Miranda Kate’s Picture Choice: 1
Title: Cable Terrors
It was getting hot in the cable car and Jena didn’t know which way to face. Everyone was squished in so tight it was getting hard to breathe – or so it felt to her. She took a deep breath and pushed the panic down reminding herself that she had her ski sunglasses so no one could see her, and tell that she had her eyes shut tight.
It had slowed right down, presumably meaning they were almost at the ski station, so Jena tried to distract her mind, thinking about the lunch she was going to have at the summit, where she was meeting up with her boyfriend and his snowboard buddies.
She tried not to let the thought of how high she was get to her, and that if she opened her eye just a crack the height would scream at her from all the windows displaying it on every side of the car. She could feel her feet begin to tingle and her legs go wobbly as she tried to focus on her breathing.
The people around her were starting to shuffle restlessly too, and she pushed back the encroaching thought that the car had actually stopped and was no longer crawling slowly forward anymore. She told herself that this was normal, and that it would start again any second - she was sure of it.
Then the car swung to the left suddenly and people cried out. Her hand slipped on the metal hand rail, the sweat on her palms now making it impossible to hold on. Jena told herself that it would be fine, and that this was just like being in a bus when it swings round the corner on a road; it’ll settle down soon.
Her heart felt like it was in her throat and that it was going to burst anytime. She wished everyone around her would stop making those odd little cries and remain silent as she tried to gain control of the panic running amok in her body.
Another swing in the other direction and Jena thought she might throw up. She didn’t dare open her dry mouth; if she did she might start screaming and wouldn’t be able to stop. Then another lady in the car did it for her, and her mind seemed to explode with an image of them falling.
But the car jerked forward instead and sped up a little until it was running level, no longer at an angle. They had reached their destination, and when the doors open people almost fell out in their rush to escape.
Jena checked the sunglasses were still in place with her trembling hand and walked out casually on jelly legs. Only once she was out of the cable car station, their little strength started to fade, and she collapsed onto a nearby bench. Breathing heavily, she let the last of the panic leave her shaking body, just in time for her boyfriend’s arrival as he swished up to her on his snowboard.
“Alright, babe? Ready for some lunch?”
She nodded like a puppy doll in the back of a car, grinning inanely, still unable to speak.
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