It was a rainy night. And it wasn't just wet. It was downright soak-you-through-to-your-panties wet. I reflected on the state of my hair as I attempted to dodge the drips coming down from eaves and ledges above. It was a lost cause - just like trying to dodge the drips. If I walked close to the buildings it seemed that all I was managing to do was direct the drips down my collar. Walking closer to the street took away the drips but added in the spray and splash from passing vehicles. I shrugged and carried on. Only the lure of a hot shower and a shot of - well, that'd come later - kept me from huddling into a doorway.
I stopped to check my mail. Nothing of interest. Thanks to a shortcut during construction it was soaked too. Who puts mailboxes out in the weather in Northern California? Ah, well. Misery loves company. At least, for a change, the elevator responded to the first press of the call button. Looking back - that should've made me suspicious.
But it didn't.
And there I was. I didn't recall anything much about what happened between getting in the elevator and waking up 'there'. It might've been for the best.
The surface I was on was hard. And cold. And I was very uncomfortable. Not only from lying on the very hard floor but also from the bump on my head. I wasn't sure what my level of discomfort said about the amount of time I'd been there. On the surface it would seem to indicate a long time. But that was directly contradicted by how wet I still was.
Where I was was completely quiet. I couldn't hear anything beyond my own thoughts. And the water trickling out of my clothes and running - somewhere. No fans, no electrical buzz, no sloshing, no creaking. Perfect isolation. Almost. If I hadn't been wet...
No smells gave me any kind of clue as to where 'here' was. The only scent was of wet clothes and wet hair. Not terribly informative.
It was dark. I opened my eyes and saw... Well, I thought I opened my eyes but there was no difference between open and closed. I was hard to create absolute dark without being underground. Not impossible, though.
My clothes were still intact, not undone or torn so far as I could tell. I started to itch as my clothes ever-so-slowly dried. Staying as still and compact as possible I heaved myself to my knees and struggled out of my clothes. Raincoat, sweater, blouse, and pants came off and I gave them a good wringing out. Getting back into them was cold and clingy. Unpleasant to say the least - but it was better than the option of meeting the unknown mostly naked.
I started putting things together as best I could.
I was still dripping wet when I came to. So it couldn't have been very long between the elevator and here. A complete lack of light meant underground. A complete lack of sound also ...
I heard a click. An ever-so-faint electronic click, the kind that sometimes happens when a sound system gets turned on - or off. I was immediately alert, more alert than I could remember being. The petty nuisances of a hard floor and wet clothing disappeared. I strained to hear, stilling my breathing and ceasing movement. Those petty nuisances? They returned when nothing else happened in the long minutes after the click.
I began to refer to my time as before and after click. Before click - cold, wet, disoriented, and thoroughly uncomfortable. After click - less cold, less wet, still disoriented, and somewhat less uncomfortable, and coming down from an adrenaline surge. The net change was for the better but only slightly so.
It finally occurred to me to explore the space I was in. I tentatively felt around me on the floor, first in front, then behind. I reached out to my right and, through a short stretch, I felt a wall. Both hands went to the wall. I used it to get to my feet. I slowly made my way around the space I was in. Before I'd gone three shuffling steps I kicked something soft. I reached down and tried to identify the object by touch. It was rectangular, wet, and had buckles on it. My briefcase! I hugged it to my breast and cried from the relief of finding something familiar.
When I was all cried out I dug around in my briefcase for my phone. I found it and pressed the power button to bring it to life. Light flared and dazzled my eyes. I squinted at the screen - no signal. Despair washed over me and I let my phone fall from my fingers. Its light glinted off the walls of the room. The room was quite small as rooms go, more of a cell, really.
Using the light from my phone I took a good look around the ... elevator.