AN: I hit a bit of writer's block with Caught In the Middle: Part II, and this idea struck me, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Hope you enjoy!

Tony had never been claustrophobic…until now.

As he fought valiantly against the darkness enclosing him, he couldn't escape the realization of this newfound fear.

He could not escape.

As he beat his fists and fiercely clawed at the wooden entrapment, he felt the sting of splitting fingernails and the warmth of red liquid dripping down his arms, saturating his hands. He allowed it to stain the wood, continuing his vengeful beating.

A small voice in the back of his consciousness said the words he would never admit.

He could not escape.

As he bludgeoned his feet mercilessly against the solid timber, he felt the cracking of a small bone. It sent a wave of pain through his leg and up to his brain. But he continued to kick, ignoring the twinge of each impact, unwilling to acknowledge the ever-present possibility that…

He could not escape.

Violent wheezing conquered his lungs. His chest refused to expand enough to let oxygen in. Every coveted breath burned painfully, making him all too aware of the fact that his oxygen supply was depleting with every intake of air.

Time was running out. Pretty damn fast.

He forced himself to lie still, knowing he would pass out with any further exertion. As he attempted to steady his breaths, he kept his unspoken fear at bay. Yet still the voice persisted.

He could not escape.

He tried to stretch out his aching, cramped limbs. The motion was useless, as there was no room to shift at all. The random twitches of his muscles bashed his kneecaps into the hard lid, but he was too concerned about his current quandary to care.

Thoughts sped around his fading mind. Plans were formulated and discarded in seconds. Memories from the events leading to his current state flowed in an out. But in the end, only one thought stuck. It was the statement that had been lingering around him since he awakened in his wooden tomb, what seemed like so long ago. Mere minutes felt like hours. Time was slipping away, draining from existence. His life was following close behind. He could feel it. And the only thing he could do was think that one thought. That one enduring statement.

He could not escape.

The hopelessness that gripped him transformed into a morbid acceptance. Two small tears slipped out of his eyes. As they made their way down his dirtied cheeks, he allowed himself a bitter chuckle.

He closed his eyes and softly whispered to himself, "I guess…I'm really not…getting out of this one."

AN: Sorry about the super short prologue! If I get enough feedback and sense enough interest, I'll continue this story, starting at the beginning, then picking up with the present. So please review and tell me what you think! Thanks!