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The elevator doors opened and a young couple in party clothes stepped out tentatively. They walked up to the desk where a man in a white suit sat. "Hello?" The man looked up from his book at them.

"Yes? Oh. Stephen and Julia. Yes. Pardon my unpreparedness. We weren't expecting you for a while. This way please." He got up from his desk and motioned them down the hallway. Stephen smiled.

"Is this the way to the party?"

"Party? Oh, no. This way to your rooms, please." The man got up from the desk and started down the hallway.

Julia glared at Stephen. "Rooms? Steve, you said this was just a regular party, none of that freaky shit. You know I don't go in for that!"

"Honest Jules, I don't know what he's talking about. Dude, we don't need a room, we're just here for the party, ok?"

The man in white looked at them questioningly. "You do know where you are, right?"

They stared back, blankly. "What?"

"It's ok. Your souls are with us now. Here."

The young couple stared at the man a few more seconds, then looked at each other, then back at the man. "Our souls?" Stephen asked. "What are you talking about?"

"This is the arrival office. Your caseworker seems to be running a little behind, but she'll be here shortly. You are a bit early, you know."

Julia was looking around at the office. "Steve - this is weird. The walls, the floor, his damn suit - its ... it's whiter than anything I've ever seen .. but it doesn't hurt to look at it ... Steve?"

Steve addressed the man. "Um ... are we dead?"

"Oh, quite, I'm sure. You wouldn't be here otherwise. Now, come along please."

"No." The man stopped and looked at Stephen. "No. We're not dead. We're just here for a party. We're not dead. We didn't do anything to make us dead." The man sighed as if he'd heard this a thousand times before, and walked back to his desk.

"Look here, I'll pull up your record." He tapped a few keys on the blindingly white keyboard. "Oh!" He looked up at the couple. "I'm terribly sorry, this never happens! You're quite right, you're not dead after all. Our elevator has been having some problems and it must have opened here by mistake. You wanted floor 16, right?"

"Yeah, 16. 1605 is where the party is."

"Ok, I'm terribly sorry. Get back in the elevator and go down to the lobby and try the elevator across the way. I'll have to call the repairman for this one. Be careful now, we wouldn't want to see you here again too soon!" He watched at the could tentatively walked back to the elevator and the doors closed behind them.

The intercom on the desk buzzed to life. "Yes?"

"Peter! My office! NOW!"

"Yes sir." He turned and headed down the hallway.

Posted 2008-02-09 by System Administrator