I’m so proud of the Story Squad Young Authors who've been developing their wonderful stories with us since the beginning of the year. In celebration of their dedication to, passion for, and the calibre of their stories, here’s an exclusive bite-sized morsel from Controller by 12 year old Alix Cane. I guarantee you’ll want more! Enjoy!
By Alix Cane
Chapter 1: A Matter of Life and Death
I pressed my foot into the cold, wooden surface of the stairs trying not to make a sound. I didn’t want to startle the thin, weary woman sitting on the bottom step. The woman wore a worried expression and had stringy, mousey-brown hair. Her green eyes had lost their sparkle. She held a chipped, porcelain mug with a grey-brown liquid sitting in it.
“Drink Up,” I whispered as I tiptoed to sit next to her.
“You don’t have to look after me, Maia if you don’t want to.”
I smiled, “No mum, I want to.”
The woman coughed and spluttered, her face went deathly pale. My heart sank. I placed a hand on my mother’s stone cold forehead. It was getting worse. I wanted to sit there and comfort her all day but a loud, discordant ring sounded. The doorbell. I stared at my mother tucked in a threadbare rug, struggling to tear myself away from her and darted down the damp, eerie corridors of my home.
I opened the worn door, avoiding the sharp spikes of splinters protruding from its wooden surface, and was greeted by a warm glowing smile. Gina Meyers, my best and only friend. Her dark brown hair fell in waves over her shoulder and her sky blue eyes sparkled. Each morning Gina was at my front door, the single beam of happiness in my life. She stretched out her hand and I grabbed it, closing the door behind me, my mother’s sickly face flashing in my mind. Gina placed a hand on my shoulder.
“Don’t worry, it will be alright. The doctors will find a cure.”
“But that’s it,” I replied. I pushed Gina’s hand off my shoulder, “the doctors don’t even know what it is.”
Sunlight glinted off Gina’s watch into my eye. I grabbed her wrist. 8:16. We were going to be late for school. I yanked Gina’s arm, pulling her into a narrow laneway where Danika waited. Her torn, oversized short dress was even dirtier than usual. I held out the apple to her that I’d grabbed on my way out. She snatched it from me and took a huge bite. Her face was encrusted in dirt and she was surrounded by rubbish from the bin she sat next to. A dirty tear trickled down her face. Behind her makeshift shelters of jagged wood and cardboard were crammed into every possible spot and hungry families huddled together.
There had been a year in my childhood, when I was seven, where every evening I had waited on the streets for my mother to return home. She had struggled to find a secure job and was trying hard for us to have enough money to survive. It was hard to make money in Traxton. I was never really sure what drew her to this town. Everything about it was impoverished and depressing.
Every day Danika would wait for her mother, who had left early in the morning for work, to return home. I often gave her news of her mother if I happened to see her in the town. Children like her were normal in Traxton, our small coastal town. Poverty-stricken families and orphaned children roamed the streets looking for food and shelter. Traxton had been this way for as long as I could remember but the Traxton myth I had heard around the town said it hadn’t always been like this.
Hooked yet? Stay tuned for the next instalment, coming soon!