right here, write now
2012 High School Writers Competition Winner
The Write On The River High School Writers Competition is generously sponsored by 2011 Keynote Speaker and New York Times Bestselling author Chelsea Cain. Click here to return to High School Writers Competition Main Page.
by Alexandrea Nessi, freshman at Eastmont Junior High
A figure moved through the lonely wood, so quickly that the world did not react to his presence until he was gone. Arriving at his destination, he stopped. His predator instincts assuring him that he was not being watched. He touched his hand to the sheer cliff face at which he had arrived, then stepped through the granite as though it were smoke. He was in a large atrium now, which was minimalist, ultramodern, and very expensive. Many floors wrapped around the walls, going up, up, up, until they reached a window-paned ceiling, giving the impression of being at the bottom of a very deep well. Disregarding all of the surrounding splendor, he strode purposefully to a large desk in the middle of the room. Sitting on a chair behind it was a woman with a ghostly pale face; it was beautiful, but gaunt. She looked at him with sharp, steely grey eyes.
“I am Ebon.” said the man, though she had not asked.
“He’ll be free shortly.” she replied.
Ebon sat without speaking. After a while the telephone rang and she told Ebon that he could go.
When Ebon was out of sight, another entered. “Go,” she said urgently to him, “he’s just been summoned.”
“Thank you” said the boy as the miniscule recorder was placed inside his shirt.
“Good luck,” she whispered as the boy as he headed in the same direction as Ebon before him.
Ebon stepped off of the elevator onto the fiftieth floor, walked down the dim hallway, and knocked on the door at the end. A voice told him to go in, so he entered, closing the door behind him. The room was modern and expensive like the atrium, and just as sinister. Unlike the atrium, however, there was a great pool of total darkness in the center of the room. That darkness contained the most evil human being to have ever lived, and some whispered that in fact, he wasn’t human at all, but a demon sent to punish them for wrongdoing. That was a myth; however, his evil was so great that he no longer was called by any true name. People mostly ended up referring to him as just “Him.” To his employees, followers, troops, and other people that had pledged themselves to him he was known as the Head.
“Sit.” the voice from the darkness commanded.
“I’m sure you are wondering why you have been summoned on such short notice.”
Ebon had, in fact, been wondering that very thing.
The Head snapped his fingers and a guard appeared, a manila folder clutched in his black-gloved hand, which he then gave to Ebon. Ebon then took it and looked through its contents.
None of them knew that they were being watched and overheard.
Lurking unseen behind a ceiling panel was the boy, about fourteen. He was very thin, and could slip through small spaces easily and silently, remaining unnoticed. He knew whatever was in that manila envelope was important. His hiding spot, however, did not offer him a view of it. Or them. He needed to know what was in there, he had to. His future and the future of many others depended on it. He changed spots, not worrying about being caught, for he had never been, not even by the keenest of eyes. There! He just barely caught a glimpse of something inside; that was all he needed. It was a photograph of a girl with dark hair, labeled Annex Keatley. He inhaled sharply; he knew that girl. It was then that he realized his mistake, hoping nobody heard him.
Unfortunately he wasn’t so lucky.
“Well, it seems as if we are joined by a visitor.” said the Head. “Why don’t you show yourself?”
Unwillingly, the boy stepped out in the half-light, his eyes standing out vividly against his pale, gaunt face. They were a green of which the likes had never been seen before, so vivid and intense that one was almost dazzled by them.
“Ah,” the Head said in response to the boy’s appearance, “you must be Sammuel Harris; am I correct?”
Sammuel stood still, not responding, but the Head knew anyway. “I was granted the great pleasure of killing your parents. I wonder if killing you will bring as much satisfaction…”
Sammuel just stood, paralyzed with fear and fury, both at himself and the evil voice coming out of that back hole.
“Why don’t you come here, boy?”
“No? Well then, your loss.”
Sammuel then felt himself being pulled toward the great darkness by some invisible force, so strong that even he couldn’t fight it, until he was standing at the very edge.
“Closer now, so I can see you and you can see me.”
He screamed as he was swallowed up by the darkness and with that, Sammuel Harris was no more. His story was over, and as far as the two men were concerned, the manila folder and Annex would be still a secret.
“Now,” said the Head over the slowly fading scream, “as I was going to say before our little guest showed up, it is of the utmost importance that this girl is captured alive. Not dead, alive. You can torture and injure her all you want, whatever you need to do as long as she is alive. Why I need her is none of your concern,” he added, seeing the puzzled, questioning look on Ebon’s face. “I just need her alive. And fast. You can handle that, can’t you?”
Ebon said nothing, and the Head laughed; a horrible, evil sound.
“You are dismissed” he said, still laughing.
Ebon exited the room, shutting out the echoes of laughter and terror. With that, he set out on his next assignment.