Moira’s Blog: The Happiest Place on Earth?

*In case you missed this week’s episode, please visit: Escape! Episode 5: Fireworks

We’re in Disneyland! I wasn’t expecting a reward this big. I bet Toby’s team is in Disneyworld, since they went to Florida. It’s exciting, but at the same time I’m a little disappointed that I’m not going to be able to take him to his first theme park. Oh well. We’ll still go to the Boardwalk when he comes to visit. The Boardwalk > Disneyland, in my opinion.
So, the morons on my team wouldn’t let me go to Star Tours. I took off on them. It’s a big park. Hopefully I won’t run into them. Too bad Toby’s not here. It would have been more fun with him.
Anyway, I have no idea what our next challenge is going to be. I hope it’s not like the freaking desert. Between that, the clowns, and being locked in that tiny room, I’m really regretting going on this show. I kind of just want to give up and go home. But right now, being on this show is my only chance to see Toby occasionally. I’ll stick with it for him. Hopefully we’ll both survive this show.
Well, I don’t know where I’ll be blogging from next week. I really wish they’d give us more notice as to where we’re going. I’ll be here though!

Escape! Challenge Three: Going Going, Back Back, to Cali Cali

           “Where the hell were you?” Adrian demanded when Moira appeared from behind a booth.
            “I—I got something to eat and I was playing some games,” she said.
            “By yourself?”
            “Yeah,” she lied. She couldn’t tell them about Toby. Not yet.
            “So, you won that panda yourself?” Adrian asked, nodding at the stuffed animal Moira held in her arms.
            “Uh . . . yeah. I’m really good at games.”
            Lily came up to Moira and got as close to her as the giant panda would allow. “We were looking for you forever and you were off playing games?”
            “Not so timid now, is she?” Moira muttered to herself under her breath. Raising her voice, she said, “Yeah. After being trapped in that tiny room, I had to go do something fun. Got a problem with that?”
            Lily quickly backed off. “No, I guess not.”
            “So what now?” Jesse asked.
            “Well, we’re supposed to have the night off. Why don’t we go get some food—those of us that haven’t already,” Adrian suggested, looking pointedly at Moira. “Then we can have some fun and find someplace to crash for the night. I guess we’ll get our instructions in the morning.”
            “Hey, it’s not my fault you guys didn’t eat!” Moira said.
            “Actually, yeah it is,” Lily told her. “We were looking for you instead of eating.”
            “Well, sor-ry. Let’s go find you guys some food.” She hoped that they wouldn’t run into Toby and his team. Not that she didn’t want to see him again, but it would be hard to not go up to him and they couldn’t risk their respective teams finding out about them yet.
            Moira trailed behind the rest of the group as they wandered through the fair, trying to decide what to eat. She wanted nothing more than to go find a hotel room, maybe email Toby like she had promised, and curl up in bed. She was still trying to process her time with Toby. She was overwhelmingly happy that she had finally been able to see him in person, able to actually touch him—but at the same time, she hated the fact that they were competing against each other.
Want to read the rest? Visit for the rest of this challenge, as well as other challenge, character interviews and an exclusive short story, written by J.F. Jenkins and me!

