Your Only Escape by Jennifer Garcia (IPC)
Iron Pen Challenge ~ 1 hour to write (nothing prewritten) and a secret ingredient given at the start of the contest. This was my entry from 1/5/13.
For this challenge, your main character must encounter the Angel of Death at some point. This encounter can be as brief or as lengthy as you’d like. Your Angel of Death can take on any form; however, there must be no questions as to when exactly this meeting happens.
1. Secret Ingredient:5
3. Overall Presentation: 3
4. Comments: Not much of a story, too descriptive, yet not on anything relevant.
1. Secret Ingredient: 5
2. Originality: 5
3. Overall Presentation: 4
4. Comments: Normally scary stories are not my thing but this was creepily good! Trepidation throughout and the ending was perfect.Complete story from start to finish. All points clarified, the setting flowed and clarified. I knew what was going on and definitely understood who, when, what and why happened.
1. Secret Ingredient: 5
2. Originality: 2
3. Overall Presentation: 3
4. Comments: The secret ingredient was used to full effect, and the story was generally well written; however, I think there was a lot that could have been done with that secret ingredient, and it was a little predictable.
Title: Your Only Escape
I needed to forget this whole thing. My whole life had changed and there was nothing I could do about it.
Her smell in the room overwhelmed me. It caused my tears to flow even more. I pulled her clothes out drawer by drawer and stuffed them in boxes for Salvation Army. This was the most difficult thing I ever had to do.
When I reached her closet, memories flooded me. It was supposed to have been me. It was my turn but somehow she got in the way. I would have gone too if it would have saved her. My world would never be the same without her in it.
I picked up the picture frame that sat on her nightstand. It was of my mother and me on the beach in Cancun. She took me there when I graduated high school. We always did fun things like that together. She was so good to me. She was my best friend.
However, it all changed the night I came home from a party with my friends. My mother should have been sleeping. It was late–past two in the morning. It was a chilly night, which was unusual in Los Angeles. It never got too cold since it doesn’t snow in LA. Today was the worst. There was frost on the lawn. It was why I had to wear a heavier jacket. A sweatshirt wouldn’t do to keep me warm.
When I entered the house, the same chill from outside crept into my bones. I tried to ignore the eerie feeling as I climbed the stairs to my bedroom. It felt as if someone was following me. Maybe I had too much to drink. I was a light-weight after all. Two beers and I was tipsy.
I made my way into my room and flipped on the light switch. The brightness hurt my eyes and it took a few minutes to adjust. White spots blinded me until my sight finally cleared. Then I was able to see my burnt orange walls and my teal comforter on my bed. My favorite books were scattered across my dark wood desk. I loved my bedroom. It was a relaxing and peaceful place for me.
I wanted to get warm so I pulled out my warmest sweatpants and sweatshirt and took them to the bathroom to wash up and change. When I removed my socks and shoes, the cold tile floor was a shock to my feet. I leaned against the sink to pull off my tight jeans and slip on my sweats. Oh, nice. The pants were lined with fleece and it began to warm me instantly.
Once I was done, I walked back to my room and stopped outside my mother’s door. I didn’t hear anything so I assumed she was sleeping. I didn’t open her door because I didn’t want to risk waking her. She was a light sleeper.
I climbed into my bed and tried to get comfortable but sleep would not come. I thought it was because I still felt a chill to my bones. It was a feeling that didn’t seem to go away. My skin was warm, and I didn’t feel any goosebumps. However, there was ache deep in my bones that just wouldn’t dissipate.
I reached for Pride and Prejudice, one of my favorite books hoping that it would bring me to sleep. I figured a bit of Liz and Darcy would warm my bones up as it always warmed my heart.
I wasn’t sure how long I had been reading but I must have dozed off at some point. I was not sure if I was asleep or awake but I began to see images like they were short movies. I wasn’t sure what they were.
A man in a dark cape covering his face and a scythe in his right hand, stood over me. I thought he was speaking to me but I couldn’t hear him.
“What? Are you speaking to me?” I asked.
