answered: “There’s a murderer in those walls.”

Lola spluttered in the smoke and coughed: “What?”

The stranger leant back against the wall and didn’t reply.

“Did you just say a murderer is in there?” Lola asked, fanning the smoke away. But that meant…

“Lupe!” Lola exclaimed and tried to open the doors, but they would not budge.

“Didn’t you hear what I just said?” The man asked, almost laughing at Lola’s attempts to drag the doors open, “There is a murderer in there.”

Lola gave up, turned to the man and said, “And my friend is in there with him!”

“Well let me tell you something, she is probably dead… again. And secondly that door is locked.”

“How do you know that?”

The stranger paused for a moment, still with that smug look on his skull, before answering: “I’m just smarter than you.”

“Well, I have to help her…there must be another way in…”

Domino didn’t even suppress his laughter this time.

“You have to help her? You have to help her?” He laughed, making Lola become more uncomfortable by the second. “Why is it your problem that she’s stuck in there? Take my advice, leave and don’t look back.”

“She’s my friend, I know she would do the same for me,” Lola responded, murderer or no murderer she had to get Lupe out of there. Domino stopped laughing and went back to his cigar.

Lola took a deep breath and asked: “Do you know if there is another way in?”

“Maybe.”

Not this game again Lola thought before realizing: “Wait, if the doors are locked, then how did…”

“I get out?” Domino finished for her, “I climbed out from the top, but take it from me, that route is not for you.”

“If…if…that’s the only way in, then that’s the… er …way I’ll have to go,” Lola replied trying to sound brave and determined. It wasn’t a very convincing act.

Domino blew out more smoke, clearly thinking, before answering: “Lucky for you I’ve got a bit of unfinished business that I need to take care of in there.”

“You’ll show me where to go?” Lola said, surprised after the lack of co-operation this man had given her.

“Something like that.”

---

“How long does it take to check that the coast is clear?” Lupe nagged as Nick finally came back after going up ahead.

“Either I check to make sure that there are no homicidal maniacs up ahead properly, or we both get shot. Which one would you like?” Nick said sarcastically, as he and Lupe began again making there way to the ground floor of Vertigos tower.

“Still, it doesn’t take thirty minutes to make sure no one else is round the next few corners,” Lupe continued nagging.

“I’m just making sure it’s safe, alright?” Nick replied, as the power came back on. They were both so used to it flashing on and off, neither of them reacted to it anymore.

“Well, it’s nice that you care, but…” Lupe was cut off by Nick groaning as she came back again to the same subject for the millionth time, “Don’t deny it!” Lupe piped up, “You care what happens to me, otherwise you wouldn’t have saved me when we were shot at,”

“It was morbid curiosity to see how fast you had sprouted, that was all,” Nick said, Lupe was so irritating. As if he, Nick Virago, the best lawyer in all the land of the dead could possibly… It annoyed him just thinking about it.

“The stairs!” Lupe exclaimed happily, as they came to an enormous spiral staircase that would take them to the ground floor.

For the next ten minutes Lupe gabbled on about the benefits and drawbacks of a card based coat check system. Nick ignored this and instead thought through the facts of the murder.

“There has to be something that links all the guests together, a reason that connects us all. The explanation to why the murderer wants us all dead,” Nick said, verbally showing his trail of thought and bringing Lupe’s endless trail of babbling to a halt.

“Huh?”

“Maybe he was trying to get his hands on the Calavera Café,” Nick said slowly, “Maybe, this evening was designed to get rid of the competition... that could be it.”

“No it couldn’t, I mean, that could explain why some of the guests were invited, but not you …or Charlie. Neither of you are going to get that casino any time soon so why would he want to bump you two off? It wouldn’t make sense,” Lupe replied making, in Nick’s opinion, her only intelligent comment of the entire evening.

“I suppose,” Nick said thinking it through, “Unless the murderer knew…” Nick trailed off.

“What? Unless the murderer knew what?” Lupe asked earnestly.

“Nothing.”

“It’s obviously not nothing,”

“It’s nothing, just leave it at that.”

“Come on, just tell me.”

“I said it’s nothing.”

“Just tell me.”

“IT’S NOTHING! O.K? Can’t you just shut up for ten seconds,” Nick snapped angrily, Lupe looked away from him clearly hurt. She rushed passed him to be a few metres in front and Nick was sure he could hear her sniffing.

Nick didn’t like it, didn’t want to believe it, but he felt guilt. Something he couldn’t remember feeling in a long time.

“Your honour, my client is going to plead not guilty,” he muttered forcefully to himself, “My client had every right to snap like that after having a rude invasion of his privacy.”

After wanting silence for so long, now Nick had it, he never wanted it less.

Finally they reached the ground floor. Nick walked across to open the door as Lupe haughtily turned her gaze away.

Nick would have rolled his eyes if he had any. But since he didn’t and because sarcastic comments were not the way to go in this situation, Nick tried to open the door.

It wouldn’t move.

Nick tried again and again, putting all his weight into the door, but still it did not open.

“Are you just going to stand there or could you at least help?” Nick said finally, when he realized Lupe was snootily watching him.

“It’s locked,” she said shortly.

“Thank you, captain obvious,” Nick replied kicking the door, immediately whishing he hadn’t as pain throbbed through his right foot.

“Is there another exit somewhere?” he asked.

“No.”

“You’re not serious, are you?”

“Yes.”

“There is no other exit in the entire tower?” Nick said slowly and Lupe nodded in reply, “What crazy architect built this place? Hadn’t they ever heard of fire regulations? I’m suing this place as soon as I get out.”

Lupe didn’t reply and went back to her haughty staring at the opposite wall.

Nick sighed angrily, looked up at the ceiling and mumbled: “I’m srry.”

“What did you say?” Lupe said, turning to face him.

“I’m srry,”

“Excuse me, didn’t catch that,” Lupe said a triumphant smirk appearing on her face.

Nick glowered at her before yelling: “I’M SORRY, ALRIGHT!”

“Well, I’d hope so to. That was really nasty snapping at me like that, it was very rude and unkind. I wouldn’t have…”

“You must never speak of this again, understand?”

“O.k.!” Lupe said brightly.

“The door is locked,” Nick thought aloud, getting back to the situation at hand, “now how are we supposed to get out?”

“Hmmm… maybe we could bash the door down?”

“That is a stupid idea.”

“Well, do you have any better ones?”

“Fine.”



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