Thank you to everyone who followed my ten part series where I adapted my poem into a short story.
Now that it’s complete, I’ll post the full story followed by the poem below.
Also, on Wednesday keep an eye on my blog, because I will start posting my new project. It’s a story told in a poem format, about an alien woman who comes to earth and learns some harsh realties about humanity.
I woke up with the unfamiliar feeling of a hard wooden surface underneath me, rather than the relative comfort of my much softer mattress. I reached out and could almost stretch my arms out all the way before they reached the edges. I lifted both arms, it was the same outcome. So I concluded it was some kind of box. I wasn’t in any pain, although I didn’t feel over overly comfortable either.
I sat up and pushed at the top. It didn’t budge. I noticed little rays of light seeping through and realised there were small holes in my box. Not big enough to see anything when I tried, but enough so I could breath. I took in a lungful of air as if to double-check. I felt something soft against my feet and managed to manoeuvre myself around so that I could find out what it was. It felt soft and was square-shaped, a cushion then. I felt around and found three more. I placed them along the surface and lay back down. I had no idea what was going on, but I couldn’t open the box and I didn’t know where I was, or if the holes would be enough for me to be able to breathe forever. I’ve always been a logical person. Logic told me that it was useless to use up air screaming for help, unless someone was out there to hear me. Logic also told me that without food and water I would become weaker, so it was best to conserve my energy. I closed my eyes and went back to sleep.
I woke up on what I assumed was the second day, because I felt rested as though I had a full night’s sleep. The ground beneath me was hard again. I felt around, but the cushions were gone. That baffled me. I pushed against the top again, but it was still tightly shut. Someone must have opened it up while I was asleep, removed the cushions from underneath me and resealed the box. I hadn’t woken up. This left me with an uneasy feeling that they could have done anything to me and I still wouldn’t have woken. I came to the conclusion that my captor had drugged me somehow. Maybe it was a toxic gas. That would explain the reason for having holes in the box. My heart sped up a little and panic seemed to be fighting a battle within me, against my usual logic. I fought it and closed my eyes, telling myself if I just pretended to be asleep my captor would open the box again. I would then fight him (or her), and have the best chance of winning after conserving my energy so well.
When I opened my eyes again I saw a man looking down at me. His face was partially covered by the rim of his black hat. I sprang up and grabbed him, but as my hand clasped around his arm, it came away in my hand. He growled at me, then pushed me back down with his one remaining hand. He slammed the box shut. The sounds of at least four locks quickly followed. I screamed out after realising I was still holding onto his dismembered arm. It broke free from my grip and it seemed to be holding something soft, which it tried to smother me with before It disappeared. I felt around the box, not wanting it to be in there with me, but needing to know if I had imagined the whole thing. I couldn’t find it and assumed it must have been a nightmare, perhaps induced by the toxic gas?
I decided it must be day three. I didn’t sleep, but my instincts told me it was a new day. I wasn’t going to fall asleep, not when the man with the rimmed hat was still out there. He was either poisoning my thoughts with toxic gas, or he was a demon. If his arm really did come off and attack me like that, then he could only be a demon. I never thought demons were real, but I know what I saw. Whenever I closed my eyes, I could almost relive the experience of being smothered.. So I made the decision that my eyes were staying open. The feeling began again and it drew my attention towards the top of the box, which I couldn’t see anymore. The holes, they were gone. That explained why I felt smothered. How long had they been gone, and how? I never heard them been filled in and I hadn’t slept, I was sure of it.
I decided it was time to try to alert someone. I banged on the top of the box with my fists. I called “help” over and over, before my words turned into screams. My throat began to feel like someone had used a cheese grater on it. My lungs were refusing to take in air, probably because there was no air for them to take it.
By day four, it became clear nobody could hear me, nobody who would help me anyhow. The man, or demon may have heard me. He wasn’t going to help, he was the one who put me in the box and was taking pleasure from toying with me. When he opened the lid, I was given a small amount of hope which was quickly snatched away. I realised he did that on purpose. I was just a play thing to him. I knew what happened to play things. The player quickly got bored, cast them to one side and moved onto the next one. I wasn’t going to be cast aside. I didn’t know how I was going to escape his clutches, but I would find a way. My brain was too exhausted to come up with a plan though.
I found myself dragged into a state of restless dreaming. I wasn’t sure if the demon was opening the box again, and I was tearing off his arm again, or if I was just reliving the nightmare. I tried to test whether it was real by doing something differently. I let the dismembered arm smother me with a cushion, instead of fighting it. It disappeared again, but I was convinced that small change of doing things differently meant it was really happening and not a replay in my nightmares. The demon would open the box again to taunt me further. I would tear off his other arm and beat him to death with it. It would be strangely satisfying. I hoped he wouldn’t wait too long. I don’t know how he was making it happen, but the box was shrinking. I couldn’t stretch my arms out as far as before.
When I woke up on the fifth day I realised it’s was still day four, but I was reliving it. The holes in the box were still gone. Realistically, I wouldn’t have enough air to make it to day five, hence my reasoning behind a more horrifying version of Groundhog Day.
As I suspected, the events of day four were repeated, right down me allowing the dismembered arm to suffocate me. I tried to make something different happen, anything, however small. It was a lost cause however. I was inside my own body, but I felt more like a spectator, unable to control my own actions.
