For all the women that wake up feeling that they have to fight their way into the world, not knowing exactly who the enemy is. Keep fighting, hoping our sons and daughters won't have to fight 💜 8M

This is a short story I wrote out of a creative writing prompt and I love how it is evolving. Still in development but would love to share it and gather some feedback and a few ideas if you have anything to add! I may keep writing further chapters of these stories for the following weeks of the contest.


Jay woke up feeling like Kafka’s cockroach. Her limbs were feeling heavy. She fell asleep knocked out by exhaustion yesterday, and did not feel refreshed by sleep at all. Yesterday's fight was intense, as usual, but now it takes her more to recover every time. She would have gone back to sleep, especially because of the soothing sound of flowing water. Actually, after she stretched to find a more comfortable position to try and get some more sleep, she jumped out of bed with the realization that a flowing sound of water is not a common sound in her buried under the ground room! With the uncomfortable feeling of wet socks she realized something really bad was happening. The flooding started not long ago, but the water level was slowly and steadily increasing. What the hell was going on she did not know, her brain sharp by the adrenaline but her sensation was that she was in a dream. “Gotta find out what’s going on, where the water is coming from”, she thought, splashing her way to the door. Only to find out it was locked. Was someone trying to drown her? In situations like these, you gotta think fast and forget that you are afraid. Just like in a fight.

Except this fight isn't against someone else but against time and fear, she realized. She gotta keep herself calm, in the zone, as her teacher had told her. A calm mind is sharper. After calculating that she still had an hour, no, maybe 50ish minutes before it was too late to escape, she knew she had come up with different alternatives. This was her thought process during the flooding:

"I have to brainstorm and fast.

Gotta unlock or break the door.

Maybe create a bubble of air, a big one to survive until... someone comes to the rescue.

Send a message for help. Maybe that should be the first one.

And what happens if I do break the door? I should prepare for whoever is waiting outside, because for sure they didn't leave assuming I'd drawn.

What else what else what else? Don't panic! Those are good ideas to start. First, the air of bubbles, that would buy me time in case things don’t work out. Then message, then break the door, then prepare to fight.

What a way to start a day!"

She found a pack of plastic trash bags and some plastic boxes. “Bendito plástico!” she thought, “polluting our future, but it’s the best and cheapest way to repel water.” She elevated the desk so it would be on top of books and bricks she conveniently had after some reconstruction, and covered all of it with the plastic bags, tightly, using the help of tape she found in the random stuff drawer. It took her longer than she thought to build this kind of capsule, but if it worked she would trap some air. How much oxygen would that give her? Not much, but a little bit more time is probably good.

Water level was now halfway to her knees. Next item in the emergency action plan was sending a help message. Who would she contact? Her family doesn't know about her risky profession. They could help, but she would have to give her secrets away, and that would screw a lot of things up. Her best friend wouldn’t know what to do. “I should have prepared an emergency plan for something like this. Ugh! No time to regret, but next time, if I make it, I will have some contingency plan.”

And there she thought living in a bunker underground would be safer... but she did not think about floodings. “Stop wasting time thinking!” she shouted to her inner talkative self. Send a message to one of the fighters. They are not as loyal and caring as family or friends, but they are the bravest or stupidest beings there are, so maybe some would be willing to come to prove themselves and have interesting stories to tell. But she especially doesn't risk much trying. Except, of course, not being saved on time. But at least if she survived life wouldn't turn harder. “Would I put them in danger? Would whoever is trying to kill me try to kill them? Maybe I should warn them to come with the police. Police? What good would that be? I need a ninja. But the master would be disappointed, I can't bother her. Or should I? Or could she be putting me to a test with this? Ugh, I am just wasting time thinking that. Focus. Text a fighter. And maybe send an anonymous report to the firefighters... ja ja, calling the fire fighters for a water emergency.” was her rapid train of thought. “You really surprise me, having fun at such moments.”

“Let me be!” She thought to herself, “I am coping with an emergency. Laughter is the way we go through life avoiding suffering, laughing at it instead”.

She connected the computer which fortunately was not yet underwater, and thanked god she had left it unplugged as usual. “Hope it does have some battery… Yes! 22% sounds like enough. Let's do this”. Reporting an emergency on the local website was quite easy and fast. She just typed in the message: “One of the bunkers in the Valley is flooding, people may be inside, please send help” along with the address. Then, she went on to text one of her fighters…

“Now, fighters... fighters... opening Push Protocol for sending secure private messages in a communication blockchain... but who to contact? Or should I send it to the entire group? No… As they say, everyone's responsibility is nobody's responsibility. If I send it to everyone, no one will feel responsible enough to take me seriously. Let's send it to K, he may be the most selfish of them all. Would he be awake? did he fight last night? oh may I can't remember. I’ll send him the message. If he is awake he will wake up some of the others. That’s his thing, he is loud and self confident and well, a narcissistic leader but a leader after all.” The message went on something like this:

"Well, I need help. Only if you're interested in an heroic deed. I am in a flooding situation, somehow urgent, so if you can come save me, I will owe you one. Bring back up cus I don't know who could be waiting outside. LOL, - J"

With the messages sent and the air bubble built, she felt proud and imagined that whoever was trying to drown her didn’t count with her resourcefulness. Until she realized… “Is the water rising faster? Maybe it is. Maybe they saw the firefighter message I sent... dang it! I shouldn't have done any public comms. Too late to be sorry, let's break that door”.

