With my arms either side, flat against the cold brick, I held my breath as the dust and chaos of the moment settled, my ears keen for his call to say he was fine, for the shout through ragged breath he’d made it down safely. The dust stopped falling, but the only noise came from the grotesque crowd’s excitement as their instincts told them they were about to feed.
I took a tentative step, it would serve no purpose to join him at his side on the floor as I imagined him curled. I sank to my knees, dropping to my hands, the pain in my arm easy to ignore as I spread the weight across my limbs in hope, in desperation, to get close. The surface felt springing, giving just a little as each part of me touched, felt as if with just a little more pressure I would by his side. I crept forward, craning my ears but all I could hear was the racket of creatures crowding, there was no sound of effort from below, no stirring of a man trying to get to his feet, trying to raise himself before the creature at the window realised a tasty treat waiting below.
I shot a glance behind me and up to the window and sped, cursing my caution when I saw no shadows behind the glass and I soon arrived at the edge peering down. At first I saw the mess of debris, split, sodden wooden sheets, folded, bent and buckled, broken apart with the white dust of plaster, scant remains still hanging from the ceiling. My eyes followed the neat lines of thick wooden beams, their surface dark, covered with a frosting of mould where in-between the chipboard had completely gone. Laying my front flat to the wood, I edged myself forward, peering in, eyes fixed on the centre of the mess, hoping, urging the pile to move.
The extension was a workshop, tools lined the walls hanging on metal, a wooden bench ran along the closest wall, notched and paint flecked from years of hard use. I looked to the tools and tried to think how they could use each, if, I corrected my thoughts. Once, we’d got over this hump. Then I saw it, saw the clear of the metal ladder sat in the corner at an angle, its length too great to fit flat to the wall. It would be perfect to bridge the gap, perfect for Ryan to climb back out and out of trouble. All he had to do was wake up.
I saw movement, spotted it at the bottom of my vision, but not in the centre as I expected. A sheet of plaster pushing up from the edge. I shuffled forward as far as I dared, leaning my head down whilst holding on to the soaked edge, my eyes searching out Ryan’s hands or his legs pushing the pile, waiting for him to rise, to appear from the mess. I caught sight of a foot, upside down from my perspective as I hung. The boot had a thin covering of mud, flakes falling off as it rose and fell over and over, trying to raise high enough to mount the pile, but not managing. I stared on, couldn’t understand how Ryan was standing, was at the edge and I crept further forcing myself out of what I thought was a safe distance over the limit of the beam to get a better look.
With my new vantage I regretted the improvement to the view, regretted the blood soaked trousers connected to the boots, the second pair of legs joining at their side. A creature from upstairs, or fresh from through the front door, it didn’t matter, and now the pile below me rose, another groan, adding to the low moans already filling the air. Ryan’s hair coming through the rubble as he sat up. His face covered in plaster dust, his complexion pallid, pale like the creature’s at his front, the only colour coming from a line of bright red dripping from a scratch to his forehead. If he hadn’t died and turned from the fall, he would soon succumb to the fate unless I did something and did it now.
I stood, taking care where I placed my feet behind me, then jumped as I high in the air as I could, clenching my teeth and pulling my hand tight to my chest.
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Reading out of sequence, here’s the rest of Season Two.
Not read Season One? Here it is.