Thursday, May 19, 2011

Contest Entry

Scezzle is having a short story contest on her blog! Go check it out, her blog is soulclanterritory.blogspot.com

Here's my entry! It's a shortened form to another story I'm writing:

I pushed my paddle through the water; it created tiny ripples in its wake. Glancing back, I saw complete emptiness. Shore was nowhere in sight. Before me was a seemingly endless ocean. The heat of the day was coming to an end, and it was turning into a cool evening. For this I was grateful.


I had finally convinced my parents that I should be allowed to kayak on my own, that I was mature enough, and now, all because I did not heed my father’s warning to watch the tide, I was stuck in the middle of the ocean.


Suddenly I felt a strong presence; it gave me a calm feeling. Some people probably think that the strong presence could be God, but I’m not religious. The presence was something much bigger. You’re probably thinking, bigger than God? I’m thinking, yeah. Since I don’t believe there is a God, everything is bigger than God.


There was something in the water, swimming circles beneath my boat. I pulled in my paddle and hugged my knees, staying in this position for about ten minutes, but the thing wouldn’t leave. I risked a glance into the water. Well, it’s not a White Death, anyway. White Deaths were the only thing that scared my village. Wars, bombs, blood… none of these things were even worthy to be called problems. But the White Death… well, that was a different story. Killings by them were reported daily. They lurked the waters around my island, making it not even safe to fish. I’m scared of anything that’s bigger than me, and White Deaths are definitely bigger than me.


A sudden movement in the water caused my kayak to move sharply to the left. I looked down again. The thing was coming to the surface! I leaned back just in time, right before it broke through the surface of the water. An orca! Orcas are very rare where I live, since they were all killed off years ago. It leaned into my boat, causing water to seep in, and I reached out to touch it. The orca moved just out of my reach and began to swim away. When I did not follow, it glanced back and stared at me.


I’m completely lost. Maybe the orca knows the way back to my island. As I watched it move swiftly through the water, I decided it needed a name. Sheila. The name came to my mind instantly. I’ll call it Sheila. Sheila must have noticed my remaining motionless for so long, because she turned back and waited patiently for me to follow. I immediately took up my paddle again and began to trail her.


After many long hours, shore appeared in sight. I felt like laughing and crying. Sheila swam up to me, and I again reached out to touch her. This time she let me place my hand on her head. “Thank you,” I whispered. Then my magical moment was over and she dove into the water, vanishing from sight. Could that have been real?


When I reached the shore, I saw people wandering around with torches, calling my name.


“Violet!” I heard my older sister, Kitty, yell. “Vi?”


I ran up to her and gave her a big hug.


Kitty squealed. “Oh Vi! I was so worried! Let me alert everyone that you’re back.” And with that she scurried off.


It wasn’t long before a single blue light brightened the night sky. Everyone cheered. Some because they were happy I was back, others because they wanted to stop searching and go to bed. I was happy to come home. Though I had never really liked the house I lived in, after the scare, it seemed quite grand. Even though it only had four rooms.


My parents didn’t question me, they decided it could wait till morning, which I was glad of.
_____________________________________________


After I explained what had happened, my parents said they forgave me, and I had eaten breakfast, I returned to my regular, everyday routine. Feed the horses, milk the cows, clean the stalls, and so on. I worked so hard that my parents said I could have the rest of the day off, so I went to the beach in hope of spotting Sheila again, though I knew it was unlikely she would come near the shore. If she did and someone saw her, she would be hunted down until she was dead.


I waited and waited, until it was near dinner time and everyone had gone home to eat. It was then that my efforts were rewarded. Sheila appeared. She was about to swim up to me when Kitty approached.


“What’s that?” she shrieked.


She was about to run back to the house when I jumped up and grabbed her arm.


“No, Kitty! Please don’t.” I looked at her pleadingly.


“What is it?” she whimpered.


“Her name is Sheila,” I said. “And she saved my life yesterday.”


Kitty looked at me and then at Sheila, doubtfully. “Saved your life?”


And then everything came out. I told her about getting lost, about Sheila finding me, and how she led me home.


Kitty’s mouth was an “O.”


