‘Trapped’ by Brooke McAree, Year 10, Thomas Clarkson Academy

As the sun fell behind the clouds, the water crashed with the rocks below. The girl strolled gingerly along the edge of the little cliff, not too high to be dangerous, but high enough to hurt if she fell. The water appeared agitated, even furious, in contrast to the brilliant blue ocean’s usual tranquil attitude.

Suddenly, a strange sound rang in her ears, as if it were coming from everywhere and nowhere at once. Her eyes flew around, looking for something, but there was no luck. It became louder with each passing minute, either getting closer to her or further away, it was impossible to tell. She continued her journey along the cliff, first ignoring the maddening sound, then attempting to escape it. Regardless of how far she walked, it continued to reverberate in her ears.

She paused. Her thoughts had wandered far outside of reality as she considered possibilities and speculations regarding the strange sound. She had no idea how near to the edge of the tiny cliff she was, except that it was no longer a small cliff. She had climbed it to the top, where a fall could now be deemed perilous. She attempted to make a run for home, except that would be impossible as her vision was obscured by a bright white light. It took a few seconds for her eyes to adjust from the obscurity of the early night sky to the vivid hue, but by then, it was too late. She froze.

She wondered what she should do. She had no idea what was going on; seeing a group of middle-aged men in white cloaks appear behind her. She noticed the individual in the middle approaching her cautiously. She was still unable to move. The more she attempted to move her feet, the more she felt anchored. Even if she could move, where would she go? The men had blocked every path.

She tried to think quickly about how to get away when one of them stepped dangerously close to her. A low, scratchy voice murmured from beneath the black mask covering his face, but she couldn’t understand what he was saying. Was he speaking in a language she didn’t understand? Or was his voice muted due to the thickness of the mask?

She stood still. Not knowing if it was safe to move, he drew closer and closer until there was no room between them. She moved her head to look at him, hoping he would talk to her again, but he hovered over her in an unsettling way. His voice could be barely heard again, but she wasn’t sure what he was saying. Slowly, he began to talk louder, and the group behind him followed suit. There was no way of knowing what they were saying, but she was more concerned about the scorching sensation on her skin. She began to feel disoriented, like she was losing her conscience; perhaps she was, she didn’t know…