Shivering with fright I pushed myself up on my elbows – but I could not balance well enough to stand. I would have to turn onto my knees. I gritted my teeth, twisted round and lifted one leg, then the other, over the side of the bath. I was crying now and my breath was coming in great gasps. Grabbing the towel from the heated rail I wrapped it around me.
I felt compelled to look for the snake. It had vanished. Frozen with fear I realised it must have come out of the tap and dropped into the water. If it was in the bath surely it could slide up the side and go anywhere? I needed to know where it was before I left the bathroom. The best I could hope for was that I could trap it in that room.
Yet I was afraid to look into the bath. All the water was a dirty reddish brown now and it was impossible to see if anything was moving in it. I was tempted to pull out the plug but did not dare reach over to do so in case the thing reared up to strike.
The tap was dripping now. There was no more smoke but the room still smelled as if something was burning. Was there anything I could put in the water to disable the creature? I had toilet cleaner, but that would not be strong enough. I was also getting very cold.
I looked at the bathroom door. Would it be enough to hold a snake or would the creature be able to slither underneath? There was a gap – but perhaps if I got out I could block it with something.
There was a ripple from the bath water and I could stand it no longer. I pulled at the door, raced out and slammed it shut. What could I find to block the gap? I felt I had to act fast but I also felt angry and spiteful. I wanted it to be something that would hurt or kill the creature – not merely a towel or a draught excluder. This was more than a draught – this was a nightmare!