“Wow,” she said. “I guess I can’t tell Dad if she did all that. But how are you going to keep other people from finding her?”


“She can protect herself,” I answered, more for my benefit then Kitty’s.


________________________________________________


“Where are you going?” I asked my Dad.


Dad seemed hesitant to tell me. “Well, there’s been a sighting of a killer whale, right near here, and I assembled a group of hunters to try and find it.” He paused. “It could bring in a lot of money.”


“Not Sheila!” I cried, grabbing his arm.


“Sheila? What are you talking about?” Dad looked at me like I was crazy.


“Um, Sheila. That’s what I named the orca.”


“You knew about it?” Dad turned and faced me.


“Yes!” I was near hysterics now. “Yes! And you had better not go near her!”


“I could make a lot of money off that killer whale! And you didn’t tell me?” Dad grabbed both my shoulders and shook me.


“There’s more to life than money!” I sobbed, getting very excited. “Please don’t! Please don’t kill Sheila!”


“Vi, I…”


“No Dad! You don’t understand! She saved my life!”


“That thing saved your life?”


“No, Dad, no! That thing didn’t save my life. Sheila did! Sheila’s not a thing. She’s a life! And how would you feel if you were hunted every second of your life?”


“Well…”


“Please don’t let them kill Sheila! If she hadn’t led me back to shore, I could still be out there right now! Please let her live!”


I could see Dad falter. “Well, for you, I guess I could. But only because the thing saved your life. Otherwise…” He rubbed his forehead. “I have a headache, but I suppose I must go stop the hunters.” As he walked off, I heard him mutter, “Why am I doing this? To save that thing? I could make loads of money of it.”


Thanks Dad. I whispered after him. I sat around, waiting for his return, but it was longer than I expected. When he did come in, his eyes held an intense look of hurt.


“I’m sorry, Violet, I was too late.”


“No!” I screamed. “Sheila saved my life! Could you not save hers in turn?”


“I am sorry.” Dad looked at me with a tired expression.


“No! No! You’re not sorry!” I was in hysteria. “You want the money! You don’t care about saving a life! You want to destroy life!”


“Vi, please…”


“I won’t stop! I won’t stop! Not until I see Sheila!” I clenched my fists at my sides. I jumped up and ran to the beach. Big mistake. The hunters were still there, cutting apart Sheila. Each time they cut a piece from her, I could feel something taken from me.


The orca that had saved my life, now gave her life.


I couldn’t do anything though. I wanted to throw those men to the White Deaths, but then I would likely lose my own life.


I dipped a toe into the water; it came out covered in blood. Suddenly I saw something white flash in the water. I wiped my eyes to get rid of all the tears that blurred my vision and looked again.


“White Death alarm!” I shrieked, jumping back from where I stood by the water’s edge.


Everyone began yelling and evacuating the beach. All the hunters stayed behind so they could kill it.


Killers! All you want is to destroy life! I wanted to yell, but decided that it would be best to not say that. That would only get them even more fired up.


One of the hunters raised their gun, but as he did, I saw the same sad eyes looking at me that had gazed at me the day I had been lost at sea.


“Wait!” I walked to the edge of the water and peered closer.


“Are you crazy?” The hunter grabbed my arm and jerked me to the side, again taking aim.


I glared at him and pushed him aside. “Sheila? Is it really you?”


The thing swam closer, and I realized it was a White Death. I felt ridiculous for thinking it was Sheila when she was dead, until I looked into its eyes. It gazed at me, swimming closer. I stepped into the water and inched towards it. The White Death continued to approach me, swimming slowly. I reached out a hand, it jerked back. But slowly, slowly, it came closer; I gazed at it, feeling a sense of calmness. “Hi there,” I said, reaching out my hand again. It swam closer and lightly brushed my leg. Everyone on the beach cheered. I smiled and waved at them.


And that is why, today, my village is at peace with White Deaths. They no longer seek to destroy them, and White Deaths are no longer afraid of us. Even my Dad was happy. Being the leader of the village, he seeks to earn money. And the White Deaths have become quite a tourist attraction. And you know what he said?


“This is all thanks to Sheila.”


It was the happiest moment of my life. “Sheila, Dad… you called her Sheila.”


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