by: Dennis R. Humphreys
“Hey Julio. We have some wind today,” his partner, Lance Tannhauser observed.
Julio didn't like the window. The height didn't bother him but being up fifty stories outside of a high rise on scaffolding where the wind was even worse, coursing between other high rises, was scary. To make matters worse, he had a partner that would suddenly start shaking the scaffolding and screaming 'we're gonna fall', thinking it was funny. Julio used to be a cliff diver in his home country of Mexico, entertaining the tourists outside of Cancun. He was used to the heights and he was used to the winds there. You could have, to a certain degree, control over both on the cliffs. It seemed here you had no control over the winds or what your partner might do. You had to trust someone else. In Mexico, it was just yourself and nature.
Julio Fernandez and Lance Tannhauser were partners on the building. The windows had to be cleaned once a year. With that many windows you finished and then you started all over again. They had been doing it for three years. Lance had advertised in the paper for a helper on the contract he had. His previous partner suddenly developed a fear of heights and quit. That's how it was sometimes. People without a fear of heights suddenly one day wake up and found themselves afraid. Something inside changed overnight.
Lance advertised for someone able to handle heights. That was seventy-five per cent of the job. Julio had just moved with his wife from Mexico to this city and saw the ad. Nothing to it! So, he called. The two became best friends and washed windows together.
For three years they accumulated the wildest of stories. People seemed to think either the window washers couldn't see into the rooms whose window they were at, or closed his eyes to what was going on inside... or maybe they didn't care and saw it as an opportunity to expose their exhibitionist side.
Like the time they came down to do a window and there were a dozen people or so filming a porno movie. It took them all day to clean that window. Then there was the time some couple had sex off and, on all day, long in the room using every piece of furniture there was and tried about every kamasutra move possible. Julio, who had been married for six years learned some moves that day he tried on his wife and neighbors called the police thinking she was being murdered.
Then there was the time someone had a horse in the room on the eighteenth floor. It was there alone; they never saw why the horse was there but how do you ge a horse in a high rise building to the eighteenth floor?
“Hey man, we haven't seen anything cool lately. Hey. I know what you're doing, just quit,” Julio complained.
“Ah... ahhh, we're going to fall. I don't wanna die,” Lance screamed, shaking the platform back and forth.
“You know, one of these days you're going to do that and the platform's going to come loose,” Julio warned.
Most of the time if someone was in the room and they moved in front f the window the people would just come over and lower the blinds, looking at them as if they were making the effort to spy on them. Some would close the blinds but not shut them so you could still look into the room.
“People are strange don't you think my friend?” Julio would ask.
“When did you realize that?” Lance asked his cohort.
“When I started working with you,” Julio joked.
“Yeah asshole, anyone that would purposely jump off a cliff at this height has to be strange,” Lance fired back at his friend.
“Well, that's true. What do you bring for lunch?” Julio asked.
When it was time to eat, they brown bagged it on the scaffold. There wasn't time to raise or lower it, leave the building and grab something somewhere. Often, they traded things as they sat with their legs dangling over the sides and looking at the people of the street. They'd see things there too like police chases... shoot outs... fights. It was almost as interesting from above as outside.
“Back to work man. Let's move the scaffold over to the last window here,” Lance said. Both of them hated the corner windows. On windy days they were especially dangerous because you could be hit by powerful winds coming at you from two sides, whoever was at the end of the scaffold at the corner.
“Hey man, looks like I spoke too soon before. Look at those two going at it. Man, he must be really giving it to her the way she's moving. Oh man, this is better than that porno movie they were filming that time,” Julio exclaimed.
“Julio, man,,, I don't think they're having sex. I think that fucker's killing her. This is serious. Get the fucking controls and get us out of here before he sees us. We'll call 911 but let's out of here first,” the scaffold started moving up but then the guy choking the woman noticed them. He turned suddenly and fired a gun at the window. It didn't go through, but it took a piece out of it on the inside.
'Go down... go down. Ifd we get off on the roof and he comes after us we'll be trapped take us to the ground.
The guy ran to the window as the men began moving down below him. Hje started firing at the window to break it so he could try and shoot them off the platform. They were sitting ducks.
“Shit Julio, all these fucking windows are sealed, we can't go anywhere but down. The fucker's trying to shoot the window out,” he was crying, and about that time shards of glass began falling all around them. “Go faster.”
