The noise is unbearable. The boisterous shouts from below make my head whirl in anger and terror. They said to run, but, how could I? The blood-curdling screams from downstairs keep me frozen with distress. I can’t move. But they told me to run. No, I can’t.
Come on! I tell myself, one-foot in front of the other. Keep moving. I stumble up the steps, unsure of what I will see at the top. The shouting is getting closer. One foot in front of the other. I can still hear them, but my mind is a blur and I can’t determine where these noises are coming from. One foot in front if the other.
The shouts have ceased. I am reluctant to rest but I’m too tired to carry on. I sit down on the dirty steps. Imagining what horrors I have escaped from. How many steps have I just climbed? 200? I must be nearly at the top. I lean my head against the metal banister and try to catch my breath. Suddenly, I hear a low click from the floor below. I climb down a few steps so I can catch a glimpse of the source of the noise. I can see a tall thin man with brown hair and a scar running down his face. He is holding a pistol in his hands with his finger over the trigger. He looks around, as if confused, until he spots me through the banister. I jump up and spring like a cat towards the light switch. ‘Try and catch me now!’ I think savagely and make my way up more steps. Two steps at a time I make my way up, not daring to breathe or look back. ‘It’s going to be ok’ I reassure myself, only half-heartedly believing it. I hear a flurry of bullets shooting past my ear at dramatic speeds. The noise is deafening. I launch myself around a corner and stay out of sight, with my fingers firmly lodged in my ears. I hurriedly search around in the dark for something that I can use in self-defence. I feel something cold on my fingertips. ‘What are the chances of that?’ I say to myself with a small laugh, for the first time in weeks. I curl my finger round the trigger. Just in case.
When I feel that I’m safe I leap up and start for the stairs. But a bullet catches me across the back of my left calf. I scream in agony and fall to the floor. I hear footsteps only seconds away from me. Paralysed in pain, with one hand on my bleeding calf and the other on the gun, I can hear him. Coming ever closer.
I turn on the lights and now I can see him hurtling up the steps three at a time in my direction. He raises his gun an inch but I am too quick. He doubles over and lies, motionless, on the floor. His eyes are still open and clearly show his last emotions. I limp up a few stairs but I can’t carry on. I feel suffocated. Trapped in a whirlpool of regret, pain and death but I can’t think of that now. I push the thought out of my mind and carry on climbing. After what feels like hours, I make it, exhausted, to the top of the steps. I push on a rusty bar and enter through the doorway.
The view is breath-taking. So many colours fill my eyes at once I want to blink but I force my eyes open so I can view the beauty forever. I am stood on a glass balcony overlooking the city. I limp over to the edge and I feel so at peace. I forget everything. My name, my home, all of the torture I have endured. My life seems meaningless as I stare out at those colours letting them envelope me with warmth and joy, things I have done without for so long. The colours are saying ‘It’s all right’ and this time I believe it. I slowly drag myself back to my thoughts, back to reality. All I know is that I escaped, the others didn’t. I am alive, the others aren’t. And why? They told me to run.