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Breaking Out

by Joseph Ryan

Breaking Out

Read by Chetna Pandya from the BBC Radio Drama Company.

Curled up in a ball, I'm perfectly cosy, content and sleeping like a baby. In my comfortable cocoon, I'm having the most delicious dream, sampling the delights of flying. This is my recurring dream, where I'm floating free over fields, with a warm breeze all around me and I'm soaring, swooping silently over the hedges, hills and horizons. I've heard that flying dreams are a sign of new beginnings. But right now I'm happy where I am and don't want anything different. Suddenly, skimming down a lush green valley, I've no control. I'm freefalling, and can't seem to fly anymore. The ground rushes towards me and with a sudden horrible realisation, I know I'm going to crash......

I wake with a gasp and my eyes snap open. Absolute darkness all around. A hot, muggy stench fills the air and all I can hear is the blood rushing in my ears. I try to stretch out but my head, my neck, my limbs, all bang into something solid, very close. Instinctively, I call for my mother. "Mummy! Where are you? I'm stuck". No reply. Panic sweeps over me. My heart is pounding like a hammer in my chest and I'm struggling to breathe. Feeling around, I realise there is a continuous wall on every side of me, beneath me, on the right of me, on the left of me, over me and behind me. The wall is as smooth and hard as glass, without any opening. Surely I am in a dream, a nightmare. I bang on the wall, but there's no response. There's no way out. What can I do? Trapped, suffocating and petrified, I try to scream but the sound is trapped along with me. No one can hear me. Was I going to die in here? I hammer at the wall over and over using every ounce of energy in my body, but to no avail. Collapsing back into a heap, I'm trembling, utterly exhausted. A tiny voice inside me tells me that I'm alone and no-one can help me. I think, "This is what it must be like to be in a coffin". About to give up, a noise outside rouses me. I ram the wall one last time. Crrrr-ack! In one place I have made a tiny opening. I see a sliver of light.......Hope. Two hours later, I escape.

I gobble large gulps of air. Free at last. The light is blinding and I squeeze my eyes shut to avoid the glare. My mother is calling me. "Mummy!" I try to run towards her but keep stumbling, my legs stiff from being curled up. Almost fainting with relief, I fall into her arms. My family rush around, a family I'm seeing for the first time. I have four brothers and two sisters and someone I'm not very sure about. They are all tweeting with delight that their little ostrich brother has broken out of his egg! I can't wait to fly!

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