‘A Hostile Environment’ by Goda Kiazimova, Year 10, Thomas Clarkson Academy

My name is Teequedee, and I never expected to find myself in this predicament. It all began on a scorching afternoon in Zimbabwe, where I went on my own solo excursion to chronicle the region’s rich cultural history. Little did I know that my curiosity would land me in the hands of malevolent individuals.

As I strolled around Skibidi’s bright streets, my camera clicking away, capturing the vibrancy of daily life, I had a feeling something was amiss. It was as if the air had thickened with anxiety, and the once bustling marketplace had become eerily quiet. I ignored the warning signs and continued dawdling, eager to explore the stories hidden in these woods. Without understanding it, it was too late to seek suitable protection as daylight was rapidly fading. The only option was to pitch my tent in the middle of nowhere and let the cosmos do the rest. I had the uneasy sense that something/someone was following me, but then I remembered that I was in the middle of a forest. Without warning, I was startled when something supernatural gripped my arm. I stood stunned, paralysed in response. As I turned to see who it was, I was battered in the face by a bat.

My mind whirled, my cheeks felt numb, and my eyes flickered to take in my surroundings. Without knowing what had transpired, I was transported to another area. Was this a real or an out-of-body experience? Was I still alive, or did something kill me while I slept in my tent? My confusion intensified when I found myself transported to what appeared to be a war-torn city. It appeared to be once a metropolis with a bustling street full of emotion and colour, as images hovered just above my head, showing a time when this destroyed city was at its peak.

Before I could clear my mind, I was catapulted into the middle of a dimly lit temple room which was exceptionally deafening quiet. I felt alone and unsafe, and I knew I had to leave. I reached for my face, but it appeared to be numb. Struggling, I tried to move to run, but discovered that my feet were chained. There was no way out. Who did this, and why did they touch me? I had a suspicion that this was something evil.

Then, I heard “Hmmm…” in the distance. The sound of an ancient hum swelled in my ears, becoming increasingly louder until the sound takes over my entire head. It stopped just as the sound of bells began to toll in the distance, and I found myself hovering in the clouds. Below me, I could see a rescue crew; “We found all her stuff, but she is not here,” someone cried. ‘I am here, look up!’ I screamed. I was now a prisoner, confined to this awful space and time as someone carved ‘RIP Teequedee, gone to soon’ into the tree where my tent was pitched.