Highly Commended place in Senior category
Under The World
By Stevie Austen, year 10+, Les Voies School
Underneath the sea, rooted deep down underneath the water into the vantablack abyss, miles and miles past every coral, grain of crushed shells and terrifying swimming creatures, existed a colossal world, almost like a different dimension, never to have been discovered by humans before.
The creatures living below were all unique, many of them one out of a family of hundreds more, though a few were the only ones left of their kind. The entire place was alluring and magnificent, the grass never a dull shade, the sky barely ever grey and the wonderful so-called “monsters” were what made Amagat * the welcoming and humble home that it was, away from the real monsters, living outside the portal, above the ocean. Until one son of a sailor, stole his father’s boat, heading out far away with food, drink, clothes and a plan to leave his small rock of an island and live alone.
A rocketing storm hit. Out of nowhere it plummeted down, lightning striking anything and he was involuntarily dislocated from the surface of the waves, torn beneath the water, bubbles escaping from the teenager's mouth. He gasped for air though his lungs were only capturing the salty liquid that dreamt of overfilling his lungs. The boy’s animated face turned white as he abandoned the gusts of winds and the freedom of breath sinking down into a freshly developed black hole, along with his father’s navy blue boat.
Drifting back from unconsciousness, the boy awoke, brushing his dark strands back, as he coughed up the remaining sea that had made home inside him. His eyes, at first blurry, became visual again and he looked around. He had found himself on a beach, soaked, cold and sandy. He stood up, took a deep breath and held his chest, hoping to feel a heartbeat, followed by another breath of relief.
A creature approached, like a human, but instead of small round ears there were tall, pointy ones climbing up out of her long brown hair, and a long skin tail wagging from behind, her tail the length of a lion’s. He gazed up and rubbed his bloodshot, rheumy chocolate eyes and stepped back.
“Hello.” Its voice was soft and sweet, though a little rough like a dog’s growl.
Unaware of where he was, he stood up, remaining silent, keeping his eyebrows high and his eyes wide. The seemingly dog-human hybrid told the boy that he could never go back home. He grinned, dripping wet, while she explained how he had passed through a portal. Once, he had almost drowned. She looked down at her acquaintance. He remembered his dreams as a child, to discover something new and now he had, a whole new impossible world.
“I didn't want to leave anyway.”
* Catalan word for ‘hidden’