Something black seemed to be poking out of the tap. I watched, mesmerised, not believing what I was witnessing. Was it a piece of rubber washer, or something alive? Surely it was just an old twig that had fallen into the water tank and become dislodged?
Then, as it emerged, I realised it was a snake, but not the kind of snake I recognised. It wasn’t green, or patterned – it was almost black, but with a strange rusty sheen. Sticks do not wave their heads in the air; sticks do not have tongues that flick.
More of the snake was coming out of the tap. If I was to escape I would have to move now, quickly, something I had not done for years. Normally I would clamber onto my knees to get out of the bath – but that meant turning my back on the creature. The handle on the wall was half way down the bath, too far to reach safely. There was no use shouting, no-one would hear me. I had to keep my eyes on the swaying head of the snake and ease myself up to lean on the back wall. My legs ached as I strained to keep my balance. I prayed the mat would stop my feet from slipping under me.
Most of the snake was visible now – and dark red liquid was pouring from the tap into the bath, turning the water brown. I clutched at the shower curtain and the pole shifted and creaked. It would not take my weight. I would have to climb out.