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The Stairwell

The Stairwell

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Published by Joshua Danton Boyd

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Published by: Joshua Danton Boyd on Sep 20, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/20/2011

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The StairwellI'd been sat inside all day reading, eating and generally pottering about. I hadn't opened the curtainsso I hadn't seen sunlight since the day before. I finally decided to go outside to meet some friends.Being in artificial light for so long had started to make me feel slightly unwell, disorientated. After aquick change of clothes I left my flat which was near the top of a huge high-rise. I entered thestairwell to find all the lights were off and the lift not working. I assumed the electricity must havegone so I started to descend down the 30 odd floors below me. At first it was possible to see as thereis a skylight in the roof which allowed the moon to illuminate some of the floors, but as I lookedover the banister I could see that before long I would be travelling in pitch black darkness. I couldnot see anything at the bottom of the square formed by the outline of the stairs. I felt a slight twangof unease, but I was sure I would be safe. It's only a tower block and it's only a bit of darkness. Theair cooled as I got lower and lower, the heat being left behind at the top. There was a slight breeze attimes which obviously had lost all it's strength by the time it had reached my floor. I started to feelcolder and colder and so decided to do my coat up when I suddenly bumped in to something solid.I'd been lost in my own head so assumed I just hadn't heard the footsteps of this other person. Iapologised but there was no response. I asked them if they were going up or down and I moved tothe side to let them pass in case they were heading up. I leant against the banister and waited for areply, or at least for their footsteps to start. There was no sound. I said hello but again, no reply. I put my hands out to see if anywhere was there and I grasped only air. I thought I must have justimagined it and so I carried on, but as I did I heard footsteps behind me run upstairs. I must have just spooked them.By now I had gone down ten floors and the darkness was all enveloping. I kept hold of the banister and picked up my speed a bit. I felt as though I'd been walking for hours and it was impossible tosee if I was getting close to the bottom. As I ran through my head to try and remember if it had beenten flights my fingers ran over something fleshy and cold. I instantly pulled my hand away andfroze. I asked if someone was there and just like before no answer. Footsteps suddenly sped downfrom behind me and carried on in to the depths of the stairs below. My eyes were wide open, nearlyto the point of pain, but nothing held me see more than black. There was complete silence and theoddness of this only just dawned on me. I lived in a building filled with hundreds of people. When Igo downstairs usually every floor offers me someone's music, the sound of a TV set or peopletalking to one another. Today though, there had been nothing. Not a single stir except my footstepsand this other set I had heard. My twang of unease had returned and this time echoed along with myincreasing heartbeat. I decided to get out as quickly as possible and just as I lifted my foot I heardsomething breathe in and then a low, quiet whispering. It was coming from behind, so close asthough someone had placed their mouth next to my ear. I'd had enough and began to run down thestairs. I counted each floor as it passed me to keep my mind off whatever was in the stairwell withme.I'd passed another ten floors. I was two thirds through my journey and my speed was onlyincreasing until I hit a solid wall. I must have overstepped a bit before turning the corner to the nextset of stairs. I turned to my right and simply hit another wall. I turned back on myself and again, thesame thing happened. I threw out my arms and felt around me. I placed my hands on the wallnearest and walked round following it. I was completely surrounded. Encased it what seemed to bea room only two metres squared at most. I started to become disorientated and panicky. There wasobviously no exit and no way I could climb the wall. I slumped in to a corner, my eyes stillstretched out hoping to take in any light I could. I don't know how long I was there for. In the dark,cold silence it felt like days. Attempting to count to keep some sway on time was futile as my mindwas unable to concentrate. Once again, I heard the in take of breath and the same whispering startedagain, but this time from above me. Nearly instantly I also heard it next to both my ears, then from below me, in front of me then everywhere. I was surrounded by a chorus of incomprehensiblewords until it seemed like it had penetrated my mind. The sound became deafening until it felt likemy skull would crack and my ear drums would burst. I grit my teeth, put my hands over my ears

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