“Hello Martin,” she said, and laughed, and pushed the Stop button. Martin thought to himself, oh no, this is bad. This is really bad. I need to get off this elevator. But it was no use trying to get off, he didn’t want to touch the fat lady, that made him feel deeply uneasy and sent a shiver a down his spine. She was still smiling at Martin, watching him with an expression of happiness. Martin tried to look the other way, but he could not. He was stuck. His heart was bursting with speed as if it wanted to leave his body. For a second, he thought it did. He put a hand over his heart just to make sure, and sure enough it was there. He gave up trying to do anything, because there was nothing to do except one thing. It was to beg himself out of here. “Please, please,” he begged, “Let me out, please I’ll do anything.” The fat lady was still smiling at him looking through his eyes. Tears slowly started to roll down his cheeks. “Please he said weakly, “Let me out.” Then all went pitch black and the only thing he remembered was the face of the fat lady, but it was different this time. Her features looked thoughtful and concerned.  

He seemed to hear her say, “I have been waiting for something like this to happen for a very, very long time, Martin.”  

Martin’s eyes to begin to blink rapidly. Where was he? What had happened? Oh no, he thought to himself, I don’t know where I am or – 

“Oh good, he’s awake now,” someone stated calmly. There was a rather tall man with a large white overcoat. He had a look of calm on his bright face. The man’s smile was very big, and he looked friendly.  

Martin looked over to his right and left. This room was very small. His stomach began to feel different. He didn’t like small spaces, like the elevator. It was small, cramped, made him feel nervous.  

“Martin, Martin what am I ever going to do with you,” his dad said grimly. “You need to man up,” he told him sternly, “Why did you press the Stop button and faint afterwards?” “Now you're going to say some random person was with you there and hit the button and ran off?”  

“But Dad, someone else pressed it.” Martin noticed the lady, the one who kept haunting him. He pointed a finger in her direction and exclaimed “She’s the one who did it!” He looked to the fat lady. Finally, maybe his father would finally understand why he kept acting so nervous around her. There was something abnormal about her. But was there really? 

“What now son?” Martin’s dad groaned. “There isn’t anyone there. Now, stop imagining things and let’s get a move on.” Martin decided to not to try and tack back to his dad. It was no use. He thought to himself, does the fat lady even exist? Is she even real?  

As if the fat lady heard him, she kindly responded, “Yes Martin, I am indeed real. I am your mother. Or rather, a ghost of the mother you never had.  

Martin followed his Dad out of the hospital as fast as his crutches could allow him to and into the parking lot where the car was parked. His dad was silent on the ride home, just like he was when he took him to the hospital earlier that day. Martin and his dad got up on the elevator.  

“Alright Martin, I am going to stay with you for now, drop you off at our floor and then I am going back to Terry Ullman. You interrupted our meeting after your little ‘accident’.” He sounded like he was talking to little kid, annoyed at him for being too weak and pathetic. Martin felt happy and sad. He was going to be allowed to stay in their apartment for the rest of the day. Bad news was, Dad was going to spend some more time with his girlfriend. He traveled back to his room and noticed something off, until his eyes rested on her. The fat lady with a very happy smile on her face. . . . “NOOOOO!” Martin shouted, “Why are you back.” He hobbled on his crutches to try and reach the door, but it was locked. He hobbled back to his bed and covered himself under his pillows and blankets. The fat lady reached over to him and put a hand over his head and began to stroke his hair, like when a mother would comfort a scared and innocent child. “It’s okay, she told him softy, “It will be okay.” Martin didn’t believe her for one second.  

The door began to move, and he heard his Dad shout, “MARTIN OPEN THE DARN DOOR NOW OR ELSE. He said the last two words with a mixture of relish, and anger. 

“Now, please Martin, follow me, the fat lady said softly, or I’m afraid your father might get even madder.” Martin hesitated, but then decided to follow her, only so that he could escape the room. The door opened with a bit of a bang while Martin slowly traveled on his crutches with the fat lady to the elevator. He and the fat lady now both stood in the elevator. Martin was still squished in the tiny elevator. The fat lady’s eyes looked at his. Was it his imagination, or did the fat lady actually look fainter? 

“Good job Martin,” she said happily, “You have passed your first test.” She was right. He didn’t think about the cramped space as much as he did, nor did he freak out while on the scary elevator. Which could – No a stronger voice came from his voice. Don’t think about what was bad. Think about what is good. He felt proud of himself when he rode the elevator like a normal person. That wasn’t so bad. Maybe I should it again. The next day, Martin used the elevator with the fat lady as much as he could and the more, he did it, the less he saw the fat lady. On the final day he saw his mother which was one week after he began to visit the fat lady and ride the elevator with her, he remembered her saying, “I am so proud of you Martin. You’re no longer the frail twelve-year-old boy I saw a week ago. You seem like a confident, strong boy, just like your father. Martin knew she was right. In just a week he was already doing better. His father loved him more than he ever did in his whole life and Martin was never the one to be picked last for teams in school. He was close to last, but still it was a difference.  

Martin went back to his apartment and the last thing he heard the fat lady say was, “I am going to miss you son. I hope that you will be able to carry on with your new life successfully and be a great mean. Goodbye Martin,” she managed to utter tearfully.  

Then Martin bade her goodbye as well, and then the fat lady disappeared back to the land of the dead. (Or whatever other thing you believe in like Heaven, etc.) 

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