Thursday, December 5, 2013


By Lauren E. Munroe

A minute passed before I heard the sound that I was waiting for to come near. When the sound filled my friend, Zimber's ears, she fumbled around my body before she was able to get a firm grip on my forearm. Her breathing became more panicked. As the sound grew louder behind us, she squeezed even tighter. I quickly took my arm away.

"W-What is that sound, Norait?"
"Our ride," I said.
"A-A roller cart coming down this pipe or somethi-?"
"Yeah, something like that," I fibbed. "Listen–when I yell to you to run, you do it. Understand?"
"Why?" she asked.

"Just do it!" I yelled. With that, I took off down the pipe in a straight line away from Zimber as fast as I could. The last thing I needed was the both of us crashing into each other. I could hear Zimber screaming and cussing up an electrical storm, and begging for me to wait up as I said a twenty-second countdown. By the time I reached five seconds, the force coming near us was so deafening I couldn't even hear myself think.
As I was being lifted into the air, I stretched my arms and legs out like a glider and allowed the cold icy air to propel me through the pipe. I tried to keep myself in this position as long as I could, but the intense pressure of the air took hold of my limbs and twisted me about. As I flipped overhead, I managed to fight the air and curl myself into a ball. After a few minutes, I became tired trying to hold my body in this position. As I let go of my legs, the air took control again and whipped my body all about. Spinning and flipping like an asteroid in space, I could feel myself being pushed forcibly to the side of the pipe. I flinched as my shoulder grazed its rough wall.

The rhythm of my breathing was interrupted when I accidentally cried out in pain. Realizing my mistake, I quickly tried to close my mouth and save any oxygen I had left; but choked violently for not having enough in me. As my lungs were robbed flat, grave thoughts passed through my mind about me perishing in this death-air. I closed my eyes. The strong light made my eyelids glow red-magenta. As I made a last attempt to fight the crushing air, my eyelids began to turn dark. I opened them just in time to see myself approaching the end of the white void and entering a small, round black hole.

The air gave me a final push before I fell from its grip and into the dark chasm. My lungs, now realizing they were no longer constricted, inflated to such a degree that I thought they would explode. I cried out–not just because I afraid of where I was falling to, but happy that I could breathe again. I could feel my stomach turning to a nervous mush as I continued to free fall through the darkness like dead weight but I had a feeling that I was approaching the end of my ride. My fingers scrambled around the loops of my carrier belt until I found my Neg-Matter Chip. I pressed it into my chest and could hear it activate–a high pitched beeping sound surrounded me. I looked down again only to see myself headed towards a small square of grated light shining up from the bottom.

It was a ceiling vent. As the time came for impact, I stretched my arms out in front of me to try and balance my weight. As I came into a few feet of the vent, I still did not feel any reaction from the chip. If Zimber and I survive this, Neg-Matter, Corp. has some serious explaining to do.

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I graduated from the Institute of Children's Literature in 2008. Since 2001, she’s had multiple articles published in The Enterprise newspaper as well as websites Boston Globe and Metro West Daily News.


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