A few weeks ago I wrote a short narrative assessment practice piece for GCSE English and I thought I’d post it. The theme was flying, but I kind of turned it on it’s head a little bit. I have a descriptive piece as well, if anyone likes this one.
Warning for gore. A little bit. Ish. Dark themes.
The door snapped shut with a ringing clang. She reached into the soft dark, the hard walls, the low ceiling. Her fingers met feathers, and she drew back with a shriek. But they were cold and wet, and she shrank away, whimpering. Her body failed her. She refused to move. The dark wrapped her in a comforting mist, coal-dark in every direction, but the walls were clinging and casketlike. The tunnel – for that is what it was – stretched before her, and the door was a solid certainty at her back. There was one way out, and that was forwards.
She breathed once, twice.
She shifted onto her knees and gasped in pain pain PAIN before shuddering onto her stomach. The bricks of the floor plucked weakly at her dress but she crawled forward at the pace of a snail, fingers stretched ahead, eyes straining for light. The black was relentless and remorseless. If her eyes had been scooped out, there would have been no difference.
Something skittered ahead in the dark. She shut her desire to scream behind lips bitten bloody and drew her fingers close to her chest, imagining rats and bats and tiny, fist-sized goblins squirming towards her with white teeth glistening bare. She refused to lose her fingers. The skittering halted, and paralyzed in horror, she waited for it to start to get louder. It didn’t. For seconds that stretched into years she waited, and she heard the tiny tiny movement start to get quieter.
She would have laughed, but the promise of echo, of the squeak of a noise which was all she could have managed multiply itself a thousandfold and bring the ceiling and the rats crashing down on her at once held it back. She continued forwards, her fingers scraping across the wet bricks.
There – there it was, the outlines of stones becoming visible, and it wasn’t her eyes adjusting to the dark. She turned a corner, a rough scrape along her side, and there it was – a hole the size of her fist she would never fit through. She pressed herself against the wall, eyes frantically against the hole and she could see snow, snow and bright and bright bright blood, spilling across the rough opening as she tore her fingernails from their beds against the bricks. She was dimly aware of screaming, high and birdlike and inhuman and it was echoing down and down and nothing could hurt her more now, let the bats come and chew.
An eye, blue and orange and the most beautiful and horrifying thing she had ever seen appeared, a finger’s width away from hers. There was blood in her mouth and her throat was in tatters and no more sound could force it’s way from behind the teeth she was clenching. A sharp rapping of bone against brick – muffled, from the outside, – another hole was appearing. In hysteria, she hadn’t noticed the mortar of a patch on her right, crumbled and failing, and bricks were falling away with green chunks of ivy. She pushed, and the gap widened enough for her to crawl through.
She was falling, and falling, and landing in the fresh white snow, two bloody trails marking her path as she hauled herself away from the hole in the wall ten feet up. She was gasping and her heart was thudding in the blood at her temples. She looked up.
She must have known it would be this bird, black and blue like a slick of oil across the lake. It looked down at her with those beautiful eyes. It had a chain, fine but strong, that bound it to the stony wall. It was hardly necessary, though – it’s wings, powerful and wide, were clipped. It would never fly again.
Hounds bayed, close, and terror clutched at her lungs again. She turned to crawl towards the forest, the stumps of her knees scrabbling uselessly at the stony soil beneath the snow.
She turned one last time to look at that beautiful bird. It knew. Her wings were clipped, too.
Behind her, the dogs had caught her scent.