Here you’ll find our fantastic runners up for June 2013: The Chase. Great job!
The Chase by Jade, age 12 (247 words)
The dirt track is up ahead and as I focus hard, my knuckles white against the steering wheel, my mind starts to swim. I can hear Ash and his noisy gang jeering loudly at me from their black truck. I try to block it out. The smell of burnt rubber and grimy dust smothers the air, almost choking me. I can taste something bitter, bitter revenge. A bead of sweat slips off my forehead and onto my hand. I am forced to lose my concentration as I wipe it away. Once again, I stare hard at the dirt track. It’s a dirty yellow, reminding me of the empty deserts. I picture green cacti and cowboys chasing stampedes of mooing cows. Elle steps in front, the red checked flag clutched hard in her hand.
‘Are ya ready, are ya steady, you can go!’ She waves the flag rapidly and I press hard on the accelerator, shooting off in front. Ash is forcing his foot hard on the accelerator too, yelling into the dusty wind as he flies by.
‘See ya later Finnegan!’ he yells at me, than all of a sudden his eyes go wide with shock as he spins wildly out of control and dives head first into a shimmering lake. I watch as the car flips over and lays, silent and soggy, a dead soul. I wonder if Ash stayed alive.
To Ash now, this wasn’t a chase to win. It was a chase of survival.
Jade, age 12
The Chase by Katie, age 16 (242 words)
I push against the ground as the sweat pours into my eyes and seeps through my coat. The clatter of my hooves pushes me forwards. I can hear the crowds cheer. There are calls of my name and whistles but that all begins to fade into the background. I can’t lose focus. I have been training for this moment all year. I can hear the other hooves around me pounding against the grass as we struggle to the finish.
It’s the final lap and I can feel the pressure. The whip is lashing harder against me as my rider wills me forward. The pull on the reins becomes with more intense with each jump and every turn brings us closer to the title that we have hoped for each year. It is just a desperate clamour, a struggle to the finish. With each second that passes I can hear the calls getting louder. Their hopes and my desire to please my rider push me forwards.
I know what awaits me at the end if I fail but this year it must be different. It has to be. I push myself harder. I no longer feel the pain. I am no longer aware of my surroundings. Just the finish line. Just focus on the finish line. One more push. The crowd roars. I hear my name overhead as I race past the line. I am the champion of the Epsom Derby at last!
Katie, age 16
The Chase by Olivia, age 14 (246 words)
The women crowded around the fruit barrow, their colourful saris creating a thick curtain of fabric below. Abhijay’s tiny body slipped silently like a snake between the long skirts. Under the stall, he waited for the right moment. Reaching his arm above his head, he strained like the neck of a cobra and then, extending his fingers, he recoiled quickly and snatched the forbidden fruit- a ripe juicy mango.
But just as he thought his theft had gone unnoticed, a hand gripped his arm. He knew it was time to run. Wriggling his thin arm out of the forceful grip, he weaved his way through the curtain of fabric and sprinted barefoot down the dark, narrow alleyways towards the squalid slums which were his home.
As he turned a corner, he glanced back and saw the plump, baton-waving policeman in hot pursuit. Perspiration poured from his brow as the policeman pushed past the many obstacles in his path; crates of chickens, piles of stinking rubbish, blind beggars, half-naked children.
Abhijay knew he could easily outsmart this lumbering elephant of a policeman. He leapt nimbly onto a corrugated roof, his tiny frame moving so swiftly his filthy feet barely touched the blistering hot surface.
The chase was over. The policeman knew it.
Abhijay leapt from the roof, sliding down the steaming midden on the other side. Breathless, he tossed the mango triumphantly to his sister who smiled at him as she eagerly bit into the juicy flesh.