Lance looked up as they were dropping, as quickly as the motor would drop them.
“The fucker's looking out the window at us. He's getting ready to fire at us,” Lance yelled as he began moving to keep from getting hit while the man started to fire. Julio put the button on continuous so he could do the same as they moved downwards along the building.
Bullets bounced off the scaffold, but it became increasingly difficult to fire at the two men as they got further away without leaning out further. Maybe the guy had his fear of heights.
“Keep taking us down, I'm calling 911 before we lose reception down further,” Lance told his partner.
Lance got the call in reporting the where and when before he lost reception. The guy might be waiting for them by the time they got to the ground but surely, he wouldn't try anything in the daylight. The cops would probably take an hour to get there but Lance planned to park himself in the apartement lobby and staying there, after reporting the incident at the desk.
Lance and Julio repotted the incident and sat in the lobby.
“Did you get a good look at the guy?” Julio asked.
“I think that's him over there with the magazine watching us,” Lance told him, eyeing the guy closely.
“No, that's got to be him over there shaking his foot. He's watching us out of the corner of his eyes,” Julio suggested.
“Shit no... I was too scared to really look. I think I had my eyes closed half the time when he started shooting at us,” Lance informed his partner.
“I think he's right here guys,” a voice spoke out from behind Lance, right next to his hear and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
Lance was ready to come out of his seat screaming. Julio's eyes grew as big as a hoot owl as he looked at the man next to his partner.
“Let's see... it's Julio Fernandez and Lance Tannhauser, isn't it? I'm so glad to make your acquaintance. My name's John Smith,” he told them.
“Nice to meet you Mr. Smith,” Julio answered.
“That's not his real name Julio,” Lance corrected him.
“I'm the guy with the gun that knows who you are. I'll be whomever I want,” he told them both.
“Yeah Julio, that's Mr. Smith,” Lance confirmed.
“You're damned right. Now the three of us are going to go out the door together and head towards the parking garage across the street. Got that?” Mr. Smith ordered.
“No sir,” Lance answered.
“Excuse me?” the killer asked.
“No, we're not going with you,” he told the man.
“Lance... please don't,” Julio began begging.
“If we go with him, he's just going to shoot us there. If you're going to shoot us it's going to have to be here,” Lance buckled down, playing his bluff.
“You don't think I will?” the killer asked.
Where in the hell are the police or security? Lance thought. It's been at least ten minutes since he reported what they saw. If someone would come over to ask more questions it would scare this guy off.
Lance sat there making faces at Julio while Mr. Smith kept making threats. He was trying to get him to run with him out the door and away from this guy, but he wasn't sure if he understood. He didn't want to run and leave his friend to deal with the killer.
Suddenly Lance jumped up and ran to the door.
“Run Julio!” he yelled and ran frantically to the door with Julio close on his heals.
Smith ran after the two as they ran out the door and down the street. He chased them several blocks down the street before the two men ran down an alley to get away but blocking the end of the alley were piles of garbage and trash bins. They stopped and turned to meet their fate. Mr. Smith came sauntering towards them snickering like he had just caught two mice in his trap.
“Mr. Smith... if that's your real name... my friend and I are not afraid to die,” Julio told him taking a stand.
“Well, that's good to hear because that's exactly what's going to happen,” he said smiling psychotically as he aimed his gun at Julio first and pulled the trigger. Noting happened.
“He's out of bullets,” Lance yelled,” he's out of fucking bullets. Let's get the hell out of here.”
They both ran past the killer as he aimed and continuously pulled the trigger several times without effect. Both window washers ran down the alley shouting and jumping in the air like had just come from a basketball game where their home team won.
“I can't believe that Smith guy was so stupid, running out of bullets,” Julio commented.
“Lucky for us he wasted them all trying to get us on the scaffold. Hey, Julio, you don't really believe that guy's name is John Smith, do you?” Lance asked rhetorically.
“What do we do now. The guy knows where we work. He might show up tomorrow if the cops don't get him,” Julio asked.
“He has our names. He'll probably try to get our addresses and show up at our homes,” Lance explained.
“Do you know how many Julio Fernandez's live in this city?” Julio commented.
“That means he'll show up at my place first. There's only one Lance Tannhauser in the book, and that's me. If he can't get us, he'll get our wives and use them,” Lance told him as they ran to get his car. Julio didn't drive but came in with Lance or took the bus everywhere. They only lived a half a mile from each other.
