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When life becomes a devilish game

By Susan FourtanéPublished 3 months ago Updated 3 months ago 4 min read
Lucy running in the woods being chased by a surveillance drone -- Concept created by Susan Fourtané using

The sunlight begins to dim behind the tall shadowed trees. Pine trees, spruces, and birches seem to be stretching up like arrows into the sky. The now barely visible black trails are snaking through the underground. It’s quiet. Suddenly, chilly wind slips through leaves, cracking undergrowth with each of Lucy’s rapid steps. “Was that a wolf howling?” She stops for a moment.

The crepuscular animals of the forest begin to make their appearance. For them, it’s time to hunt for some succulent prey. Surely, Lucy knew well the type of relationship a predator has with its prey. As an FBI agent, Lucy had played the part of a predator countless times. Right now, however, she felt more like a prey herself. “Rats! I wish I knew where I am, and where I am going,” she thought, while rubbing her arms trying to warm herself up.

At night, the woods are an entirely different world. While during the day there is a breeze of magic with a fairytale feeling at times, the dark hours awaken mystery, and sometimes fear. Fear. This is something that Lucy has learned to fight; a battle she conquered a long time ago. Why was it then that she felt her old enemy was back? She felt as if fear was coming back to haunt her like a ghost that never quite leaves. Or, that was at least what the guide tour at that haunted castle Lucy once visited in Scotland said.

“I wish I had one of those emergency blankets dad used to force me to pack!” Lucy exclamed out loud, as the night was turning colder and colder. Her father, who had served in the military when he was young, had given her a plethora of “essential items” to add to her already heavy, over-packed backpack. Yet, that didn’t stop Lucy’s father to make sure his girl packed four jackets, including a thick, winter one. "Just in case," he used to say.

It was never clear to Lucy in case of what since she was not going to the North Pole or anything. Other bizarre items that Lucy recalled as “essential” included a rather heavy and bulky metal camping cutlery kit in the style of a Swiss Army knife, a hand torch and a head torch, two emergency blankets. Wouldn’t just one be enough? He was a military man. Preparedness was everything. As he said,“just in case.”

Lucy was eighteen at the time. It was late summer. She was embarking into her first ever solo trip, far from home. She was going to taste freedom and independence for the first time. Saying she was excited is an understatement. Despite her father’s apparent and utterly wrong idea that Lucy’s trip was set to the high snowy mountains away from any civilisation, she was going to Finland, to a guesthouse, where she wouldn’t need any torch or emergency blanket or camping cutlery kit. Much less a winter jacket in the summer, in the land of the midnight sun!

Now, a few decades later, that first packing list came back to her mind like a haunting melody.

“What wouldn’t I give now for one of those emergency blankets!” she cried while shivering. “Or that head torch to illuminate my way in this darkness, or the knife in the metal cutlery set dad insisted me packing back then! I could defend myself if something or someone would attack me! Just in case, if here and now, I were the prey rather than the predator!” she lamented. “That camping lighter thing that dad insisted me on packing would be rather useful now to start a fire!” Lucy lamented as she tried to gather some tree leaves to improvise a softer surface on which to lie for a while.

She was utterly exhausted, thirsty, hungry, and cold. Lucy knew she needed to get some sleep, just a few hours to regain some of her strength. She needed a rested, focused mind in order to find a way out of the forest early in the morning. It was paramount to try to get some help to find Xin. At least, someone should know what happened in case they were both killed. It was a dark thought, and yet, a possibility.

Her training in the FBI made this very clear, constantly. Lucy was well aware that death is always a possibility. “I must stay focused,” she thinks, knowing her very life depended on it. She lays on the bed of leaves she had gathered, curling herself into a fetal position and, unsuccessfully, tries to sleep.

Her thoughts are fixed on what she read on that papyrus scroll she found when first woke up in the forest. In particular, she was thinking about the mines and animal traps, and the drone equipped with high-tech surveillance cameras following her, watching her every move. That was one reason why Lucy decided to sort of camp for the night. To stay safe. As safe as she could possibly be when playing someone else’s game without knowing the rules.

Meanwhile, Mike keeps watching the events on his live streaming Website.

He is somehow puzzled about Lucy’s actions. He was not expecting her to simply go to sleep as if she were in a girl scouts' campsite. He was disappointed. “Are you trying to play mind games, Lucy?” he yells to the screen. The site hits over five million views. The audience goes wild.

“The Game is a success!" he screams. “And this is just the beginning.”

In the morning, Lucy wakes up from what it felt like a few minutes of light sleep. “Oh, it was just a dream, rather, a nightmare!,” she laughs. As she opens her blue eyes, she sees the black drone right in front of her face again. She jumps up like a spring and starts to run as fast as she can. She turns her head and sees the drone following her. She falls into a bear trap. Lucy uses all her strength to free herself. She escapes but her left ankle is bleeding badly.


©2023-2024 Susan Fourtané | All Rights Reserved


About the Creator

Susan Fourtané

Susan Fourtané is a Science and Technology Journalist, a professional writer with 18 years experience writing for global media and industry publications. She's a member of the ABSW, WFSJ, Society of Authors, and London Press Club.

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insight

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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