First Person Plural

The Top of the Stairs is our starting place. At night, when we close our eyes, we're in the observation tower. We can no longer remember a time when this wasn't the case. We're relaxing, feet up, on steamers, long wooden loungers with arms. The brass fittings are gleamingly clean, the varnish is flawless. They fit every curve of our bodies and have small side tables grafted onto each arm for drinks and snacks.

The faint hissing of the falls is soothing. Drowning out stray thoughts, washing away tension. We relax for as long as we want in this cocoon of sound. Sometimes we fall asleep.

We each have our favourite cocktail on one arm of our lounger. Condensation is trickling down the stems, pooling on glassy varnish. Occasionally we pick them up and take a long drink through the straw, feeling the drink flooding our mouths. We savour the drinks, feeling the liquid cooling our mouths as we look down towards the house.

Sunset; the sky glows the intense orange of a hot horseshoe. The lower section of the staircase is already in shadow, but automatic lights have faded up to a dull red to light our way on those last few treads.

The Walk Down starts after we finish our drinks, the straws gurgle in the crushed ice, sucking a few chips of it up. We swing our feet off the loungers and stand. Our injuries don't hurt here and standing is a fluid, painless movement. We pick up our glasses, the bowls in our palms and the stems between our fingers. It's so cold it makes our hands ache a little as we start our walk down the staircase to the first terrace. The handrail is wood, smoothed by thousands of journeys like this, occasional rounded knots standing proud and familiar. On the first terrace we can feel the decking vibrating slightly beneath our feet… the pumps for the hot tub and refrigeration for the plunge pool. Another gentle feeling which relaxes any tension in our bodies, we pause for while to admire the view over the railing, then continue down the next flight of stairs.

We're taking our time, there's no hurry and terrace two is our favourite. We take long breaths through our noses, savouring the sweetness of the honeysuckle bushes. One of us yawns and the other one joins in, we laugh again. The treetop kitchen is off to the right so we take turns to amble across the bridge of decking to put the glasses into the dishwasher.

The final flight is the longest of the three, glowing a restful red colour under the steps. Terrace three is a wide belt of decking around the second floor of the house, completely in darkness except for more hidden lighting providing a gentle blush of light to highlight obstructions. We yawn again and see our companions behind the triple glazing.

The House Welcomes Us as we approach the outer wall it hums open, inviting us in. Our companions wait patiently. We step inside, the door closing gently behind us, sensors scanning for obstructions. Once shut, the computers in the sub-basement activate the external security systems. Our companions move to greet us as we cross the threshold. There are two corridors ahead of us and we part company here, our companions guiding us to our rooms.

The Bedroom door is already open but it too slides shut as soon as you and your companion are both inside. You can feel the coolness of the room and it smells faintly of your favourite aroma. The room is dimly lit but there is a channel of diffuse light guiding you to the bed. You flip up the duvet and lower yourself onto the pocket sprung memory foam mattress which moulds to your shape. Your companion snuggles up to you.

The memory foam pillow is cool to the touch at first but warms rapidly, contouring to your head as you sink into the softness and fall asleep.