Beneath the ground, trapped. Being smothered by the compressing earth, surrounding me on all sides. My oxygen grows less and less, as the CO2 I expel permeates the small cavern. I feel myself fainting away, through the thin, dank air, fading to join the angels…
But no. This is not me. This was my mother, who gave up before she tried. Who said goodbye before she said hello.
That is not me.
Gasping in the stubborn air, I scramble. I push and claw frantically at my dirt ceiling, feeling the pain and sting as my nails splinter and rip off. Trying desperately to ignore them, trying to be brave, but I just can’t. I can’t do this the way they do. My heroes.
I switch methods, from clawing to banging. I throw my bony shoulders up into the hard dirt, heaving my torso into my cage with all my might. I feel the bruises, the inky spots that would cover my shoulders in the morning. If they weren’t already there, they were coming.
My problem was I didn’t know how deep this grave was. I didn’t know where this grave was. Heaving, clawing, I desperately try to escape. I don’t want to join my mother.
All at once, the ceiling of soil collapses. Choking, and drop to my knees, curling into a ball. One heavy rock lands on my elbow, and I wince and tuck myself into a tighter wad.
Sunlight is flooding in the hole, fresh, breathable air coming with it. I stand up, despite the shower of dirt clumps, and breathe in dust and sunshine. Once the filth has cleared, I see my almost grave was dug not very deep, but there was a web of green over top. I rip those off, weaving my bloody fingers through and pulling hard, yanking them down. Lush vines tumble into a dense pile at my feet. I take a running leap with my remaining strength and pull myself, with great effort, over the crumbling edge. My stomach shrieks from gnawing hunger and my throat aches from the thirsty desire. I don’t know where to begin, now that I am alive.
Water first. You can survive for weeks without food, but days without water…
After ten minutes of treacherous walking in a sunny but tangled and unfamiliar forest, I spot a glistening pond. With a cry of desperate relief, I run towards it and fall to a heap in the shallows. I don’t know if it’s salty or fresh, but I don’t care. If I die, I die. At least I can die in the air.
But it was fresh. And I drank, and drank, and drank, until my stomach was sloshy. I pull myself out of the scummy shallows and spot a fallen log that leads a ways out to the clear water. I balance carefully on it, picking my way across. There is not much of me to balance.
Once I get to the edge, I look into the glassy mirror of water.
A hideous face stares back.
Bony, gaunt. Completely iced with dirt and mud, save for a slightly muddy spot around my lips and chin where the water had cleansed it. My cheekbones stick out. My filthy clothes hang in soggy tatters. My eyes are empty and hollow and huge. I look like a drowned, dirty owl. My hair hangs in a greasy, dirt-encrusted, unfixable frizzy tangle around my face.
But my expression stares back, haunted, lonely, scared, aged.
My father did this to me.
I wrote this randomly one day. Random meaning I opened my laptop, and typed. I have no idea who this girl is, how she got there, how she'll get out of that mess, or IF she'll get out, but I will have to figure that out later. For now, I just had fun.
I believe this is what Mrs. Laini Taylor calls a "Work Doc", just a random spiel of words. My personal advice to writers: if you're in the middle of a project and get stuck, freewrite. It will reasure you that you haven't lost your touch, its fun, it keeps you writing, and it may even help get you through the rough spot.