Chapter 5 Stairs

Written by: Suraya Dewing

He toppled over, arms flailing. He clutched at the banister, then the rails that held it up, anything as he desperately strained to regain his balance. Horrified, Angelica caught a thrashing arm but it slipped through her hands. He tumbled over, shoulders and head crashing against the wall then on down the stairs. With each crunching bang he screamed, his eyes huge and bulging.

His fingers curled around the banister but the weight of his body wrenched him free. He kept falling. Angelica shrieked as she ran behind, reaching out for him but always missing by the tiniest margin. His clothes ripped and bones hit timber with a appalling sound. Several times she almost got hold of him. But then the momentum of his fall jerked him away and she was left holding a fragment of tee shirt or the pocket of his faded jeans.

At the bottom he lay still, groaning. She took the stairs two at a time, calling his name, her voice high pitched and terrified.

She knelt beside him and, crying, took a limp hand in hers.  A crooked line of blood trickled from a deep cut on his forehead.

Stirring, he groaned. “What have you done?”

A sickening guilty pang cut through her. She lifted herself from her knees and holding up a hand to stop him moving, she said, “Just hold on. I’ll get the ambulance.” She pointed at the cut on his forehead.  “I’ll get a plaster for that.”

“I think I’ll need more than a stupid piece of plaster,” he growled, but she had spun away and fled to the bathroom. She slammed the bathroom door behind her.

She leaned against it, helplessly sobbing. He lay, his eyes wide and huge with anger and fear.

She took out her mobile phone from her back pocket and punched in 111. The ring tone seemed to go on forever. Finally a woman’s voice said, “Emergency. Which service do you need?”

“Ambulance!” she screamed.

She explained what had happened through bubbling tears, hung up and waited for the ambulance’s siren to cut through the air.

She finally gathered her scattered, terrified thoughts and filled a bowl with steaming hot water and disinfectant. When she got back he was lying completely still, eyes bulging with terror. She dipped the lint in the water and began swabbing the blood seeping down his forehead.

“I think you might need more than just some foul smelling disinfected water,” he sneered.

The way he spoke made her pull away and sit on her heels. Her heart pounded in her parched throat.

“What do you mean?”

The thread cobweb that had set events in motion dangled from his curling blonde hair.

She reached out to remove it but he snapped at her. “Don’t you dare touch me.”

Startled, she jerked away, arms up in the surrender position. His body was twisted at an awkward angle and nausea rose through her.

“I’ll have quite a story to tell when I get through this,” he said. Seeing that she now looked at his twisted legs, he nodded, “That’s right,” he said coldly. “I can’t feel my legs.”