The "Fun" House

           You have now arrived at your destination,” the tinny voice of the GPS blared into the silence that permeated the car.
            “About damn time!” Adrian muttered.
            “Just shut up, Adrian! I’m sick of your complaining,” Moira told him.
            “I’m sick of you complaining about my complaining,” he shot back.
            “Oooh, that was original.”
            “Get off your damn computer so we can get the hell out of this car,” Adrian demanded.
            “I would get off the damn computer if I could just find a damn WiFi hotspot so I could email my boyfriend! I haven’t heard from him in a little while,” Moira admitted.
            “I’m sorry, Moira,” Lily said.
            “Don’t feel sorry for me! There’s nothing to feel sorry for.” She was starting to feel a little hysterical. Not necessarily because she hadn’t heard from her boyfriend, but because she wasn’t exactly sure they were going to be facing at this carnival, and that was starting to scare her. She didn’t like carnivals to begin with, and this was probably going to make it worse.
            “Sorry,” Lily said again as she climbed out of the front seat of the car and slammed the door behind her.
            Moira gave up on trying to find an Internet connection. She sighed and shut down her laptop, carefully stowing it away in her bag. Everyone else had already gotten out of the car, and they were standing around waiting for her.
            “So, now what?” Jesse asked once they had stowed their excess things in the trunk.
            “Maybe someone’s here to tell us where to go?” Lily offered.
            “Right you are, Ms. Rayne!” Chance Cagney, the host of the show, appeared as if out of nowhere.
            “Crap, man! Where’d you come from?” Will yelled, jumping away from Chance.
            “Oh, I was around. So, your challenge today is to make it through the fun house.”
            “That’s it?” Adrian asked, skeptical.
            “That’s it! However, you will meet with challenges while in the fun house, and of course you must evade the Hunters. There is a hidden door at one end of the fun house. You must find it, and then you will have the night off,” Chance explained.
            Moira perked up at the idea of having the night off. Maybe she could try her boyfriend again. She really wanted to hear his voice. “Just get through the fun house, avoid the Hunters, and get out? Then we have the night off?” she repeated. It sounded almost too good to be true.
            “Yes, but beware—in the fun house, things aren’t always what they seem. Good luck!” With that, the host walked off again.
            “What’s that supposed to mean?” Lily asked with a frown.
            “I think it means that we’re going to have a lot harder time in the ‘fun’ house than we think,” Jesse answered.
            “Can we just go find the damn fun house and get this crap over with?” Will cut in.
            “He’s right, let’s get this over with,” Moira said. She didn’t want to let on how scared she actually was about the prospect of being trapped in that fun house. She really hoped there wouldn’t be any clowns. She had been terrified of clowns ever since she had watched the movie “It”.
            It took them a few minutes to locate the fun house. “I don’t know how we didn’t see this thing from across the carnival,” Adrian muttered. It was a huge, gaudy red and yellow striped tent. Music spilled over them in waves as they stood staring at the entrance. Strangely enough, no one else seemed to be around.
            “What, did they reserve this thing specifically for us?” Moira wanted to know.
            “Adrian, I’m scared!” Lily wailed.
            As Adrian turned to comfort his sister, Moira rolled her eyes. She was scared too (hell, she was terrified!) but she couldn’t let it get to her. Just go in, get through it, and then you’ll be done, she told herself.
            Will was giving her a strange look. “What do you want?” she demanded.
            “Nothin’. You just don’t look so good,” he told her.
            “Thanks,” she muttered, then raised her voice so the whole team could hear. “All right, let’s get in there and get this over with.” She marched inside, not bothering to see if anyone was following her.
            Once inside, the music was even louder. The lights were dim, strobes flashing everywhere. An unnatural fog permeated the tent. Must be a fog machine, Moira thought to herself. The smell from the machine was already giving her a headache. There were mirrors everywhere, and she didn’t know which way to go. “Which way should we try first?” she tried to yell over the music and creepy sound effects.
            There was no answer. She turned, thinking that maybe they hadn’t heard her . . . but her teammates were all gone. Moira swore violently. She hadn’t liked them, but this was the last place that she wanted to be left alone in.
            She called out for her teammates, but received no answer. Finally, she thought she heard Lily’s voice calling for her. She could barely make it out over the din.
            She ran toward where she thought Lily’s voice was coming from. She kept running into mirrors and dead ends. All the reflections of herself were beginning to make her feel a little crazy. She turned a corner, and instead of finding Lily, she found someone, something else . . . a clown. It wasn’t a garden-variety children’s birthday clown. No, this one had sharp, serrated teeth—and it was holding a knife that was dripping something steadily onto the floor.
