Monday, June 10, 2019

WEP Challenge -- Etoile

Cyla might never have seen a chick, or even an egg, but now she knew why they’d worked so hard to get out of those shells.

This tiny room wasn’t much larger than her bunk, and it felt like it was shrinking. The walls were covered in controls she didn’t understand. Wasn’t allowed to understand.

The explosions had stopped, but Darra hadn’t answered his link.

She’d snuck out to explore when Etoile had shaken so hard, Cyla had been tossed through an open door into this room. Darra would be so annoyed. She wasn’t supposed to leave their room without him—ever—and now she was trapped.

Cyla stood up and pressed the rectangle closest to the door, but nothing happened. Where was Darra? Why wouldn’t he talk to her? How was she supposed to get out?

Darra had told her red meant danger, so she didn’t want to press those controls. Black or blue?

She tried her link again, but when Darra didn’t respond, she pressed the highest button she could reach beside the door. Symbols flashed on the screen, but she hadn’t been taught symbols yet. Too young. Too dangerous.

A siren shrieked and Cyla ducked to cover her head. The steady shriek changed to a pattern. Three long, three short, three long bursts. A pause then repeat. Something else she hadn’t learned.

Etoile shuddered, sending Cyla crashing into one wall and then another. And another.

Battling tears, she steadied her hands against the sides of the room and pushed to her feet. She had to get out. Find Darra.

While Etoile lurched, Cyla tried pushing button after button. The only response was symbols on the screen. The door remained locked. She pounded her fists on it, calling for help.

Another jolt sent her flying and she couldn’t stop the tears from flowing.

“Darra!”

The shaking continued, but Cyla gained her feet again and used her fists to slam all the non-red buttons she could reach. Nothing.

More controls sat higher than her head but there was nothing to stand on. Those had to be the ones. Cyla jumped and managed the first one. More symbols.

Screaming her frustration, she jumped again and again, slamming her fists into the wall.

The familiar hiss of doors opening had her smiling through the tears, but the door remained closed in front of her. A higher-pitched siren joined the other, this one screeching in short, repeated bursts.

A frigid wind rushed in behind Cyla and she tried to turn even as the wind wrapped around her and yanked her with it.

Away from her hiding place.
Away from Etoile.
Away from Darra.

She’d pushed the red button.




This story is part of the WEP/IWSG challenge. Check the link to find all the details and check out the other entries. It's fun to see how differently people interpret the challenge!

How about you? Any stories you're working on about being trapped? Anyone else feeling like a freed bird now that the nice weather has arrived?

74 comments:

  1. I love this, Jemi! Being trapped is something of a fear of mine and you hit all the notes. :) You write action really well.

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    1. I'm with you, Elizabeth! Those tight places ... shudder! :)
      Thank you!!

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  2. Effective! If she's on a spaceship about to be launched into space, that's a very bad thing.

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  3. Oh, she shouldn't have started pushing buttons.

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  4. Love this. My claustrophobic self was panicking with her. The screaming of the siren just added to my stress. And I can only finish with saying more please. I do want to find where the wind has taken her.

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  5. Love it. I'm with Elephant's Child on wanting to know where she has been taken by the wind and what is going to happen next.

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    1. Thanks, Mason! I wonder what's happened... :)

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  6. Great story. You do a great job keeping up the suspense. And what a great cliffhanger ending.

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    1. Thanks, Natalie! Suspense is always fun to write! :)

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  7. Great work building the suspense, Jemi!

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  8. A suspenseful well told tale. Well done.

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  9. Jemi, love it from beginning to end. You maintained her panic from beginning to end. Your use of the senses was what made a good story idea great. All that wind, noise and fear and hitting buttons. Superbly scary. Yes. What happens next? We want more.

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    1. Thanks, Denise! I'll have to check in with Cyla to see what happens next! :)

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  10. And Jemi, the changes at WEP are experimental and may not pan out. Watch the WEP website for more...

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    1. I'll keep my eyes open! It's a lot of work to run something like WEP and changes are inevitable!

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  11. Very well written and it captured my attention immediately. I love your play with the wind at the end of the story. Cyla could be anywhere.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

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    1. Thanks, Pat! It was a fun piece to write! :)

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  12. Gosh, it is terrible to be trapped somewhere you don't understand and couldn't operate. The worst cage ever. So frightening.
    I felt a little bit like that when I visited a foreign country where I didn't know the language. You suddenly become deaf and blind, especially if they use a different alphabet.

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    1. The different alphabet would make things incredibly difficult! And scary - I haven't been in that situation yet. It would be overwhelming!

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  13. I'm imagining that she is in a spaceship and she got sucked out into space. but wherever she is, it doesn't sound good. Great story.

