I thought I had escaped. Nearly, anyway. But no. Now, I am stuck in a giant revolving door and the person on the other side is far heavier, and is pushing far more aggressively, than me.
I cannot go in. I cannot leave. I whirl round and round, getting dizzier, feeling sicker and fainter, my tears splashing on the glass from the centrifugal force.
Others stand outside waiting. Patient, at first. But, as time goes on, they begin to mutter, then shake their fists angrily. Then the threats start: If we do not emerge, they will go elsewhere. We will lose their custom.
I try to scream out the truth: That I am as powerless as they are. But my words are lost in the endless revolutions of this door; the endless snatched glances of the smirking Cheshire Cat delight of the person pushing so hard against me.
But, I see how clever this move is. There is no proof that the grinding and pointless revolutions are not caused by mechanical failure, maladjusted door settings, someone else higher up also caught in the desperate whirl. There is no proof that the lumbering figure pushing against my tide is not equally stuck. Just suspicion. Just intuition. Just a prickling in the shoulder blades and a great gust of unease.
I am not strong enough. My muscles scream in pain. I swoon from time to time and am dragged round without awareness. I no longer know whether I want to get to safety inside or run away outside. In and out, up and down, near and far have become blurred. Colours run together in a grey paste.
Big tough men talk tactics. They try to think of a way of jamming the door so that the wheel of horror stops. But they cannot get close enough. The force on the other side mimes what it will do if they fail to stay well back: It holds its foot near the door, suggesting the crushing momentum of steel-reinforced heavy glass on flesh, implies the law suits and disgrace to follow.
I hunch in a ball, knees up to chest and head bowed. I weep as I have never wept before. Tears soak my jeans. My breath, jagged scared breath, mists up the glass, gives an underwater feel to my prison.
Beauty, warmth, safety and freedom await me – outside. I can see them so clearly. I can almost taste and touch them. But my trembling hands cannot reach.
I scream. The being on the other side laughs.