She begins each morning by searching the space in front of her with her shaky hands and outstretched frail arms. The time is passed scrupulously plotting various scenarios to make it through one more day and survive the fight for her life. The cold concrete floor jars her awake as she slowly makes her way to the far corner where the uncomfortable metal chair and tiny table await her presence. It takes 6 steps to make it to the desk where she meticulously types for another day, another hour, one more minute of air. The guard stationed outside the metal door clangs his club against the surface to alert the prisoner another round has begun and she must begin to type or lose her life. The machinery used to record her script is antiquated and hard to maneuver. The keys are coated with sticky goo to make the writing even more difficult for the contestant when she presses down on the buttons. Faint clicking is heard from outside her cell and she realizes the other prisoners have started to type. The girl begins to panic and quickly begins to punch in her thoughts on the old typewriter before the electric stick comes out to prod her like once before when she refused to write any further.
“Five minutes people! You have five minutes to continue your session from yesterday and create a suspense scene with a mystery character,” stated the gruff voice over the loud speaker. “Your time starts now!”
She searches her mind for a new idea and calculates how much of the thought to put into her creation. Too much content will threaten her hope for future seats in the contest, not enough content will anger the judges and cause her to be disqualified… immediate death. She decides to write about the new character she dreamt about with the familiar eyes and the rugged physique. A stranger, a mystery, her life line for today. A name… what is his name, she thinks to herself. It must be strong, unique, daring enough to mirror her character, but different and surprising for the readers. She must draw the judges in and capture their attention with his stunning looks and extraordinary abilities. The judge’s panel responds well to strength and endurance.
Her fingers are typing madly, pounding the small keys with fervor and zest. The storyline progresses and she has to change the paper quickly. This is a chore she has learned to master in the dark, without the help of overhead light or natural sunlight. All the windows have been blacked out and barred. The lights have been removed and pitch black surrounds her everywhere. During the evening hours, when they give them a 2 hour rest period, she listens for the faint patter of feet scurry across the floor to pick up the crumbs from her small dinner given once a day. The food can hardly be called a meal with one square of bland bread and a cup of water filled with silt. At first, she devoured the food to ease her hunger pangs, but now slowly picks the chunk of hard bread apart and stares into the darkness, daydreaming about her former life.
Before she arrived inside the prison walls, she was a new and upcoming young adult author destined for stardom. Her agent advised her to sign up for a reality TV show casting debut authors for their talent and boasted about a million dollar prize. It didn’t take her long to decide she wanted the opportunity to be showcased against her fellow literary rivals and so she allowed her agent to register her work and waited for the call. Two days later, the casting director invited her to lunch to discuss the details.
“We ask all our contestants to meet at a secret location and wait for our drivers to pick you up individually. We will blindfold you, take you by limo and have you secluded inside your beach side cabanas with access to a laptop and all the food you desire. We will give you a task to complete each day and the winner will move forward for a chance to win 1 million dollars and a lifetime contract with our esteemed publishing company!”
She remembers dreaming about the outcome, winning the million and sitting pretty for the rest of her life. The meeting was a farce, the contest a scam, and the odds of her getting out alive were slim to none. She was trapped inside the walls of hell, writing for her freedom and hoping for an end to this nightmare she thought was the answers to all her prayers.
Be careful what you wish for… it might come in the form of a dream come true, but end up swallowing you whole and spitting you out as a shriveled mass.
One authors take on a fictional Reality TV show gone bad…