It was some time between three and four in the afternoon that following Sunday when Marielle awoke in the dim light of a terribly ventilated attic. The stuffy air made her cough. With numb fingers and toes she managed to stumble to one end where a little rectangular window invited her to stick her head outside. Pushing it open, she took a gasp of the slightly cooler sunlit breeze and looked around, trying to figure out where she was and what had happened to her.
Had someone been standing out behind the old lake house, they probably would have been amused at the sight of a woman’s confused face appearing out of the highest window, much like a prairie dog from its burrow. However, the lake behind the house had long since dried up and no one stood in, behind, in front of, or anywhere remotely close to the house. The large dry basin in the backyard and the incredible unbroken silence told Marielle this, and her initial sense of confusion began to swell into panic.
With a very fuzzy recollection of the last thing that had happened to her, she sucked in a breath of summer heat and turned back to the attic to find her way downstairs. A flap on the floor revealed the way she must have come up, or been brought up, and she pulled the thin square of wood towards her. This movement stirred the dust, along with Marielle’s successive sneezes, until the space was filled with thick grey clouds. Unaware of her surroundings, the small woman took a step in the wrong direction and placed her foot down on nothing, falling until the floor caught her thigh and she grabbed at the division between floors, the rotted boards holding for a mere second before breaking and spilling her into the upstairs hallway.
Despite the shock and pain, she felt remarkably unafraid as her consciousness faded once more.