In case you missed the announcement last week, today I am sharing some creative writing from a class I took last semester. I am pretty proud of them though I am definitely really nervous to be sharing it on such a big platform (even though not a lot of people read this blog anymore haha).
For this first post, I am sharing my first fiction piece for the class. It is a young adult, urban fantasy short story with a wacky voice and ending! Honestly, I don’t think this is my best but those who have read it before y’all say it’s entertaining! I hope you like it 😊 let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Let’s get started!
The One with the Prison Break
On my fifteenth birthday, thousands of captured monsters escaped from their electrical prisons in the refurbished jail on Alcatraz Island and began to wreak havoc on the world. My mom then decided to cancel my quinceañera, which is totally unfair if you ask me. So what if the Great Escape was my fault? It wasn’t like it was a part of my plan. I shouldn’t be punished for it!
Maybe this will make more sense if I explain some things. See, it all started when I was six years old. My parents and I were vacationing in Curaçao, visiting my dad’s prima who had moved there with her family a few years earlier. On that particular day, we decided to go whale watching, because the weather called for clear skies and bright sunshine. I remember the way the water glittered and shined as we glided rapidly through the waves. I remember how I stuck my left hand out of the safety of the boat and into the wondrous mar to feel the rush of the boat’s speed. I wasn’t paying attention to the things that lurked under the water, my eyes focused on the horizon and my hopes fixed on catching sight of a whale or a dolphin. With my attention diverted, I didn’t see the carnivorous mermaid with her sight on my little hand within the water. To this day, my memories from the incident were the excruciating pain of having my hand trapped within a mermaid’s mouth and the slicing of my skin with her razor sharp teeth. My ear splitting scream alerted my parents and luckily, they were fast enough to yank me away so the monster only took the last two fingers of my left hand. But ever since then, I became obsessed with monsters and more importantly, I was infected by a need for revenge against mermaids and any other awful monstrous predator that stalked our world.
When the week before my birthday finally arrived, I was totally prepared to take advantage of Career Week at school to finally enact my revenge on mermaids and monsters of all kinds. Because of my experience when I was younger, I’ve always been interested in becoming a monster hunter. These people are in the front lines, fighting against the most despicable and evil creatures that roam our Earth. But the most important part of their job, for me, is their gate keeping up in Alcatraz. The prison was gutted and rebuilt in order to hold the most dangerous and notorious of the monster kinds and the most elite hunters in the United States are in charge of keeping the prisoners in lock down. Career Week offers field trips for students’ most desired job of choice so I made sure to take advantage of the opportunity and decided to put my master plan into motion bright and early on Monday morning.
It was March 9th, 2020 and I was getting dropped off at school on this bright and sunny school day. My knee was bouncing rapidly as I sat in the passenger seat. As soon as my mom pulled up to the front of the school, I was out of there. “Bye, ma!” I shouted as I slammed the passenger door of our family Honda Civic and ran off toward the football field. Huddled underneath the bleachers was my group of friends, the people who were gonna help me pull off my master plan, even though they didn’t know it yet.
“Good morning, everyone! Are we ready for this wonderful week?!” I exclaimed, plopping down onto the grass in between Angel and Adriana. These Puerto Rican twins couldn’t have been more opposite if they tried. On my right, Adriana was lounging back on her elbows, muscles relaxed with her head tilted back as her black hair skimmed the grass and her eyes closed to soak in the sun. She was in a bright, yellow dress that contrasted beautifully against her russet skin and her high top converse swayed back and forth to the day’s silence. On my other side, her brother was dressed head to toe in black, from the scuffed Doc Martens on his feet to the worn black sweatshirt he wore every day. His gaze was focused on chipping at the black polish on his finger nails. He jerked his head up in acknowledgment of my question, but kept quiet.
“This week is the same as any other week, Mariana.” I looked up and made eye contact with Jade who was sitting across from me. Her dark, brown eyes were piercing, most likely calculating the reason behind my unusual enthusiasm.
“Actually, my dear, this week is special because this week is Career Week,” I said. “Which means we’re finally gonna make my plan a reality!”
“Wait, what?” wondered Maggie as she lifted her head away from the book on her lap. “Nobody said anything about a plan.”
I rolled my eyes at her wide eyed gaze. Maggie was probably the most cowardly one within our group, always trying to find a way to veer us away from magnificent ideas. Her frizzy red hair was unusually contained in a high ponytail today, though it did nothing to improve on her constant deer in headlights expression. Beside her, Jade looked like the picture of calm, her posture straight to match the serene yet fierce expression on her face.
