The thing is in the elevator, sniffing. It’s got white fur. Looks like a cat or a monkey. All this fluffy white fur. Looks like it must shed like a motherfucker, worse than a sheepdog.

We’re at the lobby, and I’ve just pressed the 19th floor when the woman steps on carrying the thing. She hits the 20th button and stands right in front of me. I don’t know why anyone would do that in an elevator as big as this, but that’s what she does.

The elevator starts to lift and I get that odd magnetic pulling-down feeling as the buttons start to light up. I’m watching the floors, looking at anything but the woman and her weird-looking companion.

…2… 3…

This hippie-looking chick is standing in front of me, holding this creature like a baby, and its head is over her shoulder and staring right into my face. She’s wearing wooden beads and her brown hair is in dreads. She’s a white girl, really skinny, probably a vegan, looks about 40.

At first I think her companion is a small white dog or a cat. The thing is sniffing the air with this little pink nose, its head on the woman’s bony shoulder.

For a second, I consider petting it, but then I move to the other side of the elevator. It keeps getting its wet, pink nose in my face. It’s gripping the woman’s shoulder with these little black monkey fingers.

…6….7….

I’m glad I moved. Because it grins.

My lizard brain goes haywire. I manage to keep my anxiety under control.

When it grins, it’s got all these really human- like teeth set into black gums. Its mouth is horrendously large, too big for its face, looks like the goddamn Cheshire Cat from Alice In Wonderland. Its eyes are black, its ears are pointed but a little too long to be a cat’s. It’s got a big furry tail that it’s whipping around and I can see little wisps of hair flying off the tail. It looks like some mutated Persian cat or something.

9…10…

Its grin is freaking me the fuck out. It’s just me and the woman in the elevator.

“What does that mean?” I ask the woman holding it.

The owner looks offended. She frowns at me. She can probably tell I’m nervous.

“She’s smiling!”

…12…13….

“Oh, does that mean she’s happy?” I’m sweating and looking at the thing. I seriously wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t try to leap over here and attack me.

The grin makes it look like it’s literally about to tear my throat out. It’s gums are fucking black, the thing’s teeth look like polished ivory Chiclets neatly set into rows of wet tar. It’s looking right at me and won’t stop.

I look at the door, at the buttons, the elevator feels really cramped all of a sudden. I can smell the thing and it smells unnatural. Like perfume. Like a skunk if a skunk smelled good. Or maybe that’s the woman.

It won’t fucking stop grinning like that. It looks like a war-face. It’s breathing really heavily now, too, like a dog that’s got something caught in its throat. I can see its sides heaving.

…15…16…

“She’s just smiling,” says the owner again, not looking at me. “That’s just her smile. She likes to smile.

That is not a smile. It looks like she’s about to fucking attack me and rip my throat out. This is the longest elevator ride of my fucking life.

What is that thing, make it stop looking at me, I think.

I’m cowering in the corner of the elevator like a fucking child. A grown man in a tux on his way to a conference call, with his guts turned to steamed ramen because of some furry demon-cat-thing held by her granola-munching liberal douche harpy owner.

…17….18…

“Yeah, if she did that while I was touching her I’d be screaming right now,” I say, my body wracked with chills.

The woman looks pissed but this is my floor.

The button dings, the doors open and I nope the fuck out of there.

Everything is a work in progress.