When the elevator door opened, Marie was finishing a text message to Kate, asking if she wanted to meet up after work for happy hour.
If she had bothered to look up, she would have noticed that she was no longer in the Everline building.
She was not, for that matter, even on Earth.
She was in a tropical jungle where the afternoon sun was at the apex of its journey across the sky. It was about 88 degrees Farenheit, and there was a war on.
Marie did not look up, however, until she realized that she had no cell service where she was, and by that point it was far too late.
She blinked in the sudden sunlight, felt behind her for the elevator, and, feeling nothing, turned around.
The movement attracted the attention of the closest sniper, who fortunately enough for Marie, had been drinking before he was called in. He took aim with unsteady hands, swaying slightly in his tree perch.
The bullet whizzed by her right ear taking out a few branches behind her before embedding itself deep into an old palm tree. Marie had never been particularly athletic, but she executed a nearly perfect sideways jeté attempting to scramble out of the way of the attack, dropping her iPhone somewhere in the underbrush.
Upon landing, the spindly right heel of her favorite pair of Loubouton’s snapped off at the stem. Miraculously, she managed not to fall.
“Fuck!” Marie cried.
“Fuck,” the sniper thought to himself, taking aim again.
He shot and missed again as Marie bent down and grabbed the broken piece of her heel, staring at the shiny red underside.
Close by, somebody else screamed as they were successfully hit by a sober marksman.
With shaking hands, Marie opened her purse and took out the pair of folded-up black ballet flats she always kept on hand in case of emergency. She tucked the broken heel into her back pocket and stood up to change her shoes, as a wild woman came charging out of the bush and shoved her.
Marie fell back, losing her grip on the flats. She swore again.
“What the fuck?”
“Gurgh,” the woman replied, clutching at the bullet wound in her chest. She gave Marie a long look, as if she wanted to say something very important. Her dirty fingers clenched reflexively as the red stain in her shirt started to widen.
“Gurgh,” she said again, more insistently, before keeling over.
Marie took that as her cue. She kicked off her broken Loubouton’s and ran.