Sarah stood silently while the guide expounded on the history of Grimes Graves. She wasn’t really listening, as she’d started to feel strange the moment she had reached the cramped floor of the pit thirty feet beneath the surface. The dimness of the place was oppressive to her, and she felt that, almost within range of hearing, there was the faint, echoing, tap-tap of antlers on stone coming out of the grated openings of the shafts.
It amazed her that anyone could have fitted into those small openings, and it brought it home to her how much humanity had physically grown in the thousands of years since these men had come in search of flint for tools.
Sarah felt a little giddy, and she leaned against the rough wall, hoping that the faint sickness she felt wasn’t anything serious. She started feeling hemmed in by the closeness of the people around her, and had a picture flash in her head, of falling so ill she would need help back out of the pit.
She started to take slow, but deep, breaths – slowly in through the nose, out of the mouth. The giddiness started to recede, and the roiling that had started up in her stomach settled quickly. Of course! It was a touch of agoraphobia – that hadn’t happened to her in years!
With the panic receding, Sarah tuned in once more to the story the guide was telling his rapt audience – thank heavens nobody had noticed her temporary affliction!