Slide #CCC

The abandoned theme park was where we hung out. I loved the creepy feeling of the dilapidated buildings. All my friends were daring each other to do stupid things and I got picked to slide down the helter-skelter.

I climbed the rusty steps and held on to the blue painted chipped handrail. I made it to the top and hurried into the dark mouth. I felt the helter skelter shaking as I shuffled downwards.

There was a snapping and groaning of plastic and metal. I tried to run but my head hit the tunnel top and stumbling down my belly I blacked out.

Screaming from the girls outside brought me back to then all sound faded as I shook the pain from my head.

I carried on sliding down, feeling all the bumps of the joints underneath me.

Finally, I reached the end and slide out into a dirty puddle topped with leaves. Breathing deeply, I waited for the cheers of my friends but none came. Instead, other voices crowded the air welcoming me to Fun Land.

 

(Inspired by; https://crispinakemp.com/2020/05/13/crimsons-creative-challenge-79/ with thanks).

Tsujigiri #AtoZChallenge

miyajima-1830143_1920

Tsujigiri – crossroad killing. A Japanese samurai with a new katana to test attacks a random defenceless passer-by at night.

The single track road was dark. Touches of light cast from the houses of the edge of the town kept the night at bay but wasn’t enough to really see by. There was a low murmuring of animals, a dog whined somewhere and horse let out a long neigh. People’s voices faded as the doors of the tea houses shut, leaving only the gentle lapping of water to break the silence.

Hiki sat as if he was a drunk who had fallen asleep by the side of the road. His black helmet with the forked stag like horns on top was pulled low to cover his eyes. The rest of his black lacquer armour was back in his room. Hiki hadn’t needed it for this. Instead, he was dressed in black bellowing robes and saddles which made him fit in more of the town’s people and also the growing night.

At Hiki’s side, laying in the long grass so it was hidden but still in easy reach was his new katana. The sword was unsheathed in preparation and Hiki’s right hand was resting next to the black lacquer handled.

This afternoon when he had received the katana, he had practised with it to make sure the balance was right. Hiki had demanded of the swordsmith that the sword be lighter then normal, so it could almost be wielded in one hand. The blade was to be sharp on both sides and the curve more pronounced. The handle was to be left plain so Hiki could dress it himself and that was going be in the traditional black and white diamond pattern of ribbons.

Firstly though, the katana had to draw it’s first blood and kill it’s first victim. Which was why Hiki was sat outside the town pretending to sleep. He couldn’t fight just anyone for the katana’s first outing. This thing had to be done just right and Hiki had found the perfect setting.

He had been observing the town since he had first arrived and during the wait for the katana to be made. The town was no stranger to samurai and produced good weapons and armour. There was a steady flow of people coming in and out with supplies, even by night they travelled because the roads were free of dangers thanks to the numbers of samurai.

The sounds of cart wheels and a horse clopping along, sent a thrill through Hiki. His fingers twitched towards his katana and held the handled lightly. Trying to remain still was hard but he controlled his breathing and cleared his thoughts. He couldn’t get up too soon, the timing had to be just right.

He peeked out from under his helmet and looked at the patch of road he could see. He didn’t turn his head towards the sound. He knew when he saw the horse come into view that was his signal.

Time seemed to slow, Hiki counted each breath and listened as the horse got closer. Hiki’s hand tightened on the katana, his legs twitched as they got ready for action. Soon, it would be the right moment.

The horse came into view faster then Hiki realised. He shot up, his body that had been laying like a scarecrow coming to life and with the grace of a dancer moving through the darkness. His katana swooshed through the air like falling cherry blossom caught on the wind and the head of the cart man went flying through the air.

Hiki let out the breath he had been holding. The horse cried out, reared in fight and shot down the road. The body of his master slide off the cart’s seat and tumbled into a ditch. Blood dripped down the katana as Hiki lowered it and listened to the sound of the running horse and trundling cart fade.

Slowly, Hiki walked over to the cart man’s head and picked it up by the top knot. The head swung, dripping blood and trails of the inside. Hiki inspected the katana’s work in the dim light and he was satisfied by the cleanness and sharpness of the cut.

(Inspired by; http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com)

Spaghettification #AtoZChallenge

wormhole-2514312_1920

Spaghettification – the process by which an object would be stretched and ripped apart by gravitational forces on falling into a black hole.

