~ Sentinel ~

by Gethin A. Lynes

She stands in the elevator like a gatekeeper, surrounded by a miasma of Chanel No. 5, the glossy black brick of her purse outstretched to hold the door open. I’m pinned to the wall by her javelin gaze, a silent admonishment for neglecting to hold the door open myself. Perhaps she fancies herself shepherd to the sheeple disembarking the train, perhaps she doesn’t like my haircut, or the small German flags upon the shoulders of my jacket. The lanolin stink of commuters in confined spaces mingles with the choking fumes of her perfume. The sign on the wall says Capacity: 11 Persons; there are twelve of us; the black purse remains firmly lodged in the opening. A final glare, eyes narrow above her cat’s-bum mouth, and she releases me. A resolute shrug, nose in the air, she lets the doors close.