10

Welcome to another Writing Challenge!

In line with previous one, which featured some really interesting answers, this includes a topic, a prompt, and also a challenge.

  • Topic

    The topic of this challenge is a rabbit hole: could be both in the literal sense of a nest, or a deep, overcomplicated situation.

  • Prompt

    The air is thick with the smell of water. Humidity makes dust stick to the ground and to your clothes. For miles and miles, there's nothing but emptiness, cut apart by the satin-black road. Storm's coming.

    You are free to modify this as long as the general sense is preserved.

  • Challenge

    Use "mechanical", "grime" and/or "credit".


So to enter the challenge, you simply write something, and post it below. It can be a work in progress, and continue working on it while receiving feedback, or it can be a finished work - anything goes.

And of course, if you encounter any doubts related to the writing process, don't be shy and open a question on our main site!

You can submit your entries until the end of the three weeks. After three weeks, we'll choose the next prompt and put up a new post.

You can either post the whole thing here, or, if you usually post your writing somewhere else, you can put a link here - although I'd advise putting something in to get people interested.

Remember: this is not a contest. This is merely for fun, and for some practice writing. There will (hopefully) be writers of all different skill levels posting - I'm certainly not super good.

You're welcome to provide feedback, but please make sure that it's constructive. And remember: Be Nice.

Remember that the age limit for the site is 13 - so please avoid excessive graphic content or strong language.

I look forward to reading the submissions!

The original meta post - How would having the writing challenges on Meta work out? - that started all this may be helpful. All of these challenges can be seen under the tag.

5

Where were you, when the screens started sucking people in?

The air was thick with the smell of water. Humidity made dust stick to the ground and to his clothes. For miles and miles, there was nothing but emptiness, cut apart by the satin-black road. A storm was coming. A storm was going to come. A storm would always going to come.

He forced himself to motion. One step after the other, against the almost-real hardness of the brand new asphalt. The thick clouds hanged in the air, judgingly. There was never gonna rain, yet a storm was always on the verge of breaking. His own body seemed to react to that forced stillness. A deep uneasiness crawling up his bones, pouring into the soft marrow of his spine.

The landscape around him was like a postcard; it wasn't going to change. A lonely new road cutting deep into american wildlands, forever stuck it in that single moment. It almost felt real, but of course, he knew better. Rebecca had seen to that.

Never forget that screenland is hostile to us, she used to say, at the start of each morning session. You will hear it reacting. Hissing. Trust not what you feel, but the hate seeping underneath.

Every time his shoe landed on a new patch of road, he could hear a faint, far sound of static buzzing. Truth to be told, the simulated screenland wasn't doing anything good to cover it. A bad sign. Sometimes, they just knew you were aware. They never liked having their little glass-worlds exposed, their unchanging simulations ineffective, their victims armed to the teeth.

No point in trying to sneak through. He broke into run. Somewhere, in that vastness, there was an access point to another screenland. Worlds encased into ever smaller boxes, like a madman's russian doll. Each layer, deeper. Each danger, less subtle.

The woman that taught everything about the screenlands, the woman that taught him to survive, was somehow at the center of that puzzle.

--- To be continued, maybe?

  • 3
    I love the hook you used! A couple of nitpicky details - "There was never gonna rain" and "trying to stealth" seem wrong? I might just need more sleep though – tryin Jul 13 at 21:34
  • @tryin Thanks, i'm glad you liked it. In my experience, if they sound wrong they're probably are. I'm gonna edit "stealth" with "sneak through". Still thinking about the rain part. – Liquid Jul 15 at 14:05
  • I’d also replace ‘gonna’ with “going to”. – iamtowrite Jul 20 at 4:30
5

I landed on my backside with a bump. "Damn tempbolt!" I shouted. "Now I need to start walking again."

The air was thick with the smell of water. Humidity made dust stick to the ground and to my clothes. For miles and miles, there was nothing but emptiness, cut apart by the satin-black road. Storm's coming, I thought grimly. Better be quick. I climbed to my feet, dusted myself off, and glumly surveyed the road. There really was no other option, was there?