The engines of the spaceship let out a desperate sound of straining and Colbert put more pressure on them. He was determined not loss this gravity fight with the black hole. The lives of his crew were in his hands and they had been through so much all ready.

Colbert shook his head to get rid of the sweat dripping into his eyes. His knuckles had turned white on the control sticks and his hands were numb because of the tight grip. He gritted his teeth and kept his eyes on the front windows ahead of him.

Space was endless, dotted with planets and stars, wormholes, asteroid fields and so much more undiscovered. It was rare for a black hole to appear as normally they were find and carefully mapped but this one that Colbert had found his spaceship in hadn’t been plotted.

‘I won’t give up,’ Colbert hissed, ‘come on, baby,’

A crackling voice came over the speaker, ‘boz, the engines are over heating!’

‘It’s fine, Linger! They can take it!’ Colbert barked back.

Linger answered but the intercom crackled over it.

Colbert puffed out and shut his eyes. His whole body was shaking and he felt dizzy.

The engines give out a churning noise then cut. Colbert smelt smoke. He let out a scream of defeat and everything began stretching as if they were warp jumping. Then the spaceship began ripping apart and groaning under the buckling stress.

More screams and yells echoed through the ship. Colbert listened to them over the intercom, his heart pounding. The front window smashed and he was sucked out, tumbling into a grave of unknown blackness.

(Inspired by; http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com)

Noyade #AtoZChallenge

velizar-ivanov--uPLzScOMFE-unsplash

Noyade – an execution carried out by drowning.

The ropes bit deeply into her wrists but she held her head high. Around her, villagers chanted, ‘witch, witch, witch!’ She ignored their cries and walked bare footed to the edge of the pond.

Everything was already set up, the witch hunter hadn’t delayed. He pushed her into a chair and she was tied into it. More ropes cut into her skin and cold prickled through the under dress she had been stripped too.

She said nothing. Knowing there was no sense in talking to anyone. They all believed what they wanted to believe and how could the single voice of the accused sway a crowd like this?

A crank handle was turned and slowly she rose up. Men pulled her out over the surface of the water. The villagers started yelling and waving their farming tools or whatever else had been to hand before they had come storming to her hovel.

The witch hunter called for silence and spoke out, ‘if she floats she is a witch. If she sinks she is not!’

‘Witch! Witch!’ the villagers yelled.

She felt the cold swirl of the pond water against her toes then her whole body was plunged into the water as the rope holding her snapped. She heard the screams of the villagers then nothing as the water closed over her.

(Inspired by; http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com)

Lycanthropy #AtoZChallenge

wolf-3022813_1920

Lycanthropy – supernatural transformation of a person into a wolf

The full moon was rising in a squid ink sky. Dakota could sense it, his skin was crawling and the creature shifted his muscles and bones as it got ready to realise.

Dakota drove out to the forest were rain still dripped off the spring tree leaves. He followed an old hunters’ track and parked in front of the long abandoned cabin. He got out, took his clothes off and left everything in the truck.

Dakota walked deep into the forest, not worried about getting lost as his keen smell would led him back to the truck. The creature was always with him and he could use its’ supernatural senses anytime Dakota wanted. Unfortunately, there was a price to pay and that was what the creature always demanded – freedom.

He didn’t know what it was about the cycle of the moon that the creature seemed to follow. He guessed it was part of the curse. Dakota had tried everything to keep the creature in but every full moon the creature took total control and there was nothing he could do.

Out here in the forest was the safest place to be. There was space for the creature to roam and to not come across anybody. Dakota felt a twist in his gut, he remembered everything about these nights like he was watching a live movie. So far he hadn’t killed a person but he dreaded doing so.

Pain raced through his body and Dakota dropped to the ground. Everything in his body was on fire. He gritted his teeth and tried not to cry out in pain as the transformation happened. He felt his spine changing first then his limbs and head. It took seconds but it felt like years.

Dakota slummed on the damp soil, breathing deeply and felt the numbness kicking in. It was a relief. Darkness cover his sight and he feel unconscious.

When he stirred, he had fully changed. The creature’s eyes were sharp and able to see in the dark. His tall ears pricked to all sounds of the forest which had the same volume as a heavy metal concert. The creature’s nose sniffed deeply the so many wonderful smells of live. The creature shook it’s body and felt the mass covering of fur fly then settle back into place.

