Day 82 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write about the effects of a spreading gas.
Shannon: They released the gas into the air and we were advised to remain calm by the voice coming through the speakers. The voice promised the gas could not hurt us, and then explained they were only testing the effect the chemicals had on everyone in the room.
I heard stories from my older sibling that this test was the ultimate determining factor in where students were placed. They claimed that all the other tasks we had to do were just for show, and to keep us distracted from the chamber test. They’d come to the conclusion that this test was purely based on nature, and nothing you could do could change the outcome for yourself.
I was nervous about what effect the gas would have on me, but finally I’d know what I was made of. I would see what makes me unique, so I let the gas envelope ever inch of me without a fight.
Once I had a heavy dose in my lungs and there was so much smoke surrounding me I couldn’t see the person next to me, I waited for something strange to happen. Yet I didn’t feel different, and when I looked down nothing had changed. “James,” I called out to my friend who was originally standing next to me.
I didn’t know if he was still there, but he spoke up quickly, “Yeah, I’m right here,” he was close and eventually appeared in front of me. However, he was a different color now. There was a faded glow inside his chest, almost looking as if heart had turned into a light. The glow was illuminating his green skin, clothes, and hair. As the gas started to clear up everyone was revealed. They were all a color. Some were different, some had strange mixtures, and some were repeated.”
“Do you see people as different colors? Are they glowing? What color am I,” I bombarded James with questions.
“You see auras,” James concluded with a smile. He’d always been a bit of bookworm, so he’d done a lot of research beforehand. Of course he would already know what I was. “I don’t see colors,” he sounded a little disappointed. “I think I’m seeing weaknesses.”
Erin: Ever since these rainbow gasses have overtaken our city no one can seem to stop smiling. Because that seems like a good thing no one is questioning the phenomenon. I am though. I know that where there is people pretending everything is happy, there is people avoiding a harder truth. As I traced the start of the smoke to the capital I was determined to find out what that truth was.
Write about something your characters can’t escape.
Screams echoed through the halls, bouncing off pale brick walls and rusted metal bars, on the chilly winter night. The horrible sounds chased me in my dreams for hours before I woke up, panting heavily drenched in sweat. Even when I gently peeked out of my own mind into the pitch room, I could hear the petrified shrieks and desperate clattering of flesh on metal. Breathing in the unpleasant stench of my surroundings, I twisted on my bed and rolled back over to face the wall, fully intending to fall back into my psychotic dreamland.
But when the horrific cries continued, preventing me from falling asleep, I grunted and sat up on the metal-framed bunkbeds. Above me was an empty cot that used to be inhabited by an egregiously foul-mouthed woman named Harley; she left late last week after giving one of the inmates a particularly deep wound to the abdomen. Though I was happier than I’d ever been to see her go, I wished I wasn’t alone in the shadowy cell tonight. The screams continued to reverberate in our block, rousing the others as their voices joined the cacophony.
Sighing deeply, I held onto the top bunk as I stood, avoiding slitting my head open again on the sharp metal edge. As my bare feet touched the freezing cement floor, I felt a subtle jolt run up my legs and swayed a bit in the open space. I slipped my feet gratefully into the holey pair of sneakers beside my bed and padded softly to the front of the cell. Wearing a cotton nightshirt, fleece sweater and long pants, I stood shivering against the solid bars.
Across from our compartments in this hall, was a long bank of windows overlooking the overused prison yard; basketball hoops shining hauntingly in the brilliant glow of the floodlights. In the reflection on the glass, was a short row of women silently peering about the compound from their sparse cells. Though I didn’t associate much with my fellow inmates, I knew the ones to avoid and those who, like me, honestly didn’t deserve their sentences. As I shifted to glance down the hallway, lights came alive around the corner as the shouts got closer and closer to us. Confusion was apparent in the glint of every criminal’s eyes as an enormous clatter came screaming down the hall.
It was funny, though, because the source of the horrible noises never appeared. Instead, trickling down the pavement like a voluminous serpent, was a string of clouds the colour of unoxygenated blood. Something about the slinking way it moved gave me goosebumps as we all watched in anticipation as it crept every closer. In the glass I could still see their fractured eyes as the shrieks began again; the gas flowed into the open compartments and leached its way into every inch of the first cell as its captives’ guttural cries made my blood run cold. Faces contorted with rage and terror, I watched without blinking, their inhuman voices raising the hairs at the back of my neck.
If I could have pried my eyes away from my cellmates, I would have looked away and imagined the heart wrenching noises they made were coming from something else, but something in me couldn’t move from the spot. As my heart pounded out a samba in my ears, I watched their skin boil and blood rip through their organs; before long the two were unconscious writhing corpses on the cold floor. The only noises they made were gurgling, choking ones that will haunt me forever.