Striding through the wilderness gave me plenty of time to think. About the life I'd left behind for this dangerous trek, about the possibilities ahead, about how I was going to avoid the same thing happening again. My mind was conflicted: a mixture of relief and regret at parting from Jo, a mixture of excitement and trepidation at the thought of a new life in a new city. I'd known the risks before starting out, and it was impossible to say I'd thought through all the issues and possibilities, because there were just too many. Had I made the right decision? Who knew. Hell, who knew if I'd even be able to reach my destination. I might spend eternity going round and round in this sorry landscape.

Credit where it's due, though: my friends hadn't tried to talk me out of my decision once I'd made it, respecting it and offering what help they could. Even Jo. They knew I could be as stubborn as a stone, and maybe they too thought I needed a fresh start. No need to tell them I was far from sure of that myself. Well, the decision was made now. In theory I could turn back any time I wanted, but the shame of showing my face there again, having to admit I was too weak, was unthinkable.

It was getting darker by the moment. I looked up at the storm clouds swirling overhead, getting ready to strike. Out here it was a different life from the sheltered city with its constantly disappearing conductors. I'd rarely even seen a tempstorm before, just heard the stories. I don't care - it must be possible to escape, somehow.

The air began to sizzle. I sped up, almost running now. If I could duck to the side at just the right moment ...

CRACK!

  • I landed on my backside with a bump. "Dammit!" I shouted. "Now I need to start walking again."

    The air was thick with the smell of water. Humidity made dust stick to the ground and to my clothes. For miles and miles, there was nothing but emptiness, cut apart by the satin-black road. Storm's coming, I thought grimly. Better be quick. I climbed to my feet, dusted the grime off my trousers, and glumly surveyed the road. There really was no other option.

    Striding through the wilderness gave me plenty of time to think. About the life I'd left behind for this dangerous trek, about the possibilities ahead, about how I was going to avoid the same thing happening again. I still felt regret as well as relief over leaving Jo, trepidation as well as excitement at the thought of a new life in a new city. I'd known the risks before starting out, and now those risks were very plainly manifesting themselves. Had I made the right decision? Who knew, but here I was. Who knew if I'd even be able to reach my destination or if I'd spend eternity looping around in this sorry landscape.

    Instead of dwelling on the past, better to think about the present. How to avoid the brunt of the storm? Ducking to one side was impractical - the tempbolt always came too fast to dodge. Some said the only way to escape it was to fundamentally change your mind, but that was almost as impractical for someone as stubborn as me. In theory I could turn back any time I wanted, but the shame of returning to my old home, having to admit I couldn't make it, was unthinkable.

    It was getting darker by the moment. I looked up at the storm clouds swirling overhead, getting ready to strike. This really was a different life, totally unprotected from the elements. But then, hadn't I been looking for a different life? This wasn't exactly what I'd anticipated, but at least it was an experience.

    The air began to sizzle. I stopped dead, wondering if that might make it seem like I'd changed my mind ...

    CRACK!

    • I landed on my backside with a bump. "Dammit!" I shouted. "Now I need to start walking again!"

      The air was thick with the smell of water. Humidity made dust stick to the ground and to my clothes. For miles and miles, there was nothing but emptiness, cut apart by the satin-black road. Storm's coming, I thought grimly. Better be quick. I climbed to my feet, not even bothering to dust myself, and immediately began to walk. There really was no other option.

      Striding through the wilderness gave me plenty of time to think. About the life I'd left behind, about the possibilities ahead, about how I was going to avoid the same thing happening again. I felt more alive than I had for a long time: regret was fading behind relief, trepidation behind excitement. I'd known the risks before starting out, and it was a test for me to undergo this ordeal. Had I made the right decision? It hardly mattered now. I was here, still trying to reach my destination, still looping around in this sorry landscape.

