ShutUpAndWrite Olympics Petty Prompt

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Prompt: write as an animal who's going away from home or who is experiencing something new. Write about this using an unreliable point of view.

***

I fake my death.

Belly up, I go drifting above the mossy castle, the bright blue boulders, the forest. Bubbles break against the barriers of my prison.

In the dark, I float alone.

The warden's approach vibrates the castle and stones, and yellow light explodes, piercing my eyes.

I leave my limbs limp, dark maroon. How embarrassing.

The warden's flat face squishes into the glass, eyes mocking--this is the only shade of blue my captivity has allowed me. Me, queen of the sea, ruler of a hundred subjects, and the warden's flat gaze is my only sorry replacement for the water's crystal blue.

At least, upside down, the pudgy thing in the middle of their face no longer looks like my steepled palace, or the shined shells of my court snails.

The warden makes sounds, buzzing through the glass, and retreats. I drift, knocking into a column of bubbles and spinning away. I prickle with shame; if my subjects saw me now, captured, accepting the gray prison meals the warden gives me (nothing like the raining golden food of my home), they would stare in horror.

The warden returns, muttering, and my heart pounds. This is it. They're going to scoop me out, place me in a plastic palanquin, then take me back to my queendom and take one of my peasants for a prisoner instead.

This is it. I'm going back to my queendom, where all my subjects swim in rows before me, partitioned from my pristine castle by clear veils. All my orange servants, milling about the deep blue seafloor.

The warden opens the roof of my prison, and an algae-green net cuts through the water, scooping me up. Jostling, it hauls me from the prison cell. I rock back and forth with the choppy motions, and terror cuts through my scales--all the water is draining through the mesh.

This wasn't supposed to happen. Where's the palanquin?

My gills flex open, I inhale once, then all the water's gone. I force my muscles to stay still--I can't flop about or the warden will discover my ruse, we're going home, to the ocean. I'll be free soon.

I can't breathe, the warden's steps rock me back and forth, yellow lights stab one eye, and my other eye stares through green mesh at a dark floor.

A door squeals open. The warden's steps heave me about, I can't breathe, the yellow light disappears from my eye and the ground below goes gray, rough, swept with dirt. Hot, dry air sweeps over my skin and my scales itch, my eyes itch.

I can't breathe. A black sky stretches higher than I've ever seen before. A gray light tinges the horizon, wide, a true forest hundreds of sizes my measly prison glows with sunrise.

I can't breathe.

I can't breathe.

Dark spots cloud my eyes. I struggle to flap a fin now, I'm not dead, warden, get me water, but my muscles have gone weak, my brain foggy. My gills flex and pant but the warden's steps keep bouncing. The ground sways, the mesh scooper abrades my maroon fin; the air itself wrings me out. I can't breathe.

A putrid scent hits me. This is not the way home, I flap my fins, this is not my queendom, I arrived here in a clear bag inside a growling box, I can't breathe.

I fall.

I hit plastic, squishy and pale.

Darkness claps shut.

I can't breathe. A putrid scent slimes up my mouth.

I just wanted my palace in my huge glass queendom...

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