Kerry knew that her fear was unfounded, but that didn’t make it any less real. She studied the metal stairs going up before disappearing into a teeny tiny little gap way up at the top, and knew that there was no way that she could fit there.
Yet, as she put her foot out, the vision of being sucked away would not leave her.
“Geez!” gasped Ben, behind her. “Just get on!”
But she couldn’t.
“Tell you what,” Ben conceded. “I’ll get on first and hold your hand. And when we get to the top, I’ll help you across. Okay?”
He stepped past her, turned around and looked her in the eyes.
“Okay? You ready?” he asked.
She nodded. Shaking. Unsure.
He stepped back, holding her hands and gently guided her forward. Her heart raced as her foot contacted the first metal stair and she was pulled upward. Her back foot soon joined the front. She focused on Ben’s face and her breathing.
In. Out. Look at Ben. Again.
The top approached. Too fast. Too close. But Ben smiled. “You can do this.”
His voice was so soothing. So calm. So sure.
Which made it that much more terrifying when he fell forward against her, his eyes contorted with shock and terror and pain. Looking behind him, she could see the eyes and teeth of the Whateveritwas under the stairs, grinning gleefully as Ben’s entire body collapsed, torn away, ripped right from her arms.