The door gave way under the strength of the ax, sending wood sprawling across the floor. Its
steel edge caught the moonlight and glittered like a mirage. A voice wailed, “Come out, come out,
wherever you are!”
Trembling, she took her phone in a chokehold and checked it for signs of life, practically feeling
for a pulse. “Please, please,” she murmured under her breath. It flickered for a moment – “Yes!” – before going dim.
The ax-swinger’s voice prowled nearer.
“No, no. Damn light adjusting mode…”
The phone danced in her sweaty, frantic fingers. She turned the phone’s brightness all the way up.
Its stark light pierced through the darkness of the closet she cowered in. Her eyes instinctively flitted to
the battery percentage.
98 percent, it declared.
She’d like to see her friends tease her now for keeping her phone plugged into a wall at all times! She knew it’d pay off someday. She dialled the police. They clipped handcuffs on the ax-wielder within minutes.
Meanwhile, the author rapped her fingers against the table and wiped her hands across her face, growling at the page. This is no good! That meddling chunk of modern technology ruins everything! Now, she could give in to the cliché and
a. Break their phone in an all-too-convenient series of events; or
b. Send them back to a different time zone…
But was it too much to ask for a modern-day story without phones getting in the way? And thus an idea sparked. The author stretched, grinned, and wrote.
A rustle here, a groan there. The woods thrummed with life. Somehow, it still felt long dead.
Tree branches reached into the sky like old, curled fingers. Fog writhed between their trunks. The
mist was so thick, she couldn’t see her feet. The only sign of human activity was a shack that leaned like a sick creature stopping to rest.
A sense of unease roiled in her gut as she pulled her phone out of her pocket. Not a single trace of wifi appeared on her screen.
She felt that a sudden movement might attract something from the woods, so she advanced an
inch a minute, moving her shaky fingers across the screen. Finally, she hit the button she needed.
Her internet immediately changed from a crawl to a run.
Good thing she had cellular! She pulled up Google Maps and turned her back on the shack. Just a
mile west and she’d be back in her hometown!
The author found the idea of allowing the phone to conveniently shatter against the ground
tantalizingly simple. But she would sooner shred library books than she would give in to that cliché! She
didn’t know if her hard-headedness was a curse or a blessing, but she was going to use it anyway. She
reached for her pencil.
A voice spoke directly into her ear. It was difficult to make out the words against that awful
howling of the wind. The plane suddenly felt flimsy, just sheets of metal riding on air. It didn’t help that
she was positioned right on the edge of the open door, that threshold between life and death.
Someone sat directly behind her. She hoped it was her skydiving instructor, ready to take the
plunge with her. But wouldn’t a skydiving instructor be wearing skydiving attire? He placed his hands on her back.
Oh, gosh, she thought. He’s going to push me off!
The only thing making her feel secure was the embrace of her parachute clinging to her.
From the rear of the plane, she saw a woman hold up a parachute with confusion. “Where’s my
bag of snacks?” she asked.
Suddenly, she knew that the thing on her back wasn’t a parachute.
“Wait,” she tried- but as soon as the words came out, those hands shoved her into a free-fall.
The wind slicked her hair back, and her stomach curled at the sight of the ground, thinly veiled by
a layer of clouds. Her arms swung out to either side, some sorry excuse for wings. Despite it all, she
fought against the wind to reach her hand into her pocket. She gripped onto her phone while the wind
tried to steal it from her as she slammed the letters into her search bar: hwo to surviv. a fall withoit a
The internet knew what she meant and suggested a plethora of articles and videos. She blindly
tapped one, a short and sweet video. It’d be cutting close, but she hoped she would have time to digest the information before the ground- which was gaining clarity by the second- hit her.
An advertisement greeted her. Unskippable. 13 seconds long.
Those 13 seconds would kill her.
She let go, stopped fighting, allowed her grip to loosen and her phone to fly free. Betrayed by her
She shut her eyes tight as she hurtled faster, faster towards the ground, like a runaway rocket
coming in for a crash landing.
The impact was squishy. The squelch was disgusting.
But she couldn’t complain- what were the chances that she’d land in a massive vat of pillow-soft Jell-O?
She regretted throwing away that phone now, but she’d have the rest of her life to buy a new one.
Hardheadedness sure felt like a blessing now. The author never aimed to kill- she just needed to
know she could. She finally set her pencil down.
Megan Malone is an avid nature and animal lover who is passionate about growing as both a writer and a person with everything she does. For as long as she can remember, she’s loved creating stories! She wrote her first book at 14, and she dreams of being a published novelist someday. As well as being a regular contributor for ‘Hey! Young Writer’, she writes blog posts for ‘Young Eager Writers’. Check them out at: https://www.youngeagerwriters.org/blog.