Longer route

You grab your torch and keys, and sprint away from the front doors, past the entrance to the women’s toilets and through the furniture you’d moved away from the fire doors. You make it to the office doors before the lights flicker, then cut out. It’s abruptly dark, and you struggle with opening the door. You flick the torch on and remember you’re supposed to push here, not pull. There’s a sound like a gunshot as the front doors finally give. You hear the roaring sound of rapidly approaching water, and the noise of heavy objects slamming into each other.

You’re into the open space beyond. Already the water’s up to your ankles, and getting deeper by the second. You can see the stairwell door ahead, and you run as quickly as you can towards it, aware that every second counts. You stumble, plunge headlong into the water, gasp, drag yourself upright and keep going.

You’re at the door. The water’s already over your knees. You heave it open – the amount of water swirling around makes it ridiculously hard, but you manage it. There’s water in the stairwell too, bubbling up like a fountain. You grab the handrail for support and haul your sodden body out of the rising tide.

The initial rush of water from the front doors seems to be slackening, but the water’s already chest-height, judging from how much of the doorway’s already disappeared. You give the torch a shake, and it doesn’t seem too much the worse for wear despite its dunking. You can’t say the same about you, however. You’re like a drowned rat, and properly terrified.

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