The problem, Seoc saw in that moment, with having barricaded himself in his room was that he hadn’t given enough thought to the possibility of having to leave in a hurry. It was an oversight that he now regretted. The desk seemed to have gained weight since he had pushed it up against the door—perhaps it had even grown roots into the floor—for he now found it much more difficult to move out of the way. No matter how much force he put against it, it would only move a couple inches with each shove, its legs screaming in protest as they grated against the stone below. More likely he was going about it all wrong in his panic, but it seemed to be actively resisting him.
All the candles in the room had died amidst curling trails of smoke. The fire in the grate was still burning, but it gave off very little light. Seoc could hardly see what he was doing. The rectangular edge of the desk pressed painfully into the flesh of his palms, but he scarcely noticed. There was only room in his head for one objective: to get out of that room at all costs. If he had had to claw his way through the door using only his fingernails, he would have done so.
Luckily, it didn’t come to that. He managed to move the desk to what he judged to be a sufficient distance from the door, fumbled with the latch until his sweaty hands gained purchase on the slick surface, and opened the door as far as the proximity of the desk would allow. It wasn’t much space, but it was enough to fit through.
Or so he thought.
Much like the desk had become heavier when he had tried to push it, the gap seemed to shrink in upon him while he tried to squeeze through. The edge of the door caught upon the top of his pelvis as he attempted to edge sideways into the corridor, and no matter how much he strained to push through, no matter how he contorted his body, he couldn’t succeed. He considered backing out of his predicament to give the desk another shove—all he needed was another inch, after all—but to his alarm, he had wedged himself so tightly between the door and the frame that he couldn’t do that, either.
Think, Seoc. You have to think!
He closed his eyes for a moment and breathed in deeply. He could clearly hear the air as it passed through his windpipe, seemingly attempting to tear at the lining of his respiratory tract. When he opened his eyes again, he looked back into his darkened bedroom, just in time to see a faintly glowing skeletal hand emerge from the shadows to reach toward him, shreds of rotting flesh peeling back from its bones.
“Mother o’ bluidy fuckin’ Rezyn!”
And suddenly, all he could think about was how strange Seymour’s trademark epithet had sounded coming from his own mouth. Luckily, though, that was when his survival instincts took over, and he no longer needed to think in order to act. With an unexpected burst of seemingly superhuman strength, he placed both his palms upon the outside of the door and pushed with all his might, sending the desk toppling. Unrestricted now, the door flew open all the way, and Seoc was free.
He started running, and he didn’t look back.