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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Light and Dark (05/21/09)

TITLE: Prison Break
By Gregory Kane


Believe me, the CIA could learn some useful interrogation techniques from my captors. At least in Guantánamo Bay they switch the lights on occasionally. But all the way through my imprisonment I was kept in a pitch-black cell. And had I not dug my way out, I'm quite sure that I would still be there today.

Some say a detainee should only give his name, rank and serial number. The terrible truth is that after more than eight months of solitary confinement I'm not even sure what my name is, let alone whether I have a rank or serial number. I was water-boarded constantly, my lungs drenched with urine-soaked fluids, the stench enough to make my stomach heave. But no matter how many times they jabbed me in the sides, I remained dumb, not speaking a single word to ease my distress. Not for me the easy release of a forced confession.

I've lost count of how many times I tried to escape. I must have explored every square inch of my tiny cell, literally climbing the walls, poking and prodding in search of any structural weakness. Sometimes I even lay on my back and kicked with all my might but to no avail. The only place that offered any possibility was a blocked drain on the floor of my cell. In fact this was the very spot from which I eventually executed my escape.

It's soul destroying being locked up in the dark with not a single other person to talk to. Sometimes I heard the voices of other people, muffled echoes from beyond the impenetrable walls of my cell. Sadly no one ever responded to my cries for succour. But at least my captors looked after my basic needs, disposing of my bodily waste and feeding me a watery slop that was a sorry excuse for food. Yet remarkably, even in such an austere environment, I thrived, putting on weight and building muscle. All of this was to stand me in good stead on the day I broke out.

The first tremors woke me with a start. The floor, walls and ceiling were in spasm, prey to a powerful earthquake. After a few moments the shocks abated and everything seemed to return to normal. Yet only minutes later the tremors returned with a vengeance. With panic driving my limbs, my fingers stumbled upon the formerly impassable drain. The movement of the earth had opened up a gap in the floor that widened with each subsequent convulsion. I'm not sure how long I lay there, paralysed by uncertainty, longing to escape, yet terrified that my exit route might suddenly close in upon me.

Ultimately the decision was taken out of my hands. One whole wall of my cell collapsed around me and in reflex I threw myself head first into the hole. My downwards scrabble couldn't have taken more than thirty seconds and I emerged into the brightest light I had seen in my life. And yet to my abject horror I discovered that I had merely traded one form of captivity for another. Hands immediately seized me, hanging me upside down and beating me mercilessly on the buttocks. I cried out in protest, embarrassed by the intensity of my screams. Yet throughout the ordeal, I stubbornly refused to divulge whatever the information was that my adversaries were after.

After this things calmed down somewhat. I was allowed to bathe and was given a warm and nourishing drink. I was even issued with a soft mattress rather than being obliged as before to sleep on the wet, slippery floor. So here I lie, wrapped in a prison blanket and planning the next stage of my flight. I will wait until they dim the lights and then make a break for the door. But there is one thing that bothers me, something odd that the prison guard said just after he lifted me in the air. I don't know what it means but I suspect it's important and I just can't get it out of my head.

“Congratulations,” he said. “It's a boy!”

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This article has been read 733 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 05/28/09
Duh, I never guessed until right near the end. Very good.
Joanne Sher 05/29/09
Oh, man. You GOT me - hook, line, and sinker! (sorry for the poor pun!)That last line literally made me gasp. I kept wondering where this prison was - wasn't even close. SO clever.
Catrina Bradley 05/30/09
I think this qualifies as "out of the box". Super job keeping us in the dark until the very end.
Emily Gibson06/01/09
Quite a twist here, and completely unexpected, but it is the first time I've considered the womb a prison of torture~! Some of the babies I have delivered looked very much like they were ready to climb right back in when they were exposed to the harsh medical lights, so I'm not so sure...
Carole Robishaw 06/01/09
This was superb, especially with the birth of my grandson the other day. I will have to get my daughter to read this one!
Jan Ackerson 06/02/09
It's very clever--but I found it a bit disturbing, too. I just never thought of the womb as such a hostile environment.

Simply outstanding creativity and atmosphere...awesome writing.
Lollie Hofer06/02/09
Where do you masters-people get these incredible ideas? Do you eat a couple pizzas before going to bed at night? What??? (In other words, I couldn't have come up with such a creative idea like this if I would have eaten ten pizzas before going to bed.) Well done! I did figure out what was happening about half-way through the story but it still didn't take away from the intrigue. I simply laughted and giggled my way through the rest of the story. (After reading Jan's class about surprise endings, I think I know who wrote this. We'll see.)
Glynis Becker06/03/09
Descriptive and very clever...I didn't get it until the last paragraph. Well done.
Patricia Herchenroether06/03/09
I just don't know what to say. I too wonder what you ate before bedtime. lol A very "unique" pov regarding birth. The womb a prison?
Charla Diehl 06/03/09
Though this was interesting, and certainly had a surprise ending, it bothered me that the miracle of life and birth was put in the same category as prison and torture.
Janice Fitzpatrick06/03/09
Hilarious unexpected ending. Actually I was wondering after the 2nd or 3rd paragraph and then I began guessing more. What a fun piece!
Rachel Rudd 06/03/09
I think this is a very intriguing, maybe a little disturbing, entry. It's definitely well crafted and well-written. It took me until the second to last paragraph to get it and then I was laughing and enjoying the ending. Who knows what these babies think of their release/break-out? :)
Sara Harricharan 06/03/09
Okay, you got me too. LOL. SO did not see where this was going! Wonderful stuff, the twist at the end is marvelous! loved it! Kudos to you!
Carol Slider 06/03/09
Oh... my... goodness! I was NOT expecting that!! I've often thought it's a good thing that we can't remember anything about what it was like before we were born. Very clever, very creative!
Mona Purvis06/03/09
Well, I don't think one could read this entry and not Feel something! For sure, a reaction getter. The prison, torture and so on was told from a man's POV and so was the ending.

Noel Mitaxa 09/03/09
You have unfolded the events brilliantly, almost from beneath a cloak of malice. Not exactly a womb with a view; but I'd like to know if the father handed out Cuban cigars???