I fell down the stairs. I don’t know how it happened. I was worried about vampires. I was unconscious for a couple of minutes. I awoke to find that I wasn’t seriously hurt. My head was resting at an unusual angle to the rest of my body against the edge of a rock. The red skullcap I had been wearing lay beside me. It had somehow become dislodged during my headlong fall. There were reports that I had turned in a somersault, which would explain the current location of the skullcap. I was not uncomfortable. Although it was cold lying on the floor and the rock was digging into the back of my neck, I thought I would like to lie there for a long while. I was not in any discomfort until I tried to move, which I did to console my loved one, who thought I might be dead and was crying out my name. First I moved my tongue and lips, to speak. I think I said, Don’t cry. I didn’t want to cause any more upset if I should in fact die shortly or find myself paralysed. I had to repeat myself several times before I could coordinate all the movements that make up speech. My voice came from a long way off and was in slow motion, carried down the broken corridor of what I suspected was broken spine. Finally the sounds resolved themselves into what I hoped, for the sake of my loved one, was a semblance of normality. I think I said, I’m all right. Or, It’s all right. Meaning it would be all right, so as to allow for the contingency of a lifelong paralysis through which my loved one should not feel obligated to nurse me, having simply borne witness to the fall. I was foolish enough to think – since I had only returned to my body to console her – that she might indeed feel thus obligated. Had she not been present, I believe I would have taken the opportunity proffered by the fall to slip away or at least to declare myself hurt, indeed damaged beyond repair. As it was, I rolled myself over sideways off the rock, like a skillful puppeteer: a trick to give the impression that I already knew I was undamaged, unhurt – for the sake of my loved one. And I tried to reconstruct the events leading up to the fall. The last thing I remembered I was worried about vampires, emotional vampires. How they could take and take without feeling any compassion. How they could take your last and finest gift as if it were of no value, as if it had never been yours but had in fact been theirs all along. How they would leave you with nothing if they could. And leaving you with nothing, they could leave you to tidy up the mess of the now dead and soul-less. I’d been worried about vampires. Then I’d been helping to clean up. Next I was falling.