      My thoughts darted away from the past and towards the impending future. I needed to think of more innovative ways to combat the storm. It seemed like physically escaping was impossible - dodging and stopping had no effect. Supposedly the loop was inescapable because you needed to preserve the already established chain of events, but I was no quitter. Nor was I going to settle for the solution of giving up and turning back, going home, losing face. That was unthinkable.

      It was getting darker by the moment. I looked up at the storm clouds swirling overhead, getting ready to strike. This was such a different life, and somehow I felt more alive now than I ever had: physically and mentally challenged, fighting for my existence against unknown odds. I'd never known I needed this.

      The air began to sizzle. I focused my mind on my determination to continue, wondering if I could win by sheer force of will ...

      CRACK!

      • I landed on my backside with a bump. "Damn!" I shouted. And then, "Fine! Let's see how deep this rabbit hole goes."
5

The air is thick with the smell of water. Humidity makes dust stick to the ground, to his fur, between his toes -- airborne elements combining to form a layer of gooey grime. His body shakes from the exertion of running, fleeing.

For miles and miles, there's nothing but emptiness, cut apart by the satin-black road. No enemies, no shelter, and far from home and comfort. The darkening sky matches his mood. Storm's coming.

Storms are dangerous, he hears his papa saying. Best not to be out now. But where to run? He's gotten turned 'round; which way takes him to familiar ground?

Not this road, he knows -- he's never set foot on it before, never crossed it, so best to stay on this side. Which direction did he approach it from? He lost his orientation in the desperate run. There was a field of greens, then the tall grass, then a tree. Tree! He looks around desperately but sees no tree. Just the emptiness of the black ribbon before his eyes.

He flares his nostrils, seeking a familiar scent. It's hard to smell through the water hanging in the air, smothering him. His stomach rumbles, adding to his problems.

Eenie, meenie, meinie, mo, he counts off on the toes beneath him. Which way shall young Peter go? He exhausts the counting capacity of his toes, points in the chosen direction, and scurries toward the grass, leaving the black expanse behind him. In the grass he finds food, enough to ease the hunger pangs. Here he can smell better, too.

A flower scent -- he recognizes that! He races for the bush up a small hill, from here sees the oak tree, breathes a sigh of relief and no small amount of air-mud besides. That is the tree, right? Please let it be so, he pleads to no one in particular.

His papa's warning echoes in his mind. Sheepishly he remembers to look this time before running in the open. He neither sees nor hears the enemies gliding above. As the sky grows darker, he darts for the tree. From the tree he sees more bushes, familiar ones, yes! He looks around, looks up, dives into the bush, spots the next target, repeats the cycle.

He reaches home as fat drops begin to fall from a night-dark sky. Running the last few steps, he dives into the burrow, down the rabbit hole.

  • 1
    Somebody had to do it. :-) – Monica Cellio Jul 24 at 20:46
5

When you crash-landed your escape pod on this planet, the clouds had been far in the distance, thundering ominously. You hadn't paid them much attention, being more preoccupied with other things, like your ponytail being on fire, and the fact that your escape pod was wayyyyyyyy off course, and also broken from the crash.

It had taken you a whole rev to fix your communicator , and who knows how many standard days this planet's revs are. Sabu might have grown old in the time it took you to fuse two wires together.

You tap the communicator, permanently set to Sabu's comm frequency, and call her. She answers almost immediately, hologram flickering into view. You're secretly glad to see she doesn't have any more gray hairs or wrinkles than she did before.

"You took your time. Glad you're still alive," she says, smiling.

"Yeah, good to see you made it out too," you say. "Wasn't sure if you'd remember to input the coordinates this time."

She rolls her eyes. "Bold of you to say, considering only one of us is at the rendezvous point and it isn't you. Where the heck are you?"

"Yeah, I actually have no clue. My positioning systems are shot - and so is my pod's," you add, before she can say anything.

Sabu sighs. "I'll fix you up when you get here, honey. "

"How long has it been? We've parted ways for a standard day and one-point-three-zero planetary revs," you say.

"Isn't your internal clock keeping time? I thought..."

