Storytelling is so personal, it’s difficult to disguise yourself in your words. I was terrified for many years of people actually reading what I wrote. Only my English teacher or my mother were permitted. Having worked hard on my writing technique throughout my life, it’s difficult to tell if I’ve improved or not. This is a symptom of my ‘imposter syndrome.’ I’ve always felt I wasn’t a real writer.
I’ve been especially self-reflective lately. This is mainly due to my age, however there is a certain healing power in it. My internal house work has kept me busy, fixing up old memories I haven’t been in for years. My teenage years were painful for me, and I’ve only established that truth lately. I didn’t want to dwell on my school days or early college years and spent a lot of time avoiding those memories.
Now that I’m more at peace with all iterations of myself, I have the courage to post a story from when I was 14. I present it as evidence of my writings maturation. The only changes I’ve made are grammatical, because nobody wants to see that. Otherwise it is a raw example of a ‘Jenni’ story, circa November 2004.
Freezing air filled my lungs. I knew it was going to catch me; it was inevitable. I turned up a narrow cobbled street. It was slippery but I kept on running. It was evening and the sun was setting rapidly. The tall buildings around me let very little light in so this particular street was very dark.
I could hear it breathing very heavily behind me. It was definitely gaining on me. The cold perspiration was running down my back. I could barely breath anymore. The pain in my side was the only thing I could feel. Everything else was concentrated on getting away from my creature. I wanted to slow down but my human in instincts told me that if I did it would be the last thing I ever did.
As I ran I remembered back a month or so ago. When a friend of mine had bought a rare species of monkey from the Amazon jungle. “ Go on!” He said. “ All these foreign monkeys are in fashion!”
Well it’s a pity that the creature I bought wasn’t in any of the archives in the local library. It wasn’t in any rare creature’s book and a friend of mine who studies rare animals said, “well you know what Michael I’ve never seen anything like it and I’ve seen a lot of strange things!”
Even the man who found him said that he found him in a rather strange place. He said “He somehow dug his was under some tree roots without damaging the tree, and he was asleep when I found him, so he was the easiest catch I ever made!”
“Amazing!” I thought, “beautiful, wondrous, a new chapter for human kind.” He was four foot tall, with four limbs. It walked on its hind legs but its arms were very small. It was covered in short strong fur. Its features were almost human like except for its eyes. They were large and dark. They seemed to be full of intelligence. It even bowed its head as if in some sort of greeting.
I was thrilled with my new pet, but I did not forget my old one. The next morning I awoke to find my cat John-Joe and the creature on my roof. “John-Joe come down I have your breakfast” but the cat continued to hiss and spit at the creature.
“Raorrrrr.” I snapped back to reality. I was still unable to breath and the creature was barely ten metres behind me. I was now running through the small forest beside the town, towards the docks. Night had fallen by this time,
I thought of the date. The 31st of December, not two weeks ago I had watched my cat plunge to its death. My cat knew, as he stood on that roof that the creature was corrupt. So it jumped off the roof not landing on all fours but sadly in my water barrel and drowned before I could fish him out.
I was very distraught at the death of my cat that I was blind to the truth. I should have guessed the reality of the situation when I read about the strange machine, which had been found by a logging company in the Amazon Rainforest. This I did not find strange. What I did find strange was the fact that my creature’s DNA did not match any compound I had studied in collage. I went to the library and researched this compound but I found no matches.
I was on a high. I believed I had discovered a new compound. I thought I was going to win the Noble prize for science this year. I was too busy working to realise that my creature was building strange equipment in my garden shed.
*Crunch* I nearly tripped over a tree root, I should be concentrating on the task at hand. I ducked into a large hole in an old oak tree. I felt light headed I paused for a moment to try and catch my breath. I could hear the creature coming closer. So I jumped out of the hole and started running again.
I could see the end of the forest and the start of the docks. I reflected on how intelligent the creature was. I knew my only hope was for the creature to drown.
I had discovered the creature’s machine quite by chance the night beforehand. I was going down to the bottom of my garden to get a sample of earth. When I heard strange sounds coming from the shed. “Click, zizz, waaag, nawk, tlick” these were the sounds I could hear. I went and looked in the window of the shed and to my great amazement and horror I saw my creature working on his machine. Oh my God I thought this creature is an intelligent life form.
Then it hit me; this wasn’t a creature from earth. I was having flash backs of the news headlines for the past few weeks. “It like some sort of metallic flying disk.” said one “It’s like nothing any scientist had seen before,” said another. The piece of machinery found in the rain forest belonged to my creature. I thought I was going crazy but now I knew my creature was an extra-terrestrial.
I knew now that if I let my creature continue working on its machine it would eventually transmit Earth’s co-ordinates to its own kind on some far away planet, and that could only mean one of two things: 1. They would be peaceful and want to join in union with Earth and teach us new and exciting things or, 2. They wanted to destroy human kind and all it stood for and take over the planet.
I had to make a decision and I couldn’t make it lightly. As I stood there I realised the fate of human kind rested in my hands. Without further thought I went and got my shotgun and headed back down to the shed.
Before I open the door I asked God for forgiveness. I barged in took aim and shot the creature’s machine. This was my mistake. My creature turn round with anger filled eyes, it let out a deafening scream. I froze for a second then thought better of it and ran.
I could hear a foghorn echoing in the distance and it snapped me back to reality. I ran for the nearest boardwalk. I stopped at the end of it and turned round. I could hear fireworks in the distance and people cheering happy New Year. The year was now 1980. I thought how far we had come since 6000 BC.
The creature came to a halt at the start of the boardwalk. For a few seconds we stood motionless. The creature took a running start and jumped at me, I ducked just in time and the creature plummeted into the water.
For a few minutes the creature helplessly splashed about in the water with its small weak arms, until eventually it sank. I sat on the end of the boardwalk till morning; I wanted to make sure it was dead.
I thought of how far human kind could have jumped into the future if we could have studied this creature and it’s machines. I also consider how the world could have been thrown into complete chaos if the aliens had prevailed.
I think we will leave this problem with aliens for the people in the 21st century. I stood up and started my long journey home.
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