The creature shifted soil beneath its paws. The urge to hunt and kill growing. Throwing a massive head back, the creature let rip a monster’s howl.

It was free once more.

(Inspired by; http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com)

Afreet #DearDiary #AtoZChallenge

journal-2850091_1920

Afreet – a powerful jinn or demon from Arabian and Muslim mythology

Dear Diary,

My eBay parcel has arrived! A whole two months after ordering and having the delivery date continuously set back. I wasn’t expecting to never receive it, thinking I’d fallen into a scam again but no! I opened the parcel and inside was the box! And it’s a perfect addition to my collection.

It’s so pretty, all cherry wood with intricate inlaid design of flowers, leaves and swirls. It’s bigger then both my hands put together, so a medium size then. It’s hard to tell the age but it must be old because it’s smooth to the touch and looks quite worn down. There’s damage to one corner, it’s cracked and chipped but it’s at the back so can be hidden.

I went to open it but couldn’t not! There was a tiny keyhole lock and of course, no key to be found! Disappointed but determined, I got some tools out and after a few minutes I had broken the lock.

The hinges were old too but silent as I opened the box. Inside, was all wood and a darker colour from the outside which showed how time had aged things.

I smiled, thankful it had arrived safely but then a sort of thick, dark red mist rose up from the box! There was a strong gust of air, I dropped the thing and tumbled backwards. I hit my head on the edge of the sofa and as I sat up rubbing the growing bruise, I saw a form taking place above the coffee table.

I was too shocked to cry out or anything, I just carried on watching as before me appeared a huge red demon ? His massive black curly horns bashed into the ceiling, He had no hair, his eyes with gold coloured and the size of dinner plates. His body was all rippling with muscles and they were so pronounced I could count them all clearly! His hands and fingers were long and claw like. From his hips downwards was a tornado of red smoke which twisted down to a sharp point.

He was heavily decorated with gold jewelry; chains as thick as his arms were around his neck and waist, huge hoop earrings hung from dropped lops and touched his shoulders. Around his wrists and arms were so many bracelets and cuffs it was hard to see his red skin underneath! On his claws were many rings, some were solid but others had gem and precious stones inlaid.

An almighty laugh echoed out of him which shook my house like an earthquake. He seemed very pleased about something. He curled his hands up and rose them to the ceiling as he threw his head back, horns scraping the ceiling and raining down bits of plaster.

I wet myself with fear. I hate to admitment that, Diary but it’s true. I thought I had released the Devil himself! I hide behind the sofa, shaking and with my hands over my ears because his laughter was deafening and sounded like that of an insane man. There was no time to think or do anything. Not that I could have done if I was capable.

The laughter faded then the sofa was tossed aside as if it was little more then child’s rag doll. The demon looked me down, puffing out mega lung fulls of breath.

‘Don’t hurt me! I’m sorry!’ I cried.

‘Bow to me mortal!’ the demon’s voice boomed.

I nodded and pressed my head to the carpet. What else was I meant to do?

‘I am an Afreet, a Jinn and you have released me after a hundred years of being stuck in that box.’

‘A genie? Like in a super being who grants wishes?’ I questioned to myself.

‘No. I am a demon of the underworld,’ replied the Afreet, ‘and now I am free once more to reap chaos on the world!’

He laughed that horrible victorious laugh once more then explode out of living room. My house crumpled like a bomb had hit it. I dashed out of the hole the Afreet had made and into the street. I tripped over something and lay dazed in the middle of the road.

My house was obliterated and nothing more then a pile of bricks and broken glass. The firebridge said it must have been a gas leak or an unexploded World War 2 bomb that had been missed and just triggered itself.

Recovering in hospital and now resting in this hotel room, I decided to write this true account of what happened. Where the Afreet is now I have no idea but I know he was real and soon we will feel the chaos.

(Inspired by; http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/2020/04/atozchallenge-2020-anamnesis.html?fbclid=IwAR1f82CLEmAg_AoRywI2FIKGN-OBFnOj7yuGd_JVWiayKcigQmzAADB2L0E thanks.

It’s that time of year again! It’s the April A-Z challenge. I’m sticking with my normal theme of discovering words. I hope you enjoy reading all my stories this month and like me, learn some new words along the way).