Day four started over again on what should have been another day. I figured it didn’t matter anymore. Same box, same day. I shouldn’t have been bothered. I knew what would happen and I knew the dismembered arm would stop smothering me, so I wouldn’t die. Knowing seemed to make it worse though. It was the waiting, and the seconds seemed to drag by.
By the time I was been suffocated, time seemed to slow down even more. It lasted twice as long as before. When the arm disappeared, I was left alone in the coffin, almost devoid of air. My lungs felt like they were pounding inside of me, demanding that I find oxygen to feed them. I would have liked to fulfil their request. I was still suffocating even though the arm was gone again. I couldn’t move my limbs to do anything differently, but I discovered I could move my mouth and scream. That’s what I did, until I couldn’t scream anymore, then I felt like I was spinning into unconsciousness.
When day four came around again I was enraged. I couldn’t take the replays anymore, I had to get out of the box one way or another. If that meant ending up in another box, it was a risk I was willing to take. At least then I would be able to rest in peace.
I punched at the inside of the box. The pain was intense, but the wood held strong. I punch again, and again. My knuckles began to bleed, but I punched some more. It became obvious that wasn’t going to do it. So I began to kick too. The box felt like it moved and even wobbled a little. It occurred to me that the box I was in could be resting on something. I hurled my own body to one side, then again until I lost count and I was falling. The box shattered and I was lying on the ground surrounded by the pieces.
I knew I should get up and try to escape, but the act of breaking the box had left me drained. I fell into a deep and dreamless sleep.
When I woke, my joy at reaching day five was short-lived. I stood and faced the fire that engulfed an entire wall. The broken pieces of the box still lay on the ground. I twisted my neck, looking for a way out. If the wall was on fire then I needed to get out. There wasn’t a door or any windows though. I took a step towards the fire, realising the wall wasn’t actually on fire. There was no wall. The fire wasn’t out of control, it was just there.
I heard sounds from inside the flames. Screams, I realised and I wondered if it was hell. The words of a country song returned to me. Something about keep going and the devil might never know I was there. Could I run fast enough to make it to the other side? Was there a way out of hell? Did I really want to go inside the flames? The questions danced around my mind.
I looked back at the box. It was whole again. I could get back inside, but I had escaped. I realised I couldn’t go back. Hell would be bad, I was sure of it, but it seemed like my only chance of making it to somewhere else. I held out my hand towards the flames. My skin sizzled, but something told me I wouldn’t die, at least not yet. I took a leap inside, deciding it was better to get it over with.
The pain became less noticeable the further I ran across the fiery path of hell. It was still present, but I think that after a while the body must get used to it, if it doesn’t die first. Something was keeping me alive, if alive is the right word to use. I couldn’t help wondering whether the devil did know if I was there. Of course he must have done. I was in his lair. I don’t think anyone gets into the devil’s lair without his knowledge or permission.
The sound of my feet slapping against the ground rang louder in my ears the deeper into hell I went, and the smell of my own burning flesh was nauseating. A chunk of my arm flesh dropped onto the floor, leaving the bone in my arm on display. I carried on running, convinced that even if the devil knew I was there, I could somehow outrun him.
Suddenly, I’m was lying down on the by then, familiar wooden surface of the box. It was day one starting again, or maybe just another part of hell. I realised that I may have been in hell all along, but hadn’t realised it until then. I knew if things played out as they had on day one, I had a peaceful night sleep ahead of me. I retrieved the cushions and spread them out underneath me, then went to sleep.
When I woke up on the rerun of day two, I knew my options were limited. I had no weapons to do myself in, but I was in box. I used the box as my weapon, knowing I couldn’t keep going through another replay of everything. I figured if I smashed my head against the box hard enough for long enough, I would reach one of two goals; unconsciousness or eternal rest. I don’t know how long it’s been. I’m still there in the box and my head is a bloody pulp, but I’ll keep on trying to bring this nightmare to an end.
Day one, I wake up in a box
But there is space to move
And holes to breath
Cushions are spread beneath me
So I go back to sleep
Day two, I wake up in a box
But the cushions are gone
But I go back to sleep
That’s when the nightmares begin
Of demons smothering me with cushions
Day three, I don’t wake up in a box
Because I never went to sleep
But I’m still in the box
Now the holes are gone too
And I finally call out for help
Day four, still in the box
But can’t waste air by shouting
Nobody hears me anyway
And sleep sneaks up on me
I dream the box is shrinking
Day four, not again
Same box, same day
I just know it, I should be dead
There’s isn’t enough air
To make it to day five
Day four is replayed over again
The suffocation as I use up
What little air I have
My lungs scream out for more
Then I pass out
Day four, I can’t take this anymore
I punch and claw and throw myself
Against the inside of this wooden box
Somehow managing to break free
Then I fall asleep with exhaustion
Day five, at last
But disappointment stabs at me
I’m stood the gates of hell
I look back at the box
And see it’s not even damaged
Day six, after much debate
Whether to climb back into my box
Or go forward into hell
I step forward and hope it leads
Somewhere better than either option
Day seven, I can smell the burning
Of my own flesh and
Hear the slap slap noise
Of my tattered feet
Running through Satan’s lair
Day one starts all over again
This is the part I don’t mind
So I go to sleep
Knowing it will be
The last peaceful night for me
Day two and I wake up in a box
With no weapons and no other options
I repeatedly smash my head against
The inside of this wooden box
Day three never comes for me