Winner (7 – 11 yrs) Evie Chester, aged 10, Inkpen Primary School
The mist was rising. I was lost. It had all happened too quickly. I was paddling at the whirly pool (I was staying at Nan’s in Hungerford, away from my seaside home) when a strong current swept my feet away. The ground was no longer underneath me; I had no idea where the sky was or the earth. It was a never ending black hole. Suddenly a big rock came towards me.
Now I’m lost somewhere on earth – no I’m not alive – yes, I am. Wait. I’m under a bridge. All around me, cave-like walls are covered in thick bright slime, it seems so magical, yet scary. I think how cold it is. My brown hair is waterweedy. I look at myself in the water; I am like a mermaid with my big mysterious green eyes and grubby summer dress. The cold starts to creep around me. It is so cold I still can’t feel the bottom of the murky canal, or my feet are too numb to feel. Finally I decide to haul myself out of the water and drop off to sleep instantly.
“MUM” I shout! She should have come to wake me up! Oh I’m under that horrible bridge. How am I to get breakfast, I think as my tummy growls and I shiver? Hopelessly, I dive into the cold water only to bring out a manky plastic bottle. At last, after many attempts, I get a small fish. I remember how I make the fire at Scouts; with an old piece of steel on the flinty bridge and some dry hay, I had a feast of a small cooked fish and slept.
I wake, feeling very homesick and decide to keep going. At school I am the best swimmer, although I never have swimming lessons, it confuses me. All the girls love unicorns, I prefer mermaids.
I have swum quite far now, still not knowing where I am. Around me there is a sea of meadows, poppies blanketing them. Mist was starting to roll in again. I am lost. There is nowhere to go now so I try to fish but fail, I am too tired to do anything else.
Today, I am woken up by an otter sniffing me! “Hello little feller” I said. The otter curled up in my lap. It seemed to think I belonged here. I got up and it followed me but then swam off. Instead of being a miserable grump I felt in a good mood, deciding to go and swim, after a breakfast of fat fish.
After a while I heard something above me, so I looked up and it was a seagull, or was it just a bird? The water tasted of salt, didn’t it? I was near the sea, home, or was I? I got so excited that I forgot I was in the water, but when I tried to walk out, my legs no longer felt separate. I didn’t feel human anymore. I was home.