Game Of Puzzles: Breath Of Air

By Kurt Mason

Chapter 1(Polished Draft)


Like a strike of lightning her consciousness awoke. With closed eyes her brain began to race. She could hear dripping water, in a continuous loop.

What's going on?.......I should be in class......

Booting up like a slow computer, Stacy's brain broke the mystery. The obvious answer slammed Stacy in the heart, sending a tingling Shockwave through her body.

Not again! I fell asleep! Professor Herman's stale monotone voice, could put a sugar induced child to sleep. His legendary reputation has exceeded all expectations, placing oblivious Undergrads into a dream like state. Professor Herman's philosophy class has spawned countless absurd rumours, that have grown to monolith proportions. Stories of putting the entire college to sleep. I once heard someone say Professor Herman's wife and kids are in hibernation. Ridiculously classmates use Professor Herman as a sad pathetic excuse for being late to class, Maybe instead of teaching philosophy Herman should help insomniacs.

Stacy's senses sparked to life.

I feeeel wet... like my entire body's been dipped in water.

Stacy's eyes flung open expecting to see professor Herman's face, Instead Stacy was greeted by an interlocking kiss with a dusty rock. Her slightly conscious body remained sprawled out, face down. Water submerged her left arm, Stacy's sunken arm ripped from the waters grip, dripping across the surface. Slowly Stacy lifted her head, swiping wet black hair from shielding her brown eyes. As Stacy scanned her surroundings, she was uncertain how to feel.

I'm in a cave. I don't remember coming here. I probably skipped class, got drunk and fell in this cave.

Stacy escalated to her feet completely drenched, clothes sucking to her wet skin.

I don't see anyone else here.

Stacy hurled out a large bellowing scream.


Her voice echoed off the cave walls, slightly fading after each word. As the echoes subsided, no response was redirected.

I better figure out what's going on, I sincerely hope I haven't been kidnapped, by some deranged psycho.

Bright Vibrant lights scattered the cave walls, emitting copious amounts of illumination. Infinitesimal lights infused the firm impenetrable rocks. Cascading beams showered the darkness.

Stacy stood on a large slab of rock, resting on a huge pot of still water. Like a wet dog Stacy quaked, spraying uncontrollable water, spiralling every which way.

Perching at the waters edge, Stacy became, mesmerized, staring deep within the aqua blue. The crystal clear water was filled with underwater lights, poking out the crushing stones.

Directly across from Stacy, sunken to the depths, rested a cave opening. It enticed Stacy building a hunger of fascination.

Obviously someone made this place. I need to figure out, how I got here and if my life's in danger.

Fish zipped past Stacy's curious eyes, wildly jerking left then right, then left again. Fish had no rules, anything went, they swam totally free, expressing what they desired. Fish chaotically slammed into other fish, with no regard for safety. Large fat fish devoured smaller fish. Male and female fish created baby's in populated traffic zones. Excrement was dispensed anywhere fish wanted. Mother fish birthed a buffet of eggs, feeding on sons and daughters. It was complete anarchy

Unlike these fish, I was raised with endless life invading rules. I've rebelled against authority for as long as I can remember. Smothered violently, grasping for air, drowning from being told what to


When I turned 18, I was bombarded by opinions slapping me in all directions. Like a frantic death defying gun fight, my life crumbled in the hands of others.



Honey... I can't express how important this next decision is. It will define and shape your future as a young women. Regardless of what you do, I will always love you.

Me and your father think you should follow in my footsteps and become a nurse. It's not easy out there, don't expect life to fall perfectly in place. Expect hard times, only a lucky few achieve there dreams. Doing what you love isn't always an option. If life's grip pins you to the ground, stay strong and never give up.



Don't choose a job that places you in a box, a job that results in a dead end. You need a job with limitless potential. The more money you have, the more important you become. It's not about enjoying what you do, It's about what you can do, that makes the most money.


Obviously I disregarded there advice, dropping it down the depths of despair. I do my own thing. I do what I want, when I want. I don't care about how much money I make. For me it's about enjoying what I do.

You can't please everyone, someone is always offended, so I decided to offend everyone, by choosing philosophy. What a priceless sight. This alone made taking philosophy worth it. There confused docile faces, shuttered in agony. Clearly they expected me to follow in there demands. Why can't they accept what I want to do? I guess... they figure, this career doesn't lead to a pot of gold.

I always feel this burden, weighing me down. This unquenchable feeling that I must prove myself. Fat stacks of cash, that's what people believe in.

Success is measured by how much money we make. If I spend a year writing a book, that ultimately fails, is that creation considered pointless? Can you call a homeless person successful? Is success how many friends you have? Falling in love? Having a family? Buying a house? Leaving a legacy? Being remembered? Making a difference? Achieving your dreams? Pleasing your creator? All of these things? Maybe success is an arbitrary pointless waste of time or maybe it only matters how you define success for yourself.