When the next prisoner’s snapped out of their petrification it was too late; they clawed helplessly at the bars and shouted their throats raw before the silky cloud accumulated around them. Falling to her knees, one of the innocents clamped her jaw shut as the pain rolled over her. Blood spilled from where her teeth ripped at the flesh in her mouth, but she refused to cry out as the woman beside her banged her head over and over against the wall. After a moment the first woman’s clothing was soaked in blood and she silently fell to the floor in an undulating mass of torn flesh. Beside her, head bleeding heavily, was the other woman with bloodshot eyes staring outward.
In the next two cells, the women shrieked before the gas reached them, shaking the bars like caged animals. High-pitched noises that rattled my teeth reached my ears as I managed to shut my eyes to the horror, but it did them no good. Instead of letting the dread take hold of me, I wandered back to my bed, listening to the dying, sloshing wailing of my cellmates. There was nothing I could do for them, or myself; no point in fearing the inevitable. I lay down on the lumpy mattress with my arm hanging over the side to comfortingly stroke the books piled underneath the squeaking springs.
That was the moment alarms finally went off, lights and sirens filling the hall with even more anxiety-inducing experiences. Within a few minutes, too long to save anyone else in my block, industrial fans began to dissipate the lethal gas. As I dozed off amid the chaos, my arm was swallowed by the gas, nearly peeling the skin right off the bone.
“After several doses of the antidote in the infirmary, my client was subjected to an amputation procedure that was not signed off on by anyone representing my client. She was not consulted on the procedure, nor was she aware that any kind of experimental drugs were being tested on the premises,” my lawyer droned on as I relaxed in a comfortable chair. Though my wrists were shackled, I felt more at ease than any time since the accident, as they called it. Almost every prisoner in the penitentiary died thanks to a rookie mistake and we had banded together to file a civil suit. It may not grant us freedom, but at least we could take some of those bastards back into the cells with us.
Created to Write:
Coulson leads the trio, August is right behind him. Jacey is on his shoulder, disguised as an insect. May watches their backs, her hand grasping her gun.
Coulson checks down the next corridor, then waves them on. August taps the button on his new comm link.
“Almost there, Ghost. One more corridor, then the door should be on the left,” Rick says from the SHIELD quinjet. Coulson nods, showing he heard too. They pass the next corridor. August runs forward and takes out the guards of the door. Jacey shifts to human, walking through the door first.
The ten children are all huddled in groups on the far side of the room. Jacey whispers, “We’re here to rescue you, shh…” But none of the children respond.
“I don’t think they speak English,” she tells Coulson.
“Can’t you, you know…” Coulson tries.
Jacey gives him a deadpan face, “I can understand animals in their form, but human languages must be learned the old fashioned way.”
Coulson puts his hands up, “Just checking. I don’t know the full range of your powers.” Jacey looks at the kids.
“…Are any of the captors gifted?”
“No,” May answers, keeping her eyes on the door.
Jacey smiles at the kids, then shifts into a bunny. She hops over to the smallest one, who looks to be nine. The girl pets her a little, then smiles. Jacey shifts out. The girl hugs her, speaking with tears in her eyes. The other kids look less scared.
“We need to go, now,” May says. The oldest of the children help carry the two youngest, while Coulson carries one. August looks at the kids tugging on his pants. He has two different colored eyes and oddly shaped nose and ears. August hoists him onto his back, holding his legs around his waist. The boy wraps his arms around August’s neck. Jacey shifts into a wild cat, so the last two can ride.
“Stay quiet,” May says. She then repeats it for the children in a few languages, then they take off with May in the lead. Jacey bounds off, keeping stride with August while Coulson brings up the rear. May takes out the guards that find them, but the alarm is sounded. “Send in the back up,” Coulson tells the Intelligence group as the hallway starts to seal up. Jacey turns to the side, sending the kids on her back under the door. She then quickly shifts out and then into a bear. She holds the door open, allowing more kids to get under. May goes under, shooting the guards getting too close. Two of the older kids and one of the younger are still in the trap, and Jacey can’t hold it open anymore.
“Go under, quick,” Jacey says. But just as she says it, she falls back and the door shuts behind her, trapping the three kids, August, and Coulson. “August!” Jacey yells. He then hears the door shudder as something slams against it.
“Get the kids to safety, Malea!” He yells back, “We’ll be okay!”
Then there’s silence. “Now what?” An older kid with bright red hair and ash colored hands states.
“Try your powers,” August says. The kid motions them to back up, then he tries melting the wall of metal. But then there’s an alarm that goes off above them. A panel in the wall opens and gas spews out.
The yellow haze hits their noses and August starts to feel dizzy. The kids around him fall to the floor after a few whiffs. August looks behind him at Coulson, who’s trying to cover his nose. But August blacks out before Coulson succumbs as well.