Lock It Away #FFftPP

d11aad1a4ea61dc8f06495aa4a0b6a72

I want to lock it away. I want to forget. If it’s locked away I might forget. I want things to go back like before. I want it to have never happened. I want to forget. I will forget, I must forget….

Lock it away, lock it up well and lock it all away forever. It can never come out again. No one must ever know nor find the door or the key. Keep it all hidden, keep it safe. Help me to forget. Lock it away. Lock it away!

Throw the key into the sea. Throw the door after it and IT too! Let the sea claim it. Or, bury the key and the door in the ground. Deep in the ground as deep as the dead. Never to return again. Never to be seen again or thought about. I must forget….

Out of sight, out of mind. Lock it away. Melt down the key, put the door through a wood shredder and blow up the walls. Reduce it all to ruin, wipe it off the face of the Earth. Let me forget it, let me go! Go far forever!

Lock me away!

I must forget….

 

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforthepracticalpractitioner.wordpress.com/2020/03/25/flash-fiction-for-the-purposeful-practitioner-2020-week-13/ with thanks).

Rock God #FridayFictioneers

Tank looked up at the statue of a sliver car with the words ‘Rock Rogers’ scrawled across the side whilst his breathing echoed in the protection filter mask.

The earth’s ground air was too poison to breath and the humans that had survived through the V-Plague of the late twenty-first century now lived underground and the sky. Tank and his crew came from one of the sky communities and their mission today was only a close visualisation one.

‘They worshipped some strange Gods in the past,’ Tank muttered.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2020/03/18/20-march-2020/ with thanks).

The Records Office (Part 2)

hospital-2301041_1920

Elisa frowned and walked back into the kitchen. The kettle clicked and she made a coffee. Looking around, she decided not to eat in here as she normally did, but go back to the office and turn the TV on for awhile.

The microwave pinged, she got her food and went back to her desk. The radio was still on but no longer playing classical music, it was an old rock song instead. Elisa went over and looked at the dial. It had been moved from her normal station to another. Wondering why that kept happening, she turned it off and put the TV on.

Channel flicking, Elisa ended up with the news again. She ate and listened to the reporter talking absentmindedly. Years ago, she would have often gone out to lunch with the others. Now, going out and eating alone seemed pointless. Staying at her desk meant she could work through lunch or have a shorter break and thus leave earlier. Today felt like one of those days.

Just before Elisa finished the phone rang. She gulped down her coffee and answered the call, ‘hello, Greenfield Hospital Records Office.’

White noise blasted back at her. Elisa listened for a moment then repeated herself. Still static. She hung up and waited a minute. The phone stayed silent. Eliza took another drink of coffee and the phone rang again.

‘Hello?’

White noise then a super distance voice saying something.

‘Pardon me? I can’t hear you,’ Elisa spoke.

More static blared and Elisa had to hold the phone away from her ear. Placing the receiver back again, she had a voice once more but couldn’t make out anything out. She hung up and decided to let the answer machine get the next call. If it was important, they would keep trying.

Elisa finished her coffee and tided up. She went into the kitchen and saw the sink tap running. Turning it off, she told herself she had left it on and went to visit the bathroom. A tap was also running in here.

Elisa went to the middle sink and turned it off. She was sure she hadn’t left it on. She hadn’t used that sink last time she was in here. She went to the toilet and coming out of the stall, she saw that all the taps were on.

‘What the…? Is there a plumping problem?’

Elisa turned all the taps off then had to turn one back  on to wash her hands. That done, she left, went back to her desk and phoned her boss. There was no maintenance team anymore and any reports like that had to be put into the boss who would then find a handyman to fix it. If they could be bothered. It was unsure what the plans were for the now abandoned hospital. So, maintenance was no longer a priority.

Leaving a message, Elisa got back to work. If she skipped her afternoon break, she could leave forty-five minutes early. She looked at the clock to double check this and saw that the hands had stopped on twelve.

Frowning Elisa got up and took it off the wall. The battery had probably died. She set it on the edge of her desk and looked at her PC clock instead. Nodding, she got back to work, typing up the paper files and refiling things.

The tick tick of a clock stopped her fingers over the keyboard. She looked at the clock and saw the hands had began to move again.

