Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 529) Blue Flame
No other words are spoken after the old woman finally responds to Stephen and Zsofia. The three of them walk to the spiral staircase and begin their descent from the fourth floor all the way down to the ground floor. It is tedious, moving in the dark with the single beam of the flashlight glowing as they navigate the steps. In the manner Klara is walking and holding onto the walls and railings, Stephen can tell this is hard on her feeble aging body. With each step of her left leg, she pauses; it is a very slight hesitation, yet happening nonetheless.
Once they are back at ground level, Stephen hands Zsofia the flashlight. She quickly heads back to the conservatory for her brother and grandfather, while Stephen guides Klara to the nearest place to sit down, which happens to be the kitchen table. He is hopeful that if she can rest, she will catch her breath and regain her strength.
He knows there is an unlit candle on the windowsill of the kitchen; he has seen it there many times, so he gently taps around in the dark for it. Finally, his hand passes over the top for he feels the wick tickle his palm. Picking it up, he takes the candle to the stove and turns it on its side. With a loud click, he ignites the gas burner and lowers the wick into the bright blue flame. Taking a few minutes for his eyes to adjust to the light, he looks into Klara’s. Even though it is difficult to see, he can tell the ordinary brown tone of her eyes are back to normal and he wants them to stay that way.