“Otis! Where are you taking us?” feet out of from under them, they were floating as Otis speeds downward or at least they believe they’re falling.
Lilith and Otto soon realize they are not the only ones in the elevator for there’s a gel-like quality to the air. Otto loves the opportunity to hold Lilith tight, but wishes for better circumstances. “Well, this is romance for Lilith’, he smiles to himself.
“Whaaaaat?” Lilith is taken from the moment by Otto’s smile for it is a new one for her.
“Sh*t!” she calls out before Otto can respond as the elevator appears to be continuing past the basement. Moving out of Otto’s embrace toward the button’s panel, it’s her turn for her eyes to bug-out. The panel has transformed. The original buttons remained with some added buttons above, below and in between the known floors.
Otto follows Lilith’s eyes and glides her way shouting, “What the hell, Otis? This is NOT my idea of research!”
He turns to Lilith and shouts with his index finger in the air, “One word… Library! LIBRARY!”
“I don’t see that button.” Lilith muses at Otto’s freak out sesh and begins to laugh at him. “Hold up…”, she stops to listen. “I don’t think we’re moving anymore.”
They both quickly bring their attention to the elevator buttons. They are stopped on the floor that reads like a scrolling ticker tape, ‘Man: light plaid shirt, cowboy hat.’
“This is not good.” Chiming in unison looking at each other. The doors slowly open as they make their way gliding slipping as quickly as they can to the back of Otis.
Lilith looks to the mortuary’s elevator ceiling pleading. “Otis. I’ve always been good to you. We’ve played together tons. Be good to us.”
“So - it - is!” Otto sounds a reply as if it was a prayer.
The space is dark, ink black dark. Frozen, the two are pushed from the elevator by some unknown force. They cannot dig their heels in for they are levitating ever so slightly. Lilith nuzzles Otto’s neck not ready to engage. Otto kisses Lilith’s hair and then, her ear… A clicking stops them both. Stone still, they listen.
Lilith whispers ever so quietly to Otto. “It’s footsteps.”
“Boots. Like my Granddad’s.” Otto returns whispering in Lilith’s ear.
Both are finding the fear, unknown and intimate closeness arousing. They wait as they cannot see. They decide to sense the other and just be in the terror of it all.
As the footsteps draw to a close right in their proximity, a light begins to grow. The source is not known, but it allows them to see who-what is standing before them.
Lilith lets out a high pitched scream. Otto jumps and turns to see a man standing about a foot from them. He’s wearing a light plaid shirt and cowboy hat.
“F*ck meeeeeee!” Otto grabs Lilith and beats feet away from the apparition. They move swiftly yet without purchase for they are gliding. Getting the hang of the situation, they hold hands and sort of speed skate into the darkness eyes open seeing nothing.
Lilith feels something like fabric and looks to her right. She squints and adjusts her eyes to the bit of glow; the man is gliding along with them, effortlessly. He calmly taps Lilith’s shoulder with an ‘excuse me.’
“Hold up!” Lilith shouts to Otto and they skid to a stop. The man stands before them, waiting.
“Whaaaat?!!!” Lilith yells at him. “You want to go home? This is ridiculous.”
The man responds calmly, “Is that a real question? Or are you just letting off steam?”
Otto is looking back and forth between the two with the freaked out look he sported earlier.
“I’m asking! No, I’m… geez I need information and quickly.” Lilith now has her hands on her hips grimacing at the man.
The man continues deadpan, “You only need to ask….” The last of his words fading.
“Wait! Don’t go. Okay, okay.” Lilith calms.
Otto chimes in, “Where are we?”
“As above, so below.” The man replies. “And… you’re out of time.” He vanishes with a swirl of light plaid light his hat the last bit to vanish.
Lilith looks to Otto, “ Were we out of time with him or are we totally out of time?” shaking her head looking into Otto’s eyes for help. Lilith is overcome by confusion.
“No! Stay with me Lilith.” Otto gently clasps Lilith’s cheeks and kisses her back to present. “Say your name, wiggle your toes and fingers. Stay right here. Don’t go anywhere.”
Lilith holds Otto’s hands that are cupping her face and slowly nods. She is back. “We’ve got to find Otis and figure out what the frack the man was trying to tell us.”
A ding chimes from a distance. They both make their way toward the sound. Smile at each other and literally jump into the elevator with relief. Otto presses the 1st floor button totally uninterested in all the other buttons right now.
Lilith snaps a pic of Otis’ button panel. Otto nods to her in agreement and types ‘As above, so below’ on his phone. They’re both exhausted and lean back as Otis makes its way to the first floor. Their feet find the floor, solidly grounded by the time the elevator doors open.
Lilith leads Otto to the private rooms of the Mortuary, then toward the gourmet kitchen. “I just picked up some mead. Traditional, your favorite. Let’s get all this down before we forget. Something tells me we will forget.”
Otto dragged along responds, “Forget what?” and smiles.
Lilith grins stops in the middle of the kitchen, wraps her arms around Otto and goes in for a kiss.
“Okay, now I’m never going to remember.” Otto replies quietly as their foreheads lean into one another.
Lilith laughs, turns and squeals as Otto smacks her on the rear. “You get the steins, I’ll get the mead. I believe Mum set a cheese plate for us to nosh. I don’t know about you, but I need sustenance.”
Otto returns to the table with the steins, “You embalm Mr. Schumann yet?”
“F*ck. You gotta bring that up?” Lilith is stopped at the table mead and cheese plate in hand. She sighs while pouring them both a drink, pops cheese in her mouth and talks while chewing. “No… I will take care of it after we’ve had a bit to eat and have got this stuff down.”
“You relax and enjoy your snack. I’ll be sure to get it all down and ask you about any additional details later. Don’t hold off taking care of him, it’ll only get more difficult. As you always say, they are no longer present in their bodies.”
“Uh. Yeah!! He’s no longer present in his body! Would if he’s hanging out in the prep room?” Lilith shakes her head and resolves to do as she needs to. No matter the circumstances, his family needs closure.
“You got this.” Otto holds up his stein and both ‘clink’ before taking a long drink. “Wow that’s clean, smooth and tasty.” Otto’s freak out mode is in the past, for now.