He lay there on the floor at the bottom of the stairs for a while, a jumble of thoughts knotting together in his throbbing head.  He raised his hand and gingerly touched it to his scalp where it hurt most.  His fingers came away wet and sticky with blood.  Anger clawed at his lungs—anger against Henry for drawing a blade on him, and anger at himself for driving him to do so.

                Seymour had quite a few talents, but—he thought as he studied his hand, covered in his own blood—he had perfected one skill above all of the others.  He was extremely good at making people despise him.  Sometimes, he wondered whether he acted upon some sort of subconscious desire to drive others away.  This would explain why he had no real friends.

                Slowly and with considerable effort, he struggled to his feet and began to climb the stairs, using the wall to support his weight.  His head injury, coupled with the adrenaline still rushing through his veins, had made him weakened and dizzy.  His knees felt on the verge of buckling with every step he took, and the world seemed to lurch diagonally every time he moved his eyes. 

                After what seemed like an eternity, he reached the summit of the stairs and began to drag himself along the short corridor to his room.  He found the door and tried to take his key out of his pockets, but his fingers were clumsy and trembling, and he dropped it.  It skittered across the stone floor a few feet, settling with a soft, metallic clatter.  He bent to retrieve it, nearly falling over in the process, and when he straightened up again, he had gotten turned around and no longer knew which door was which. 

                He tried the key in the nearest one, but it did not fit.  It didn’t fit in any of the nearby doors, it seemed.  He tried them all again, still with no results.  He did not understand.  He felt slow and stupid.  Why was this not working?  He had been able to open it before.

                Defeated, he fell to the floor and curled up in the middle of the corridor.  He could think of nothing better to do.  Anyway, he felt better this way.  His head didn’t pound as painfully and the dizziness receded.  Still, it wasn’t particularly comfortable and he wanted nothing better than a warm, soft bed.  Here, the ground was hard and dusty, the corridor cold and drafty.

                Help me, he begged silently.  Help me.

The End

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