‘Hostage’ by Olivia Newby, Year 10, Thomas Clarkson Academy

A sudden force gripped me from behind, a hand clamping over my mouth, stifling my screams. Panic surged through my veins as I struggled against the assailant’s iron grip. “Don’t make a sound,” a voice hissed in my ear, sending shivers down my spine.

Every step felt like a descent into the abyss I was a prisoner of the night, held captive by unknown captors.

The light flickered on and off while listening to the electricity travel through the wires. Light filled the dark room, and as my eyes adjusted to brightness, I managed to make out the dark shadow-like figures that now held me captive. With an aggressive rope, locking my hands behind my back and a single piece of duct tape sealing my mouth shut, the adrenaline from the frenzy faded and the reality of the situation sunk in. The world has become a melting pot of violence and viciousness as lately harming innocent people seems to trend, this is evil I thought. The world today is like ‘living in the shadow of death’ each day. It was my turn and I wasn’t ready. Are we ever prepared though?

Time seemed to stretch into eternity as I tried to keep the overwhelming sense of helplessness away, though, it persistently threatened to consume me. Thoughts raced through my mind in a frantic whirlwind; thoughts of loved ones, of unfinished dreams, of the uncertain future that loomed before me. a flicker of defiance ignited within me, a stubborn refusal to surrender to despair. I clung to that hope like it was my life support, my determination to survive. With each passing moment, I scanned my surroundings trying to find something that could help me, searching for any opportunity to turn the tide.

Hours seemed to stretch into an eternity and my ambition to escape this hostile environment slowly turned into the realisation that I may die here, in this room, completely defenceless. My stomach groaned with agony and emptiness, it was the only thing keeping me awake, but slowly and surely, I closed my eyes and wished this nightmare to be over.

I hadn’t seen anyone since I was dragged in here, I woke up to the sound of hushed murmurs and I felt a taste of freedom, I listened intently to the voices and realised that my prayers had been answered. Help had arrived and my heart was beating a million times a second. This whole place feels like a fever dream and I’ve just been bought back to reality. I soon discovered it was the police and I listened closely as negotiations unfolded between the authorities and the hostage-takers. There was a moment of silence… And then, in a sudden flurry of action, the SWAT team stormed the coffee shop, their presence a beacon of hope in the darkness.