Thursday, November 30, 2023

Determined to Survive by Eden Monroe


This book and others  Available from Eden Monroe's BWL Author page

Among the many terrifying situations that I could imagine, being confined in a small space would be one of them, but that’s my claustrophobia talking. Apparently I’m not alone though because according to the National Institutes of Health, about 12.5% of the population suffers from this fear, with the majority being female.

Grace Upton in Dangerous Getaway suffers from that intense fear of enclosed spaces, especially when escape seems impossible.

“She moved her fingertips lightly along the wall until she felt what had to be the start of the wine racks, and sure enough there were plenty of bottles to choose from. Picking a bottle, she pulled it soundlessly from its nest, her hand closing around the long cool neck with the same satisfaction and sense of power cavemen must have once felt when clutching a cudgel with which to protect themselves. In that sense, evolution had not happened at all as her primal brain recognized its elemental function. Stay alive.

There was another sound off to her left. Whatever it was, it was coming closer. It wasn’t as far away this time, then silence that seemed to echo through the cellar. There it was again, closer still. She could make it out now. Footsteps, and if it was that Rhone Alexander coming to get her, he didn’t seem to be making any attempt to hide his scuffling footfalls. In fact, they sounded heavy, almost erratic which could be a terror tactic, and they were headed straight toward her. Whoever it was she was sure they could hear her heart thumping as blood rushed in a tidal wave in her ears, ready for battle. She would not go out without a damned good fight.

Inching away from the wine racks until her back was once again against the stonework, she held the bottle of wine in an iron-clad grip, raising it over her head in a two-fisted stance and waited, willing her breathing to slow so that she wouldn’t feel so frustratingly lightheaded.”

The list of other horrible circumstances from which people would want to escape, besides claustrophobia, is practically endless.

That piqued my curiosity about those who did manage to escape terrible situations, against all odds. So I visited and found the following six great escapes, in some cases from certain death, and certainly great harm:

Number six was a young woman in China who woke to find a man on her bed, and to add to her terror he covered her mouth and nose to stifle her screams for help. I don’t have to tell you what he tried to do next – while trying to strangle her. On the verge of unconsciousness she still had presence of mind to start coughing and managed to tell him she was self-isolating due to COVID-19 symptoms. That was prior to vaccines, and it made him back off in a hurry! So he robbed her instead.

He then fled her apartment. Surprisingly, he later turned himself in to authorities.

Number five is the story of a man in Greece who found himself at the mercy of the out-of-control wildfires there in 2007. The fires were catastrophic with significant loss of life, not to mention the destruction of countless homes and other buildings. Nevertheless, despite the odds, this man decided to stand his ground. A traditional winemaker with hundreds of litres of the stuff at his disposal, he continued to pour wine into his fertilizer pump and fought the inferno for seventeen hours, eventually gaining the upper hand and surviving.

Number four involves one of the world’s most tragic events … and the humble rubber squeegee. It’s about a group of window washers stranded on an elevator around the 50th floor in the first tower of the World Trade Centre on that fateful morning of September 11, 2001. Determined to survive, they managed to jimmy the elevator doors apart with a squeegee pole. However the elevator had stopped between floors and they were faced with a solid wall of sheet rock. Undaunted the men then used the blade of the squeegee to dig an opening through the drywall and escaped WTC One, astonishingly, just five minutes before it collapsed.

Number three involves a man in Saskatchewan, Canada, stranded unexpectedly in his boat on what became an ice lake when bad weather suddenly struck and the temperature plummeted dramatically. He had no means of communication to call for help and he would have died from exposure had he not found and chopped down four power poles onshore, plunging several communities into freezing darkness. When the power company sent a helicopter to investigate the source of the outage, they found the dying man and were able to save his life.

Most would consider number two to be a pretty grizzly solution, but when hunters were returning with their prizes from the mountains on horseback, they encountered problems with a broken saddle. Nightfall and subzero temperatures caught up with them before they could remedy the situation. Now forced to spend the night outdoors, they attempted to start a fire to keep warm. However high winds prevented them from building that fire so they did what they had to do in order to survive. No nightmarish details here about the how, but they took shelter in the hollowed out carcasses of their horses and escaped certain death.

Number one (also involves a mushroom foraging woman in the Northwest Territories, Canada, who found herself being stalked by a wolf, albeit an old one, for twelve hours. The animal blocked the way to her truck, actually leading her away from it. Her dog tried to eliminate the threat to no avail and at some point she and the friend she was with became separated. The woman, after walking all day, was exhausted, dehydrated and tormented by “zillions” of mosquitos. It should be pointed out that she was doing some heavy-duty praying when she heard the growl of a mother bear. So the woman decided to approach the cub, which in itself can be a deadly action, but it paid off. Somehow the stalking wolf and the mamma bear began to do battle with each other, and the woman and her dog escaped. In my opinion the woman’s prayer for survival was answered because divine intervention is written all over this one.

Keeping your wits about you when trapped in any difficult situation is key, but of course much easier said than done. You have some very difficult moments to overcome, just as Grace did in Dangerous Getaway:

“She could feel her panic beginning to rise, just as it had that day in the old steamer trunk only now there was no one to come to the rescue and that thought terrified her. Moving away from the dim flashlight beam she slapped her hands against the cold stone wall, giving in to tears.

“This might as well be a tomb because we’re basically buried alive. The pain in her shoulder burned like fire and she was having trouble getting her breath as she stumbled in the direction of the stairs. She would beat her way through the door with her bare hands; claw it to splinters with her nails. She had to get out of this dark hole somehow. Was this how it was all going to end for them? Dead and forgotten in a wine cellar in the middle of nowhere? Murdered? Buried in the woods with God only knew how many others?

Strong hands seized her from behind, his arms circlets of steel that held her in place while she struggled to get free of him.

“Let me go! I have to get out of here, but I can’t! We’re trapped forever!”

“Grace!” He shook her gently. “Grace, get hold of yourself, we can’t afford to give in to panic. It won’t get us anywhere. We have to keep our heads if we’re to survive.”

“It’s over, can’t you see?’ “



  1. I remember this story if yours and enjoyed. The escapes you wrote about were interesting, especially the woman and the wolf.

  2. Escape is a primal instinct we haven't lost since the beginning of man. Thanks for sharing.


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