‘The Fence’ by Harry

I was there. There is no food. There is no water. There is no family. Nothing. There is nothing left to live for; it is now or never. It’s all or nothing. There is only one chance. There is only one chance. A ten-foot fence towered over me, and standing alone, I realised there was only one way out. Over. I had to push through it. This was no longer a park climbing structure; it was genuine!

The next thing I knew, I was clutching the barbed wire so tightly that my hands were being destroyed. The spikes were holding back my bare feet. I jumped over the gate that had been keeping me back for the past…6 years. I was only ten years old today, yet I was finally free! “What should I do now?” I muttered something to myself. I heard voices screaming, “811, get back here now!” I ran. I ran as fast as I could for what seemed like miles and miles until I came to an end, a river, and I thought it was the end of me…

BANG! That was the eighth gunfire I’d heard in the last two minutes. I jumped in, not knowing how to swim, and waved my arms and kicked my legs as hard as I could. I was making some progress upstream when I heard “you won’t last more than 10 minutes out there 811,” but I knew there was no other way. That sentence, like 811, will be with me forever. This is my phone number. I didn’t even know what my name was; all I had was a number.

I peeled my number off my clothes, or what was left of them, because I was no longer 811 and needed a fresh start. The scratches and scrapes on my flesh were disguised by the holes in my garments. But I needed to keep going, I needed to investigate. I was finally starting to live the life I’d been avoiding for so long. Many fences surrounded people’s homes, and my memory flashed back to two hours ago. That was my life, trapped inside a fence with no apparent way out. I thought this was all there was to life. But no! Now I’m experiencing life and seeing things I’ve never seen before.

Life is so simple to take for granted. I assumed I’d be ‘normal.’ I suppose it doesn’t work that way. My parents always claimed we’d find each other and leave that filthy town soon. We never did, and every scream from the block next to mine made me think, “that is somebody’s parent.” I try not to think about the past, but I will never forget it.

Suddenly, everything became fuzzy, and I began to stumble. When I opened my eyes, I saw the cage that confines me. I felt a flood of panic and realisation wash over me. I’d never left…