The ensuing seconds passed in the blink of an eye, like a video in fast forward.
Catherine pulled out a knife from behind her back. She seemed to have hidden it when she was making the coffee. Gripping it, she stabbed towards Katherine without a second's delay. Vincent hurried after her. Grabbing the staggering Katherine's arm, he used himself to shield her. Catherine stabbed again. The blade cut into Vincent's side. He collapsed onto the floor.
Catherine ignored him, attacking Katherine. She climbed on top of the fallen woman. Katherine squirmed and struggled. Her movements intensified, then ceased completely. He was sure she had been stabbed.
"Katherine!" he screamed. He forgot all about the pain in his side. Getting up, he crawled over to the two women. As he reached them, Catherine rolled over onto the floor. He stiffened. Something cylindrical poked out of her side. It was the knife's handle.
Katherine sat up on her elbows, looking around. Her mussed hair was plastered to her face with blood. She shook her head, almost kicking the floor as she crawled backwards. Vincent could tell what she was doing, but couldn't take his eyes off the collapsed Catherine.
"Jesus... Is this... real...?"
Katherine pulled her leg out from beneath Catherine. Vincent could do nothing but watch. The fabric around her ribbon was stained red. The stain gradually spread until it reached Catherine's chest, then began covering the floor. He could hear Katherine's breathing, shallow and irregular.
"Aa, aa... aaaaaaaah!" she screamed.
Everything seemed to be going wrong for Vincent, but he had never expected anything like this. Not bloodshed. He wanted to scream, too. He wanted to shut it all out. But he couldn't. If he lost his cool now, it was all over.
He crawled over to Katherine. Leaning towards her, he slapped her hard on the cheek. She instantly grew calm.
Katherine pressed her hand to her cheek.
"That's right, calm down... Me too," he said, both to her and to himself.
He saw something glinting out of the corner of his eye. It was Katherine's glasses. Vincent unconsciously picked them up, opening them and putting them on her in a daze. Her eyes finally focussed.
"You just go right home, okay?" he said slowly, looking her straight in the eye.
Had the neighbours heard the commotion? They might already have called the police. If she stayed, she would be sent to prison. He couldn't just stand by and watch that happen. It was Catherine who had been carrying the knife, so it might count as self-defence, but that didn't mean she was totally innocent. In any case, she had tried to pick up the knife herself, intending to kill Catherine. She had plenty of motive for murder. People might not believe that it was self-defence.
"I'll do something about this."
His words were baseless. Should he hide the body? Dispose of it? How? He had no idea, and didn't know anyone who might.
"But..." Katherine glanced behind Vincent, quickly averting her eyes again.
"It's fine, just go. We can think about this later!"
Vincent stood, grabbing Katherine's arm, and dragged her up with all his might. Her body was like that of a lifeless doll. Vincent put her arm around his shoulders, helping her over to the front door, taking both their weight on his knees. He felt something strange under his bare feet.
He looked down. The pool of blood had spread across the whole area, snaking across the floor with Catherine collapsed at its centre. Some of it reached as far as the door. A hiccup-like scream came from Katherine's throat.
"What's going on...?"
It didn't seem real. There was no way this was normal. He had to get out of there. Vincent dragged his stare away from the bloody floor, staring at the doorknob, moving towards it. He could feel the blood sticking to the bottoms of his feet splashing off, clinging to him.
He felt like he had been walking forever, before he finally came to a stop in front of the doorknob. Gripping onto it, he pushed the door open, walking outside without pause.
"What's...?" Tremors ran through Katherine's body. She clung tightly to him. "What's this!?"
A bizarre area spread before them, giant blocks piled up in front of their eyes. One row was at roughly the height of a person. They were yellowish, with strange characters and images carved onto their faces. Countless blocks were set into rows, piled up high, creating irregular stairs. It looked like a temple from an ancient civilisation, but wasn't weathered enough to be. The faces of the cubes were smooth, looking as though they had only just been carved.
The blocks were surrounded by total darkness. He couldn't see anything. No - it wasn't that he couldn't see anything; it was that it didn't seem to exist. Did that mean that the blocks were suspended in empty space? His head hurt.
He felt like he remembered the scene in front of him. Right. It was what he'd seen in the dream. It looked just like it.
The moment their bodies were completely out in the open, he sensed something eerie behind them. The outlines of his room melted away, melding with the strange area. He sensed something... something he couldn't, shouldn't look at, approaching.
You can't get away... he thought he heard a lispy voice say, but it wasn't the voice he was familiar with. It was warped, twisted, amplified.
Beside him, Katherine looked behind her, scared. She didn't seem to have heard the voice, but she seemed to sense it, too.
"Vincent... Something's... coming...!"
He noticed that the scenery was changing again. A corridor, about three metres wide, stretched out behind them. It looked like blocks made of the same material were being set up on the other side of the corridor. Along both sides was, of course, an abyss. Walking into it looked like suicide.
Before them were the cube stairs. Behind them, an infinite corridor. Neither looked like a dead end, but he knew instinctively which seemed more dangerous.
"We've gotta get out of here..."
Vincent tested to see if Katherine could stand by herself. Grabbing her wrist, the two fled for their lives.