With some effort, Madeleine dragged the ladder from one end of the study to the other. The tiny fennec girl certainly needed the extra height; the shelves stacked all the way to the ceiling, and there were books to read up there.
She began her ascent, stubby limbs reaching for one rung after another as she stuck her nose between the shelves. All sorts of papers and discarded implements littered each one. On the top shelf lie the books. They all read about ancient history, some of her homeland and some of other civilizations. She soon found what she was looking for, a thick, leathery book on Mayan embalming practices, and she tugged it out and moved to climb back down.
On her way down, Madeleine felt her chest tighten. Something set it off again. Her lungs seized up. She couldn't breathe.
The hacking and gasping started up with enough force to almost knock her clean off the ladder. She dropped the book, sending it to the floor with a hefty crash, and scrambled off the ladder and into an adjacent bedroom. From a desk drawer, a frantic Madeleine retrieved her inhaler, squeezing down on the canister and taking huge drags of the medicine inside. One breath became two, then three, then four...
The attack subsided, but Madeleine could only groan when it was over. She had hoped coming to Apricot Bay would've stopped those.