‘Odd,’ she uttered.

Elisa took the battery out and turned back to her work.

Tick Tick.

She looked at the clock. The hands were still moving.

‘That’s not possible!’ Elisa cried.

She picked up the clock and watched the hands move. They stopped on two and four. Elisa turned the clock around and spun the dial back so that both hands were on twelve again. Holding the clock before her, she watched it closely but the hands didn’t move. Elisa placed the clock on the edge of her desk and watched the hands again. They stayed still.

‘I’m not losing it,’ Elisa spoke.

She got up and went into the kitchen. She splashed cold water on her face then drink down a whole glass of water. Elisa put the kettle on and made a coffee. Waiting, she heard footsteps in the hallway.

That must be security doing their rounds, she thought.

The footsteps walked passed the kitchen. A door creaked open then slammed shut. Elisa jumped and hurried out but there was no one in the corridor. She walked to each door, knocked on them, called ‘hello?’ then tried to open the doors but they were all locked.

‘Maybe, it was another door somewhere else?’

Going back to the kitchen, Elisa made her coffee and returned to her desk. The TV was off and the radio was on. A pop song was echoing through the speaker. Elisa turned it back to the classical station.

‘Today’s messed up,’ Elisa spoke.

The phone rang. She picked it up and heard static. Hanging up, Elisa sent an email to her boss complaining about a problem with the telephone.

A clacking, like something metal falling over, made Elisa gasp and jump around. The noise had come from above somewhere. Breathing deeply, Elisa told herself to calm down. Something had just fallen over. Maybe, a security guard had moved something. It was nothing to worry about.

A crawling feeling like a spider walking up her hand, rose the hairs on her skin and Elisa felt chilly. The feeling that something wasn’t right and she was being watched, had her turning this way and that.

‘I’m done for the day. I’ll make the hours up later.’

Elisa packed up, gathered her things and left. Going up the stairs, she felt slightly better. The basement without any windows sometimes felt claustrophobic and perhaps that all it was. Elisa reached the floor above and walked down the corridor.

She passed windows, it was raining and getting dark all ready. Lights flickered above her and footsteps fell into time with her own. Elisa turned, there was no one just an empty corridor.

Elisa hurried on, wanting nothing more then to get outside. Once, she was in the fresh air things would be better. It was all in her head, she had been working and thinking too hard. Ghosts weren’t real. It was all just normal sounds.

It felt like forever before she arrived at the main doors. She went though and outside. Rain splashed her face, cold wind stirred around her and Elisa felt more at ease. The strange notion that she couldn’t be got out here floated into her mind.

Elisa tried to shake that thought away. What did it mean anyway? Opening her umbrella, she huddled underneath it and walked back to her car. Not once did she look back but if she had done, she would have seen countless outlines of people looking out of the windows watching her go.

The Records Office (Part 1)

hospital-2301041_1920

Elisa unlocked the main hospital’s back door and stepped inside. Rain dripped off her umbrella and coat. Named storm Jorge was building up out there, the rain was heavy coming down on all ready flooded ground and the wind was blowing like a speeding car.

Turning on the lights, Elisa shook her umbrella out and caught her breath. She could hear the rain dripping inside somewhere close by and the wind working it’s way through the broken windows. Hoping it wasn’t too cold in her office today, Elisa walked down the quiet hospital corridors towards the basement.

She was dressed in her relaxed Friday office clothes; grey trousers, flat black shoes, lime green long sleeve blouse and a woollen black jumper. She carried her heavy backpack on one shoulder which held all she needed, plus more to get her through the working day.

Choosing the two flights of stairs inside of the elevator, Elisa watched her step and recalled how only five years, this back staircase would have been busy with office staff and hospital workers. Now, like the rest of the place, they were still. For the past year and a half, Elisa and three security guards were the only people left at the recently closed grounds.

Reaching the basement, Elisa walked to the fourth door which was labelled as The Patients’ Records Office. The other rooms down here were a mixture of supply, storage, other paperwork, a large staff break room and other offices. Sometimes, Elisa would have to go in these other rooms to find things but mostly, she stuck to her desk.

Unlocking the door with one with the keys from a massive bunch of them, Elisa went in and put her umbrella into the stand. Wiggling out of her coat, she hung that up on a peg then put her rucksack at the leg of her desk.

