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I work as a full-time electrician in a nine-story office building. Most of the floors in it are rented out. The ninth floor is occupied by the company that owns the building. There is also a basement floor, which is underground. It's mostly storage space.

Today I got a call from the leasing manager asking me to go to the basement and install additional electrical outlets there. The tenants, they say, are asking for it. No problem, that's what's needed.

I got into the elevator, pressed the button with the number "-1", and began my descent to the basement. The elevator was spacious and clean, and on one of its walls hung a large mirror.

As I was riding the elevator, I caught my reflection in the mirror smirking maliciously. I turned my head. Nothing unusual. A normal face was reflected. It mirrored all my facial expressions, as it should. As soon as I turned my head away, I saw a smirk from the corner of my eye. It was unkind, gave me the creeps. I turned my head sharply in the direction of the mirror a couple of times, but each time, the reflection managed to synchronize with my face, showing my dazed eyes.

Finally, the elevator stopped, and I noticed an oddity. There were two buttons glowing on the scoreboard: one and minus one. The doors slid open, and I got out of the stall a little confused.

The elevator left at once.

I had already taken a few steps, but I stopped as if I had come to the wrong place. This floor was nothing like the basement; instead, it copied our ninth floor almost exactly. Except for a few details. On our ninth floor, we have a row of windows on the left side as you get out of the elevator. This one had a blank wall.

Also, this copy of our office was old, dusty, and completely deserted. It was like no one had been here in years. A pair of dim light fixtures were burning on the ceiling, and a peeling front desk was visible in the half-light. The corridor led down into darkness. Some of the doors were open, but a sepulchral silence enveloped the entire space.

I knew all the floors of our building. We certainly didn't have this one! It looked like the ninth floor, but I went down, not up.

"Where the hell am I?"

And then I saw the bulletin board that was hanging by the receptionist's desk. On it was a dusty, black-framed photograph. Looking closely, I saw that the photo was of Arkady Semenovich, our deputy director. But why was the photo in a black frame? I saw him that day; he was alive and well.

There was an oppressive, mystical atmosphere about the place that made me want to escape.

"What if I stay here forever, and the elevator never comes!" the thought came to my mind, and my heart raced with terror.

I jumped back up to the old worn button and pushed it as hard as I could. It glowed dimly, and the elevator responded with the hum of an electric motor. It seemed to take forever.

When at last the elevator doors opened in front of me, I jumped in like I was in heat. The light in the stall literally blinded me after the darkness of that floor. It seemed as if the elevator had come straight from heaven to take me away.

While my eyes were getting used to the light, the elevator brought me to the basement floor on its own and opened the doors. I didn't even have to push the button.

"Where did you disappear to?" Asked the rental manager who was waiting for me.

"I was in the elevator," I mumbled.

"Through Tashkent?" He teased me.

I shrugged, and he, seeing my confusion, just showed me where to fix the sockets, and ran off on his own.

I walked around all day not knowing what had happened to me. I chalked it up to fatigue.

"I must have imagined it," I thought to myself as I went to bed early the next night.

The next day, the whole floor was buzzing with terrible news. Last night, Arkady Semyonovich had been killed in a car crash. And by the evening, there was a picture of him in a mourning frame hanging on the notice board in our office.

This chain of events completely threw me out of my usual rhythm. I went to work like a zombie. Questions kept reverberating in my mind: "How could there be another floor between the ground floor and the basement? The floor slabs are a couple dozen centimeters thick. Why exactly was I there? Maybe it was a hallucination? But then how did I know in advance about the death of the deputy chief? I can't tell anyone, they'll think I'm an idiot."

Two weeks later, I was back on that ground floor. In the morning, the guard from the first floor called and asked to see the switch. He said that it sparked and did not work. So I got in the elevator and pressed the number one button. And again, I noticed the elusive smirk in the mirror. The elevator stopped again at floor zero. The doors opened, but I decided not to get out, and pressed all the buttons one by one. The elevator didn't move. It was like it wanted me to get out and see what was there.

I took a step out into the corridor, holding the door with my hand. I really didn't want the elevator go keep me in this place.

This time I saw an abandoned copy of the second floor. Everything was dusty, and the walls were shabby. In the semi-darkness of the corridor, I saw a stepladder. It was standing right in the middle of the corridor, about ten meters away from me. There was a man lying face down on the floor next to it. He wasn't moving, and in the darkness, I couldn't recognise him.

The elevator started trying to close its doors, so I jumped into the stall. Strangely enough, it moved. It was as if I'd done its bidding. After a short ride upward, it let me out on the first floor.

I spent the rest of the day like I was in a dream, feeling like I was starting to fall out of reality.

"Maybe I need to make an appointment with a psychiatrist." I thought, coming home in the evening. All night long, I had nightmares of some kind.

The next morning I got a call from the tenants on the second floor, asking for me to fix the light fixture in the hallway. According to them, it was blinking desperately.

Taking a stepladder, I went to the second floor...

***

I recently got a job as an electrician in a nine-story office building.

The previous electrician had an accident. He was electrocuted while repairing a light fixture in the second floor hallway. I feel sorry for the guy.

I like my job. I have my own little office, and the salary isn't bad. Everything is fine, except that I think the mirror in the elevator is kinda weird. The reflection in it smirks sometimes.

Or maybe it's just me...

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