So, here I am, trapped in my worst nightmare and I have no clue what I'll find when I get out.
OK. I’m alive. I think. I have a headache, a massive, thumping headache. That means I’m definitely conscious in some way. I think I’ll open my eyes.
I’m lying on the damp floor of a concrete corridor that stretches out in front of me and fades into grey nothingness in the distance. Where the hell am I? How did I get here?
Where is everybody?
Oh no. No, no, no. Don’t think about that. Stop thinking about the fact that you’re all alone in this corridor.
No! Pink rhinoceros, pink rhinoceros, anything, anything not to have a panic attack here. Someone will be along in just a few minutes, seconds, right now. I’ll be fine. I just have to keep it together for the next…ten seconds. Take stock of my situation. Look around. Start walking. There has to be a way out. And whatever I do, I mustn’t think about the distinct possibility that I might not find anyone else in here.
I can feel the panic shoving its way up my throat. I clamp my mouth shut and it escapes in a high-pitched squeak. This is a bad one. I can’t suck enough air into my lungs, my chest feels tight and hot waves of nausea are breaking over me. I have to get out of here, now. Right now. I break into a jog, which quickly becomes a flat-out sprint. I can keep this pace up for miles if I have to, because I’m having a panic attack and my primitive mind has taken over.
Unfortunately, my body is not as fit as my flight response would like it to be, and I stop, feeling worse than before. There’s no one here. There’s no exit, no doors, nothing.
You could die alone down here and never know if anyone missed you. What if this is a mental breakdown? What if you’re actually in a mental hospital right now? What if you’ll never escape because this is all in your head?
‘Oh, shut up,’ I say out loud. The panic’s back, and it’s back with a vengeance. This time, I give up on trying to control it. I start to bounce up and down, whimpering. I can’t think straight. All I can think about is never getting out of here. Never seeing anyone again. Being alone in this endless, grey corridor with nothing to distract me from the constant panic. That last thought does it; I scream. I can’t help it; it’s the fear and desperation escaping in the only way it knows how. It’s like my body has been taken over by another force, one which doesn’t care if it wrecks me. I claw at my chest and arms and start to stagger. IhavetogetoutIhavetogetoutIhavetogetout. Frantically, I dash at the wall and kick it.
The wall cracks.
I stop, distracted by this. This is good. This is a way out. This is something to do. Even if it leads to another corridor (don’t think about that), I’ll just keep kicking the walls down until I get out of here.
I kick it again, and this time my foot goes right through it. I pummel at the wall and chunks of concrete fall away. There’s now a hole big enough for me to fit through.
Deep breaths. Whatever’s on the other side has to be better than staying in this empty corridor for all of eternity.
I stick my head through the gap.