"Yeah, it's working so well, this new update, immediately syncing my clock to planetary time without actually giving me any info about the conversions."

You're a little bitter about her constant updates. What, like you aren't good enough as you are? But that's not fair. She just wants you to be safe.

"Looks like your planet is spinning about a twenty-eighth of a standard rev faster," she says.

"Okay, cool. Well, my pod's broken so I've gotta fix it up if I ever want to get out of here, and the comm's running out of juice, so..."

"Is there civilization close by? I can transfer you some credits, you could just leave the pod and come back." She bites her lip, and then adds, "I miss you, Dana."

Sabu isn't big on emotion. You bump up the resolution of your eyes and peer at her closely. She's tired, but still so beautiful, covered in grime and dried blood.

"I miss you too," you say quietly. "I haven't seen anyone around here, and I don't even know if they'll take credits. I'll see you in a few days?"

"Okay," says Sabu. "I love you."

"I love you too."

The hologram flickers out. You put the comm aside and step out of the pod. The air is thick with the smell of water. Humidity makes dust stick to the ground and to your clothes. For miles and miles, there's nothing but emptiness, cut apart by the satin-black road. The storm's coming. The rain always messes with your joints and sensors, throws you off your groove. It bothers Sabu too - the pain in her missing leg always flares up with humidity. On normal rainy days at home, the two of you sit together in a warm blanket and complain about how much it sucks. You suddenly miss it, miss that casual domesticity from before so much that you can't breathe for the want in your heart.

There's no point daydreaming about things you can't have. The two of you opened this gigantic can of worms together, and the two of you are going to see it through together. For better or for worse.

You start working on the pod.

People usually expect the cyborg to be the one who's good with electronics, but Sabu's the mechanical engineer. You're just the disgraced babysitter/bodyguard who can never focus on what Sabu's saying because you're too busy looking at her face, or her arms, or her smile,or -

That being said, the pod doesn't actually look too bad - a lot of parts to clean and re-attach, but it should be easy enough.

Or not. You spoke too soon. There's an engine component that can only be cleaned with water - the rag you're holding won't do. Water is pretty scarce in this desert area, by the looks of the local flora, and who knows when the storm will hit.

They say no good deed goes unpunished. This must be part of the punishment.

It had started with an order Sabu got, for hygiene units on a cargo ship. A cargo ship that was supposed to be unmanned. A little digging, and Sabu had discovered that it was, in fact, a stolen cargo ship. A little more digging, and you had realized the cargo was actually people. A little more digging, and the two of you had found that the politician who reported the ship stolen was still paying for its fuel. You dug and you dug until you found yourselves so deep in the rabbit hole that the only place to go was down. Poof went your domestic bliss, down the drain with your honeymoon plans; first you were freeing slaves and blackmailing buyers, then you were hopping from planet to planet to try to dismantle the organization behind it all, and now you're interstellar pirates with no crew, no gold, and no resources to use to finish what you started.

You clutch the uncleanable engine component in your hands and try not to cry. With your luck, your tears will spark some open wire and set you on fire or something.

Something wet and cold plops onto your head. Then your shoulder. Then your hand. That's all the warning you have before the storm is unleshed, rain pouring down from the sky in thunderous sheets.

You hurriedly close the engine - it's waterproof, but better safe than sorry - and then hold out the engine component.

It barely takes five minutes for the rain to clean all the sand and grit from the piece, and you set it aside and revel in the feeling of rivers washing over your skin. Your sensors can't detect anything but the lightning patterns, your joints are alreadt starting to feel achy, but... You've never enjoyed rain before.

Eventually you take shelter in your pod. It's pretty miserable, with your cold, wet clothes and the lack of food or heating but you manage to fall asleep.

You wake up around a rev later - one and a twenty-eighth of a standard day - and the desert is now covered with verdant vines and creepers. You can barely see the ground anymore.

You stretch, and pick up the component. The air is cool and clean as you finish fixing the pod, a light breeze wicking away the moisture from your skin.

