Waking Up...

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I wake up to find myself entirely sealed inside some kind of cocoon. It's molded around my body so tightly I can't move. My chest is constricted, and the familiar panic starts rising inside me once again.

I don't remember how I got here, but I do know this: if I don't find a way out — and soon — I'm going to die in here.

I try to move my arms but they're pinned firmly to my sides. My legs are equally immobile, no matter how hard I struggle.

I take a deep breath, clearing my mind so I can attempt to assess my surroundings.

Where am I?

Although the cocoon is clear, the molded nature of it warps everything to look like huge blobs of color splattered across some twisted abstract painting. I can't identify anything around me, aside from the fact that the surrounding area is colored a bright, canary yellow.

I close my eyes and strain to listen, seeing if I can pinpoint anything at all. I hear noises, but they're muffled, echoing along the chambers and most likely distorted by the sealed enclosure.

Then I hear it.

The booming.

My eyes snap open. Things are exploding somewhere outside, but the sounds are methodical, each spaced out equally. They're almost... rhythmic.

My heart stops as the sudden realization sets in.

Those aren't explosions.

They're footsteps.

Something is drawing closer, and it is absolutely, impossibly big.

I strain against my restraints, and I feel a lower corner almost start to give way when a dark shadow falls across me. The surrounding temperature plummets a few degrees, but I'm unsure if it's from the lack of light or the blood simply draining out of my heart, searching for somewhere to hide.

I slowly elevate my eyes to see the blotted imaged of some kind of gigantic beast hovering over me. A distinct stench starts to waft through the air, penetrating the enclosure and assaulting my nostrils.

Crap.

This isn't good.

The creature moves swiftly, lunging forward and grabbing me in one fluid motion. It is absolutely enormous, easily towering over four stories, and my stomach lurches inside as I'm lifted with nauseating speed.

A second later I'm staring into a gigantic eye now hovering directly in front of me. Even through the protective shell I can feel the heat of the creature's breath as it heaves in and out. The massive orb flicks from side to side, up and down. It's staring at me, studying me. My body grows rigid and I squeeze my eyes shut, not wanting to give it any indication that I'm awake or alive. Now I'm actually grateful for the thick film separating us, which acts as a transparent shield.

Its mouth hovering a mere three feet in front of my face when the monster suddenly shrieks. The sound is deafening, and my arms slam against the cocoon as I instinctively try to reach up and protect my ears. But I can't move, completely immobile. Trapped.

I no longer have any doubts about my situation. I am going to die here, unless something sudden and drastic changes in my circumstances.

Unfortunately for me, something does.

The creature turns me over in its paws, searching the cocoon for an opening. Blood rushes to my head as it shakes me from side to side, probing outside for the smallest crevice through which to gain access. I can't help but wonder why it originally placed me inside it if it's having so much trouble opening it. Then again, I don't even know how I got here in the first place, so perhaps I'm jumping to conclusions.

I'm held right side up again, once more staring into that enormous eye. I watch the pupil dilate as it looks up and down my body, frustration emanating from it like a rank odor. This is when I come up with the bright idea on how I can escape my situation.

Inhaling deeply, I open my mouth as wide as I can, open my eyes wide, and scream.

It's a scream of terror and anger and desperation, and it's the loudest noise I've ever made in my entire life.

The creature pulls away and shrieks back at me, its eye widening in terror or excitement or both. Then I'm suddenly flung away and my world starts to spin wildly as I'm doing head-over-heel cartwheels through the air like a discarded doll.

I land on a flat, wooden terrain with a sharp crack! before sliding and coming to rest in a darkened corner. Somehow, impossibly, I'm still alive. Every bone in my body should be broken from the fall, yet I'm not only alive but I'm relatively pain-free.

I hear the creature screaming somewhere outside, followed by more explosive footsteps. I brace myself for its return before I realize that the sounds are growing fainter instead of closer. It's running away.

Did I scare it?

Did I make things worse?

Or did I actually just save my life by shrieking like a little girl?

I think I did. But I need to move if I'm going to get out of this alive.

I flex my arms again and this time feel the cocoon around me start to shift. I tense my muscles once more, and I'm able to raise one arm up to my chest, palm down, as if I'm giving the Pledge of Allegiance. I move the other arm up, bracing my back as I rotate my palms outward and start to push.

The enclosure around me flexes, but just barely.

Taking a deep breath, I collect my thoughts, trying to focus on what I'm doing... what my advantages are. I now have more room in here than when I first woke up. I'm in a prime position to escape — undetected — and the fact that I can move at all means this shell isn't as impervious as I first feared. It can be damaged.

And if it can be damaged, it can be opened.

I can escape!


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