You’ve been trying to avoid them after you left your old life.

But they’ve finally found you. And they’re not going to let bygones be bygones.

“The Stairwell” is a quick literary short story about life.

And death.

500 words / 2 minutes of erudite reading pleasure

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‘We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.’ George Orwell 



Copyright 2024 Stefano Boscutti
All Rights Reserved

They’d been pursuing you ever since you moved into the place at the top of the stairs.

It’s a crumpled bedsit with a broken bed and a small table where you write on a razor-thin metal laptop with razor-sharp edges. There’s a bench and a sink and a kettle. There’s a wooden-framed window onto the air shaft that’s been nailed shut. The sun leaks in for only a few minutes a day.

It’s at the top of a seven-story building built before elevators became mandatory. Decrepit, worn timber stairs wind around the central stairwell. Handrail is so smooth it’s slippery.

You moved here to get away from it all. To get away from all the distractions and responsibilities and pressures. To escape the old life and start anew. To write only what you want to write. Not write what they want you to write.  

But they didn’t want you to do that. The man and the woman wanted you to write for them like you always had.

One day you just left your old life. You didn’t tell them you’d moved into the bedsit at the top of the stairs. Because they had so many other writers, you thought they’d forget about you.

They didn’t forget. They felt snubbed, rejected. They asked around until they found you’re now living.

One day they climb the stairs to the very top. Even though you’re lost in your words you sense them approaching.

The door is kicked open. The man strides in first, naked and flexing his fists. The woman steps in next. She looks around and shakes her head in disgust.

She tells you you’re wasting your life, you’re a fool, you’re a goddman fool. The man grins and kicks the chair out from under you. Spits in your face.

The woman laughs and picks up your open metal laptop. Holds it aloft and she steps out onto the landing. You leap after her. She flings it over the balustrade and into the stairwell. You rush her and crash her through the balustrade where she tumbles to her doom, screaming.

The man charges out, arms out to push you over the edge. You crouch as he lunges over you and falls headlong down the stairwell.

You scramble to get up and rush down the stairs, almost tripping and falling. Their bodies are in a puddle of wet blood at the base of the stairs.

His body twisted and distorted, neck snapped. Her head has been sliced off at the neck by the metal laptop that had landed like an upright blade.

You catch your breath, reach down and pick up your laptop.

You wipe away the blood and hurry back upstairs.

Hurry back to work.

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Copyright 2024 Stefano Boscutti

All Rights Reserved

The moral rights of the author are asserted.

No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, digital, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or copying and pasting, recording or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing.

Stefano Boscutti acknowledges the trademark owners of various products referenced in this work. The publication or use of these trademarks is not authorised or sponsored by the trademark owner.

This is a work of fiction. While many of the characters portrayed here have counterparts in the life and times of mainstream publishers and others, the characterisations and incidents presented are totally the products of the author’s slippery imagination. This work is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. It should not be resold or given away. Thank you for your support. (Couldn’t do it without you.)

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