OA panel falls on the manager as the aftermath of the bomb on the office building unfolds, with everyone inside feeling the effects.

“Help, someone! Is anyone still here? I’m trapped!” I watched the beam fall, I saw it hit him. I could have stopped it, I didn’t. Something inside told me this was my chance to get heard for once. I slowly make my way towards him, over desks and under debris, I had to say my piece while he’d listen.

“Oh my god, Cassandra, you’re here! Thank heavens, get this thing off me! We don’t have much time, the building feels like it’s going to collapse! Cassandra? What are you doing, woman?! HELP ME!” I stood there, looking.

“You gave the job to Clare, over me, the one behind our latest winning campaign.”

“What? You’re bringing this up NOW?! Don’t be so stupid. HELP! SOMEONE! ANYONE!” Sparks flew from a nearby light as it crashed to the floor.

“That was the last time you overlook me, boss.” I can’t believe what I’m doing, I grip the nearest desk, swing it round and cover him with it, leaving him there.

“I’ll clock you out, shall I? Bye, boss.”

“Havoc is ravaging the city centre today as a bomb exploded in a busy office block in the early afternoon today. Sending debris flying across the city sky, emergency services have released a list of missing people. They are as follows.” The list slid up the screen, I watched to see my bosses name, just to check he met his demise.

His name wasn’t there.

It was then that my phone rang, unknown number.

“Hello Cass, just wondering if I’ll be expecting you to come in, tomorrow. We have a lot to discuss.” Shit, it was my boss. How did he escape? It was perfect…




MI wake to the sight of the sun burning lines into the wall opposite the window as it peeks through the blinds. My head is absolutely swimming from the night before and I wish I was able to sleep for another hour or two, just a little more sleep isn’t too much to ask for, is it?

Accepting I’m awake, I reach down and search for my phone to see what the world is up to, the harsh artificial light from the screen blinds me as I swipe for the brightness slider. Able to see, I read his name, and the message:

“Thanks for an amazing night, sorry if I snore.

Oh, and before I doze off, I love you x.”

I can’t help but want to cling to this feeling for as long as I live, utter bliss. The one I wake thinking of, goes to sleep thinking the same. Suddenly the thought of sleep seems miles away, I turn my head and look at him, the absolute picture of comfort and contentment.

Moving slowly, I inch my way closer, tangle my legs between his and rest myself in the gap between us. He must have felt this because he wraps his arms around me, lets out a blissful sigh and we both doze off again to share the same dream of happiness we’ll wake up to in just a few hours, just one or two, not much to ask for after all.


LWhatever this place is, this is the only room that’s barely lit and it looks like some kind of office. Files are scattered across a desk in the middle of the room, some have pictures attached, no doubt other victims of this ‘experiment.’ I pick up one and it ends with ‘failure.’ Oh god, they want to do that to me. I need to get out of here, wherever here is.

I hear shuffling footsteps coming my way, I look around and see there is absolutely nowhere I can hide, of course, just my luck. Then I look up at the light. I could smash it, no doubt it will draw attention to where I am but at least it might give me a chance to slip past.

The shuffling slowly gets louder, I need to decide now. Grabbing as many of the files as I can I carry under one arm in hopes of finding another brief period of light, I lift a mug from the table, ready to throw it at the only proper light source I’ve seen since I woke. I need to time this right, the sound of the glass shattering will hopefully distract the creature long enough for me to move. The shuffling reaches the door and I throw the mug. I must have hit the bullseye because the smash was much louder than I expected.

The darkness consumed me once again.

I crouched behind the desk, ready to move. The shuffling entered the room and now that it’s closer, it’s accompanied by a wheezing and a low moan, like it might be struggling for breath. The sound is horrible, it sends shivers down my spine. I take my chance, as it rounds one side of the desk I move, still crouched, around the other side and out the door.

It must have realised the files were gone because as I pass the door it slams the desk and lets out a guttural scream, far louder than I’ve heard any human scream before. I take that was my cue to move and run into the growing darkness. Away from the clutches of danger, into the embrace of the unknown.


KI couldn’t hear a thing. It might be the fact we are thousands of feet above the air, or that my mind will not shut up with its billion and one things to bother me with. But in a split second decision I ripped the parachute pack from the intructor and threw myself out of the plane circling the drop zone.

