Open Mic, Spotlight

Open Mic: The Escapade Room by Claire McDaniel

When my homeschool co-op announced that we would be visiting a local escape room for one of our units, I didn’t know what to expect, but from what my friends told me, I could anticipate excitement, problem solving, and fun. Little did I know that my escape room experience would be far from the expected.

Unfortunately for my brother and I, we arrived late to the escape room facility, so we were thrown into a random group with three people who I knew only moderately well. One of them, a well-meaning girl named Audrey, regrettably had earned herself the title of klutz, both voluntarily and involuntarily. I prayed that Joshua, lean, lank, and teetering on the edge of nerdy, would use his braininess to our advantage, as the rest of our group would probably not be much help. Finally, Rachelle, a very sweet but timidly quiet girl who was new to the co-op, also seemed new to the entire situation. And so, the five of us were marched off to our escape room, hurried inside, and locked in. Whatever my expectations had been for that next hour, none of them had prepared me for this…

I heaved a sigh of relief as we stepped inside the room; it was decorated like an Indiana Jones movie set with ’40s music pumping through the speakers. But I barely had enough time to even admire the lovely wallpaper when Audrey began whimpering.

“Oh, I don’t like this, I don’t like this at all.”

Suddenly, a voice boomed over the loudspeaker, “Welcome my friends!”

Audrey screamed as if doomsday had arrived early, a long shriek which I felt certain everyone in the vicinity could hear. Throughout the rest of that welcome message, Audrey screamed, a blood-curdling scream that somehow lasted so long that the only words I heard from the message were, “…and then, your task will be complete! Good luck!”

With absolutely no clue whatsoever what the objective of the next hour would be, I suggested that we search the room for anything interesting. Luckily, we began finding numerous objects with letters on them, which Joshua reasoned could be the combination for a lock on an ancient-looking chest. For each new object, Audrey managed to produce a myriad of new screams, whether about the antique typewriter, a black and white family picture, or the books on the bookshelf. After acquiring each of the letters we needed, we realized we had no idea what order they went in. Just as we began wondering how to find the order, a red telephone in the corner began to ring. True to form, Audrey began to wail.  It was music to our ears as we were treated to the lovely sounds of an off-putting vintage telephone ring mixed with a high-pitched scream.

Thankfully, when I made it to the telephone, we were given a hint from the guide as to where to look for the order. That would have been helpful if Audrey hadn’t been on the verge of screaming while my brother tried to cheer her up by telling knock-knock jokes. Apparently, the guide realized our plight, so he decided to come into the room and actually showed us where to find the order. Not helpful. The moment that friendly head poked inside, he was greeted with screams to wake the dead. He did help us find the clue though. Actually, he helped us almost twelve times. Frankly, we might have set a new record for hints. And, yes, every time he entered or called by phone, Audrey screamed bloody murder. Bless her heart, I think poor Audrey could have powered all of Monster’s Inc. with the screams she produced in that hour. Rachelle, extremely rattled by the screams, had retreated to a corner trying to survive the din, much less the actual room. Thankfully, Joshua was trying his very best to put the pieces together for the mystery of the ancient something or other.

After connecting a few pieces of hieroglyphic symbols and setting them on a tray, an enormous crashing sound erupted from the corner. Of course, Audrey screamed. A skull with flaming red eyes emerged from the depths of a stationary box in the corner, who would have given us helpful instructions, I’m sure, if we could have heard him.

After a few more calls from our helpful hint-giver, whose voice got noticeably more gruff and more exasperated with each call, we managed to break through to the second room, which resembled a sort of cave. Audrey managed to point out numerous creepy faces etched into the stone that would have been very frightening if they had actually been there. At long last, after noticing the hieroglyphics from earlier, we were able to put together the combination to open a lock. We finished two seconds too late, with no trace of sanity left and with all of us screaming. Our frazzled guide coldly hurried us from the room in case of another screaming fit. I’m pretty sure he wanted us gone as soon as possible. I mouthed an apology, and my brother waved apologetically, even offering the guide some cash.

Exasperated, I walked into the lobby and walked over to my close friend Mya. She told me about their escape room and how they had managed to complete all the tasks easily. Then, she mentioned how one of their favorite special effects in their room was this amazing shrieking noise that happened constantly and sounded very real. Yes, Audrey had proclaimed her fear not only to our room, but to the entire vicinity. Later, I was told by my mom and her fellow coordinator that they too had heard the shrieks and were reassured by one of the employees that the children were safe and there was nothing to worry about…

A whole year later, escape rooms are on the co-op agenda once again. I’ve gotten to know Rachelle, Joshua, and Audrey better, and I have found that Audrey is one of the most science-savvy people I have ever met, singlehandedly helping the group win an animal identification contest mere weeks after the escape room escapade. More than that, she is one of the sweetest, most well-meaning people I have ever met. One day, Audrey approached me, saying I really didn’t have to be in a group with her when we once again traveled to the escape room. As I put my arm around her, I smiled and shook my head. I wouldn’t miss another adventure with Audrey for the world!

Stay tuned for “The Escapade Room 2.0” coming in 2020!


Meet the Author

How old are you?

Where do you live?

What classes are you taking with TPS?
This year, I’m just taking Spanish 3 with the amazing Señor Poortenga.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?
Something I love about writing is getting to play around with the words on the page and discovering new ways to say something that brings my work to life in a whole new way, especially with showing, not telling. (Thanks Mrs. Yagel!)

Some fun facts:
I’m obsessed with everything Star Wars, but don’t get me started on the sequels/prequels…
Some of my favorite things to do are reading (C.S. Lewis, Jane Austen, Harry Potter), playing the piano, and doing musical theater/Shakespeare productions.
I can do a great Moaning Myrtle impersonation from Harry Potter.

Also, shoutout to all the incredible classmates and teachers I have had while doing English at TPS; they have all been so inspiring and encouraging.


  1. Nice! My siblings tried to do an escape room game and only made it halfway. Thankfully no screaming from them, lol.

  2. I love this article! I’ve never been in an escape room before and the humorous yet vivid way you describe it makes me literally hear Audrey’s screams! Great job!