She had no idea how it could have happened. She’d navigated those steps hundreds, thousands of times, all eighteen of them, up and down. Was her mind elsewhere? Or were her feet the culprits, clumsy and uncoordinated? Either way here she was, crumpled at the bottom of them, eighteen steps that might as well be a thousand. She couldn’t move.
After the initial scream and painful moans she’d fallen silent. Cries for help were futile.
She came here, to her mother’s cottage, to get away and away she was. There were no other homes for half a mile. Surrounded by fields and grey skies, where would her pleas for help go? By whom could they be heard? Those that escaped the basement would surely be absorbed by the sound of the river near by.
She came here, to her mother’s cottage, to get away and away she had been for two weeks. She’d escaped into her own world and had nearly come to the end of it. Upstairs her computer glared ceaselessly. It knew not rest and would wait as long as it had to for her to return, the curser blinking endlessly, waiting, endlessly for her. She longed to return, to finish the work she’d worked on for well over a year. This was her finishing cottage where all her works were finished and this one was so close only now it seemed so far. She was here and it was there, between them, eighteen stairs.
She couldn’t feel a thing but knew she was cold. The damp in the cellar prevented it from ever being warm, even on the hottest summer’s days. This was a winter’s day, cold and grey.
She couldn’t feel a thing but her hearing was fine and she heard the rain, loud and clear. It was only a matter of time, an approaching fate, unavoidable. The cellar always filled with water in the heaviest rains and this shower sounded like a million feet, marching in discord. The windows upstairs were being pelted and through the open door she heard a billion drops of water hammer at the door.
It may have been midnight, maybe earlier. The only light visible was the very faint glow of her computer, still loyally waiting for her to return. She knew she wouldn’t. The water had already seeped to her feet and by morning she would be subdued, swallowed by the beautiful river which was invading her mother’s cottage.
She waited for the river as the computer awaited her only she wouldn’t be stood up. As the water touched the back of her head she knew it wouldn’t be long. Her head ached with the cold as the water crept further whilst outside the rain continued to pour.