She ran hard up the steps. It was something to do. One flight, two.
Full out speed. No turning back now. Her muscles strained at the third flight.
Her breath came in pants at the fourth.
Can’t loose momentum, wouldn’t be able to stop. Can’t stop.
Her arms pumped in time with her feet. Air was pulled in through her nose her mouth, her muscles screamed.
Fifth flight! Almost there. Too close to turn back now. There it is, the top step, the odd maroon carpet in the hall. The top floor! She had done it.
She had achieved. It had been something to do. Now she had done it.
A smile splits her face as she breathes for a moment. Then she straightens and sighs.
She lives on the first floor. Now she has to go back down. She looks down the steps and grins. She’s victorious, the downhill journey can’t be that hard. It’ll be easy, after coming up.
Down one flight. Two. Knees complaining. Muscles straining.
The steps seemed to come faster downhill.
Can’t stop, can’t slow, can’t change pace. Can’t loose momentum, can’t trip.
Three flights down.
Barely breathing now, too much to concentrate on, too much rhythm to keep up with.
Four flights down. One more to go!
She can see the bottom. She can see relief and comfort.
Almost there, nearly there, there!
On the carpeted hall again, first floor.
This time when she breathes, her throat feels like fire.
Every breath of air burns down to her lungs, and burns back up.
She winces and chokes out to the girl standing beside her. My throat is on fire. The girl laughs.
You’re a dragon now!
She grins, not having captured enough oxygen fire yet to fuel a laugh. The girl grins back. That’s exactly how physics works, didn’t you know?
She laughs, still feeling the fire deep in her lungs, and nods.
She turns to go to her room, again victorious, smiling to herself. I’m a dragon now. Rawr!