Chapter 5

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Chapter 5

The Hall of Souls

Kara forced open her eyes. She stared at a grey marble floor. Half of her face was squished against the cool ground. She felt her knees folded under her and her butt in the air. This is a very attractive position. Walls with wood panels surrounded her. Oh, thank God—I’m in the elevator. She pushed herself up and sat on her heels.

An enormous primate sat in the operator’s chair. Although sitting, his frame reached the top of the elevator’s ceiling. His bald head grazed the top. His long hairy arms brushed the floor, and his fat behind drooped on both sides of a wooden chair. Bright orange fur toppled over his red slacks and covered every inch of him—a jumbo sized orangutan.

Kara scrambled to her feet and checked herself out. Hmmm—I look clean enough—no sighs of any disgusting little bits. She studied the orangutan for moment and cleared her throat. “Hey there,” she said and gave a little wave. “You’re not chimp 5M51.”

The orangutan rotated its head in Kara’s direction. It blinked, then whirled around in the chair to face her. A small pair of round spectacles rested crookedly on the bridge of his flatten nose.

“What floor, Miss?” it asked in a British accent. It lowered its head to be at eye level with Kara and pushed the spectacles up with an exceptionally long finger. “Hmm?”

Kara raised her eyebrows. “Right…um…” She glanced down at the crumpled file still clutched against her chest. “Uh—I think I’m supposed to go to level four?” She looked behind her half expecting David to suddenly appear. She wished he was here with her.

The primate watched her. His watery eyes flicked to the file she held around her middle. In one slow movement, it lifted its arm and pressed the number four brass button on the control panel. Long strands of orange hair swayed below his arm. “Level four!” He said loudly, his peach colored eyes bewitching her.

“Thank you,” she managed to say staring at the floor.  “So…you work with chimp 5M51—?”

“CHIMP!” interrupted the primate furiously. “I am no chimp! Do not mistake me for one of that dreadful lot. My species is superior. I am an orangutan. Orangutan 7PT9, if you please,” he said as he puffed out his chest. He straightened his spectacles and wrinkled his face in contempt.

Wow, who’s feeding crack to the monkeys? “Okay then, orangutan 7T-something-something—?”

Kara sighed as she waited in a long and uncomfortable silence. The elevator ascended to a higher level. She noticed the orangutan staring at her. “Why do you keep staring at my head?” she said after she couldn’t bear it anymore. “Is my head on the menu or something? What is it?”

The orangutan dropped his eyes and stared at the floor. “Hmm—no reason. I wasn’t staring at your head.”

“Yes, you were.”

“No, I wasn’t.”

“You just did it again! I saw you!”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” 7PT9 lifted his chin and faced the control panel. His left eye stared at Kara.

Kara bit her lip. “Whatever.” She hid her head behind the file. Her hands shook. “Stay calm. Level four can’t be as bad as level three,” she said to herself.

Her mind flicked back to what had happened to Mrs. Wilkins moments ago. Images of shadow demons flashed before her eyes. A tiny ball of light hovered above Mrs. Wilkins’s dead body. Kara frowned and lowered the file. She wasn’t sure she was guardian angel material. She wrapped her arms around her chest. What happens to guardian angels who’ve lost a soul? Kara leaned against the panel. Her body trembled. She waited.

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