This story is by Aril and was part of our 2020 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“Wake up Colin!” shouts Colin’s mother, packing her breakfast, “but its weekend mom…” replies Colin from his room in a feeble voice, wrapped inside a soft blanket. He was enervated from the match that did not go well, with belittling behavior by his teammates. Results of examinations weren’t compelling either; forcing him to pay attention to his academic life. Pulling himself out of bed, he wakes up to the beautiful sunny Saturday morning.
He slowly descended down the stairs towards the source of her mother’s sound which could only be coming from her haven, the kitchen. He noticed her being all over the place, “The director had to rush her daughter to the hospital; evidently she tripped and hurt her so called elegant face…” she said, “…I’ve been called urgently to fill his place in a meeting, I’ll be back in an hour.” Mrs. Hudson is mostly organized and on the clock, but always overwhelmed by the unforeseen. Colin gazed his eyes towards the television, “officials have yet to confirm cause of the incident…”,”have your breakfast…” She said, putting blueberry pie in her bag just in case the day turned out to be long and weary like every other day, “but we can confirm one of two leopards has escaped the Springton Zoo. The dangerous animal has been spotted near…” Switching off the television, Mrs. Hudson grabs a bag with seemingly important files sweeping past Colin, “… finish your homework …” she said, opening the main door, “…and if you do feel like it, tidy up your room please.” Stepping outside in scorching heat that came overhead, she rushed off to catch a cab.
Not paying much attention to neither her mother nor the news, Colin goes back to his room, curling back inside warm and cozy, dozing off almost instantly. He wafted inside his dreams. It was palpable for a teenager like Colin to go and live inside his fantasies, away from the soring responsibilities he was bestowed with, or so he thought anyways. It was here he felt limitless.
Among his many fantasies that weave together, he often finds himself somewhere near the wilderness, the exciting and the unknown. Right now, he is being chased by a peculiar beast somewhere sandy, dry and full of tremendous heat. Trying to discern what was chasing him, his focus faltered, falling straight into a shallow pit. The beast was approaching him at warp speed aimed for his flesh, prompting him to hop out and sprint afar before the danger became inescapable. Coming across a rugged landscape full of places to hide, he gets inside a crack among the rocks. Fully determined at making a trap, not to hunt down but to gain sufficient time for him to get to safety, He mulls how his late grandfather would have made it. It was now that his starvation howled louder than the beast resulting him to wake up from his reality into the real world.
Just as he was about to step out of his room, whetted noise from decade old wooden flooring made him feel someone was inside. Naturally, he concluded his mother forgot something in the hustling state she left or perhaps returned. A step away from ground level Colin calls out, “Mom can you make a milkshake for me?” Silence echoed in the house, with sound of steps coming to a halt, like a ghost vanishing in thin air. Something felt inexact to Colin, with air around still as a predator hidden in plain sight. Nevertheless, he swung his vision to the left where the kitchen was, walking towards it.
Everything seemed right, everything as usual. He chuckled at himself until he got a glimpse of his worst nightmare lurking behind the table. His eyes wide as ever, sent chills down his spine for what he saw. It was only for a second, but more than enough to figure out the minacious territory he stepped in. Fine haired appendage with striking shade of fire was sufficient for Colin to make a wild guess the animal inside his anachronous home cared to visit. Slowly gathering courage with exit to his side, he strides along the direction. Colin’s nightmare revealed itself, long sharp fangs with muscular jaw now coming towards him. Colin dashes through the hall in another direction, knowing he wouldn’t be able to outrun it. Slipping and tumbling down, it was his dream becoming reality. Cry of hunger of the beast reverberated from the walls, the floor and inside Colin’s pounding heart. He entered the storeroom, closing it in a miniscule amount of time.
Colin grasped for air filled with fear, locked deep inside darkness. Alone and petrified, thinking of reuniting with his mum filled him with tranquility for a while before terrifying possibility crept inside, “what if my mum returned now?” There’s no way to contact her, or anyone else for that matter. Helplessness, something he knew a great deal about was enraging. Watery eyes rolled down the tears down his innocent face. He recalled his grandfather, best known for his survival skills and eluding the gravest of dangers among the harshest of surroundings, giving him a ray of hope like the light peeking through the aperture, illuminating his fears. Swinging his hands around, he stumbled upon an old trap used to lacerate feet, used by him. Colin arms it shivering and gasping for air when a familiar voice tore him from inside, “I guess she does have an elegant face…alright…see ya on Monday.” Her mother had indeed, returned.
“Colin? Colin! I hope you’re not wandering around, you need to study” He propelled from the store room, running as fast as he could, dropping the trap and leaping into her arms. She was astounded by his affection. “That’s a first, you alright honey?” “It is inside our house!” Screech from the shadows paralyzed her, but the bravery of a single mother took over, grabbing Colin’s hand and dashing out the house. The merciless creature winded down the hall, stepping onto the only thing that could stop it. It did not trigger.
Thirty feet was all the distance left between them and decreasing quickly. She curled Colin tightly out in the middle of the street knowing running was futile now. The searching animal catchers with a media reporter alongside the zoo officials miraculously saw transpiring of something they’d never imagined. Stepping out, one aimed a rifle, trying to lock onto the swiftly moving beast, one rushed towards it, knowing fifteen pound vest would make him live another day. One prayed for their safety, while capturing every moment and the other two, feeling ashamed and blameworthy for their fallacy. The only thing standing between Colin and the unceasing predator was the only bond of love he had left, now in peril. Sound from rifle coincided with a dreadful scream. Was it the mother, the animal or Colin himself?