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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Time-consuming (02/24/11)

TITLE: What the...?
By Graham Starling


Ok, eleven o’clock. I’ll just write for an hour and then go to bed. Right, now where was I? Amanda and Greg were lost in different parts of the cave and, ok, yeah that’s it.

“Greg,” Amanda cried at the top of her voice, the echoes bouncing about confusingly –

Hang on a bit is that even a word? Let’s ask Google. Ok, several hits there. I guess it works. Not that attractive a word though, still it seems to fit, ok here we go.

– confusingly, reverberating around the cavern until they disintegrated into fragments and returned in a quiet sussuration –

Not in the spellcheck. Better look it up. Various online dictionaries. Nope it's

– susurration that reminded her of bat's wings.

“Don't let it be bats,” she muttered quietly to herself. “They carry rabies don't they?”

Don't they? I'm sure I read that somewhere. Ok Google is your friend, but don't trust everything it says. Let's see Bats and Rabies. Ok here's a web page from the Bat Conservation Trust. Hmm a rabies like virus but very rare in the UK. What can we do with that?

Right, while we let the hind-brain work on that for a minute, let's just check emails. Nope nothing, but then it is late. How about FaceSpace or whatever it's called? Again nothing.

Hmm ok, Amanda might have heard something same as me, she wouldn't necessarily know the real story, and we don't actually need the bats to be rabid.

Feeling her legs melt beneath her, she staggered against the wall of the cave. It was slick with, something pungent. Oh no, that meant they were nearby. Overhead perhaps.

Her courage deserted her and she collapsed into a whimpering heap.

Ooh that's good. That deserves a game or two of Spider Solitaire...

...and move the six through ace onto the seven and away they go. Yippee fireworks. Five games, all won. That third one was a bit tricky though. Had to backtrack a few times before I figured out how to solve it.

So where were we? Amanda in a heap in the corner and, ok let's find out how Greg's getting on.

Meanwhile, half a mile away through a labyrinth of corridors and crawlspaces so complex even the Minotaur would get lost, Greg's torch was giving out. He'd tried hitting it with his hand a few times – that always worked in the movies right? – but the bulb was dimming and he could barely see the wall from five feet.

He roared his frustration at the walls of the cave. The echoes came back, mocking him. What was he going to do? If he lost the torch he would be lucky to find his way out of the cave on his own, let alone find his way through this impossible maze to find Amanda. Come on Greg, think, what can you do?

What can he do? He's not going to give up right? I mean he's the hero and he has to find a way. Maybe when everything's dark and he has to rely on his ears alone he hears her? No the caves mess up the sound, he'd never be able to follow it. Maybe, nah. Or maybe, no that wouldn't work either. Maybe it's time to have another look at MyBook. Still no-one up. No matter, let's load up SuburbiaVille and AllotmentVille, oh and how about that new one, what was it called? Oh yeah, WildernessVille. O bother the crops have withered on my allotment. Have to clear it out and start again. Click, click, click, what a waste of time. And now the wilderness is all overgrown again. I thought I dug up all the thorns and cactuses – cacti? At least I can put up a new high rise in suburbia.

Hold on, maybe there's bioluminescent algae in the cave. What if Greg can't see it until the cave is completely dark and his eyes have adjusted. What if he sees her footprints in the algae. Don't have to mention what he's seen just yet, leave the reader hanging, then let the cat out of the bag when he explains to Amanda how he tracked her. Better check to see if that kind of bioluminescent life exists in English caves.

What the...? Is it really three in the morning? How come it took me four hours to write just two hundred words? I'd better go to bed.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Robyn Burke03/03/11
Told with a bite of reality... and a good chuckle! I really enjoyed this.
Yvonne Blake 03/09/11
*smile* I think many writers can relate to this. It's so tempting to wander when the vast world of the internet is right there lurking behind your manuscript.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/15/11
Congratulations for placing in the top 12 of your level and the top 30 overall!