You kick the pod once, for good luck, before you start it. It rises into the air exactly as it should, and hovers, waiting for instructions.

You have a wife to go kiss.

The pod zooms off.

4

Bridget winced, trying to ignore the sounds coming from the garage.

I asked them to not practice during finals week. Why did Dad have to get him that guitar for his birthday?

Her idiot brother Steve should have been studying for finals as well. Instead he was holed up in the garage with three of his friends, trying to convince himself he would be a rock star someday.

Bridget thought he would spend the rest of his life scrubbing tables at the Burger Baron down the road – if he didn't get fired first.

The sounds from the garage came to an abrupt halt. Bridget sat still, listening. Were they finally done for the night? Then she could finally-

The band launched into its next "song", a rapid, pounding beat that Bridget secretly called "Ode to a Jackhammer".

Bridget slammed the book shut, stood up, and stormed out of the room. She didn't need this, not with next year's college applications to worry about. She wasn't going to wind up like her brother, dragging around a GPA that no number of extra credit assignments could ever fix.

The staircase creaked as she descended. She did not touch the railing – even after several cleanings it still left grime on her hands. God, how she hated this creepy old house. When they'd moved to Dunwich earlier this year it was the only house Mom and Dad could afford. At first they thought that was because of the location – it was in the middle of nowhere and next to a reeking swamp – but that was before they'd learned about the house's previous owners. She'd gotten plenty of strange looks when her new classmates learned that she was living in "the old Whateley house."

Bridget usually tried to avoid the garage as much as possible. That was where the cops found most of the bodies, when they came to take the Whateleys away.

She opened the garage door, marched inside, and banged her knee on the workbench. The four boys had shoved everything off to the side, almost blocking the door, to make room for themselves and their unfortunate instruments.

Clutching her soon-to-be-bruised- knee, to the band. "Guys! Can you keep it down? I'm trying to study!"

They ignored her and continued torturing their instruments.

She raised her voice, almost shouting. "Guys! Can you keep it down!"

Steve's eye caught hers. He shot her a look of pure contempt, daring her to try and stop him.

If their parents had been home Bridget could have appealed to them. Unfortunately, Mom was at a conference in Chicago all week and Dad had the night shift. If Bridget wanted any peace and quiet, she would have to make it herself. She left the garage, slamming the door, and made her way upstairs.

All right, jerk. I tried asking nicely.

She located the gray metal panel on the kitchen wall and flung it open. A column of black plastic switches – the circuit breakers- greeted her eyes.

Bridget leaned close and squinted. The labels were old and faded. That one might say "Garage", but so might that one at the bottom. That's weird. Why does the garage have two switches?

She reached out and flipped both.

The music in the came to an abrupt halt. Bridget could the boys cursing and shouting as they stumbled around in the dark, and she allowed herself a small smile. Now she could finally get her studying-

There was a rumble that shook the whole house, followed by a crash that sounded like the drum set being demolished. Then the screams began.

Bridget rushed back to the kitchen and flipped the switches back on again. Maybe this hadn't been such a great idea. Someone must have gotten hurt, stumbling around in the dark.

There was a sputter and a clunk, as some mechanical contraption beneath the house tried to start and failed. She could worry about it later. First she had to check on her brother.

The screams stopped, as suddenly as they'd begun. Bridget cursed. What if her little prank had gotten someone killed? She reached the garage door and flung it open.

The door opened on a silent, empty garage.

At first Bridget hoped the boys had decided to retaliate with a trick of their own, hiding behind the drum set or the workbench. Then she saw the hole, and the rubble.

She made her way to the other side of the workbench. The floor was littered with chunks of concrete, the shattered remains of three guitars, and pieces of a pulverized drum set. And in the middle of it all, that hole in the floor.

Bridget's first thought was the previous owners. It would be just like the Whateleys to have a secret room where they'd stashed even more bodies. One of the boys must have stumbled onto a rotten spot and fallen through.

