I was in a hurry to get there on time – I had registered to a course in painting and drawing a few weeks ago, but it turned out to be a busy week and I had had to stop working without completing the task I was currently working on. I just had to get going quickly to get there. I had never been to that house or that room, I had to take into account some time to find the right place. I found the house some 10 minutes before the course was to start. I went in to the door and found myself in a small old entrance room with two further doors. One had sign for another company on it, the other had the sign of the Art Academy I was enlisted to.

That door was locked.

Locked..? There had to be a course starting in ten minutes!

Upon close inspection I found a doorbell with a speaker amongst motley of partially torn ads and announcements. I pressed it. Someone answered on the speaker, asked about where I wanted to go – and right at that moment someone came out the door and I could go in. I hesitated for a moment – I still was not that sure, whether it was the right place – but I went in nonetheless after saying everything was OK to the speaker.

The moment I got in I felt there was something wrong still. I found myself in an empty staircase. After the first afternoon  warmth of summer the staircase was chilly and gloomy. I went up to first floor, found the door with Art Academy sign – but that door, too, was locked. Now I found the doorbell more easily, but this time there was no answer. I waited for a while and pressed the button again. No luck.

Giving up, I looked around at where I was. The staircase continued up for a few more floors. I thought maybe they had a room upstairs somewhere for that course and started up. There were several doors with no signs on them. My steps echoed in the stone, walls had random drawings on them. The bleak stairwell reminded me of 3D shooter games, where you have grey-grey rooms and nobody anywhere to be seen and you have to figure out how to get out of this room – on to the other levels – with the items you have gathered previously. I was hard pressed not to start searching for hidden doors or kicking open any door that seemed to be hiding some room I could continue my quest in. And I have not played such games for years. Vigilant, careful, I sneaked up to the upmost level, where the staircase started to be dangerous, with no railing. I had found nothing useful up here. I was getting desperate.

I looked at the clock – five minutes until the course was supposed to start. Was I really in the wrong place? I remembered the course description – there was no room specified, just the address and Art Academy. I had not printed the description, could it be, that I didn’t notice some specification for the location? Maybe they had official location here but the course was to be held in some other rooms?

I went back to the door with their sign, pressed the doorbell again – with no luck. In addition to my agitation about my course, not being in the right place, the staircase with its floors upon floors started to frighten me as well. I felt haunted and strange, I rather went outside. In the sunlight it seemed strange that such a desolate place could be hiding right beyond that cosy-looking historical house. I used the wonders of our technical age there to get the phone number for the course organisator, to call her (she didn’t answer) and just then, as before, someone stepped out of that door and into the sunlight with a sign “Drawing and painting course” and started pasting it to the door. Happily I stepped in again. Through that door, that was locked before, but now had a carpet stopping it from falling closed; through still bleak corridor and up the staircase to the door, that had seemed the likeliest before. That, too had the sign for my course on it.

Later, after our teacher had spoken to us about how to use skechbooks and sent us out to try it out, draw in it some things we felt strongly about, I went and I couldn’t do anything else, I just had to keep drawing that staircase and nothing else but that.