“So, what then?” Julio asked.
“Listen, by now the cops found the body so they know there's been a murder. We get the wives and go to the police station and demand to be put into police custody. We're witnesses to a murder, they have to put us under some kind of protection,” Lance informed his partner.
They stopped at Lance's house first and picked up his wife, Darlene. He told her to get into the car and he'd explain going to Julio's. Then they got Julio's wife, Lisa and all headed back in town to the police station.
“Oh, so you're the guys behind the 911 call about some murder at the Park Lane Apartments? You know there's a fine for making false reports,” the officer at the front desk told the four of them standing there.
“What do you mean false report. We both saw a murder there on the twentieth floor and then the guy shot out the window and tried to kill us,” Lance told him.
“Yeah... we demand police protection,” Julio demanded jabbing the desktop with his index finger to make a point.
“No body, no murder. The only thing the officers found when they got there was an apartment missing a window which the the building claims you broke. Now if you want to talk to an officer and give him some more information, we can file a report. Right now, we have nothing,” the sergeant told them.
Lance figured they could buy time by sitting for an hour or so answering questions and having a policeman fill our paper. It might not mean anything but he was always taught a paper trail was better than nothing. So they sat for about an hour each giving an account of what they saw to the young officer filling out his forms. When they got out of there they still faced a decision.
“Any ideas, amigo, what we're going to do?” Julio asked.
“Let's stop by the apartment. Leon's on tonight and will be in the office. Maybe there's an empty apartment we can get into for a few days,” Lance suggested.
“Hey, that's a good idea man,” Julio told him.
Leon was there. Someone was always there to take care of the tenants with problems. He called the same plumber for plumbing problems and the same electrician for electrical problems, but he monitored everything as did two others like him on staff... twenty-four hours a day. With that large a building something was always happening. Both the window washers explained the problem until Leon's head was spinning.
“Yeah guys. I can put you into apartment 845. It's up for painting and new carpeting. The new tenants won't be in for a month, so the work probably won't happen until the week before that,” he advised, handing them the keys. “Just keep a low profile.”
'That's so cool and we'll be right here for work,” Julio told everyone.
“And we don't have to worry about someone busting in in the middle of the night killing us or following us to work and killing us,” Lance added.
“Yeah, that too,” Julio agreed.
The four of them settled in with the few things they had stuffed into bags and brought with them. It was as good things they all liked each other being in this place otherwise could prove disastrous to the window washers. They sat and watched movies until late and just talking. Both women went to bed early leaving the men to talk.
“I think I know how he got rid of the body so quick,” Julio began,” I mean it took us what, five minutes to get to the lobby? And he introduces himself maybe five minutes after that and knew our names, so he only had about ten minutes to get rid of the body and be on us. That means the body's still in the building. Here's what I think he did: after he shoots at us, he drags the body out to the elevator which is near that room. He pushes the button and then pries the elevator doors open. He watches as the elevator come up the shaft and as it gets to his floor, he pushes the body down the shaft, and it lands on top of the elevator. When the elevator stops at his floor he gets on and comes to the lobby. The body is still there on top of the elevator, man,” Julio concludes his synopsis.
“Well,'' that sounds feasible but why not just be from another apartment nearby... like across the hall or next door. He kills the woman and then carries her body there to wait until later to dispose of it? Lance reasoned. Usually in any case the simplest explanation was the best.
Julio thought about it a few minutes and accepted the idea.
“So how do you think we can catch this guy?” Julio asked Lance.
“Hey, I'm not for catching anybody. That's up to the police,” Lance told him.
“But they don't believe us and until we have a body we're going to be at his mercy,” Julio suggested rightfully. “Do you think he already got rid of it?”
“I don't think he was in any rush if he got it into another apartment which was probably his. I think he was more interested in getting to us. He probably spent the night in front of my place,” Lance figured.
“Do you think he lives there in an apartment? Julio inquired.
“They were probably having an affair and she was more serious than him. She compromised him and he decided to get rid of her,” Lance said.
“If we can find his apartment and watch it, we might be able to catch him when he tries to get rid of the body?” Julio expressed.
“Yeah... but he's armed and we're not. We'd have to get an illegal gun at this point, and we'd probably end up in jail before him even with the body,” Lance surmised the way the law was being enforced these days.
