Congratulations to Jennah Anderson, the winner of the Teen Read Week short story contest! Jennah's short story, "Finally Free" was selected from among 14 entries by a group of outside judges. Her printed story will remain on display for the public until the end of 2013. She receives a $50 gift card to Walmart which was generously donated by the Friends of the Library group (Thank you, Friends!). Jennah is a serious reader and advocate for library programming for teens. She was recently elected by her peers to the office of President of our new Teen Advisory Group. Jennah is a freshman at Litchfield High School. She enjoys reading, drawing, and is an aspiring writer. Her favorite author is Maggie Stiefvater. Way to go, Jennah!
"FINALLY FREE" by Jennah Anderson
The waves washed over me once again, sending me spiraling towards the cove. I knew if I didn’t get out of the water, and soon, I would die. The island my lifeboat had been headed towards towered above me. I surfaced and gulped in air, trying to see over the waves. My searches were hopeless though, only revealing rocky shoreline. The waves would dash me upon the rocks and that would be the end of little Ana Pierce.
Another wave descended upon me, bringing me even closer to the rocks. Something bumped my leg, but I was far more worried about the rocks than any shark or squid that inhabited these waters. I braced myself for the next wave, getting ready to swim under like I had seen surfers do on TV. As I dove, I felt the water spiraling above me. Coming up again, I looked to the shoreline, praying for a miracle. Being this close to the rocks, if I didn’t find anything in this search, I was a goner.
A sigh of relief overtook me as I found the sandy cove, hidden for view when I was farther out. I began to swim diagonally towards the cove entrance, diving under every wave, swimming closer inch by inch. As I swam closer though, fatigue began to set in, which didn’t surprise me, I had been swimming in the storm for quite sometime. As I began to fantasize about land, a huge tube wave sent me crashing into the rocks. I covered my head, managing to mainly shelter it, though I still hit pretty hard. When the wave subsided, I was carried back out with the next waves undertow. The next one slammed me against the jagged rocks again, and I felt a rib crack. As I was again carried back out with an undertow, something grabbed my pant leg and dragged me farther under. I prayed it would be over soon, as my breath began to leave my lungs, and the world turned black.
I woke up on the beach, facedown. I propped myself up and began to cough up water, scaring myself with the amount I had ingested. Turning over, I sat up, and glanced towards the island, bathed pale white in the moonlight. I sighed as my searching showed me no one, leaving my unanswered question as to who rescued me. I slowly managed to stand up, annoyed with my salt sticky t-shirt and jeans. I made to move forward but I was stopped in my tracks by a pair of glowing red eyes. There, standing before me, is what kept all of us kids out of the ocean. What sent shivers down everyone's spines. And what I had been told had slaughtered a whole towns years before on our home island. An equitum aquæ.
A water horse.
The pitch black stallion advanced towards me, slowly and confidently. I held still, praying it would get bored quickly without any chase. It raised it’s slender head high and let out a shrill sound that reminded me of the sound of hurricane wind. An answering keening came from the sea and the stallion glanced it’s way, pawing the sand. Looking back my way, I could see the hatred in the horse’s eye, and it must have saw my fear. It grinned, a gruesome horrifying smile of sharp pointed teeth, before taking another step further.
A splashing sound drew my attention towards the coves glassy smooth water. The storm had subsided, though a wave was drawing nearer and nearer. The stallion raised his head and let out a scream that shattered the silent night. As the wave reached shore, the stallion rose to meet it. Only then did I notice the other water horse, riding the wave in. The equitum aquæ met each other with a sound like thunder, each keening their challenge to the other. The stallions circled each other in the sand, and I backed away closing my eyes as they rose to meet each other again. I heard a cry of pain and the sound of a horse running into the ocean. I opened my eyes to see the pitch black stallion look me in the eye before retreating to the ocean. With a single splash, he disappeared.
I heard the champion stallion began to keen his triumph, a scary sound sending chills down my spine. I slowly turned to look at the champion, who practically glowed in the night light. His main body was a rich cream color, stained on his neck with a streak of blood, while he had pitch black stockings. His tail swished back and forth, showing that it too, along with his mane he was currently shaking, where pitch black. He rose on his hind legs, pawing the air in front of him with a final scream before landing and turning to me, with his startlingly green eyes.
I dropped to my knees and put my head in my hands, I waited for him to kill me.
“Are you alright?” a quiet whisper reached me.
I glanced up, only to jump back as my eyes alit upon a boy about my age squatting before me. “Who are you? Where the heck did you come from?” I cried, astonished that someone else was there.
He ran his hand through his night black hair, raising his green eyes to meet mine. I gasped, then looked to his neck. I groaned and buried my face in my hands yet again. “Are you serious? Am I really on this island, of all places?” I mumbled through my hands.
A quiet chuckle emanated from him. “Yes it is this island,” he told me quietly, “they must really paint us out as terrible creatures on the mainland.”
“Ya think? You just tried to kill another person...ah..er..horse...or...whatever,” I responded.
“Well, for the record, he was going to kill you. Now I need to get you to safety, he was not pleased with my intervention. He had his mind set on killing you, and he could come back at any time,” the mysterious boy said.
I raised my eyebrows and began to ask a question, but his silent stare stopped me. “No questions, but I promise I can answer them later, once you are safe,” he told me.
To Be Continued...