The Lady and the Tiger

Leilanie Stewart © 2018

The glass tower block called The City, shone before me in the morning sun. I popped a mint into my mouth and took a deep breath, then climbed the front steps and walked through the revolving doors into a wide lobby. My interview letter said I had to go to the thirtieth floor, so I made my way to the lifts to the left of the reception desk.

I pushed the button and waited. The doors opened and I saw a smartly-dressed woman in her mid-thirties, wearing a tweed jacket and pinstripe trousers. Next to her, on a leash, was a Siberian tiger.

“Are you getting in?” she asked me.

“Really? Is it safe?” I replied.

She smiled. “Sure. A lady can’t be a lady without her tiger. And a tiger needs a lady for balance. Up or down?”

“But- aren’t we on the ground floor?”

She shook her head. “No, it gets much lower than this. Rock bottom.”

I wasn’t sure what she meant, but I got in and stood with the tiger to my right. I raised my hand towards the panel on the left side, but noticed that the numbers only went as high as twenty-five. The doors closed, but the lift didn’t move.

“How do I get to the thirtieth floor?” I asked her.

“You take the lift,” she said.

I frowned. “It doesn’t go up there.”

“Up where?”

“To the thirtieth floor.”

“What about it?”

I paused, not sure if she was playing a game with me. “I need to get to the thirtieth floor.”

“Do you?” she said, smiling.

I could feel my blood rising; in a new place, with no help, being toyed with by a lady and her tiger.

“Can you tell me how to get to the thirtieth floor?” I snapped.

“You take the lift,” she said.

I pushed the button to open the door and shook my head as I walked out. On the right side of the reception desk, I spotted a door that I had not seen from the entrance. A tall, handsome black man opened the door and came out.

“You must be Cara?” he said.

“Yes, I’m here for an interview. But it was supposed to be on the thirtieth floor.”

“Not yet,” he said smiling. “Ms. Leading will see you first.”


This story is included in Diabolical Dreamscapes: Strange and macabre short stories.

Ebook available for pre-order for £1.99/$2.99:

About Leilanie Stewart

Leilanie Stewart is an author and poet from Belfast, Northern Ireland. She has written four novels, including award-winning ghost horror, The Blue Man, as well as three poetry collections. Her writing confronts the nature of self; her novels feature main characters on a dark psychological journey who have a crisis of identity and create a new sense of being. She began writing for publication while working as an English teacher in Japan, a career pathway that has influenced themes in her writing. Her former career as an Archaeologist has also inspired her writing and she has incorporated elements of archaeology and mythology into both her fiction and poetry. In addition to promoting her own work, Leilanie runs Bindweed Magazine, a creative writing literary journal with her writer husband, Joseph Robert. Aside from publishing pursuits, Leilanie enjoys spending time with her husband and their lively literary lad, a voracious reader of sea monster books. CONNECT WITH ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

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