“I know... if we find out where he lives in the building we can peek through the windows from our scaffold. Maybe we can see the body and then call the cops,” Julio recommended as a final answer to the problem.
“And what's this guy going to be doing while we do this? Probably looking for us and we'll be right there. He lives there and we work there, he isn't going to be far away. Besides the cops aren't going to do anything without a search warrant, and they're not going to get one because of us,” Lance informed him, and Julio saw the reasoning. He had been in the country long enough and watched enough cop shows to know the truth in what his fellow window washer said. “I'm going to bed.”
There wasn't anything for breakfast but when Julio and Lance left to start cleaning windows the women left to the grocery to pick up something to cook them lunch and then dinner that night. Julio and Lance left a few minutes early to talk to Vanessa who replaced Leon as day monitor.
“Morning Vanessa. You probably heard about everything that happened yesterday in room 2014?” Lance mentioned to her as a prelude to what he was going to ask.
“Yeah. The manager wants to take the cost of that window out of your guy's pockets,” she told them.
“Hey... we saw what we saw, and the guy came after us. We didn't imagine he tried killing us when he shot at us. That's why we need your help. He got rid of the body within ten minutes so I think he has to be living in one of the apartments on that floor. That narrows it down,” Lance told her.
“I'll help you guys in any way I can. What did he look like?” Vanessa asked.
“He's maybe thirty-two years old, about six feet tall with straight black hair that falls over his forehead. Short sideburns... green eyes. There's a light-colored birthmark on his left cheek, right in the middle. He was wearing a suit so maybe he's a professional. He had a wedding band on and was wearing one of those big gold rings on his right hand that could have a college ring or something, with a red stone. He had I guess what they call a Roman nose,” Lance described their assailant.
“Wow... good description,” the young woman replied.
“Well, you sort of notice everything there is about someone when they're trying to kill you,” Lance informed her.
“I guess. That sure sounds like Jake Mansford in 2017. He's some kind of x military guy. He works as a consultant for a number of companies on government contracts,” she told him without looking anything up.
“How do you know about him?” Lance asked.
“Because he's always hitting on me, except when his wife is around and she's a real bitch. Ellen is her name,” she told Lance.
“What does she look like?” Julio interjected.
“About thirty years old, five ten, blonde hair to mid shoulders... blue eyes. Good looking woman. Real athletic type... probably spends most of her time in the gym and getting massages,” she reported.
“Man, that sounds like the woman we saw getting killed in 2014,” Lance commented, looking at Julio who was shaking his head affirmatively.
“How about the woman in 2014? Has she been reported missing or anything?” Julio asked Vanessa.
“There isn't a woman in 2014. Blake Donner lives there and he's a bachelor. Nice looking guy. Now if he hit on me, he might get somewhere,” Vanessa commented.
Lance and Julio began seeing a logical story emerge here. He catches her having an affair with this bachelor and kills her in his apartment, then takes her body back to their apartment to dispose of later. But what about this Blake Donner? Maybe there were two bodies.
“Have you seen this Blake Donner around lately?” Lance asked.
“Actually...no. But that doesn't mean anything,” she suggested.
“Does he travel for business?” Julio asked her.
“No, he's local and is a successful photographer,” she told them beginning to see the picture herself.
“What are the chances you can get us into apartment 2017?” Lance asked.
“Not a chance,” she replied shortly and firmly.
“I know you have duplicate keys for all the apartments to let in plumbers and the like,” Lance ascertained.
“I do but without a work order it would be my ass,” she insisted.
“So who here's going to say anything? If we don't do something, it's literally our asses. The guy there wants to kill us,” Lance verbalized.
Vanessa stood there a minute thinking. She knew Lance and Julio wouldn't say anything. It would have to be Jake Mansford that would say something and that would only be if he caught any of them, without permission, in his place.
“Alright then guys but you owe me one,” Vanessa told them as she went to the back room and returned with a key. “If you get caught, you got the key from the backroom while I was in the bathroom because I'll disavow any knowledge of this.”
“Sure thing. We'll do that for you,” Lance told her, taking the key. “Thanks.”
“OK man, what's the plan?” Julio asked as they walked through the lobby.
“Hey where were you guys last night? I waited all night for you to come home,” Mansford said coming up from behind them.
“Oh... good morning, Mr. M... Smith. How are you today?” Julio asked.
