Regular readers know that I debated between at least seven posts when deciding which of these to go with. Ultimately, I went with this one, from the A to Z challenge 2014, because it was so fun to write. I created an entire story this year, and broke it down into each of the letter days. Naturally, most guests were only able to read one post, as there were over 1000 blogs to visit. Most of my posts were noticed, commented on, and were liked. This one was overlooked. That’s a shame, because this is my second favorite from the series. (My favorite was the next one, W is for Water, where in the main character chats with a lobster. But it makes little sense without reading this one first.)
So, here it is. Reposted for your reading pleasure. I hope you enjoy. Thanks for stopping in!
All alone in this sealed off room.
I pound on the door until I can no longer lift my limbs. I search along the cracks for any way to pry it open, but none exists. I search through my backpack for anything of use. The contents hidden within are a small bandage, a blue paperclip, a pen that ran dry, my keys, the plastic baggy that held the torch, an eight-ounce bottle of water, and the crystal pendulum. None of this is of any use to get the door open. Thirsty from my efforts, I drink the water. I want to conserve it, to drink it slow over time, but I end up chugging the whole bottle.
It is believed by my tribe that fasting increases a person’s ability to contact and influence the great spirits. It is by these means, this Vision Quest, that we can meet our Guardian Spirit. As the only source of food around me is in the form of seeds, spices, sugar, and salt, I may as well fast. I very well might die down here. Does that mean that I’ll fail? I was chosen for this. It was supposed to be my destiny or something to come down here today. What does it mean if my true fate is to die?
I probably have three days to live. After that, without water, I will die.
This seems like a good time to break down in tears, but I just can’t. Those tears would be wasted liquid. It isn’t worth it. I sit up straight. My legs turn and tuck, so that my calves and the top of my feet touch the ground, my thighs rotating to the side. I resolve to remain like this.
My mind clears. Finding inner silence has never been my strong suit, but this is the perfect opportunity to work on it. I focus on my breathing. I focus on each breath. I fade away.
Time passes. Minutes, hours, days. My stomach tries to interrupt my peaceful calm, but I chose to ignore it. I much prefer meditating in the forest, but this is where I am, so this is where I must be.
It’s time to open your eyes.
There’s a voice inside my mind that isn’t my own.
Yes, there is. Open your eyes.
I look around the room. It is as I remember, though the fire has dwindled considerably.
Come over to the two large jars you did not open.
I cross to the corner of the room, as instructed.
Open the one decorated with images of the ocean.
“I have a list and a map. What could possibly go wrong?”
Short story contest winners, short-listed finalists, judges, invited award winning guests and CWI staff had fun answering that question. They produced 30 very different, thought-provoking plots. Genres include general fiction, humor, fantasy, romance, dystopian, horror and sci-fi.