Olivia, age 14
Katherine, age 15 (247 words)
Damon yawned lazily in the relentless sun, sprawling over the wooden bench. He had been up early training the King’s army and now his eyelids were weighing heavy. Just as he started to doze off, he felt the familiar edge of cold steel against his neck and his eyes flew open, his muscles tensed for a fight. Staring back at him was a pair of dark brown eyes flecked with gold. He relaxed his tensed muscles and grinned up at his twin sister, Rosa.
‘Whaddya want?’ he mumbled. ‘I was just about to get some sleep.’
Rosa smirked. ‘Well, you’re gonna have to wait a while. A prisoner escaped about an hour ago and the King wants us to track him down. C’mon, I’ve already got your bow.’
The pair set off at a light jog to the stables where they grabbed a horse each and clattered off down the cobbled path, riding bareback.
‘So which one escaped this time?’ Damon asked.
‘Cain, you’ve probably seen him before. He’s the little skinny one with bright red hair and the bad leg.’ his sister replied.
‘With the funny nose? How did he get out? He looks as though he’d lose a fight with a caterpillar.’
‘Yeah, but seven of his guards were found dead and another seventeen are still unconscious. There are signs that he had help, we’re probably looking for about four people.’
The twins grinned and urged the horses into a gallop. The chase had begun.
Katherine, age 15
Lucy, age 14 (247 words)
ON YOUR MARKS!
Stepping up to the blocks, watching the line, ignoring the seven people around me. I hunch down pushing my feet into the blocks. I can feel my spikes sticking into the orange clay. Placing my fingers behind the white line making sure I don’t put them on the line. My hands are sweating, heart racing, taking deep breaths.
Standing up making sure my fingers don’t slip. Sticking to the boiling clay in the summer sun.
One foot in front of the other, long strides. I can see my opponent coming around on my left. He is ahead of me. Longer strides, faster strides, he passes me. I feel myself standing taller, straightening my fingers, pushing myself to go faster. I see the line and two of my competitors. I’m catching up. We cross the line at, what feels like the exact same time. We all ease to a stop, looking at each other, who won? Did I win? We look up at the board. Photo finish. They play the full race, all 200m of it.
I crouch down clasping my sweaty hands together looking at the board. There are 50,000 people around me cheering. I hold my breath as we get towards the line. I still can’t see who won. We all put our left foot over the line at the same time. They put a photo up of the finish. The middle foot is slightly ahead. That’s my foot.
Lucy, age 14
Rebecca, age 13 (245 words)
Running. Running. Running, that’s all she seems to do. All I want to do is talk to her. I try my best to catch up with her but she just runs faster and faster.
This human-cheetah soon disappears into the thicket that we enter. I stop. The thicket is motionless. I listen. It is silent. The more I wait for her to show her face, the more agitated I become. Finally, a shadow darts in front of me. I chase after it. It has to be her. Anyway, who else would be in this wood at around midnight?
I lose her again. I walk into a small clearing, searching for her. There are no trees above me to shield the moon which peeps out from behind a cloud. I move again to a tall beech tree and climb effortlessly up it, hoping for a better lookout post. When I reach the top, I can see nothing but branches. I crawl across to the next tree, as silently as I possibly can.
A gasp. I look down into the hollow of the tree. It’s her. She does not run this time. A closer look at me is all she had needed.
“Who…what are you?” she whispers. I try to talk to her but all we hear is a horrific rasping noise. I close my mouth. Did…did that just come from me? Her eyes widen and she is off like a shot.
This is an ever-lasting chase.
Rebecca, age 13
Samuel, age 14 (247 words)
Where am I? What’s going on here?
It came out of the darkness, slithering in the empty shadows. Its’ claws clenched the brittle ground and pulled itself forward. I managed to glimpse its’ black eye, gazing, staring at my pale face. I could not talk; my legs are only strong enough to stand, my body frozen in time.
The creature lifted its crusty, chapped lips as if to speak. It started to hiss, “..Hungry…Child…Kill…Feed…” It licked its lips and showed a ghastly, unsettling smile and moved its green, razor-sharp claws forward. Run. Now. Get away. From here.