The office was too quiet, she could feel the pressure on her ears. Elisa turned the small TV on which was on the far wall above the handful of abandoned desks and cabinets. The news came on, the sound breaking the quietness and making her feel like she was no longer alone.

Her desk was in the middle of the room, facing the door but she had turned the angle of it so she could see the TV as well. Eliza put her rucksack down, turned on her computer and both screens. Next, she put the heaters on and the kettle too. She made a coffee and sat down on her old chair.

Of all the staff to stay employed to complete the final tasks of the hospital, she was now the last one. Perhaps, she had been chosen because she had been here for over twenty years and had been the manager of the patients’ records for six of those? Maybe, it was because she had been close to retirement and her boss had felt sorry for her?

‘I don’t mind,’ Elisa had said at the deciding meeting, ‘I can’t imagine retiring and having nothing to do. I’ve been applying for jobs and got some interviews.’

‘The board would like you to stay awhile and finish up things,’ her boss had spoken, ‘would that be okay? Your pay and hours won’t change but you may find yourself working alone for a bit. I’m not sure who else will be staying on.’

Without thinking, Elisa had replied, ‘that’s fine. I don’t mind.’

Her job was simple enough; putting paper records onto the computer system. Checking things had been filed correctly, searching for information when contacted by medical staff or the public and disposing of documents as needed.

It was eerie being here alone but Elisa had grown use to it and didn’t mind as much now. She found she could watch whatever TV or listen to whichever radio station she wanted. There was no waiting around in the break room, no one distracting her and she didn’t mind being a bit lonely.

Sometimes, the phone would ring and it would be security checking  up on her or was medical person from another hospital wanting information. Elisa’s boss would call make sure anything was okay and maybe asking her to do something. Once or twice, a person had phoned who was tracing their family history and Elisa had been happy to help see if there was any records of that surname. 

Occasionally, the back door bell would ring and Elisa would answer the phone to find her boss was outside having come on a visit or it would be a PA from someone from the board wanting to pick something up or a security guard come for a chat.

More often then not, the working day would pass without Elisa having contact from anyone. It didn’t worry her though because she knew there wasn’t much of a need for a closed down hospital’s paperwork.

Recently, Elisa had stated hearing and noticing odd things. She didn’t believe in ghosts, she was a religious Roman Catholic and trusted that everyone went to Heaven or Hell. However, things that didn’t have an explanation happened were happening.

The sounds of doors opening and closing, though there was no wind that day. Voices whispering when Elisa knew she was alone. The phone ringing and no one being there or another phone ringing somewhere else which shouldn’t happen because all other phones were disconnected. Equipment being moved or knocked over, footstep above her or outside the records office door and two or three times, the feeling she was being watched.

Elisa had rung the security team and the police a few times and told them, ‘I think someone is in the building, can you check?’ or ‘I’m just seeing if a security guard is close by as there was a big banging sound and a door slamming.’

It was better to be save then sorry and Elisa was just sure it was animals or the natural movement of things. She got on with her work, filling her mind with her tasks and home plans. Perhaps, soon her employment would come to the end and she would get a new job where she had to work surrounded by people again.

I think I’d like that, to have colleagues again, Elisa thought, to chat with someone and get help with tasks. To make new friends and share cooking tips.

Elisa smiled and carried on typing up records whilst above the hospital buildings lay in silence. That didn’t last long because somewhere a door creaked open and a voice called out.

Pausing, Elisa looked up and listened. Blaming the wind, she turned off the TV and put the radio on instead. A pop song filled the room. Frowning, Elisa moved the dial back to the classical station she preferred and went back to work once more.

Lunchtime arrived. Stretching, Eliza got up and went into the break room. Her back and limbs felt stiff but some light exercises whilst she waited for her ready-meal to heat up would help.

‘It’s hotpot today,’ she said to herself, putting it in the microwave.

She filled the kettle and made another coffee.

Heavy footsteps sounded in the hall and approached the door.

Thinking it was one of the security guards, Elisa called out, ‘hi, come and have some lunch with me. I could do with the company today. Fridays drag so much don’t they?’

She turned, expecting to see someone but there was no one in the room. Puzzled, Elisa stepped out into the corridor and saw she was quite alone.

 

To Be Continued…