            Moira’s scream ripped from her lungs as she turned and fled as fast as she could.Oh God, did that thing kill Lily? She ran smack into a mirror, ricocheted off of it, and collapsed on the floor. The mirror had splintered where she hit it, and there were glass shards scattered all around her. She couldn’t stay on the floor! She picked herself up off the ground, slicing her palms on the glass fragments, and began to run again.
            Something slammed into her from behind and she tripped, falling against a wall this time. She didn’t fall to the floor—something was keeping her up. She tried to turn, only to find a closed door behind her. She was trapped in some sort of metal cylinder. She jiggled the handle on the door, but it wouldn’t turn. She started pounding on the walls, screaming for someone, anyone to come and let her out. The walls were so close that she could barely lift her arms. It seemed like they were barely three inches away on all sides.
            Adrian heard Moira screaming. “Hold onto us, Lil,” he ordered his sister. She complied, grabbing one of Adrian’s hands, and taking Jesse’s hand on the other side. Will had disappeared the minute they set foot into the tent.
            “Wh-wha-what do you th-think is g-g-going on?” Lily asked, her voice quavering. Her whole body was shaking.
            “I don’t know,” Jesse answered her. “But we need to stick together if we’re going to get out of here.”
            “Did you hear that?” Adrian asked.
            “Hear what?” Jesse wanted to know.
            “It sounds like Moira calling for us.”
            “Hold on just a minute.” Jesse held up his free hand, palm facing upward. He stared at it for a moment, until a small flame erupted, dancing merrily.
            “Great idea, man. We need some light in here besides all these crazy strobes. I feel like I’m in a techno club,” Adrian told him. He started dancing until Lily elbowed him.
            “Adrian! This is serious! We have to find Moira and Will and get out of here!” she chided him.
            He winked at Jesse above her head. He had just been trying to take his sister’s mind off their situation. “Of course. Sorry, Lil. Let’s go.”
            They began to move in unison, hunting for their other teammates. The mirrors were disorienting, and the fire rising from Jesse’s hand threw back strange reflections.
            A loud whirring sound reached their ears. “What the hell?” Jesse asked.
            It was coming closer. Adrian looked around for the source of the noise—and saw a chainsaw reflected in one of the mirrors. He caught a flash of a suit. It was one of the Hunters. He didn’t know if they were supposed to hurt them, or just scare them, but he wasn’t taking any chances. “Lily, don’t look. Just run!”
            Still holding hands, they bolted through the maze of mirrors. They could hear footsteps behind them. Jesse tried to shoot some of the fire in his hand back at whatever was chasing them. It didn’t seem to reach. Adrian tried to pull some of the electricity from the strobe lights, but that just made the building darker.
            “What the hell is that growling noise?” Jesse shouted over the sound of their flight.
            “What growling noise?” Adrian slowed down. “Hey, I don’t hear the chainsaw anymore.”
            “But do you hear that?” Jesse pointed, letting the fire go out.
            Adrian looked where Jesse was pointing. There was a giant black panther clawing at a metal cylinder. They could hear Moira shrieking and banging inside. “Oh crap, it’s gonna kill her!” he yelled.
            The panther stopped what it was doing briefly and looked at them, then it returned to trying to shred the metal.
            It finally broke through and Moira came tumbling out. She ran over to where Adrian, Lily, and Jesse stood. The panther collapsed on the ground. It blurred, and then Will was lying on the ground in its place.
            “What the hell?” Adrian exclaimed.
            Will looked up from the ground. “It was the only way I could find her.”
            “What’s that supposed to mean?”
            Moira leaned against the wall, trying to steady herself. She had worked herself into a frenzy inside that hollow tube, but she couldn’t let them know that. Suddenly, she felt herself falling. She landed on the ground once again, this time with sunlight spilling over her face.
            “Oh my God, we’re free!” Lily shrieked excitedly.
            “Right again,” Chance Cagney said, stepping around the corner. “You managed to get away from the Hunters, and you got out of the fun house. Great teamwork everyone!”
            Will wanted to rip the stupid guy’s throat out, but he knew that wouldn’t help anything. “So we have the night off now?” he growled, his voice still thrumming with the aftermath of his shapechange.
            “Yes, you are all free for the night,” Chance told them. “Further instructions will come in the morning.” He turned abruptly and walked away.
            “Thank God that’s over,” Lily commented.
            “Yep. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m getting the hell out of here!” Moira exclaimed and disappeared around the corner.
            “Should we go after her?” Adrian asked.
            “Nah, I’m sure she’ll be okay. We’ll find her later,” Jesse told him. “Let’s go find some food!”
            Will wasn’t sure she would be okay. He had seen the look on her face when she came falling out of that tube. He made a note to keep an eye on her in the coming days to make sure she didn’t have a nervous breakdown or something.