Water levels were knee high already so moving around the room was now uncomfortable, some things were floating and acting as obstacles. Some things that didn't float were just hard to see.

Among other of her thoughts: “Shit, if only I had cleaned up. Do I have to save any of this stuff? My backups! Oh, no, those are safe because I have another copy of them in a safe. Not a bank safe, a different kind of safe. Ok, focus”.

What tools could she have to break a door? She didn’t know whether the bricks could help. And she risked moving the desk and breaking her bubble. Did she keep the fire extinguisher? Yes, but in the kitchen. Her sword won't be of any help, she needs a hammer. A heavy thing. Water levels were to her waist now. It was definitely rising faster. “gotta break the hinges break hinges break hinges, focus, focus, FOCUS!”

“Don't focus. Let the mind free. Don't narrow it down. Let it flow… and an answer will come. Breathe…

… a brick, it has to be.”

With the decision taken, not knowing how well it would work, she had to first think of the possible threats outside. Would there be someone waiting above the stairs? Could she defend herself? In the movies and adventure books the hero makes a plan and it works smoothly. But she didn’t trust it would be as easy for her.

She went back to check the messages and to her relief there was a reply form K: "omw" he wrote. Short, concise, smug. Jay hated owing him a favor, but she hated the idea of drowning even more.

It would take K at least 20 minutes, which is a bit longer than she calculates she has until the water levels are up to the ceiling. Now she was thankful for the bubbe she built. She went back to check how well the bubble was working. Most of the desk was already underwater but it looked like the bags were holding the air just fine. Oh, her poor dear books she had to use as a replacement for one of the bricks. She couldn’t save them anyway. She went on to hit the hinges of the door. First the ones on top of the water of course.

The middle hinge was the easy one. Gone in two hits. The top one will be a challenge because Jay was not exactly a tall fighter. It took her like ten hits, jumping with half the body underwater was not very effective but she made it.

Now it was time to get to the third hinge. Underwater the brick felt heavier. Jay couldn’t hit it too hard because the water pushed back. And she couldn’t hold her breath longer. She had to dive, hit the hinge twice or so, and come back up for air. And then a realization came to her, something she didn’t think of in her plan. “When the water is covering everything, I will need to swim to the stairs before I get some air. And it is not a short distance to the stairs. Stupid brainstorming incompletely done! Do I have any water bottles I could use for transporting air?” Thankfully she didn’t clean her room after all, for there were a couple of bottles of water and soda behind her bed. They’d be good for one or two breaths only but it will have to be enough.

She emptied the water bottle and therefore filled it with air. She then managed to get some piece of ropeish thing, and secured the bottle close to the desk and then went back to hinge breaking. The final task before... before having survived the first half of the plan.

It took her more time every try to break the hinge, with the water levels covering her almost completely now. “My computer is completely underwater. I could have secured it to the ceiling or something to have a longer access to comms. But I didn't. I wish I had a phone now. But I don't. No regrets. Life's better without those tracking control devices.” But a couple of more tries and the last hinge break. She then pulled the door and took it out of the way. Fortunately nothing and no one was waiting immediately outside of her room.

She still had like 5 minutes of air before having to move to her bubble. She could wait there a little bit longer for K before trying to emerge, so she at least wouldn’t be fighting alone. It was now time to stop, and relax, or try to. Relax like in between fights: meditating. Mentalizing.

“Feeling the water around me. I can feel now the damages from yesterday's fight. It was fun, because it was a practice fight. It was intense, because I went against the big dudes and dudettes. I don't like anyone thinking less of me because I am shorter”.

“Feeling the water around me makes me feel a bit safe. I love swimming, I love the ocean. But I also fear it. I respect it, of course. So I feel intimidated but not afraid anymore. Not too much anyway. Just the appropriate amount of fear that keeps me sharp, but not too much that I won't feel ready to fight”.

“Feeling the air above me makes me feel strangely under pressure. I have a deadline, so I have to think slowly and act fast. Am I ready for whatever is outside? As ready as during any fight. Knowing I risk my life, for a better cause”.

“Having built a bubble and opening the door makes me feel proud. Having some mates, fighter friends I could say that are willing to come help me, makes me feel appreciated”.

“Having had a life like mine makes me feel grateful. I prefer these threats than living a ‘perfect beautiful life’ under the control of Beta. I lived freely. Fighted against centralization with honor. And hopefully left a legacy, inspired at least someone else to continue the fight. If I die here, I will drown cuz my plan failed. But if I die outside, I will have died a great death.”

“If I live, I would change things, but not a thing I should worry about right now. Almost time to go into my bubble or try to escape. K must be arriving anytime soon.”

The bubble worked. “I'm a genius”. Well, not exactly because she did not know how much time she had. She can’t stay too long in the bubble or the accumulated CO2 could make her sleepy and die from lack of oxygen while sleeping peacefully. “I have too much adrenaline to sleep. A calm mind is ready for anything.”

So now, with her head stuck under her desk, inside her bubble, she was trying to get rid of any thought. Because no thought is useful when a fight is about to start. She was prepared to fight. She lets only that thought, or really that feeling, hold into her heart. Hope. She remembered her sister. And the hope grew. Alongside the fear. She had avoided thinking of her, of course, she would hate to not be there for her sister. She managed to calm her mind because then she will have a better chance to go back with her sister. “Breathe deeply. Get the air bottle. Make the next big move to the surface. No time for fear, no time for errors.” And on she went to face the next challenge. Facing her unknown enemies.