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The Cerulean Prison – Flash Fiction Challenge

This is my first ever attempt (outside of school some time ago) at writing a story. I came across a flash fiction challenge at Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds, in which you roll 2D20 and use the numbers to choose title words from two columns. I came up with Cerulean Prison. Thought I’d take the plunge.

Jade went still once more as the sound of footsteps echoed through the space. She nestled amongst the pipework, stifling every noise except her deafening heartbeat which only seemed to grow louder and more insistent the further she got.

The sound faded, the guard moving away. As it should be – there was no real reason other than paranoia, or incredible dedication to the job, to check the suffocating confines which Jade found herself in. Halfway there now, she pulled herself along again at a glacial pace. Scrapes and cuts could be found all down her back, arms and legs, inflicted whilst passing unrelenting pipes. All the while she continually moved forward.

It had been years that she had this amount of physical exercise; a complete violation of her human rights – not that anyone took any notice of that these days. The best she could hope for was when they occasionally moved her to a new cell whilst they took the section down to perform maintenance. Maybe only once every 3 months, sooner if she was lucky, all 30 ‘high-security’ prisoners, were marched through the short corridor to the chamber before going through a similarly drab corridor into a cell identical to her old one.

It was to that chamber that she now headed. It had all happened too quickly; the new guard, the one who still smiled when she brought Jade food, left the gate open. Jade could hardly believe her luck; she knew instantly what was she was given: a way out. Why – she had no idea, nor did she have the time to think about it.

She reached the end of her squeeze hole and could see her destination tantalisingly close. A large steel portal with only small circular window and a large lever upon it. Her cell wouldn’t be checked for a little while still, so she had some time, but had no idea if the door would be watched. It must be. Some coughing from the cells somewhere behind her but in front was deserted, not even a camera. After an initial hesitation she steeled herself and darted for the door, half hobbling from the cramped muscles. It was heavy to open, requiring all her strength to simply pull the opening lever.

A klaxon blared above her. They knew.

Jade slipped inside and dragged the door shut behind her. Her eyes settled on the poster:

PULL HERE TO OPEN
WARNING:
LOW PRESSURE.
RISK OF EXPLOSIVE DECOMPRESSION

The amount of times she had itched to pull the handle. Every time she was relocated, the only thing she would notice was the handle and bundle hung up next to it. That, and the guard standing between her and freedom. This time there was no guard. This time she had a way out. She had made it to the front door of her prison – that was the easy part.

She grabbed the bundle, strapped it onto her back, and pulled the handle.

Noise. Wind but no air; she couldn’t breath. The prison appeared in her vision, a large blimp-like thing, it moved out of her sight, replaced by nothing. Not nothing – blue. Blue everywhere, first light and then dark then light again. The noise and wind was still there, always there, but she couldn’t think. Her vision went dark.

*

Jade opened her eyes lazily, saw she was flying, then shut them again.

“It’s too loud – stop the noise” she thought to herself.

“My mouth’s too dry. Why is it dry?

“Why am I flying…….How am I flying!?”

Her eyes shot open but all she saw was alternating shades of blue. One shade definitely occupied her thoughts the most. She was falling, tumbling, and the water was fast coming up. Franticly, she searched for her cord. Her hands gripping it, pulling desperately and again in a short space of time she was thrown about like a rag doll. A round white flower blossomed above her, yanking her upright sharply. It had opened – she’d live!

She looked up, past the parachute, and could see the blimp floating leisurely above her in the clear azure sky. Below, the ocean stretched as far as she could see. Her heart sank: there was no land. She didn’t know how long she could swim for – it had been so long – and her lungs were painfully sore, each breath a dagger into her chest.

Jade continued to fall with the waves quickly becoming clearer. The last 100ft happened too fast, seeing the individual waves swelling and then slamming down into water before the full thought could form. A second later the parachute collapsed on top of her, adding to the confusion and claustrophobia.

*

“…don’t give up

“don’t give up

“don’t give up…”

She could barely keep her head afloat. It was pure will that kept her legs kicking, just waiting, hoping. All she could see was the prison above, a small speck, sitting silently and watching her.

It turned up suddenly over the crest of a wave – a grey behemoth, people scuttling all over it. A voice rang out clear over the water,

“This is Her Majesty’s Prison Ship Vigilance. Do not try to resist. You will be transported back to HMP Cerulean shortly.”

Jade didn’t care. She welcomed it.