Escape! Challenge One

Hello lovelies! I thought I post Challenge One from my “reality show”. Please keep in mind that I wrote this while under the influence of fever delirium . . . okay, I wasn’t really delirious, but I did have a high fever. Anyway, I’d love any feedback you have. For more information about the “show” or my team, click on the tabs above. Enjoy!

            Adrian woke with a splitting headache. He was lying with his face pressed against unfamiliar bedding and his eyes felt gritty. He began to lift one hand to rub at his eyes, but something stopped him. “What the hell is going on here?” he wondered aloud as he tried to yank his wrists apart.
            “Adrian?” his sister Lily’s quavering voice came from across the room. “Are you there?”
            “Yeah, Lil. Are you okay?”
            “I think I’m tied up. I can’t move very well,” she responded.
            “Me too. Hey Jess, you here?”
            His best friend’s voice drifted up from the floor. “Yeah man?”
            “You have a knife?”
            “I don’t know. Let me try and check my pockets.”
            “Will you three idiots please shut up so we can try and figure out where we are?” another female voice called.
            “Who’s that?” Adrian demanded.
            “I’m Moira,” was all she said.
            “Yo! I gotta knife.”  A figure rose up from the floor, already untied. “I’m Will,” he explained as he began to saw through Adrian’s bindings.
            Adrian immediately ran over to check on his sister. Lily was crying, curled up on the bed as best as she could. She was wearing the tank top and shorts she had gone to sleep in the night before. “Adrian, where are we?”
            “I don’t know, Lil.”
            “I thought we weren’t supposed to leave until this morning! I thought Mom was going to take us to the airport! We didn’t get to say goodbye to her!”
            “Seriously! Will you quit your whining?” Moira cut in.
            Lily looked stricken. By now, Will had finished cutting everyone’s ropes and they were all moving to pick up their packs which lined one wall. “Lily, do you want to get dressed?” Jesse asked, holding out her bag.
            “Okay,” she nodded.
            “Then maybe we should let your brother get some clothes on!” Jesse laughed.
            Adrian looked down at himself, suddenly realizing that he was clad only in boxers. “Damn it! I knew I should’ve worn pants last night!”
            “I hope you remember to pack some!” Jesse joked.
            “Shut up, Jess!” Adrian shoved him and then helped Lily stand. “Anyone have a problem with my sister getting ready first?” he asked.
            “Just as long as she’s quick about it. There’s only one bathroom and five of us,” Moira said.
            “So, I wonder where we are?” Jesse wondered as the bathroom door closed behind Lily.
            Adrian rifled through his pack and dug out a pair of jeans. Pulling them on over his boxers, he headed for the window. When he pulled back the yellowing curtain, all he saw was a small parking lot and beyond that, unrecognizable buildings. “Well, there’s nothing out there that’s going to tell us anything. Maybe someone from the show will come by soon and explain why we were all abducted from our homes and tied up last night instead of flying out this morning like we were expecting.”
            When Lily emerged, Moira and Will were fighting over who got to use the bathroom next. “I’m a girl! I should get to go next!” Moira demanded.
            “But I’m about to piss my pants! Get outta my way!” Will pushed past her and slammed the door behind him.
            “What an jerk! My boyfriend’s going to kick his ass when he finds out about this!”
            “You have a boyfriend?” Lily asked tentatively.
            “Yeah. What, is that surprising to you?”
            “No. I was just going to say that it sucks you had to leave him behind.”
            “Oh. Well, technically, I didn’t leave him behind. I’m from California. He lives in Ohio,” Moira explained.
            “How did you meet?” Lily asked.
            “Do you always ask so many questions?”
            “Sorry! I was just trying to be nice.”
            Will finally came out of the bathroom and Moira raced in before anyone else could beat her.
            Jesse was the only one that remained in his sleeping attire. He wasn’t shy. He whipped off his pajama pants—almost taking his boxers with them—and pulled on some jeans. Moira came out of the bathroom in the middle of this process. “Oh gross. Couldn’t you have waited five minutes?”
            Jesse just shrugged. “Doesn’t bother me. I don’t see why it should bother you. It’s not like I was naked. Besides, I was hanging around in only my boxers for a lot less time than Adrian!”
            “Hey guys, what’s this?” Lily asked. She was standing by the lone bedside table.
            “What is it?” Jesse asked, coming up behind her.
            There was a remote control lying on the table with a note attached.  Turn me on,was all it said.
            Lily frowned and hit the “power” button. Everyone turned toward the TV.
            At first there was just static, but finally a figure appeared. The man looked to be in his mid-forties. His hair was beginning to grey.  He wore black-rimmed glasses.
