Cocoon (Trifecta Writing Challenge Week 70, March 2013)

Keith Weston / / CC BY-NC-SA

Her only glimpse of the outside world, and the way she marked the passage of time, was through a skylight in the ceiling of the room that had been her prison for years.

In the early days of her abduction, she’d scratched a notch on the wall each time darkness crept across the glass.  But once he’d discovered the markings he’d threatened to cover the skylight, so she tried to record the passing days in her head until eventually, confused, she’d given up.

Now she was motionless on the floor, back against the wall, studying the body lying in the open doorway.  His head was turned to one side, and a trickle of blood had dried on his unshaven jaw.

After years of tyranny, a couple of lucky coincidences had finally released her.  He’d been bringing her lunch, but much later than usual – one of the ways he loved to torment her.  One of the less unpleasant ways.

He’d unlocked the door, after swearing theatrically as he pretended that the key didn’t work.  Another one of his games.  Did he not realise how engaging the prospect of permanent entombment without food was to her?

Eventually giving up the pretence he’d flung open the door.  She’d flinched and he’d laughed.  Then, without warning, he’d dropped the tray, clutched his chest and slumped, banging his head against the doorframe.  Stillness.

When she’d dared, she’d scrabbled across the floor to salvage the bread and cheese that littered the floor, but she’d quickly returned to her usual place against the wall.

She’d no doubt now that he was dead – he hadn’t moved during four passages of the sun across her skylight, four veils of darkness obscuring the open doorway.

Behind him,  she’d watched the world turn.  Clouds passed, birds flew by and insects buzzed lazily, drawn by the corpse before her.  She heard lawnmowers, voices, cars passing and occasional police sirens.

It was over.

Yet still she waited, unable to seize her freedom.

Or perhaps unwilling.

The featured word/definition this week was ‘lucky’. 

LUCKY (adjective)

1: having good luck
2: happening by chance : fortuitous
3: producing or resulting in good by chance : favorable

Please remember:

  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
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  • If your post doesn’t meet our requirements, please leave your link in the comments section, not in the linkz.
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About Sandra

I used to cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and wrote fiction and poetry. Now I live on the beautiful Dorset coast, enjoying the luxury of being able to have a cat, cultivating an extensive garden and getting involved in the community. I still write fiction, but only when the spirit moves me - which isn't as often as before. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
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40 Responses to Cocoon (Trifecta Writing Challenge Week 70, March 2013)

  1. Sandra says:

    Oh my goodness Sandra! Wow!


  2. Of course there is a novel in this, I read like it took place in a foreign country to then get to the lawn mowers and sirens…you clearly transported to another place..excellent sandra.


  3. Euan says:

    Great first comment I saw! This piece here shows the difference, by the way, between really good writing but not good enough and flawless craft. Stunning from all angles.


  4. habibadanyal says:

    Human nature I guess. More or less describes the hesitation of some people in my country unfortunately. Touché.


  5. tedstrutz says:

    Chilling, Sandra. You had me from the start, and I could not read fast enough. I agree with Mum… when’s the next chapter?


  6. Excellent, Sandra! And one way to show how, no matter how horrible one’s present circumstances may be, for many it is nearly impossible to change them for something better…i.e., battered women come to mind. Great story, great writing.


  7. steph says:

    Very nice writing. Creative take. Reminds me of the novel, Room. It took the victim quite a while to learn how to live outside the room. So imaginative.


    • Sandra says:

      Is that the one where the MC sends the little boy out to alert the police? I remember the imprisonment part but the remainder is vague. Glad you liked it.


  8. deanabo says:

    I am a big fan of your writing. You really keep me pulled into your words.


  9. DonettaS says:

    Captivating!!! I can imagine in my mind her being trapped and even though he was dead, she still couldn’t seize her freedom. This is absolutely wonderful!!!


  10. When she ‘gave up’, you had me too. I don’t think I’d leave until I had to!
    Excellent piece, Sandra.


  11. Megan Eccles says:

    Terrible and wonderful. I want to read all of it.


  12. Well told story. She couldn’t believe her luck.


  13. Draug419 says:

    The line “It was over” could have a lot of different meanings given her unwillingness to leave. I like that! This is a great piece.


  14. EmmaK says:

    Love it! She had been lulled into a state of inertia over the years which she was reluctant to leave even though she was now free. It is a philosophical idea isn’t it? That even we who are ‘free’ sometimes find we are unable to seize our freedom (or dream or ambition)


  15. Christine says:

    This is great – both the concept and the execution. I don’t know that it would work well as a novel (not that your writing doesn’t deserve that!) – I really like it as a short piece, a glimpse into someone’s mind.


  16. atrm61 says:

    What a beautiuful piece Sandra!Reminds me of caged birds who even when you leave the door open,they refuse to fly off-possibly they have forgotten what it is to be free or how to fly or as you said,perhaps they are afraid of what lies beyond!


  17. jannatwrites says:

    This was chilling. It’s totally believable that she would fear grasping freedom. At least she knows what to expect in that room.


  18. Lumdog says:

    This story is just so good. I was mesmerized by the idea behind this and the conclusion. So well done.


  19. Maggie says:

    This is excellent! I was captive for my entire childhood into adulthood. I’ve done art showing an escape with me afraid to move…not knowing what freedom would bring. I hope you are not drawing from personal experience. You really did a great job. I clung to every word…difficult for me. You have to grab me right off or I’m off to the next one. IMO, this is first place work.


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