About the author: Lucia Murray is an 18 year old advanced level student at St. Anthony’s Secondary School, who enjoys writing. She is a visual artist who describes herself as being fond of the Arts and interested in expanding her knowledge in various subjects.
About the entry: All young Somaya wanted to do was to accompany her friends in retrieving a football from the backyard of her neighbour, Mr. Duppy. Rather than finding a football – however – Somaya is faced with gleaming, yellow eyes and her reflection in a minacious cutlass.
In the 2017 Wadadli Pen Annual Writing Challenge, the judges ranked Lucia’s story 2nd in the 18 to 35 age category.
“Run!” the shrill voice shouted. Rain pelted violently onto my face, as I raced for my life.
“Run, run, run!” the voice sounded out, even more panicked than before. My legs began to ache, but my pace quickened. Images of a sharpened cutlass, gleaming in the moonlight, and my own life flashed before my eyes. The mud from the poorly constructed trail flew onto my legs as my sore feet hit the ground. Tears sprung into my eyes, and I could not tell whether they were from the pain or the fear that I felt. Perhaps, it was both.
A scream erupted behind me – it had gotten to one of them, and it was growing closer.
“Oh Christ, oh Faddah help me,” I whimpered, my voice quivering. Tears began to blur my vision, and before I knew it, I could barely see the path. The rain continued to pour with vigour, and my legs began to weaken.
Crash! As if in resonance with the thunder, I slipped and tumbled down the slope near to the path – into the thicket below. When the tumbling ceased, I shrieked in pain – thorns, cuts, and bruises covering my body. I stayed on my back and faced the sky. The rain became gentler – it was almost healing.
When did everything go wrong?
“Somaya, move!” Brendaly exclaimed. Without another thought, I darted to the left – barely missing the ball that came hurtling in my direction.
“Watch wey yuh kicking de ball, nuh!” I shouted over to my group of friends that were playing a rather intense game of football. I reclaimed my seat on the steps in front of my back door, and gentle breeze blew, rustling the leaves of the tall, tamarind trees within my backyard. Sighing, I looked over at the yard of my neighbour, Mr. Duppy. As usual, it was lush, vibrant, and smelled of sweet, fresh fruit. However, it had always been difficult to peer into his yard –beyond the greenery. It was almost as if Mr. Duppy had created his own world within his back yard, and I could not blame him for doing so. After all, his ex-wife had taken pride in their beautiful yard. I looked toward the sky; grey clouds had begun to form.
“Marc!!! Yuh foot ben’ up see!” Isiah yelled, immediately catching my attention. Marc had kicked the ball into Mr. Duppy’s back yard, and as a result, a fight ensued.
After much quarrelling, it had been decided that Marc would climb over the fence to retrieve the football. However, ten minutes had passed, and worry began to set in. The once clear sky was, now, completely covered with dark, rain clouds.
We climbed the fence – the biggest mistake we would ever make.
Entering his yard felt like we had truly entered another world – perhaps we had. Wild plants grew all around us, and there were a few narrow trails that lead into different directions.
“Help!” Marc’s voiced called – it sounded strained. Quickly, we dashed in the direction of the sound, but when we finally discovered Marc, he was not alone. A dark, shadowy figure towered above us, yellow eyes glowing. It gripped a cutlass in its right hand, and a toothy grin slowly spread across its face.
The sound of footsteps brought me out of my thoughts – I was still on the ground.
It was right above me, now; I accepted my fate. I took one last look at its glowing eyes, darkened face, and menacing cutlass.
“Mr. Duppy?” I uttered, before he swung the cutlass down and everything went black.
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With thanks to our patrons, see this writer’s total prize haul below (and remember, support the businesses/individuals who support the arts):
EC$200 (contributed by Juneth Webson)
Book – On Writing by Stephen King & spot in the Just Write Writers’ Retreat (contributed by Brenda Lee Browne)
Books – The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter (thriller) and Fire Child by S K Treymayne (contributed by Harper Collins)
Certificate (sponsored by the Best of Books)