She opened her eyes and found herself sitting on a huge staircase, hugging her knees tight to her body, so tight it hurt to breathe. It was an old dilapidated wood staircase, with a chipped railing and missing steps. She looked up, it seemed to go on forever but it was so dark it was hard to tell. The anxious feeling she was missing something had been keeping her from moving, but the distinctive smell of burning wood brought her back to her senses, the house was on fire [was this a house?] she was surrounded by four walls very close to each other with no windows in sight, only the old staircase extending as far as she could see.
She jumped to her feet and started to descend with urgency, but soon she found her path was impeded by a big batch of missing steps, she frantically waved her hands trying to dissipate the smoke and seeing that it was her only option, gathered herself for a moment to make the jump. She crouched a little and leaped, not being sure if she was going to make it, but she did, and she continued descending moving her legs as fast as she could, although at times she wasn’t sure she was moving at all, her body felt sluggish as if she was trapped in a heartbeat, time standing still; the feeling was disorienting making it impossible to discern how long was the descend taking; she could also feel someone smiling just out the corner of her eye, like a familiar presence, but she couldn’t stop to dwell on it, the flames were huge now.
She came to a halt again, another gap, bigger than the last one was before her, there’s no way she could make it [she thought to herself] and then she noticed just to her left, in the ragged wall, a little trapdoor, square in shape and just big enough for her to fit through it, maybe not even big enough, but what choice did she have? it was too late to go back and what would be the point of that? She crawled inside, it was completely dark and soon she did, she had to lay on her stomach there was barely enough space to accommodate her tiny frame, she kept moving forward with difficulty and without any warning she started falling down, it didn’t feel like free falling, it was more like sliding, until she got stuck, and she squeezed herself through, brushing the dry walls and choking on the smell of smoke, she could barely breath at this point but she kept struggling until at some point she could crawl, after a while she found a way out.
Now she stood straight looking around, it was a small room with no windows and no doors, and again she felt the huge smile somewhere near her, mocking her; she drew all the breath she could, the air was stale and humid in this room. The smoke didn't take long to start seeping in and she knew the flames were near, somehow it was chilly, she looked around for another trapdoor but the only thing she found was a squared shaped hole on the floor, she had no choice she had to crawled inside that one too. It was much like the first time, she slid, she squeezed herself, she fell, until she came to a room that resembled the previous one, maybe bigger or smaller she couldn’t’ tell, the exhaustion was pressing on her chest, she knew the way out was to found another hole to fall through, and so it became a blur of rooms and tight places, and every second that passed she felt she had no breath left, she wanted to give up but she found she couldn’t, so she just kept repeating the exhausting pattern for hours... or days.
She finally arrived to a room with a door, it was wooden and huge but with no handle in sight. The fire was visibly eating his way inside this one, so she didn't waste a second and kicked the door open and going through it. She found herself in total darkness, no fire, no smoke, only the feeling of despair and cold, she couldn’t see anything but went forwards nonetheless and she stumbled across with another flight of stairs, after all she’s been through she had to sit for a moment and just then she realized there was light coming from downstairs. She smiled a huge smile, that wasn’t pretty, it would terrify anyone if there was anyone near, she had just remembered she was sitting here earlier raging and crying and feeling anxious, waiting for the flames to come all the way up so she could see better and find a trapdoor.