I took the hand, and was surprised when the gorgeous woman lifted me up onto my feet without showing any apparent effort. I’m not overweight, and can live with my mirror appearance if I suck in my stomach a little bit, but I’m no featherweight either. The girl brushed off my shoulders, smoothing down my wrinkled jacket. I noticed that, even when I was standing straight, she was at least three inches taller than me. “I’m okay, I think,” I managed to stammer out.
As I gazed up at the woman, I struggled to find words. The woman spoke up before I could speak, however. “Here, let me make it up to you,” she said. “Let me get you a cup of coffee; you can sit and get your breath back!” And before I could say a word, I was being hauled across the lobby towards the overpriced coffee shop in the building.
Fortunately, I managed to find my voice and placed an order – large coffee, cream, no sugar. The woman ordered an extra-large chai tea. “It helps me keep my mind clear, calms my nerves,” she explained. “Now, my name’s Ellen. Ellen Etters. Who are you?”
“Aiden,” I replied, taking a sip of my coffee. It was too hot, of course, and I forced myself to swallow it, burning my mouth, instead of spitting it out. “Aiden Amherst.”
Ellen leaned forward, smiling at me. “An alliterative name!” she pointed out. “You know, it’s not every day that I get to meet someone . . . with an alliterative name . . . in everyday life!”
I smiled back, although I wasn’t sure what she was talking about. “And you work here?” I asked.
She nodded. “Daily Globe newspaper, on the fifteenth floor. I write a gossip column, and attend most of the city’s high-class functions. There’s actually one coming up tonight!” She leaned in towards me, her eyes blinking enchantingly. “Maybe you could come with me, so that I could get to know you a bit better-”
Before I could respond, we were all temporarily deafened by a loud explosion from just outside the building! I jumped up out of my seat, watching as a giant cloud of dust rolled up against the floor-to-ceiling glass windows. I turned back to my chair, but to my surprise, Ellen was already gone.
She must have gone running off to find someplace safer, I thought ruefully to myself. As another loud crash made the building shudder, however, I decided that perhaps I would be safer outside. I hurried for the door, pushing through the crowds and forcing my way out onto the cement “garden” area. But once outside, I could do nothing but stare up at the sky in awe.
What looked like a gigantic metal monster was stomping around downtown! Even as I watched, the monster swung its arm into a neighboring building, shattering concrete and sending splinters of glass raining down on the shouting crowds below. Everywhere I looked, people were running away in all directions, many with their hands in the air, as pieces of building rained down on the street.
“Away, foul creature!”