Number Thirty Six
Simon really didn’t understand what the rush was this morning. The new au pair the agency had sent, was loud and frustratingly annoying. It was increasingly obvious she wanted them all out the door, so she could laze about watching television in their home. Hurriedly, she grabbed coats and backpacks and wound a scarf so tightly around Simon’s brother’s neck; he could hear him gasping for air. She pushed them out the door towards the antique lift wheezing quietly in the corner.
‘Got everything then?’ she questioned loudly without waiting for an answer. Simon’s sister raised her head briefly from her phone to glare at her before continuing to savagely stab at the lift button. The lift groaned in protest as it reached their floor, reluctantly opening its doors. The children stepped in and before they could turn around, the au pair had vanished into their apartment.
‘Bet she lasts a day’, Stella muttered at her phone. Sighing, Simon drew his little brother closer as the lift began its slow descent. One day I won’t have to live here. I’ll have a home in the country with fields as far as you can see. He glanced up at the ancient numbers, ticking down the floors. His brother fidgeted beside him, shuffling from one foot to the other. Why is it taking so long? Simon looked at Stella who was too engrossed in her social life to notice what was in front of her.
At last, the lift shuddered to a halt. It exhaled and slowly opened its doors. ‘Finally!!!!’, Stella announced, looking up. ‘Wait? What?’ she questioned. Simon clutched his brother’s hand and looked out. The lift doors hadn’t opened onto the familiar foyer of their dusty building. Instead, they appeared to be in a forest, with trees as far as you could see. A horse suddenly cantered into view, its translucent wings shimmering in the sunlight. “Horse!’, declared Simon’s brother, wriggling out of his grasp and running towards it. ‘Wait’, yelled Simon, knowing his voice was lost in the wind. He looked at Stella and they both stepped out.