Today's the start of the A to Z Challenge! And yes, as little time as I seem to have, I'm jumping into the fray.
The stench hit first; the rot of decaying flesh filled her nostrils, snapping her out of unconsciousness. She tried to move, lifting a hand in the darkness to find slime coating the walls that surrounded her. The air was dank and oppressive, filling her lungs with a physical presence her body tried to reject.
Coughing, she rolled onto her side and nearly passed out from the pain. Testing with her left hand, she felt the break in her upper right arm, the lower piece of bone jutting forward. She couldn't remember how it had happened.
How had she gotten here? She tried to remember as she sat up and clawed at the muck with her good hand. She had leaned down to collect a sample of water from a pool in the swamp... There was a big splash and then... Nothing. It was blank.
She got her feet beneath her, slipped, and slid onto her hip. Her arm hit the wall and a wave of pain washed over her.
She fought back panic as she tried again, holding a tree root with her good hand for balance. For some reason, she knew she had to get out quickly. Had an overpowering feeling that something was coming back for her.
Her movements opened the mat of vegetation that covered the hole, and cool air rushed over her. She gulped the fresh air and tried not to gag as the breeze shifted and the stench rose again. She had to get out.
Using her left hand, she reached as far above her as she could, grabbed hold of a low-hanging cypress branch, and scrabbled up the slick walls. The lure of fresh air and the threat of something she couldn't quite recall drove her on. After several minutes of struggling, she lay on the spongy surface, staring up at the distant sky.
And then she heard it, the deep staccato of an alligator call, and it all came rushing back, filling her body with a surge of adrenaline like an electric shock. She had leaned down to collect the sample and the splash... the splash was an alligator. It had grabbed her arm and pulled her under water, rolling over and over to kill her. But somehow she had not only survived the death roll, she had been cached for later. Mating season. That was the only explanation.
A tail hit the water nearby and the woman struggled to her feet. She had to get out before the alligator returned.
What do you think? Fact or Fiction?
Last week: Fact. (down to the three-story drop, bounce, and run)