THE WAY IT WENT DOWN: INSIDE
The Willis Tower has many, many rooms and I've been to all the real ones. Every day for the last twenty-four years I've trudged the floors. I've worked all shifts. I've polished with machine and with my hands. I've wiped light switches and squeegeed miles of plexiglas. And everyday for the last ten years, it's only "good morning Joe, how's your day?" followed by hours of silent cleaning, alone. Then home.
I'm a fixture here.
But then I found the door. I opened the closet on 51, in the abandoned studio. The one with the stain that won't come out. Inside, I found the stage.
In the middle of a skyscraper, in the center, crossing down and through where the elevators should be, cutting through space where it could not be, was an old, unused stage. Victorian chairs overturned. Polished handles and old gas lamps. Cobwebs and scrawled graffiti.
Twice, in the rooms off that theater, I heard movement. Once, I saw a man. Or a shape. Skirt a wallpapered, wet, hallway, turning the corner in a hurky-jerky way before vanishing. The rooms went on, and on, and on. But I was clever. I never lost my head, though I barely made it out. I ticked each wall with a grease pencil as I turned down it, and followed it back to the door.
Now. Today. I have the food I need. I have the backpack. I have the flashlight.
It'll be "good morning Joe, how's your day?" and then I'll be in it. I'll be gone. To the place you can find only if you live in a place for long enough. A hole in the world where the rooms go on forever. And I'll find that man. And then I'll know.
I'll understand inside.