“I'm just fine boys. Isn't it a glorious morning to be alive?” he asked with definite undertones to his voice.
“So, you were waiting for us at my place,” Lance asked.
“I thought the three of us could have a little target practice,” he told them sarcastically.
“Listen, maybe we can come to some kind of an agreement?” Lance suggested.
“What... you mean financially? That doesn't make me feel any better about the arrangement,” Mansford replied.
“Well, we don't know you and the police have no body. We can just keep it that way and have a little extra spending money. Who's going to believe us otherwise?” Lance suggested.
“Time makes some incredible changes and that's out of my control, but I'll think about it. You boys have a nice day,” he said and walked out the front door.
“Do you think he bought it about not knowing who he was?” Julio asked.
“Maybe... but you almost blew it when you said 'hi' to him. I caught your stumble almost calling him Mansford before you called him Smith. I don't think he would have walked out of the building with us here though if he thought we knew.”
“Well now the time to go to his apartment,” Julio told his partner as he moved to the elevator.
“No, he might be watching to see if we start work. We have our phones. We'll go up the scaffolding, it's still here on the ground. When we get up there, I'll climb in the open window and let myself into 2017. If you see anything call me. You start cleaning the window above it. He can't see much from the ground; he'll think we're both cleaning that window. I'll call you when I'm ready and then we'll move down to the window below it,” Lance planned.
“The glass company will be here to replace the window. They'll need our scaffold,” Julio pointed out to his friend.
“That'll take them two days. Plus, they have to contact the apartments first with a work order. Vanessa didn't say anything about that, and they won't be able to reach Donner from the sounds of it,” Lance told him.
The men climbed onto the scaffolding, checking the cables and bolts before they left the ground... their normal procedure. Julio unlocked the mechanism to control the lift and began ascending. As they rose, both men looked around to see if they see their Mr. Smith anywhere. He was most likely there, watching, but neither pair of eyes could see him. As the scaffolding passed the busted window, Lance cut the plastic someone stretched over the opening to keep out the weather, quickly and jumped inside. Julio continued up to the next window where he prepared to clean. From there he went immediately to apartment 2017. He thought a moment as he opened the door and went in... the bathroom was the most logical place to look first. He walked in and saw nothing but when he pulled back the shower curtain there were two bodies... a man's and a woman's. No doubt the man was Blake Donner, he fit Vanessa's description.
Then he thought about it more. There was no guarantee even if the killer accpted Lance's offer, at any time he could kill them. He needed something to hiold over the man's head. He took pictures first but then he thought about Julio's original thought of how he thought the killer got rid of the woman's body. What a place to hide it!
Lance picked up her body and carried it out of the apartment to the elevator and pushed the button. He pried open the doors with his screwdriver and waited as the elevator came to his floor. When it was just below ity he pushed her body down the shaft so it landed on the top of the elevator. The doors opened and Lance waited until someone pushed th button for the elevator, hopefully from below. After a couple of minutes, the cables started and the elevator began its decent. As it did, Lance took a couple more pictures proving where the body now was. Satisfied he called his friend and went to the window. As the scaffold passed the window, Lance climbed onto it.
“Well?” Julio inquired.
“I found both bodies in the bathroom. I took pics and then I used your idea and dropped her body onto the elevator roof. I took more pics. This was all illegal and won't hold up in court or get a warrant, but I was thinking if someone discovered her body on the elevator that would be different. It isn't in a private apartment,” Lance told Julio.
“Good thinking. This guy's going to go ape shit though when he finds her body missing,” Julio told him.
“Yeah, but he won't know where it is and won't want to kill us until he does,” Lance informed him.
“Man, he's going to be all over our asses trying to follow us. Now if he knows w'ere here in this building, it'll make it easier for him,” Julio surmised.
“Maybe it's time to move back home then,” Lance suggested, “maybe tomorrow. I'd like to get the body discovered first and him either arrested or taken in for questioning. We know where he is too right now.”
At lunch they both went to see Vanessa before she went home at the end of the day, so they didn't miss her.
“Here's what we borrowed earlier,” Lance told her as he slid the key to her.
“Did you find anything,” she asked as she palmed the key.
“Sure did... two bodies... his wife and your Blake Donner. He won't be taking any more pics,” he told her.
“What now? We can't just call the police and say the window washers were in someone's apartment and found two bodies,” Vanessa told him.