Leisurely an enormous fish emerged from the underwater cave. Black blotches spattered across it's scaly red body. Long razor sharp teeth protruded from it's jaws. The fish Spanned the size of a small child, with an outstandingly fat girth.

Undulating closer, his presence was known. Fish of all colours and sizes, scattered in all directions, even fish twice the size felt petrified. A flurry of rainbow colours, swimming violently, trembling for existence.

Elegantly with pure confidence, it slowly swam. Without warning the fish accelerated at implausible speeds. It's Jaws cracked open, sinking it's fangs inside a juicy fish. The helpless fish thrashed widely with no success. Like sucking liquid from a straw, blood drained, until the fish remained lifeless. The fish blasted back into the underwater cave.

What was that? A Vampire Fish? I guess.....I won't be swimming.

Stacy was wearing, a skin tight black tank top, that clearly represented her upper physique. Her tiny pink shorts, hardly covered anything.

Stacy could feel a numb inducing pain, weighing heavily on her shoulders. It felt like a baby elephant was standing on her back. Stacy spun her head to an unusual position, nearly twisting in the opposite direction. Her eye flicked uncomfortably, straining downward. Stacy's backpack firmly gripped on, forcefully fastening Stacy to the ground. It was completely soaked. Stacy ripped off her backpack and threw it to the ground, removing the back breaking burden. Stacy wasted no time, plunging her right hand, viciously inside the backpack. Blindly Stacy tossed and turned the contents, like a salad. Her dry hand extracted a mist of vapour, then discovered a sizable puddle. It was in the puddle, Stacy found what she was looking for. Her hand squeezed the object yanking it from isolation. This phone was Stacy's most prized possession, without it she would feel incomplete. Her entire legacy relied on her phone. Stacy was horrified, heart thrashing out of control, hands trembling in disbelief, face sighing despairingly.

With great hesitation, Stacy tapped the power button. Nothing happened. Again she pressed it. Again nothing. She held the power button for 5 seconds, still nothing. Stacy furiously tapped the power button 20 times. The screen remained black.

Stacy hurled the phone, it collided with the rock wall, shattering to smithereens. Remains of Stacy's phone rested beside stone steps, that spiralled up.

Once Stacy's anger faded, her logical brain kicked in, hitting her with burning contrition. That's when Stacy noticed the stairs. Her face whisked to life, visions of leaving filled her imagination. Stacy practically ran to the stairs.

This must be a way out!

Stacy bounded recklessly, up the heavy cluster of compacted stones. The stairs went on and on, Stacy could feel the strain stretching her untrained muscles. Her legs felt heavier after each firm step. Stacy dashed her way to the top, totally breathless, resting her weak wobbly legs.

I made it, now I must find a way out of this place.

Stacy leaned over breathlessly gasping for air. This was the most movement Stacy had experienced in a while. Being active was something Stacy disregarded. Technology makes exercise


Stacy's intake slowed, she stood erect, looking around. Immediately veering to the right, a large crumbling hole was visible. Stacy gradually peeked inside, scanning her surroundings. Dark shadows covered the corners. Stacy's curious eyes, suddenly halted, her body jolted from a burst of fear. Swallowed by shadows, she could see a pair of eyes, staring back at her. Once the initial strike of fear left, she could rationalize once again.

Stacy's eyes adjusted to the darkness, her vision began to focus. Leaning against the wall was a stuffed brown bear. Stacy stepped inside the small dark room and picked up the stuffed bear, which was littered in dust.

Stacy's mouth gaped open, her breathing deepened. A tingling sense erupted over her body. Her brain was trying to comprehend what she was seeing. The flat smooth walls had words, pictures and numbers covering every inch of space.

What a mess.

Words overlapping other words, making large parts unreadable. Despite the complete lack of decency, some parts remained readable.

Four diagonal lines, with a horizontal slash through the centre.

Someone was keeping track of time.

Stacy was hit with a wave of anxiety. Her hands began to shake, wondering if she was stuck in this place. Stacy was terrified of the unknown and what her imagination, decided to show her.

Different numbers disseminated in different spots, 500, 250,1000, 400, 450, 750. They even managed to write on the ceiling, which soared above Stacy. The symbols and drawings Stacy could see, meant nothing to her.

(*I'll add more later about the wall)

A large hole the size of a basketball, pressed against the far rock wall. Stacy slowly confronted the hole, carefully looking down it. Stacy could see no end in sight, until her view became obstructed by darkness. It would take someone excessively skinny, to fit down this circular hole.

