Step by Step

Kelly does not lift her foot. She does not place it in front of her and shift her weight. Nor does she move her other foot next to the first.

But Kelly’s feet move anyway.

Again she feels her foot rising, ready to inch her forward. She tries to pull it back while it’s in mid-air, hovering, teasing, but it doesn’t listen. Her body betrays her and her foot lands gently on the cool stone. She reaches out, fingers cutting through syrup, and clings on to the banister beside her. She grips so tight her fingers begin to bleed and even her feet have to stop for a moment as they fight against her strength.

Except she cannot move her arms, and so Kelly can only cling on for so long.

She can only watch as her feet move slowly one after the other.

She reaches the first step but cannot bear to look up. She doesn’t want to see how far she will have to climb. She doesn’t want to guess how long it will take.

She doesn’t want to see what waits for her at the top.

Because it is waiting.

And it’s pulling her towards it, one step after the other.

Kelly shudders into a sob as her left foot rises, taking its place on the second step.

A door creaks open somewhere above her head, a waiting, open mouth to which the stairs lead like a tongue, ready to swallow her whole.

Kelly takes another step, closes her eyes, and waits for the teeth.

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