Photo: © Al Forbes
I staggered forward, using the walls to keep me upright whenever I could. The corridors all looked the same, with smoked glass doors and deep, dark carpets that seemed to sap the strength from my legs. I pushed the abdominal pain and feeling of nausea to one side. I had to keep moving, and get out before it was too late.
What little I could see of my reflection didn’t look good. I chose to ignore the deep red stains that had soaked through a once white shirt.
I wasn’t consciously aware of making choices, and found my way to the stairwell purely by instinct. I jabbed at the lift buttons. Faint lights appeared but there was no sign of any movement. I couldn’t afford to wait. I headed for the stairs, and kept going, plunging ever downwards.
Loud voices echoed around me – shouts, and the occasional scream. The sounds followed me down, appearing to get closer. I forced myself to keep going, sometimes taking two steps at a time. The searing pain at the back of my knees was becoming unbearable.
I finally reached the ground floor and forced open a fire escape. An alarm blared across the lobby, but I wasn’t going to stop now.
Hobbling out into the eerily quiet street, the low Winter sun hurt my eyes. I waved frantically at a nearby black car. A rear passenger door slid open, and with one final effort, I scrambled inside.
The cabbie glanced in his mirror. His eyes registered no shock at my dishevelled appearance. “You’re lucky, mate. Another two minutes, and I’d have gone. Looks like you’ve survived another Shard Christmas party! I’ll run you home, then, pal.”
This story is inspired by the photo supplied by Al Forbes of Sunday Photo Fiction, January 24th, 2016. For more details click the logo.
To view other stories written for this challenge, please click here.