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Tuesday, 17 December 2013

WordPress Daily Prompt: By the Skin of Your Teeth

Share a time when you narrowly avoided disaster. 

Photographers, artists, poets: show us ESCAPE.



There are times when you have to do what you have to, with no choice. One of those times is in the evening around nine, especially in winter, when everything is dark. It is then that I descend to the washing room, in the cellar. Why, in the evening your might ask, that is easy, our electric current is halved at this time. When the machine runs for an hour churning out water, mixing with the washing powder and spinning its head off to dry the goods, you only pay half the cost. This is the reason why I take my courage in my hand and the lift and descend into the depths of the cellar at such an unearthly hour.

I am not a nervous person, have made the journey often. On this particular evening I saw her.


illuminated angel at the door

She was always there, but the problem was the electric light was not working. Luckily she was holding a candle. Generally she just stands there as an ornament, her dead sightless eyes just looking ahead.

“Good evening” said a voice.

“Huh” said mine, not seeing anything human.

“It’s me, I am lighting your way, the lights are out. I have taken over.”

I looked around and the ornament blinked, did I see a smile, or was it more a grin.

“You cannot speak, you are a dummy, not real.”

“This evening I can speak, we have taken over. Going down to the washing room?”

“Yes, I am, if I find the way in the darkness.”

“You will, there are many illuminations down there.”

“The light is working in the cellar.”

“Yes there are lights in the cellar, they are all waiting for you.”

I was feeling a bit creeped out speaking to what I thought was a dummy made of some sort of artificial material that usually just stood there in silence. Then she spoke again.

“The lift is not working, you will have to walk down the stairs.”

“I do not walk down stairs, especially in the evening. I might fall.”

“You might and you might not” she answered. “On the other hand I am sure they will help you to find the way, just follow the light.”

“But there are no lights” I answered. She raised her arm and pointed, holding her candle in the other hand.

“Follow the lights”

I turned my head in the direction where she was pointing and saw the glow in the gloom of the stair well. Cautiously I place one foot before the other and then it happened. I slipped, but it was as if an unseen hand was holding me. It gently pushed and I arrived at the bottom of the stairs. Just a short walk crossing the corridor and I was in safety, in my washing room. I glanced around and saw the endless darkness of the corridor. I never did like that corridor, it was so long and dark, leading the way to the various separate cellars and other washing rooms. I was alone, or was I?

I saw a movement? I ran to the safety of my washing room and there was light. The machine was filled with the washing, I turned on the switch for the electricity and opened the water tap. The machine spring to life, turning and drenching the wash with soapy liquid. I breathed a sigh of relief. Everything was in order, just a figment of my imagination. I never liked going to that washing room in the evening.

I began my return journey. I closed the door to the washing room and peered around the corner. There was a dark gap between leaving the room and arriving again at the bottom of the stairs. A transparent figure was ascending the stairs in the distance, I was sure. Why did I have to eat that cheese sandwich for tea. I was already suffering from hallucinations. I took a deep breath and ran for the stairs and then it happened, I could hardly believe it, the light bulb flickered and there was light. There was light everywhere, no darkness, no ghostly figures and above all the elevator was moving again.

I arrived at the beginning of my journey and she was still there holding the candle in her hand, still burning.

“I am here again, everything seems to be back to normal” I said to her.

There was silence; the figure was again looking with her dead eyes. It was then that the neighbour opened her door and entered the hall.

“Are you talking to someone?” she asked looking at me with a strange look.

“No, no” I said, I was just thinking out loud.”

“In that case good night” said the neighbour.

I mumbled an answer, feeling a bit silly. After all lifeless dolls do not talk, do they?

I returned to the apartment.

“You were gone a long while” said Mr. Swiss. “Anything happen on the way, did you have another one of your accidents?”

“No, no, everything fine” I said. Or………


celler corridor


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