I instantly panicked. I couldn’t breathe. My legs gave out under me and I slipped to the floor with my back to the wall. My heart hammered like crazy and I slung my arms around my knees to steady the shake.
I couldn’t see or hear and could only feel terror take over my whole being. The nightmare was back. I was back at the mine, at the manhole.
Kurt called up to me. “Come on down. Quickly. I have to show you something. I need your help.”
Relief. He is there. He’ll be able to drive me back to Johanna. Damn Dieter. I placed my foot on the ladder and carefully made my way down, one step at a time. This damn thing is making a noise like a baby rattle. How old are those anchors that secure it to the earthen wall of the manhole anyway? Can’t be trusted. Going back up crossed my mind but then Kurt called again, reassuring me. “I really need a hand down here,” he yelled. The deeper I went, the narrower the space around me got, with the light from above fading fast. What am I doing climbing into this hellhole right into Satan’s maw? And there he was, standing at the last rung, holding the ladder for me, shining the lamp above his helmet right into my face.
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