This ragtag group of people had been my friends since I could remember. We all met when we were two years old. Our mothers signed up for a Mommy and Me Tae Kwon Do and hit it off. Jade and I were the only ones who had an affinity for the style and managed to keep going for years, but that experience not only bonded our mothers together, but also us to each other. Since then, we’d gotten up to all kinds of mischief, but nothing as big as what was about to go down.
“Look y’all, I didn’t spend todos estos años taking underwater battle and hand to hand combat just to let Career Week field trips pass me by.” I grinned, rubbing my hands together in the most evil villain cliche gesture known to humankind. “So, this is what we’re gonna do.”
I hadn’t really anticipated this field trip to land on the same day as my birthday, but beggars can’t be choosers. I’d talked my mom and dad into allowing me to go only because the bus would arrive back at school with enough time to get myself ready for my elaborate quinceañera party. Obviously, things didn’t go as planned.
Walking into Alcatraz for the first time was breathtaking. The floor to ceiling jail cells with their metal railings that had characterized the prison for centuries were now replaced with electromagnetic panels each uniquely designed for the kind of monsters it’s keeping behind its walls. Let’s say you wanted to see a werewolf captured in Alcatraz. Their cells were designed to have silver infused fabric throughout all of the walls, forcing the creatures to remain docile while in the prison. As I stared at the grandiose facade, my nerves started to get the best of me. I didn’t know if we should continue with this plan. Would it even work if we tried it?
My friends and I followed behind our classmates, teacher and guide quietly, keeping to our best behavior and listening intently to the tour. About fifteen minutes into the demonstration, I watched Jade slip away into a separate corridor from the corner of my eye. Two minutes later, Angel and Adriana followed suit, slipping into a hallway on the opposite side of Jade. My nerves began to get the best of me. My hands were shaking and my brow began to sweat because it was finally happening and I didn’t know if I was really ready for it.
As no one raised any alarm in their absence, Maggie and I ducked into a different hallway five minutes later. Immediately, we took off in a run past closed, office doors, ducking into different entrances. We twisted left and right with one goal in mind. My heart was racing as fast as my feet were carrying me. My hands were slick with the sweat that flowed through my pores as I tried to remember the directions in my head.
I was really surprised that no one had ever pulled off something similar to our plan before. The layout of the common areas of Alcatraz have been online for years. Maybe there was something we were missing. I had never heard of anyone doing this before, but that could have been because no one has been successful.
Either way, the only thing we needed to know was where the mermaids were located. First order of business? The control room.
We ran past door after door, moving as fast as we dared. As we turned left into yet another hallway, I gasped, pulling Maggie’s arm to move us behind the wall.
“What–” Maggie began, but I squeezed her arm tightly and shook my head. At the end of the corridor, I saw two guards, whispering to each other in front of a door. Just as I’d suspected, the control room was being watched over, understandable considering all the rowdy teenagers walking around the place. Just like us.
In that moment, I realized the gravity of what I’d gotten my friends to do, what I was trying to do. We were breaking into the secured control room of the most secure prisons in the entire world, and for what? So I could have five minutes to yell at a dangerous, carnivorous mermaid behind a wall? This wasn’t worth it.
I was reaching for my phone when I heard a scream erupt from the opposite hallway entrance. Our diversion for the guards. It was too late to turn back now.
I watched as the guards took off toward the sound and I pulled Maggie behind me as I slowly crept toward the door. By the time I got to the door, Angel, Adriana and Jade began creeping towards us, having evaded the guards by hiding behind the bathroom found on that side of the building. Angel pulled out his phone, using it to hack into the automatic door system to turn the red, locked system into a shining green light of entrance.
We rushed into the room, only to be immediately confronted with a giant wall of characters showing every nook and cranny of the Alcatraz Island prison. The floor was covered in rows of wires, connecting the screens to their respective controls all over the room. There was a giant panel keyboard light up with bright buttons through its every inch.
“Guys, we shouldn’t be doing this,” Maggie whispered, twirling her hands within her shirt as she looked to the door every few minutes. “This is really dangerous, and we could get into some serious trouble.”
Her quiet protestation only made me roll my eyes. I mean, sure, I have been having second thoughts this whole time, but we made it! We’d gone through all the trouble of sneaking through a freaking prison and now she wants to back down?! Not happening.
