The elevator stood like a beacon: doors polished to a bronzed glow. I stood in line with a hundred others. Cell phones in hand, beeping with a Morse-code signal that sounded in rhythmic waves. The code signaling that we were chosen, and this was our final destination.
A destination hidden, only to be found by the cryptic signal. One of many hidden elevators, scattered across the world.
I marveled at the chosen. We who looked no different from the billion other doomed souls. Selected to descend into the bowels of the earth to save what we could of humanity. To live in small, self-sustaining underground cities, built when we learned of the asteroid, now scheduled to make impact in thirty days.
Chosen by lottery based on our specific skill sets.
It wasn’t fair. But then, what was?
We stood with our phones, our belongings, our relief and sorrow. Silent and alone in each other’s company, but for that signal and our guilt. Circling each other. Loud in the damp cavern.
A buzz. Crank. Gears grinding. Focusing our attention to the elevator.
Doors opened and out stepped a tall man, wearing a navy suit coated in a fine layer of earth. Cropped black hair. Coffee-colored skin. Mahogany-colored eyes.
My eyes landed on the cell in his hand. One push of a button and the signal stopped. Silence filled the cavern.
He glanced over us. Eyed our belongings. Nodded toward the elevator.
We took our cues. One after another. We stepped inside.