“I took pics, and I removed the woman's body. I threw it on top of the elevator there. Now it's out of a private residence and in the general building area. We just need to get an elevator technician there to find it. The rest will be history,” Lance suggested.
“I'd hate to be on your bad side. Sure... I'll put in a request into Eerie... they take care of the elevator. I'll just tell them a couple of the residents complained about noise and bumpiness in the elevators,” she told them as she looked at her watch. “They may not send someone out until tomorrow.”
“Shit... our friend is going to go ape shit when he finds his wife's body is gone. Tomorrow might be a long wait,” Julio expressed fear.
“I'll see what I can do. That's all I can promise,” she told them.
“We're going up to catch something to eat. You going to be here when we come back down in about half an hour?” Lance asked her.
“I should be. I'll let you know,” Vanessa told Lance.
Darlene and Lisa made lunch for their husbands and Lance told them what he found and did.
“I hope you nail that asshole,” Lisa said, putting out the food with Darlene so they could all eat.
“I just want to breath easily,” Darlene told everyone.
“He won't do anything without knowing where his wife's body is, I'm certain of that,” Lance reassured everyone including himself.
Going back downstairs to take the scaffold back up, they both stopped by the office to see Vanessa.
“Hey Vanessa...we're back, Lance announced as they headed into the office. Lance noticed she was giving him 'a look' and was acting strange. When they walked into the office he realized why when he was startled by a voice from the corner of the office from behind him.
“There are the two I want to talk to,” the killer said happily slapping Lance on the shoulders.
“Let me know if there's anything else, Mr. Mansford,” Vanessa called out as they left.
“Mr. Mansford?” Julio asked walking on their heels
“Oh, cut the crap Julio... you know I'm not John Smith,” Mansford corrected him angrily.
“Just like I know you guys are responsible for my wife's missing body.”
“Your wife is missing her body?” Julio asked surprised.
“Shut the fuck up, Julio,” both Lance and Mansford said at the same time.
“Take your friend's advice. You're not being funny,” Mansford warned. “I just want to know what you did with it.”
“It's in a safe place, along with pictures of Blake Donner's body, names... everything the police want to know just in case you ever decide to do away with one or both of us,” Lance told the man.
“You think you're smart. You think you're fucking smart, don't you? What makes you think I won't just say 'fuck it' and shoot you anyway?” Mansford warned.
“Because you're not that stupid,” Julio piped up. “As long as you cooperate none of us have to worry.”
Julio suddenly came to the plate and was acting like a player.
“As long as I cooperate. That's rich. I tell you what gentlemen... we are going to talk about this further,” Mansford forewarn ed them and walked out of the building. Vanessa came out of her office then.
“I called the service technician. They're going to try and come out by six ut if not it'll be first thing in the morning. I personally don't think they'll be here until then,” she said.
“Let me ask you this Lance. Do you think we should stay here tonight or go home?” Julio asked.
“We'd better stay here. I don't think he knows we're here, so I think we're OK and the women are fine,” Lance told him as they started their upward climb.
As they got closer to the broken window there was someone standing there. Both men could tell who it was at first because of the plastic sheet covering the opening. But then Vanessa poked her head through the slit in the plastic that Lance made earlier. Then Mansford stuck his head out next to hers, smiling and holding his gun up to her head. As they stopped the advance of the scaffold and were even with the window Mansford began talking.
“You know it certainly occurred to me you have a body in your possession and maybe we could conduct a trade for the one I have in my possession,” Mansford said marveling at his own intelligence. “Come inside gentlemen.”
Julio and Lance stepped off the scaffold, through the plastic, and onto the floor.
“Go ahead guys... lead the way,” Mansford instructed, as he had Vanessa in front of him and pointing the gun at her.
Lance wasn't sure what to do but lead him to the stairwell, so he started that way past the elevator. About that time the elevator doors opened and Mansford turned to look. Before anyone could do anything, Vanessa turned and shoving Mansford off balance, shoved him into the elevator. The problem was the doors opened but the elevator wasn't there only and empty shaft. The elevator had stopped one floor up and these doors opened. Vanessa had sent Mansford on a speedy demise down the shaft.
As they stood there looking, the elevator began its downward trip but stopped midway with the doors still open. Lying on the top of the elevator was Mrs. Mansford with her head turned looking at the three of them. She had the biggest smile imaginable on her face.