I turned around to lose sight of the horrid monster crawling out of nothing and brought to life to haunt me. I began to move my jelly-like legs and sprint away from my doom. The silence around me only increased my suffering. The sound that broke the silence was the beast galloping on the cold ground; the footsteps becoming faster and its’ wicked cackle taunted my small efforts to escape.
Suddenly, I saw another green toenail move out of the shadows beside me as I ran on. I saw a white, scabby face peek in out of darkness in the distance. The horror only continues. I felt a furry hand on my shoulder and suddenly my legs could not carry me any further. The heartless faces with black eyes circled around me. Their thin, slimy tongues licking their lips.
This is the end. I’ve failed so I must suffer.
Samuel, age 14
Camille, age 11 (242 words)
BOING! It rolled hastily through the kitchen door. The lino screeched under my trainers as I skidded after my prize.
It sped over the new sitting room carpet, slowed down on the bobbly rug… but it kept going. I jumped to grab it but fell flat on my face, hands a centimetre away from it. Relieved, I was about to close my hands over my quarry when it fled through the doorway and into the corridor!
I hurtled down the hallway, I was in hot pursuit – I put my foot out to block the way. Instead of stopping, having been defeated and cornered, it hit my foot and flew into my bedroom!
I quickly turned and followed, just in time to see it bobbing along into the bathroom with pride, obviously thinking I hadn’t seen.
I tiptoed after trying to keep an eye on it, when I heard a buzzing sound. Oh no, it was Mum calling. I had to answer. I’d forgotten to call her when I’d got back from the school fete. Mum worries too much and needs to know your home safely or she’ll panic. If you don’t pick up the phone when she calls she’ll rush home. So after telling Mum I’m fine over her sighs and fond telling-offs, I hung up quickly and looked around. It’d gone.
I peer into the toilet, in the sink, then under the bath and there it is. My bouncy ball!
Camille, age 11
Tara, age 14 (175 words)
He was getting sick of waiting, how selfish could somebody be? Couldn’t he just die already? He’d already been here way to long he was growing sick of it. He wanted to leave. Who’s fate had already been changed by dragging this out to long? That was when he saw him. Standing there. This is what he’s been waiting for. The chase.
He started to run, picking up speed, when the target bolted forward with immense speed. Death weaved him around the apartment building until he realised he was losing the target. This could not happen. Death always wins. He sped up racing up the stairs of a deserted apartment. The target turned.
“Why?” he said with no emotion whatsoever.
“It’s nothing personal. Just doing my job.” Death sneered.
With that the Target turned and ran on the rooftop with Death in close pursuit.
Target ran full steam screaming “Well now I’ll do your job for you.”
With that he launched himself off of the rooftop.
“Well that’s going to be a lot of paperwork.”
Tara, age 14
Sara, age 16 (247 words)
Everyone said that Bertie was far too old to run away to the Circus. You’ll have a heart attack, they said. You’ll trigger your heart palpitations again, they said. You’ll be all alone, they said.
But the problem was they had no idea what it was to be alone. They did not know that since his Isabella died that’s all he knew; that when his heart threatened to give out again, that was the only time he truly felt alive, that the rush of blood re-entering his veins was the closest he could get to feeling love again, because at the same time, he could not have cared less.
He set out in his favourite worn slippers and hooked his crescent moon reading glasses on his pyjama pocket. The attire of every great adventurer, surely. The sun began to crest the hill which Bertie was now facing, singing like sirens to take the leap, live out his last days as he wanted to his first.
He shuffled onto the road. “Wish me luck, dear Issy.”
There is no other feeling, Bertie noted as his thighs creaked from ascending the hill, like victory. It was not his triumph over the ever-concerned faces of his daughters, or the interminable list of health scares which spurred him on. It was the victory of finally chasing his home, his passions, his youth that spurned him. The place he first met his dear Isabella. This time, Bertie resolved, I’ll win the chase.
Sara, age 16