Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Manuscript (04/29/10)
TITLE: The Last Paige
By Judy Doyle
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<i>Oh, it feels so good,</i> Paige giggled with delight. <i>Finally I was chosen.</i> She paused briefly and then added, <i>I wonder what it will feel like.</i>
It didn’t take long for Paige’s wonderings to be realized. She was placed in a pitch-dark place. There’s no room to turn around, it’s so cramped in here, she discovered. She heard the whirl of a machine. It was noise she’d heard before, but the whirling was loud. Suddenly she felt her toes being pulled and soon her entire body was moving at break-neck speed. Her toes emerged first.
<i>Wait a minute,</i> Paige screamed frantically. <i>It’s dark and cramped down here.</i> Pausing ever so briefly, she continued shouting, <i>Hey, can anyone hear me?</i>
No response. However, she could hear the whirling. Something violently tossed Paige to the left, then to the right.
<i>Ouch! Stop that!<i/> she shouted. Something was stabbing her toes. With each stabbing pain, Paige was slightly pushed to the right. Periodically she was hurled to the left and the stabbing on her toes continued repeatedly. <i>I can’t believe I’d longed for this day,</i> she thought. <i>It is so painful,</i> It seemed as if the pain would continue forever. Nevertheless, the pain in her toes stopped. <i>Oh, thank you so much,</i> she sighed. However, it was only a brief respite. Paige was violently slung to the left. She thought her head would snap off. Her toes were tightly gripped as if in a vise. She felt her body pulled upward ever so slightly. Whatever had been causing her toes pain began jabbing her again. It continued for what seemed like an infinity. Jabbing pain, the fury of being flung to the left, her toes being gripped and pulled upward was repeated uninterruptedly for what seemed like hours. As her toes were pulled upward, Paige realized her tummy would experience that same pain.
However, when her tummy was finally exposed to the mechanism that caused pain to her toes, Paige found herself giggling.
<i>Oh, it tickles,</i> she tried to stifle a laugh. <i>How could the pain in the toes cause me to giggle,</i> she thought. <i>It certainly is odd.</i> However, while she might have preferred the tickling sensation to the jabbing of her toes, she was constantly tossed aggressively to the left. <i>I think I have whiplash!</i> she complained.
<i>Oh, oh, she thought. I know what it felt like when this machine stabbed my toes. I know it tickled my tummy. What is it going to do to my face?</i>
It wasn’t long after she allowed the thought to pierce her brain that she discovered the answer.
<i>Oh, my goodness! It feels like someone is pricking my face with a stick pin,</i> she thought. <i>Hey, knock it off. That really hurts.</i> No response.
The pricking continued for several minutes. Gradually, she was beginning to see light. Though she’d never considered herself vain, she thought, <i>I wonder if I’ll need plastic surgery. I’m sure my face is pocked with holes.</i>
Eventually the excruciating experience was over. Well, almost. Paige realized the jabbing pain, the tickling and the pricking had ended, but she was still trapped in the machine.
<i>Let me out of this thing,</i> she screamed. However, no one could hear her. Suddenly something grabbed her scalp and pulled forcefully. She was free. She sighed, <i>Ah, it’s so good to see the light of day again. And all the pain is over.</i>
The solace Paige experienced was short lived. <i>Ahhhh, what’s that staring at me?</i> She wanted to flee from the two marble-size things that gawked at her. She felt as if those marbles were undressing her as they worked their way from the top of her head to her toes.
Throughout the painful ordeal, Paige hadn’t heard a word. The only sound was the tap-tap-tap of the things that caused her pain and the whirl of the machine in which she’d been trapped. Suddenly she heard a thunderous noise.
“Finally, my manuscript is complete. This is the last page,” the booming voice announced with pride.
<i>Really?</i> she asked confused. Yet she was relieved. No more stabbing my toes? No tickling my tummy and poking my face? <i>Am I really the last Paige?</i>
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