A young woman is returning home after a busy day of work at night. She managed to avoid the worst of the rain but she had to run a bit to get to her apartment. Slightly exhausted, and with even slighter foot pain, she pressed the button to call the elevator and waited around. The elevator doors opened, she stepped in, but before she could press her floor, she heard some fast-paced steps. “Hold the door!” rang out a young man’s voice and she pressed the button to allow the boy into the elevator. “Thank you so much”, he said, grateful.
“What floor are you on? I’ll get the button for you” said the man panting for breath.
“Oh, it’s the 10th, how kind of you” replied the girl.
“No way! I live on the 9th!” said the man, in a surprised tone.
The two engaged in short casual conversation, how work was killing her feet, etc. The girl noticed that the boy had some pretty looks to him and was teetering on the edge of asking if he was free anytime soon. She was puzzled at how she never met him before especially when they lived a floor apart. The elevator reached the 9th floor and the man stepped out.
“Goodbye!” said the man. “I’m sure we’ll see each other again…”
As soon as he muttered those words, the man turned around. The pleasant and reserved visage now was grinning ear to ear with a wide, eerie smile, his eyes bloodshot. In his hands was a bloodied kitchen knife and he dashed up the stairs as the elevator doors closed.
My informant is my brother who told me this story when we lived in South Korea which was around 18 years ago and clearly it was effective in its fright factor if it stuck with me for this long despite my entire family not being particularly good with horror stories. He states that he read it online and was particularly spooked and began spreading the story around by himself.
My brother retold me the story for good measure during the time I asked him to share folk stories with me when I brought up how I remembered this one in particular because of how it frightened me when I was younger.
While not a memorate, the paranoia instilled by this story can affect any regular person who frequents the use of an elevator, as it has spread from my brother, to me, and hopefully to anyone reading. The greatest way to experience this story is through Korean message boards and blogs where people have drawn comics to illustrate this story and the final panels become animated to properly convey the shock factor. Unfortunately most of my access to these sort of sites are through my brother and I haven’t been able to find them. In this way, it would be difficult to assign any one person as the author to this story as someone who makes the scariest comic could become its sole owner just by being the one who owns the version of the comic that is most shared across the variations. Among other types of real life horror stories about dying in an steel cage of death called an elevator, I was convinced pretty early in my life that I was just way better off taking the stairs and get some exercise while doing so. It’s effective in the Asian apartment context as it is an incredibly common sight in South Korea so it works off its mundane set-up for something horrifying. The point of the story is to lull the readers into a false sense of security with superfluous little additions to the setting detail when really, the most important part is the end. I think there was a string of elevator murders in Japan around the early-mid 2000s, which is where the story might have originated.