As you approach the end of the corridor the day light that was shining through the dirty skylights before has decreased considerably. The outline of a door handle can just about register in your vision so you reach for it, the shockingly cold metal turns and you push through to the next room. There is no more daylight. The door closes behind you shuddering an echo in this new space.
Stepping forward the floorboards creak under your weight. The room smells damp: moisture tingles on your nose and lips, and each breath leaves an odd, earthy taste on your tongue. Your cautious movements prolong the floor’s high pitched squeals and your extended arms search to identify a new surface. You brush against a wall on your left hand and are magnetised to the slim sense of security. There’s wetness to the wall and your fingertips pick up water droplets, smooth and cool on your palm while your fist clenches.
With the wall as your guide, you follow the room’s perimeter looking for another door, a light switch, any other objects in the room, but the walls are seamless and the room is vast and empty. Your breathing quickens, inhales become short and sharp, and your teeth sense the rapid, probably cloudy, exhales.
Turning on the spot you try and find your bearings and locate the side of the room with the door from which you entered. Your nails start digging into your hand. There’s a dripping in the room, but your feet have not felt any puddles on the floor. Every time you step towards what sounds like the source of the dropping, its location shifts. Before you know it you have no sense of what side of the room you are on, where the door was or how many walls this room even has.
You hold your breath hoping for peace, a sense of calm or clarity, but something else keeps breathing.