The elevator stopped on the thirteenth floor with a lurch.
His first thought was that it was odd the lift should stop at this point, as he knew the building had no thirteenth floor.
The lurch had woken him from a daydream in which he imagined the girl on the eighteenth floor, Maggie Ross, greeted him in recognition. There was no reason she should, after all, he’d rarely visited the eighteenth floor.
But now he had been jolted awake, and as the doors opened, he took in a sight he wasn’t prepared for.
Ahead of him was a sign, ‘Welcome to Jungle World’ and beyond that stretched as far as he could see was a tropical rainforest.
A voice in the lift urged him to disembark telling him the lift was terminating. As he stepped out the doors closed behind him and he was immediately confronted by the sounds of a jungle eco-system, bird calls, the repetition of insects, the distant growls of carnivorous creatures looking for a feed.
Turning around the lift had completely disappeared and behind him was impenetrable undergrowth.
“Good morning,” said a voice near his knee, “ new, here are we?”
Looking around, he couldn’t see anything other than a large python hanging from a tree, which he was sure, was not there previously.
“I’m sorry,” he said, looking around, “but I can’t see you.”
“I’m just hanging around you might say,” replied the voice which he now noted had a slight lisp to it.
Suddenly in his face was the snake; its tongue flicking out almost touching the man’s lips.
“You? You can speak?”
“Of course, we are somewhat couth around here, I could have simply wrapped myself around you in greeting, but that might not have appeared friendly at all,” said the snake whose name as it turned out was Leo.
“What have I gotten myself into?” thought the man. “I must be dreaming.”
“No, I’m real,” said Leo beginning to feel he was not being taken seriously, “we get a few of your lot in here from time to time. The thirteenth-floor jungle is what we call ourselves, has everything you’d want in a tropical jungle.”
“But how do I get out?” wailed the man.
“Oh, you don’t. The point is you’ll wander around and become dinner for one of the big cats. There’s nothing to worry about its all very kosher.”
“But I don’t want to be dinner for anyone.”
“Well who does, tell that to the mice I plan to have for my dinner, but it’s the law of the jungle you might say.”
Just then there was a roar, and a tiger poked its head out of the undergrowth and growled at the man.
“I’d run if I were you,” said Leo, “Ralph is very dogged in his pursuits. Morning Ralph, just telling the man here he’d best make a run for it.”
“More fun if they do,” mentioned Ralph as he lunged forward in pursuit of the quickly disappearing man.
“Oh was that another lurch,” thought Leo, “gonna be a busy day.”