She stepped forward and was about to call out – and stopped. Because that wasn't what had really happened, was it? It didn't look like a cave-in, more like... an eruption. Something had come up from underneath. And that hole wasn't large enough to swallow four boys, unless they all lined up and jumped in... and why were all the instruments completely destroyed?

And why did she think those smears on the sides of the hole weren't just reddish mud?

Deep in the hole, something shifted. Something big. It didn't sound like someone injured, trying to crawl to safety. It was more like a crunching or tearing, almost like-

Like a roast chicken being pulled apart.

Her stomach convulsed. The remains of tonight's microwave dinner spattered the concrete.

The sounds stopped. Bridget had the sudden, terrifying sense that she was being watched – and not by her brother and his friends. Something knew she was here.

She bolted through the door, slamming it shut behind her. The crunching sounds – the feeding sounds – resumed.

She sprinted back upstairs to the kitchen. If she could flip the switch again- or grab a knife-

She stopped. A rectangular hole gaped in the kitchen wall. The circuit breaker box lay on the floor, torn out of the wall by something with bloody claws.

Her overstrained brain spat out a single thought: How? And got a quick answer: There's more than one. One snuck past me when I was in the garage.

Bridget tore through the kitchen and out the front door, not stopping to grab a weapon. She could figure out how to fight these things later, when she was somewhere safe- and her parents. She had to warn her parents. How was she supposed to convince them there were invisible monsters running loose?

Loose, pointed stones on the pavement stabbed her bare feet. Her sprint slowed to a limping jog, and finally a hobble.

She heard a roar from the house behind her.

Bridget looked back.

She'd been wrong. There was only a single monster, and it wasn't invisible. What she'd taken to be the work of multiple monsters was the work of huge tentacles, punching through the floor and snaking through the walls.

The monster was much larger than she'd imagined, and it was not yet free.

Bridget limped on. The air was thick with the stench of swamp water, suffocating her. The humidity made the dust and dirt stick to the ground and to her clothes. For miles and miles, there was nothing but emptiness, cut apart by the satin-black road. But somewhere at the end of that road lay safety... and answers. Someone in town would have to know about the monster living under the garage, and how to fight it.

It was not yet nighttime, but the sky was completely black. Flashes of purple lightning streaked the clouds.

A storm was coming.

3

The road seems endless. You've already been driving for hours, and are not even halfway at your destination. It's the first time you are driving overland, and you had no idea how long rural roads can be.

It doesn't help that you are terrible at reading maps. You thought you didn't need that, because you only have to follow the road anyway. But it didn't occur to you that you should check the distance. It shows that your driving experience is close to none.

You've just made your driving license. Wholly by driving in the city. You thought, if you can master the city, you can master everything. How wrong you were.

The sun burns mercylessly. The air condition of your car is set to maximum, but doesn't manage to keep the temperature in the car comfortable. Against the humidity, it doesn't help at all. You sweat like a pig.

At least you filled up your tank, so you won't run out of gas. But you've used up almost all of your drinking water. And you can't remember seeing any shop along the road. You'll arrive with a murderous thirst, so much is clear.

Suddenly you hear a cracking, and then the engine stops. Great. A breakdown in the middle of nowhere. Just what you need. Well, maybe the breakdown service will be faster than you.

You pull out your phone. No network. Not that as well! Well, there's nothing you can do, so you have to try to repair the car yourself. Not that you have any idea how. From the noise you guess it must be a mechanical failure, but that's all you can say.

You open the engine cover. You look into the car, but you can't see anything that's obviously wrong. Not that this means much. The problem would have had to be extraordinarily obvious for you to see it.

So now it's for sure. You're stuck. You only have two options now. Either you wait in the car in the hope that someone passes by, or you walk, in the hope that you'll reach some building where you can ask for help.

You decide that any car that passes by will also pass by when you walk, so you decide to walk. You grab your last water bottle, and are on your way.

