The elevator is between the twenty-first and the twenty-second floor when the cable snaps, so the passengers have some time to share their life stories before they hit the ground.
‘I married too young,’ says the woman with the red hair and the butter-soft gaze and the lapel badge which reads ‘Baby on Board’.
‘I am likeable, and I am loveable,’ the middle-aged man in the cream shirt and brown tie says over and over, like a mantra. The red-haired woman notices he has missed a bit of his chin with the razor.
‘If I had stayed in Inverkeithing,’ says the skinny guy with the safety pin through his eyebrow, ‘perhaps people would have bought my photographs.’
‘When I was a child of about eight,’ says the elderly woman in the blue coat, ‘there was a violent lightning storm one night while I slept. My mother woke me up to take out all the metal curlers from my hair.’
‘I am eight,’ says a little girl holding a grubby pink wallaby, ‘but I’m going to be nine in December.’
There are two other passengers in the elevator, but they do not have enough time to tell their stories; inevitably in such situations, someone always ends up disappointed.
Originally from Manchester, Tim Craig lives in London. A winner of the Bridport Prize for Flash Fiction, his stories have placed or been commended three times in the Bath Flash Fiction Award, and have appeared in both the annual Best Microfiction Anthology and the BIFFY50 list. Twitter: @timkcraig