I heard muffled noises like from the Charlie Brown cartoons. It was just like, blah blah blah.
I was so confused. I tried to sit up but couldn’t seem to move. Then I panicked. Why couldn’t I move?
My body was frozen as if someone was holding me down. I could feel my chest heaving and I gasped for air. I couldn’t breathe. I was suffocating. My chest was rising and falling quickly. The less I could breathe, the more I panicked.
I tried to scream for help but no sound would come out of my mouth. I tried to grab for the robed man and plead for help but my arm would not move. I was stuck on my bed as if someone glued me there.
“Please, please help me!” I screamed but no sound came out, it was only in my head. Oh, my God! I’m going to die.
I tried to focus on something to calm me enough to catch my breath and to regain my ability to scream so I counted in my mind backward. 100, 99, 98, 97 …
Slowly, I gained control of my breathing enough to speak aloud.
“Please, help me!” I begged again.
“I am not here to help you. Although you are already saved,” said the caped man.
“What … what do you mean … I am already saved?” I questioned while trying to catch my breath.
“It was your time. However, you were not here so I took the next best thing. But you will not be able to escape again, my dear. Next time, you will be mine,” he said in an eerie voice that made the chill in my bones deepen.
“I don’t know what you mean–”
“Sleep my dear. You’ll need it as tomorrow brings you much work,” he cut me off and then he was gone.
That morning I woke up late. It was actually afternoon, which surprised me because I should have heard my mother moving around the house.
After I used the bathroom and washed up, I searched around the house for my mother but I could not find her anywhere. I looked out the window for her car and it was there. Hmmm.
The only place I hadn’t looked was her bedroom so I ran up the stairs two at a time and just as I was about to bust open her door that cold chill in my bones ran through me again. A memory flashed in my mind. Something about a man taking the next best thing and that I wouldn’t be able to escape next time. I shook my head trying to understand. It didn’t register.
I opened her door and was hit instantly with a cloud of freezing cold air. The window was open and it seemed misty in there. It was dark. Although the window was open there wasn’t any light entering. I flicked the light switch and the lights didn’t work. I couldn’t see anything. I closed my eyes for a moment hoping that when I opened them they’d have adjusted.
Slowly opening my eyes, I saw the outline of my mother’s furniture and walked slowly to her bed. I crossed my arms trying to rub myself warm. I felt like I was in a walk-in freezer. When my knees hit the bed, I saw the shape of a body under the covers. I thought maybe my mother was ill and still sleeping. I carefully followed the edge of the bed with my leg and made my way around.
When I got to her side of the bed, I sat on the edge and reached for her. My hand touched her face. It was as cold as ice and as hard as stone. I jumped in fright and with my hands on my chest froze. I didn’t know what was happening.
My whole body was shaking and my head was shaking back and forth in fear and denial. No, no, no, no … this couldn’t be happening.
I wasn’t sure how long I stood there or how I eventually moved, but later I found myself in the living room sitting on the sofa surrounded by police officers, paramedics, and a coroner. I heard a cacophony of voices swirling around the room but I wasn’t able to make sense of any of them. Someone was standing before me asking questions, I thought. Another sat beside me and tried to hand me a cup of something warm, as I could see the steam rising from the cup. My feet were on the sofa and my knees bent. I had my arms wrapped around my legs trying to make sense of it all.
I was being yelled at. When I finally looked up, I found the source of the voice coming from my best friend, Alexis.
“Frankie, Francesca! Listen to me. You need to snap out of this and tell us what happened!” she was yelling.
I stared at her with my empty black eyes and tried to find the strength in her warm blue orbs. She was trying to be calm for me. I thought I could snap out of it to tell her what I knew.
I told her I found her that way when I woke up. But I knew in my mind, memories or parts of dreams flashing constantly told me there was more to it than that. I just hadn’t been able to piece it together yet.
Alexis helped me arrange my mother’s funeral and all her arrangements were taken care of. But I knew as I packed up my mother’s room that I was at fault for her death. I remembered being told it was supposed to have been me.