The air is thick with the smell of water. Humidity makes dust stick to the ground and to your clothes. For miles and miles, there's nothing but emptiness, cut apart by the satin-black road. Storm's coming. You also didn't think of checking the weather report. That's another thing you don't need to do in the city.

Should you go back to your car? Will you even get back to your car before the storm arrives? You've lost your sense of time. You again pull your phone out to look at the clock. But as you look at it, it comes to you that you have no idea what time it was when you started.

You're standing and thinking. What if you are closer to the next house than to the car? On the other hand, what is the chance to find a house anyway? But then, it's your only chance. That, or a car passing by. And when the storm comes, it's safer in your car. You decide to go back.

You drink your last water. You look around for somewhere to refill your bottle, some stream or well. But nothing. You think about how ironic it is, the air full of water, but no water available for drinking.

Your thirst gets unbearable. Maybe turning back had been the wrong decision. Maybe the next house had been quite behind the horizon. Also, you're feeling that the way back already has taken longer than the way out. Did you already pass your car without noticing? No, that's nonsense. It's just that with your growing thirst, time seems to go more slowly. And maybe you are going more slowly, too.

You stumble. You're lying on the ground and don't feel like getting up again. Is there a chance anyway? Maybe it's better to just keep lying and waiting for the end. Or in the best case, for a passing car. But as you think of it, you already hadn't seen a single car during the hours you were driving. And also not while walking. So what is the chance that now a car arrives?

You notice a white rabbit near you. It wears a waistcoat. Strange, you think. But somehow it seems familiar. Then your brain notices that this is impossible. Are you hallucinating? Or maybe you've fallen asleep, and now you are dreaming. You remember that you've once read that if in a dream you stare at a single point, you wake up. You try it, but you don't wake up. Does that mean you are not sleeping? Or was the claim you read simply wrong?

But you have to wake up, you've got no time to lose. How late is it anyway? You note that the rabbit takes a watch out of its pocket and looks at it. Maybe you should ask it for the time. You're still too exhausted to stand up, so you crawl towards the rabbit. Your hands are dirty from the grime, but you don't care. You have to reach the rabbit.

The rabbit enters a rabbit hole before you can reach it. You follow it through the rabbit hole. The rabbit hole is warm and humid. Water is dropping from the ceiling. Then the ceiling breaks and a torrent of water falls onto you. You are struggling for air. Then you wake up.

The storm has reached you. The wind drives the heavy rain so it almost goes horizontally. But the rain is water. You open your mouth and try to catch as much of it as possible. The water is refreshing. That more than compensates the difficulty to breath, and the wetness that completely covers you.

You continue lying on the floor. Trying to get up would be futile with this wind. You have to wait until the storm is over. Is the darkness because of the storm, or is it already night? You have no idea. All you can do is to lie and wait. And to try to get as much water as possible into your mouth.

You have no idea how long you have been lying here when the storm finally weakens. The rain is still falling, and it has gotten considerably colder. Now you are starting to feel cold. Your clothes are too thin for this weather.

You realize that you'll have to move to get warm. Fortunately the sleep has helped with your exhaustion. You manage to get up. But in which direction is your car? You follow the road in a random direction, not knowing if you get closer or farther away from your car. You can't see the road in the darkness, but you manage to stay on it by feeling the difference between walking on the street, and walking on the soil besides the street. You keep your right foot on the road, the left food on the soil. That way you know that you have to go further to the left if the right foot hits the road, and further to the right if the left foot hits the soil. You congratulate yourself for this idea. You certainly deserve some credit for it.

You remember that you could use your phone to light the way. Why didn't you think earlier of that? But as you pull it out of your pocket, it doesn't work any more. Is the battery empty? Or did it not survive the rain? You have no idea, and right now it doesn't matter. All that matters is that you can't use it.

Then you notice some lights at the horizon. Is this real? Or is it just imagination? No, the lights are real, and they are approaching. Soon you also hear the familiar sound of a car engine. From the sound it must be a truck.

As it comes closer, you see that you were right: It is a big truck. You wave your hands. The truck driver has seen you and stops. You are saved.

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