Friday, August 14, 2015

Adriana's Manhole

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.

I’m using: air, swinging, indoors, trees, beginning, without

They were submitted by:


She’s freezing, breathless. Great gusts of chilly air swirl through the thick growth of trees around her sending even the thickest pines swinging and struggling to stay rooted. Now that darkness has fallen and the temperature has dropped so much, she’s beginning to lose some of the resolve that had her so sure she would find her way out of this forest. The thought of never making it home, of never sitting indoors in front of a crackling fire with a hot mug of coffee in her hands was devastating, but she pushes away, sucks in another burst of iciness and works her way through the heavy underbrush that threatens to pull her in like quicksand and never let go.

Without any light beyond the sliver of a moon overhead, seeing her way, finding footing, and heading in one direction was nearly impossible, but she refuses to give up just yet.

It has been hours since she left the nature trail that winds its way through this forest and down to the lake. She knew better, *knows* better, and even if she hadn’t known better, there are signs posted all along the way warning any hikers against wandering into the looming blackness of the forest on either side of the trail. She had been distracted, though. It had only been a week since Tobias had left her for the intern at his law office, someone quite a few years younger than her with perkier tits, blonde hair, and (apparently) a penchant for half-bald former jocks with man boobs. She had spent the last week dazed, confused, snotty from crying, and avoiding everything but her bed. That’s why she came for the hike. She needed to purge, she had thought—get the staleness from her bed out of her pores, take in some fresh air, and get some exercise then get back to the apartment and have a field day demolishing all the shit Tobias had yet to pick up.

That had been her plan. Had been.

Now, the only plan she has is getting out of this alive. Maybe.

She struggles to move forward. Every muscle aches, and her skin feels like the forest has sentenced her to death by a 1000 cuts. There is barely a patch of skin anywhere that hasn’t been sliced by briars or whipped by limbs. She has no water, no flashlight, no provisions, no way to start a fire. Plus, she’s pretty sure even if she could miraculously rub some sticks together to create a spark, the whole fucking forest would burn, and she would end up in prison for trying to save her own life. She isn’t really the kind of person that believes in bad luck or good luck, but right now, it feels like the universe has turned its back on her which surely would result in further complications if she doesn’t return to hiding in bed from the covers soon. Given the way things are going lately, some freak tornado would land right atop her house. She thinks, in the dark, about that story she read not too long ago about a woman who hadn’t left her house in decades until that very day, and on that day, a day on which she took a huge leap of faith and willed herself to once again meet the outside world, she fell in an open manhole.

The universe trolled that lady.

There was no other obvious explanation which makes her cackle maniacally, a laugh that echoes through the trees and bounces back to her making her shiver. The creep-factor in her own voice and her own laugh scared the shit out of her. That’s when she hears it—a long, reverberating howl. Goosebumps rise on her flesh as another and another and another answer the first seemingly from every direction.

Wolves? Coyotes?

She probably shouldn’t have watched Wayward Pines. All she can think of are pale, translucent abbies with dark talons and sharp teeth surrounding her for a game of Who’s Got Your Intestines? She had been thinking about reading it, but being out in this forest in the dark, any desire she had to wade through the book trilogy is now completely pulverized.

She stops now listening more closely, her head cocked to the side and arms drawn around her in a solitary embrace. Were those howls? Screams? Is that movement in the distance or her mind playing tricks on her, her fear making her paranoid?

She can’t be sure, but she feels around in the dark finding a sturdy tree she can lean against, sinks down into the brush feeling thorns pulling at her skin. The more noise she makes the more attention she draws from whatever might be out there. Staying here risks hypothermia. For the first time, she feels helpless; any determination she had left as soon as she heard the howl (?).

She’s certain now she hears something in the distance crashing through the brush, but she stays still, brings her knees to her chest, and lets the tears come.


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts: Baking In A Tornado Spatulas on Parade The Momisodes The Bergham’s Life Chronicles Stacy Sews and Schools Southern Belle Charm Dinosaur Superhero Mommy Sparkly Poetic Weirdo Someone Else’s Genius Never Ever Give Up Hope Confessions of a part-time working mom The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver Searching for Sanity Climaxed Juicebox Confession Cluttered Genius The Angrivated Mom


  1. She too seems to be trolled by the universe. And yet, you left me enough room to still have hope for her.

  2. I hope she escapes the forest to take her husband for everything he has!!!!

  3. Not surprisingly- I adore your writing. It always pulls me in no matter what the subject.

  4. Oh man, I'm not very outdoorsy, and I'm scared myself, but I feel like I need to get out there and rescue that woman!

  5. Holy moly!! Excellent story!! I am scared for her and hopeful. I hope to read more soon.

  6. Pulled me right in Hope we get to read more and find out what happens

  7. Please don't leave us hanging or I will have to go help rescue her. Great use of the words. A laugh that made her shiver - you made me shiver!

  8. HOLY SH*T...this is scary, I pray she gets out, I hope she's rescued.

  9. The way she's acting, I'm rooting for the abbies... or coyotes or whatever.