Olive had no desire to descend the stairs which were said to lead straight to hell. It wasn’t that she believed that, that was true. After all, anyone whose eyes followed the black metallic steps all the way to the bottom recognized that they simply let out onto a street. Surely however, there was a reason everyone called the abandoned road below her the Devil’s home. Plastic bottles and papers that had been crumpled in passionate rage littered the road. Black crows hopped on and off the curb, cawing at things that Olive was unable to see. A cat, tufts of orange and gray fur sticking out of its body at odd angles, stalked angrily in the street, acknowledging nothing but his own indignation. The gray sky huddled over her, ripe with anticipation.
Olive swallowed hard, then turned to look back at her friends, standing safely on the other side of the street. They clutched each other’s arms and giggled quietly, faces bright with wonder- would she go? With a deep breath, Olive gripped the handrail and started down the steps. No one dared follow her to watch and see if she’d actually follow through. Instead, she had been asked to bring back something that proved her mission complete. Bottles and papers were a dime a dozen- she had to bring back something less obvious- a brick from one of the buildings, perhaps. A flyer left haphazardly taped to a long forgotten window.
The wind whipped her black hair every which direction and she struggled to push it out of her face while still clutching at the rail. Her stomach felt heavier with every step and she knew that if she didn’t hurry, she’d abandon her mission and run back to her friends empty handed. Determined, Olive forced her feet to move faster, padding down the stairs lightly, hardly leaving a sound. She’d been moving so quickly that upon reaching the bottom of the staircase she lost her balance and tripped, her cry lost in the breeze. At first, she didn’t even realize the hand around her waist, helping her stand back up. If she had, maybe she wouldn’t have let her guard down, grateful for the small act of kindness.