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Chapter 17. Write a Novel Challenge.

Chapter 17. Write a Novel Challenge.

by Camila SimaoJune 22, 2020

The fall seemed never ending. Somehow, the anxiety previously buzzing around her brain seemed to evaporate, leaving her with a strangely artificial calm. Was this how Alice felt in the rabbit hole? Except instead of flying furniture and a sunny hole atop, it was progressively more suffocating darkness. She closed her eyes, feeling the wetness behind the lids inundate her lower lash line, and cold tears streaking her face. Was this how she would end?

The wind steadily hissed in her ears, until it stopped. Suddenly, she missed it, as the dooming silence replacing it felt much worse. She could feel nothing, hear nothing, see nothing. She would much rather be back on the surface, with the scarf guy and his magic wall, although maybe not with the scarring creature trying to rip her to shreds.

The voices got progressively louder, nearly screaming in her ears, resonating in her skull and echoing around her in a cacophony of sounds. Her mom singing a soft lullaby, Quinn’s giggles and Ryder’s friendly banter mixing together into demonic screeches spanning multiple pitches. Maybe she was screaming, too.

She opened her eyes suddenly, sunlight pouring in her apartment’s window. She was home. She was safe. It all was silent apart from the constant rumble of cars on the road underneath. The silky sheets were clean of sweat, or blood, or any sign of struggle. She was wearing her usual pyjamas, the blouse she remembers having stained with an old Merlot lying in perfect condition on a chair. It was all perfect. It was all normal. It was all… off.

She blinked, and the room started to sway, ripping apart as if shredded by sharp claws, chunks of it flying like fabric, leaving only the familiar darkness behind them. Why was it familiar? Why was her room disappearing under her eyes? She clutched the bedsheets in her clammy hands but found that they weren’t there anymore. Golden sand trickled through her fingers, falling back on what was her bed, covering it. She looked up to see herself reflected back on giant glass. More sand poured over her head, bouncing off and adding to the piles around her. She was in a giant hourglass, her time quite literally running out. She sank deeper into it, and desperately tried to lift herself out, only succeeding in falling down further. The sand kept falling on her head, burying her until she was back in the darkness, suffocated on all sides, pressed between walls of sharp rocks digging into her skin. She couldn’t breathe.

Neina opened her eyes again, to find herself on the edge of a crystalline river. Birds chirped on the trees around her. Panting, she ran her hands on her face, finding no trace of the sand previously covering her. Had it all been a dream? Maybe the sun had given her hallucinations. The foliage above her shook with a warm summer breeze, green leaves tinting the sun’s golden rays as they hit the grassy floor.

A white butterfly leisurely flew over the river, passing close enough to Neina for her to see the small rip on one of its wings. If she remembered her high school biology class well enough, a broken wing was as good as a death sentence for butterflies. How come this one was still floating around? The bright white bug stared right back at her, seeming to look into her soul itself, before flapping away. The rip had mended itself.

Write a Novel Challenge protagonist being dragged into the water drowning

She crawled nearer to the river, wounding her hands on the sharp rocks littering the bank. Blood poured out, but nothing hurt, and so she paid it no mind. She put her hands in the water to soothe them, and took the time to observe her face in the limpid liquid. Two tired eyes stared right back, the usual spark swimming around the iris unusually gone. Her lips fell into a frown, as she put her face closer to her temporary mirror. The reflection wobbled a bit, disturbed by the movement. Soon though, the water trembled, becoming darker, swirls of black sand and gravelly rocks bobbing up to the surface. Her hands slid into the muddy bottom, trapped there by some unseen force. The water contorted her face into something unrecognizable, elongating her head and darkening her eyes, changing her features until she couldn’t possibly name the person she was seeing. Her knees dug into the rocks on the edge of the river, giving her some leverage to get the momentum needed to free her hands. Nothing worked. Nature itself seemed to be working against her with all it’s might.

A thick, black cloud passed over the sun, and all of the birds went silent. Two scarred green hands suddenly appeared in the water, surfacing quickly and grabbing her by the shoulders. Neina screamed, inhaling a mouthful of water when the hands forced her down with them. Where there should have been a river bed to hit her head on, there was only more to fall in. The water surrounded her, getting progressively darker as the hands dragged her further away from the sunlight. She choked on the bitter liquid, her lungs seeming to fill with it, her brain becoming sluggish and slow. The hands let her go. She was back in the darkness.

The wind was still whizzing past her ears when she came back to consciousness. She blinked, aware of her surroundings, of the fall she was still in. There were no voices, no apartment, no hourglass or peaceful river. Just her, the wind and a never ending fall. Just as she thought that, the wind got impossibly louder, and she hit the rocky bottom with a loud thud. She wheezed, laying on her back, her eyes watering again. How she was alive, she didn’t know. A shout reverberated from the very top of the chasm, barely a whisper to her. She closed her eyes once again. Come what may, she was too tired to care anymore.

© and 2020. All rights reserved.

For further information on the Write a Novel Challenge by and, please click here

To read Chapter 1, click here.

To read Chapter 2, click here.

To read Chapter 3, click here.

To read Chapter 4, click here.

To read Chapter 5, click here.

To read Chapter 6, click here.

To read Chapter 7, click here.

To read Chapter 8, click here.

To read Chapter 9, click here.

To read Chapter 10, click here.

To read Chapter 11, click here.

To read Chapter 12, click here.

To read Chapter 13, click here.

To read Chapter 14, click here.

To read Chapter 15, Click here.

To read Chapter 16, click here.

For further information on the Swiss International Scientific School, click here

For further information on, click here.

About The Author
Camila Simao
Camila Simao is 16 years old, Swiss and a student in Grade 10 at Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai. She writes: "When I read all the previous entries, I fell in love with Neina and her story. I wanted to give her justice, but knowing my strength lies in creepy situations and detailed descriptions I decided to keep her in the chasm for the chapter. I was really excited to be a part of this challenge and add on to her story, and can’t wait to see where the next writer will take her. "

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