by Cheyanne Darroux, 11, Golden Grove Primary
It was a clear, still night and the moon shone so brightly through the waters that Tom, the crab couldn’t sleep.
Suddenly he saw a beautiful sight. A bright red light moved along the shore and threw down into the water, a long flame. Being a curious crab, Tom swam towards the shore and met the light as it stopped over a rock. There underneath the light lay six great salmon looking at the flame with their great, googly eyes, waggling their tails as if they were pleased with it.
Tom climbed on the rock to look at this wonderful light. He heard a voice say ‘Forget the rules. We have to sell the salmon to make a living’.
Another voice said ‘If we do that the Animal Safety Control will arrest us. We are breaking the law. We can only hunt two animals per week or else spend 52 years in prison.’
‘I am willing to risk it. The money is worth it.’
Tom saw two men scoop up the salmon, put them in a cooler and roar away in their boat.
Tom jumped off the rock and followed the boat to see what they would do with the salmon.
The men stopped the boat and ran up on the sand to a shack.
Tom jumped out of the water, clacking his claws ‘I am Tom the Ninja crab. Let the salmon go. Hi-eee —’
Instead they caught him mid-air and put him in the cooler with the salmon.
‘Don’t worry’, Tom said to the whimpering salmon. ‘I will save you. We will not stay in this cooler forever. Wait for me. I am coming back’.
Using his claws, Tom punched a hole in the cooler and jumped over the edge of the boat into the water. He surfaced and saw the men talking on a cell phone. A taxi pulled up. They jumped in, with the cooler still talking on a cell phone’
Tom was tired, but then he felt a tap on the back of his shell and before he knew it he was flying in the air, held tightly in the beak of a frigate bird.
‘My name is Freddy and you saved me once from being cooked by a group of boys. I can still remember one of them crying in pain from you pinching his nose. Hold on.’
‘Follow that taxi, Freddy!’ cried Tom.
Freddy followed the taxi until it stopped at the St. John’s market. He landed just outside the Market Street entrance and gently lowered Tom onto the ground. Then he rose into the air and flew off into the night.
‘Thank you, Freddy!’ cried Tom.
The two men jumped out of the taxi with the cooler. They placed it on a table and started to shout ‘Come buy your salmon. Fresh from the sea!’
Tom leapt on the table and the people screamed and started running. One lady pushed over the cooler and the salmon fell into a bucket of water, that was luckily near the table.
‘Halt in the name of the law!’
A woman and a man in Animal Safety Patrol uniform grabbed the men and handcuffed them. They put the salmon back into the cooler.
‘You get these little guys back into the water,’ said the man. ‘and I will take these men to the station.’
Tom followed the woman across the street, through the fish stalls and heard the splash.
Satisfied he jumped and as he swam away, he began to sing.
I am Tom, the ninja Crab
Don’t mess with me
Don’t trouble my friends
Or I’ll deal with you
You don’t know when
ABOUT the story: “My story is about a crab who fights on behalf of the creatures with his karate and his wit. My story is inspired by my father, who is a fisherman and who takes me, my brother, and sister out on the sea.” This work of fiction is winner of the 7-12 age category of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize 2020 Challenge. It also tied for the main prize – the first tie in the history of Wadadli Pen – making Cheyanne the first 12 and younger winner to claim the main prize.
ABOUT the author: Cheyanne sails, plays pan, and reads and writes stories. Her literary skills have been honed as a member of Quality Generation, the children’s auxiliary of the Vibrant Faith Ministries.
ABOUT prizes won:
Each winner is also set to receive a certificate, a selection of books from The Best of Books Bookstore and cultural items from the Cultural Development Division – Antigua and Barbuda.
Age Category Prizes – Patrons:
Main Prize Winner (tied) –
EC$500 – anonymous; free eye exam – Paradise Vision Center; US$250 worth of books sponsored by – Sean Lyons; custom-made journal – Jane Seagull; name emblazoned on The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Alstyne Allen Memorial Challenge plaque – sponsored by The Best of Books
For the full breakdown of ‘who won what’, if not linked (yet), use the site’s search feature.
ABOUT Wadadli Pen: The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize launched in 2004 with a writing Challenge that continues 16 years later. It is Wadadli Pen’s pilot project, in keeping with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, encouraging writers (and visual artists) in Antigua and Barbuda (35 years and younger) to create a piece on any topic, within a Caribbean aesthetic. In 2020, there was also an Imagine a Future climate change challenge. To support the work of Wadadli Pen, contact email@example.com
Please respect the author’s copyright. If you share, excerpt, credit, and link back; do not republish without permission nor without crediting.