This could be a toilet, for all I know. Imagine jumping into a toilet and drowning in human waste. I could see some sad, sorry, soul, actually doing this.

Stacy had a strong, hopeless negative feeling, about her predicament. Stacy left the dimly lite room and could see, no other rooms. Only a vast empty rock surface. The dusty bear remained in Stacy's


Fast moving, Stacy walked to the edge of the top level. As Stacy approached the cliff edge, she stopped in her tracks, legs wobbling, palms sweating. It was seriously high up. The cliff ledge swooped effortlessly over the water. Making a perfect diving board.

If only I was brave enough to jump.

Stacy remained a safe distance from the cliffs edge. She lifted her head and looked up. She was surprised to see a silver cylinder, mounted in the rock ceiling.

What is that?

It shimmered and glistened, the top looked like it could open.

That's how I got in here! I fell from that thing. Seriously, what is going on? I'm trapped in here. What kind of messed up person, put me here? This seems advanced, what's are crazy government up to now I'm an experiment, there's probably 30 scientists, typically dressed in white lab coats. Watching me 24\7 compiling flow charts and diagrams and who knows what else. I literally woke up in a saw movie.

The quivering groans from Stacy's stomach spoke out

“feed me” her stomach said.

Stacy felt unusually hungry. Her stomach cried out like a baby and wouldn't stop until fed. Stacy recalled making a juicy sandwich, just this morning. Pilled with bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise. Her mouth watered like a sprinkler, at the thought. It took her no time getting down to the lower level. Stacy tossed the brown bear, which bounced and sat upright facing the water. She searched her bag like an addict. There it was, gently pulling out the Zip-lock bag containing the sandwich. Inside the Zip-lock bag, there was no tasty sandwich. Stacy's eyes looked horrified, with disappointment. Mould had grown all over the sandwich, it was a zip-lock bag, full of green mouldy sludge.

I made this today, how could it be mouldy already?

Upset Stacy chucked the zip-lock bag, it met the same fate as her phone. The bag slammed against the rock wall, green goop exploded all over the place. Stacy dug around her bag and found an abandoned granola bar. Stacy peeled back the packaging to reveal, a shiny glaze of chocolate. She took a hesitant tiny bite. It was tasty, it almost tasted new. It helped, but the hunger inside Stacy, was far from


Stacy sat, looking across the waters surface. Collecting her thoughts and trying to make sense of this bizarre imbroglio.

Someone made this place and I don't think it was one person. Maybe someone rich or some crazy illegal government experiment.

How did I get here? I remember being at school and that's it.

It seems like many people have been here, before me and it's possible, that I've been here for some time, considering that mouldy sandwich.

I can survive here, water, food and even a bathroom. Is this some kind of challenge?

Hunger distracted Stacy from her thoughts. Stacy once again looked through her bag, dumping everything out onto the rock floor.

*Inside the Back Pack

1. Text Books

2. Phone



5.Make Up Kit

6.Pepper Spray


8.Dental Floss


10.Lip Stick

11.Nail Filer



14.Nail Clipper pins ties


18.water bottle

19.comb/hair brush

20.hand cream

(Three philosophy text books clunked down, soaked.)

(*Explain contents of the bag, I'll add more later)

No source of food was found.

Stacy was desperate enough to believe, she could catch a fish, using only her bare hands. There was no way, Stacy was going in that water, with that Vampire fish.

Stacy removed her wet clothes, laying them flat along the rock surface, giving them a chance to dry. She tore off her wet shoes, stuffing her purple socks inside them.

Stacy laid down at the waters edge, gliding her hand across the wet surface, it felt like a warm bath. Stacy silently waited, with her right hand, hovering over the water. A blue dotted fish, swam straight in Stacy's path. Stacy lunged forward, unintentionally dunking her upper body in the water. The fish zipped away.

Stacy's second attempt, was met with the same disappointment, except she remained balanced and only her hand reached in the water.

Stacy's third attempt was quicker and more focused, but not nearly quick enough.

On Stacy's one hundredth attempt, her confidence and elegant movement was at it's prime. Stacy's hand shot in the water, touching the fish, before it bolted.

That was all Stacy could take, she was frustrated, hungry and exhausted. She rolled away from the water laying on her back, staring at the rock ceiling above. Stacy laid there unable to move, the hard rocks jabbed into her body.

The brown bear ,was staring in Stacy's direction. Stacy enjoyed the bears presence, she felt a sense of comfort, but she couldn't stand him looking at her. Stacy swung her foot kicking the bear, on it's side.

Stacy's heavy eyes withered in and out of slumber, her brain resisted, afraid to sleep.

I miss my bed, my pillow, my friends, I missssss. Stacy passed out.

A voice spoke “Will talk tomorrow.”