Ballenas Secondary School teacher Kimberly Dodd has passed on a good story to The News.
Grade 10 student Sydney Aird’s story, The Countdown, was selected to be part of the anthology Young Writers 2011 National Short Story Contest, from the Poetry Institute of Canada. Aird’s work was selected from over 5,000 entries.
Thanks to Dodd, and Aird, The News presents her short story.
The Countdown, by Sydney Aird
My feet moved rapidly under me; I had absolutely no control over where I was going or what I was doing. All my body was telling me to do was run. I did exactly just that. Leaves, dried out by the bitter winter cold, crunched beneath my soles. The sound appeared thunderous to me due to the silent night air. The fact my bare arms and legs were exposed to the icy winter wind didn’t bother me nearly as much I thought it would. My survival instincts had kicked in ever since I began to run as where I had taken refuge was no longer safe. I knew eventually I would have to be captured, but I wasn’t about to let that happen so soon.
Suddenly, a sharp sound roared through the air. My hand clasped over my mouth in a feeble attempt to stop myself from imitating such a terrified scream, but it was only slightly quietened. There went one, two more to go.
Knowing I only had a little bit of time left before he caught up with me, I took a moment and threw myself behind a thick, sturdy tree trunk hoping it would give me at least a little protection. My breathing was quick and ragged with an irritating itch and strain in my throat when I swallowed. Head resting against the side of the tree, it tiredly lolled to the side. I was positive I could make it through.
My reasonably calm moment of peace was interrupted by another loud cry of shock. Scrambling to my feet, I figured out I was next. Last. Although I was sprinting, it was no use. I could hear the predator’s louder footsteps destroy the forest ground as he drew nearer.
Abruptly in a split second, one foot slipped. The rest of my body came down with that one little mistake, tumbling and crumbling like a house of cards. Lying uselessly on the ground, I rolled onto my back just in time to view the figure, dark from the night’s shadows, looming over me.
“Found you!” chuckled the boy. “Come on, let’s play another round. You’re it!”