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The Elevator

Eliza Jane pressed the down button for the elevator and waited patiently as the cables began drawing the small cab up the shaft to the second floor of the old house. As the doors opened, she stepped inside and pressed the button marked “B” (she’d always called the underground floor the “cellar,” but no matter). Before the cab began its downward trajectory, she jumped through the wall to her original spot in the back hallway. Of course, she could have just reached through the wall to press the button, but that wouldn’t have been as much fun. She could do this all day! What she could not do—as those ghost chasers seemed to think—was make it move with her mind. She wasn’t a poltergeist, after all, but a proper restless spirit.
The elevator, she thought, was the best improvement the Arts Council had made to her beloved house. She’d always been a sucker for the latest fashions, inventions and technologies. Fred had given her that. He was among the first motor car owners in Sarnia, and he soon developed a passion for speed, until finally it cost him his life. When they built the house on Christina Street, he made sure the kitchen was equipped with the latest refrigerator and they also were among the first households with a telephone. Her next project, she decided, would be to figure out how to get into the computer. Wouldn’t that surprise the volunteers!
But when would Lawrence House re-open? This bloody virus was nearly as bad as the Spanish flu. She was sure that’s what weakened poor Ralph’s heart and led to his early death in ’21. For all the wonderful new technological and medical advances, why was it that they still hadn’t figured out how to prevent a pandemic? As she glided over the newly re-finished floor (they did take good care of the place), she heard a key turn in the side door.
It’s happening, she thought. How can I welcome them back? She ran up the back stairs to her hang-out, paused in the Heritage Room long enough to make her choice, then returned to the elevator, slipped inside and pressed the button.
“Do you hear that?” a woman’s voice asked? “The elevator is moving. Is anyone else here?”
A man’s voice responded. “I’m not sure. Maybe it’s our resident ghost.” He chuckled.
The woman fell silent, suddenly unnerved.
“I’m kidding,” said the man. “Maybe it’s just Lawrence House re-opening for us.”
As they walked to the back, the elevator door opened, revealing a framed photograph of William Frederick and Eliza Jane Lawrence hanging in midair. As a cool breeze seemed to envelope them, the man dropped to the floor like a sack of potatoes. Suddenly emboldened, the woman grabbed the dangling frame. A peal of laughter filled the elevator. After checking her inert companion, the woman stared at the photograph in her hands. Was the prim Eliza Jane giggling at her?

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