    Have a lovely day.

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    1. Thanks, Lissa!
      Yes, things didn't end well for poor Cyla!

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  14. I am tremendously claustrophobic and my chest tightened while reading this. Poor Cyla is a dreadfully unlucky soul.

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    1. Is it awful that I'm glad the piece evoked some tension in you???? :)

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  15. Hi Jemi - well poor Cyla ... sucked out into the open space of nothingness ... you've crafted the story really well. I am glad it's not me!! Cheers Hilary

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  16. Sure have to watch what buttons one pushes.

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  17. Lovely story that shows the reader how much the lack of learning creates (in this story) both a real cage and closes off Cyla's ability to survive. Very powerful ending!

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  18. This is an interesting tale. I thought the red ones would free her, but instead they ensnared her even more.
    Nancy

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  19. Oh, she escaped but did she jump out of the frying pan in to the fire? Excellent tension building. So scary not knowing what symbols mean.

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    1. It must be! I always think of the kids at school trying to understand different langauges and alphabets - must be so difficult!

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  20. Well crafted, Jemi, with the clever showing adding layers until that final shock - exiting the airlock cage. Love this use of the theme.

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    1. Thanks, Roland! It was fun to write - but, poor Cyla!

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  21. Bravo! A very intriguing piece and I like the way you crafted it. Nice work! :)
    ~Jess

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    1. Thanks, Jess - it was a fun one to write! :)

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  22. Great excerpt and a creative take on the prompt. Tension done to a turn, I was right there with Cyla, panicking and pushing buttons and wondering what those beeps mean. And what a cliff hanger of an ending - from a claustrophobic 'cage' sucked into boundless space - a huge metaphor for a profound philosophical question. Secure in a cage or an unknown, boundless freedom? Brilliantly crafted and thought provoking.

    Thanks for posting this flash at WEP.

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    1. Thank you! It was fun going in a different direction - I'm enjoying all the different prompts with the WEP challenges!

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  23. This story is brilliant and horrifying! I can only imagine the fear of being trapped in a tiny, unfamiliar room with no way out. That is, until she found a way out, but it certainly wasn't the one she was hoping for. That ending gave me chills. Brilliant!

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    1. Thanks, LG! Getting what we wish for doesn't always turn out the way we expect!

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  24. Oh wow, this one left me breathless, literally, as I am quite claustrophobic! Well Done!

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    1. Thanks, Carrie! I could feel those walls closing in as well! :)

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  25. So that cage was a safe one, but ... she ran.

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    1. So difficult to know how safe the cage is at times!

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  26. Well, damn. I wasn't paying attention and thought I was reading a excerpt from something. I got all pulled in and ready to read more and poof.
    Great job.

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    1. Poof! That pretty much describes the end for Cyla! :)

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  27. Your story is so unusual and although she has claustrophobia and keeps trying to open the door there's no sense of relief when she does because more danger awaits her. Great piece of writing.

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    1. Thanks Kalpana! Poor Cyla didn't get the escape she was hoping for!

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  28. Oooo. Scary... I wonder if there's a part 2 telling us where Cyla lands up.

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    1. Thanks Bernadette ... not so far! Who know though?

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  29. I think you've captured on of those universal fears here - being trapped. But there's no respite when the opening door just offers more terror. Very claustrophobic.

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    1. It's so scary to feel like there's no way out, no matter the cage!

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  30. I liked this because it's relatable to me. I had been in situations where I didn't know what the words or symbols meant. The right random choice meant life, the wrong meant death or pain. I can understand the pain and frustration. It really comes through. The desperation. Very well done.

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    1. Thanks! It's terrifying to not understand and to be so desperarte.

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  31. Fantastic job capturing the terror and the desperation that leads to irrational action. Making her a child (I presume) makes it more intense, though in her situation—tiny room, piercing noises you can’t shut out—I’d probably go just a crazy.

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    1. You and me both! I don't like those panic-inducing situations either. And, yes, I imagined Cyla as a child. :)

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  32. Very suspenseful. You catpured that sense of being trapped so well. Perhaps she should have stayed away from buttons all together.

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  33. Wow! I was waiting for the "What Next!" However, leaving me to imagine it is quite enough.

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    1. Thanks Lee! :)
      It's always fun to leave the reader hanging!

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  34. awesome article.
    thanks for sharing :)

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  35. Congratulations on being short-listed in this WEP challenge. My claustrophobic self is still haunted by your tale.

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    1. Oops! Sorry about the claustrophobia :)
      Congrats on your 2nd as well - well deserved!!

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  36. Oh dear! So sad, and very well done.

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