126: The Elevator

Edmund had played with the elevator quite a bit earlier. It was fun to ride up and down on the wings of pulleys and levers, but there was no time for that now; he had a problem to solve. He pushed the hound-shaped lever, trying to coax it past the ornate four. The lever stayed resolutely pointing at the four no matter how hard he pressed.

He tried riding the elevator to the third floor and then holding the lever towards the four again. When the elevator stopped, he pressed harder, but neither the lever nor the elevator moved. There was no hidden five, it seemed.

A puzzle then. How to get to the fifth floor, when the elevator seemed to only go up to the fourth? Closing his eyes, he tried to think through it logically. He had seen the elevator descend, so there would be not hatches or trap doors in the ceiling. There would be no reason to have an alternate mechanism to raise the elevator since it had its own, and since the elevator itself was huge and undoubtedly heavy, it couldn’t be raised by rope or some other manual effort.

Well, Edmund reasoned, if the elevator seemed like it was designed to not go up to the fifth floor, he would have to try and break it.

He tried going to the first floor, and then trying to go to the fifth from there with no success. He tried going to the second, then the third floor, then back to the first, then fourth again. He sent the elevator up and down like a yo-yo, trying to find some combination that would send the elevator higher than it was supposed to go. He tried twisting the handle, pushing it up and down and in and out and back and forth–but it resisted his efforts to do anything other than rock gently between the four and the one.

He had just slid the hound to the fourth floor again, when a rumbling in his stomach reminded him it was nearing lunchtime. He was beginning to run out of things to try, and was tired of yanking back and forth on the lever, so he decided he would have to come back to this puzzle later when he was more focused. The elevator was still moving when he twisted the hound back to the elaborate numeral one. The elevator shuddered to a stop as he slid down to the floor with a tired thump.

As he sat with his back to the lever and the elevator began to lower back towards the ground floor, Edmund felt the faint vibration of machinery behind his head. The hums and clicks of gears and springs echoed in the paneling under the lever, and it soothed Edmund’s troubled brow.


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