“Dios mio Maggie, stop being such a wimp! Why did you even come with us if you were going to be this annoying?!”
“Hey!” Angel and Adriana shouted at the same time. After I shot a glare at them, he continued, “Leave her alone, okay? She’s right! This is a crazy idea, Mariana and we definitely shouldn’t have followed your whims this time.”
“Oh, so you’re all against me, now?”
Jade interjected, “We’re not against you! But you have to admit this was far fetched and dangerous, even for you.”
I crossed my arms and lifted my chin against my friends, the people who were supposed to have my back through thick and thin. I never thought they would ever reject me this way.
Adriana approached me slowly, laying a hand gently on my arm. “We want you to be happy, and if confronting a mermaid will make that happen for you, then we’ll do this. But if there’s any part of you that’s unsure, let’s turn back now before something bad happens.”
They were right and I knew it. But when you’ve longed for something your entire life, and you’re so close to making it happen for yourself, it’s hard accepting that you should turn back. Coming face to face with a mermaid has been a dream of mine since I lost my fingers, but this wasn’t the right time, the right place or the right way.
“But we’ve worked so hard to make this happen! I worked so hard for this…” I trailed off, dropping my head down as I stared at my feet.
Adriana took her hand and wrapped it around my shoulders. “There’ll be a next time, Mariana. A time will come when you’re truly prepared to take this on and we’ll be right there cheering for you the whole time.”
I sighed. “You’re right. Lo siento. Let’s get out of here. There will be another time once I’m an actual monster hunter.” My friends cheered and headed toward the door. As I walked forward to continue after them, my foot got caught within some of the wires, throwing me off balance and face first into the panel keyboard. I stretched my arms out in front of me to brace myself, only for them to land flat against a myriad of buttons. Shrilling sirens cut abruptly through the air and my friends and I watched transfixed as the cameras in front of us revealed the unlocking of every door in the entire prison, freeing monster after monster from their confines.
“NO!” All five of us screamed at once, rushing forward toward the control panel in a blind panic. Like a twisted game of Whac-A-Mole, my friends and I frantically tried to reverse the damage, but it was no use.
In the same moment, the door in front of us burst open. The room was filled with several guards, who took us by the arms and dragged us rapidly out into the hallway to shepherd us into another room. As we rushed through the corridors, a cacophony of screams, howls, screeches and wails reverberated against the walls. I felt my heart as it fell into the pit of my stomach when I realized the catastrophe I had just brought to our world.
We were quarantined in that room for twelve hours.
Outside the screams continued on and there were accompanied by the clashing or weapons and the bangs of gunshots. I wondered what those scenes looked like through that giant wall of cameras. The guards managed to get us some bottled water and sandwiches from their own refrigerator to tide us over as best as they could. Our group sat together in a circle, holding each other’s hands for dear life as we hoped the nightmare would end as soon as possible.
By the time we got picked up by our parents, the news had heard all about the group of kids who had let out most of the monsters who had been held within Alcatraz. Countless mermaids who escaped through tunnels into the Pacific Ocean, vampires who flew away in colonies of bats and the newly created giant pack of werewolves just from the prison population. No one could accurately estimate how detrimental this set back was going to be in society or how long it would take to get it back to normal. I tried to take all of the blame for the incident, but we’d all been caught together. Our hearing against a judge was scheduled for next month, but that didn’t scare me as much as my mother’s possible punishment.
The first thing she said was, “Ahora mira lo que hiciste! This is what happens when you have a little freedom?! No mas! Now you don’t get a quinceanera at all! And you’ll pay us back every cent we spent on the one you missed! All that money, a la basura! Me lo vas a pagar todo!”
Like I said, it’s not like it was a part of my plan to let out all those monsters! I’m sure I’ll figure out a way to change their minds. A quinceañera is a very important right of passage. It lets the world now I’m an adult, ya know?
And as an adult, one day, I’ll make up for all of this. I know this isn’t the end of my story, it’s only the beginning. You better believe I’m going to spend every waking minute from today on training to be the monster hunter that will get all those creatures back in their rightful place.
So that’s it for this post! Now that I have kind of skimmed this again, I am noticing all the quarantine/lock down references. I swear ya’ll I wrote this before the COVID situation but it’s weird to see the references after the fact. So um, let me know what you think! I’m so scared! haha.