The air felt like a constant body-sized bullet passing through me all at once and all the time. The parachute seemed desperate to separate itself from me so I struggled, but in a matter of seconds I had it on. This is it, this is what I was searching for. Utter submission to the earth and all its cruelty. As I hurtled towards it, I caught a glimpse of those struggling to catch up behind me. For once I was in front, for once I led the way, for once I wasn’t the last to be considered.

I was first.

The icy cold embrace of the atmosphere held me tightly as I continued my rapid descent. Should I pull the chord? Would I even feel the impact if I didn’t? Surely I’d hit the ground so hard I’d be dead before I’d know it.

I gripped the chord, regardless of wanting to pull it. I realise that for the first time I hold my own life, my entire life in my hand, completely. In this absolute isolation I was given the space I needed to contemplate my future, or lack of as the case may be. In that moment, as I fell from my old life ready to collide with the new…

I pulled.


JI was always told as a child I could have it all, I need only work for it. Finally all that work is paying off. It’s just gone seven, the sun is about to crest the neighbourhood and I need to get these samples to the board by eight, if I hurry I can beat the rush to get into the city.

Rushing the stairs too fast causes me to falter in my step, I hit the newly carpeted floor with a thud as I support myself on the doorframe. Note to self: quickly apply make up to cover dark circles. Now, the fastest shower of my life and I’m ready to go.

The water hits me hard as I adjust the temperature, I used to love this shower. Right now, though, it feels like it’s burning a layer of skin off, I’m obviously over sensitive. Note to self: sleep when all of this is over.

I can hear my phone ring in my bag as I quickly box the samples for the cookbook to give to the board. They’re going to love them, I can feel it, they have to, no way have I put months of my energy into this for it to turn sour at the last hurdle.

Bag, keys, samples loaded into the car. I put the pedal to the metal on the motorway to beat the traffic right on my tail. Nature looks to be flying past as I hurtle towards the city, to my future, my success.

With a moment to think, I fish my phone out of my bag and it’s him; The name I love to see light up my screen. I call him and apologise with the best phone voice I can put on to mask my drowsiness. At least his voice motivates me to not fall asleep at the wheel. We discuss plans for tonight as I flip the mirror down to quickly draw on my face.

“So, do you think you’ll be able to have dinner with me tonight?” He sounds different, maybe tonight’s the night. My friends keep telling me it’s only a matter of time before he utters those oh so special words.

Will you marry me?

I can’t wait, I’ve played it out in my head so many times already. I’ll swoon if standing, cast my eyes down if sitting (in emotion). Teary eyed, I’ll make contact with his and digging deep into those gateways of happiness I’ll whisper, unable to speak through the excitement:


“Ok! Great! I need to talk to you about some stuff, and if it’s alright I’d like to ask-”

His voice was shattered into countless fragments along with the windshield as a lorry filled my view past the mirror. Time stopped for a second as my car let go of the road and I was sent into the sky. A tree caught me with it’s plumage and I hung there in shock, my life suspended.

Even the best jugglers drop the ball eventually.


I“Do you trust me?” This is how the day started, a simple sentence, potentially perfectly innocent.

“Well, you shouldn’t have.” This is what he followed it up with. As he took the blindfold off and revealed he’d led me right into the middle of the frozen lake, deep in the forest.

Miles from help, at least a hundred feet from safety, he held my arms to my sides and told me he was done, and that he wanted nothing to do with me anymore.

And then he skated away.

So. Reality check, I’m good at those. Don’t panic, that’s always a good place to start with these things. I’m on the surface of the biggest lake I’ve ever seen, it’s frozen, the ice seems fine. It has to be fine if we walked this far out.

I take a step and hear a rumbling reply from underneath. Ok, it’s not fine. That is SO not fine…

I fall into the hall as the door rushes the closely-avoided death of cold in behind me. My mum sees me shaking on the floor and Dad rushes to me with a duvet from upstairs. They call the police and tell them exactly what I had told them.

This is what I wished had happened. The water systematically shuts me down as I sink further and I see them reflected in the water. I reach for them as consciousness fades and my heart freezes, to ice.