I’m actually making a habit of this. (Albeit a late one.)
My response to the Story Dam Dam Burst Prompt
that says: write a piece, fiction or non, in which your character suddenly finds themselves somewhere and have no clue how they got there.
I’m challenging myself to write these and post them uninterrupted, unpolished (save for cleaning up spelling and grammar errors). Maybe in hopes of getting over my perfectionist streak? Which, in turn, might help me stop agonizing over every word choice and sentence flow when I’m supposed to be writing a down draft.
So, here it is.
The Colorado has found its way into her head, rushing through the nooks and crags of her skull, wearing away the fine bone, pulsing in her temples, making her teeth ache.
It’s a struggle to open her eyes.
She hears the crackle of fire, the world flickers orange, and the light folds around red rock stalagmites (red rock…red rock means she’s still in the canyon), casting long shadows against the wall. Shadows not dark enough to obscure the writing of a language she doesn’t know: strange loops and symbols drawn in thick paint that’s drooling down the wall, pooling on the stone floor.
As she struggles to her feet, the world goes fuzzy at the edges and she tilts, catches herself against the cave wall. Her hand comes away wet. She brings it to her face, nearly wretches as the smell of copper coats the back of her tongue.
The writing on the walls is not done in paint.
She turns to the fire. Scattered around it are bones, of all shapes and sizes. The skulls of small animals. Long slim bones that look like fingers. Something that might have, once upon a time, been and arm or a leg. And stretched out on the floor next to the fire—held down by rocks, drying like an animal pelt—is the skin from Meg’s back, the black sun tattoo that she’d gotten inked between her shoulder blades last June gleaming in the firelight.
Something has gotten inside her chest, is squeezing around her lungs, her heart. At the edge of her vision, the light is fading.
But just before everything goes black for the second time that night, she sees movement at the mouth of the cave, just beyond the fire light.
Something tall and reed thin slinking forward, its eyes sulphur yellow and burning like the sun.