When Heike closed the staircase’s door behind her, the corners of the attic filled with a tar-like darkness. Only near the centre of the room, where a solitary beam of moonlight plunged from a crack in one of the roof tiles, was the murk less dense.
She rested her back against the door and trained her sight on a small gap between the floorboards, waiting motionless as the glow of the oil-lamps hanging below turned from bright yellow to orange, then nothing.
The house was finally asleep.
Not to be tricked by imagined shadows, Heike closed her eyes, relying on memory and touch to find her way across the room.
She walked with outstretched arms and searching fingers, letting the pressure on the foot ahead build up slowly until she was sure she could shift her weight forward...
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