            He flashed the camera a big grin. “Hello my little criminal masterminds. Or maybe I should say not-so-masterminds, since you all managed to get caught. After all, isn’t that why you’re all here?” he laughed.
            “Now, I’m sure you’re all wondering where you are, and how you got here. Unfortunately, this isn’t the time for explanations. This is the time to move. You will find a set of car keys on the table. Inside your car, you will find more supplies and instructions. That is, if you make it to your car. As soon as this video ends, you will have five minutes until the hunters come to find you. Good luck.” With that, the image faded and the television returned to static.
            “Move!” Adrian demanded. He lunged for his pack and Lily’s while everyone else grabbed for theirs.
            “What are the hunters?” Lily wanted to know. She was starting to look scared again.
            Adrian grabbed her by the shoulders and looked into her eyes. “Lily, I need you to be brave, okay? Can you do that for me?”
            She nodded. “I guess so.”
            They all ran out of the motel room and into the parking lot.  “Crap! Did anyone grab the keys?” Adrian asked.
            “Yeah, I got them,” Jesse told him.
            “You always have my back, man.”
            Jesse pressed a button on the key ring. A car beeped.
            “Awww hell no!” Will exclaimed. “I ain’t gettin’ in that piece of crap!”
            “We don’t have another choice, moron!” Moira reminded him. “Now get your butt in the car. I don’t know what these hunters do, but I’m not anxious to meet them.”
            Jesse tossed the keys to Adrian. “You drive.”
            “Anyone have a problem with that?” Adrian asked.
            No one answered. Adrian pushed the button to pop the trunk and they all tossed their bags in and piled into the car.
            “Now what?” Lily asked.
            “Just drive!” Jesse said.
            As soon as Adrian started the engine, the CD player came on. A voice came over the speakers. It was the same voice of the man on the TV.
            “Well it seems like you made it to your car. Congratulations. In the glove box, you will find a debit card. Use it wisely. You will also notice that your car, such as it is, is equipped with a GPS system. If you turn it on, it will direct you to your next destination, the Snowy River Carnival. Good luck.”
            Jesse was sitting shotgun. He opened the glove box and found the debit card. “Food?”
            “Yeah, let’s see what we can find,” Adrian agreed.
            Jesse turned on the GPS. “Well, at least now we know where we are.”
            “Where?” Moira asked.
            “Damn! That’s hella far from where I live!” Will said.
            “Where are you from?” Lily asked.
            “East Side San Ho!” he made a gesture with his hand.
            “What?” Lily looked confused.
            “What is that, a gang sign? I think he means San Jose, California,” Moira explained.
            “How did you know that?”
            “I’m from Santa Cruz. It’s right by San Jose.”
            “We’re from California too,” Adrian offered as he pulled out of the parking lot.
            “Oh yeah? Where?” Moira asked.
            “Los Angeles,” Lily answered for him.
            “All three of you?”
            “Yep! Adrian’s my brother, and Jesse’s his best friend. He’s practically my brother too.”
            “Well, they weren’t very original when they chose our team,” Moira said.
            “What do you mean?” Jesse asked.
            “We’re all from California.”
            “So, Moira, Will, what did you guys do to land you on this show?” Adrian asked.
            “Why don’t you tell us what you guys did first?” Moira asked.
            “Fine. I stole a car, Jesse set something on fire, and Lil tried to steal a shirt. Happy?”
            Moira rolled his eyes, which Adrian didn’t see. “Oh please. At least I did something worthwhile!”
            “Which was?”
            “I tried to keep an evil company from torturing helpless animals.”
            “What, are you a vegetarian?”
            “Actually, I am. Someone has to speak for those with no voices. And why would I eat those I’m trying to speak for?”
            “Oh jeeze. What about you, Will?” Adrian asked.
            “I stabbed someone,” Will said shortly.
            “What? Why?”
            “Gang fight.”
            “You’re in a gang?” Lily asked incredulously.
            “Was. Quit to come on this. I’m surprised they didn’t kill me.”
            They all fell silent at this revelation.
            “Hey, McDonald’s!” Lily exclaimed, pointing.
            “Is that okay with everyone?” Adrian asked.
            “I don’t eat fast food,” Moira informed them.
            “Girl, I don’t think you gotta choice,” Will said.
            “Fine, but there had better be options with no meat.”
            “We’d better be careful with this card. The hunters might be able to use it to track us,” Jesse said.
            “Good point. Let’s go in and see if there’s an ATM. Plus, it’s easier to look at the menu that way,” Adrian said.
            He parked the car and they all climbed out. Ten minutes later, they all emerged, carrying bags and drinks.
            “What do you think is going to happen when we get to this carnival?” Lily asked as they pulled back onto the road.
            “I don’t know Lil,” Adrian told her. “I guess we’ll find out when we get there.”