Write a story that ends ‘…and Sam felt so proud.’
Running. Running was all Sam ever knew. Grass, branches, bushes, and weeds, slicing at her sun tanned calves. She could run for hours and hours at a time. Feeling the prickling sensation of sweat bead up on her dried weatherworn skin. From dawn till dusk, she would run from where she slept that night, to where seemed safe enough to sleep again, occasionally stopping to drink, lap almost animalistic from a stream. She only had one fuzzy memory from a life before running; it was not a happy one.
Soft eyes, filled with tears. I look directly into them. Begging my round infant eyes to convey the emotions I cannot yet say. Mother. Anna. All names I hear her called. My tiny frail body fills with the warmth of love. I don’t understand the tears, but they now fill my eyes too. A man. I don’t know him but I hear his voice now. Deep and gravelly, but also deeply sad. ‘We can’t afford to keep her Anna’
‘can’t we try? She’s so perfect.’
The man speaks sterner now. His voice pragmatic, but resentful. ‘No, I’m sorry, its too much. I can’t take another job.’
I hear him leave and mum pulls me in close to her chest. Her wretched, lamentable cries envelop me. Sticking to the inside of my untainted brain. Filling it with macabre sadness.
The basket rocks gently, a cool breeze washes over me, clearing the trauma for now. Shaking hands touch my face. It feels like loss. A tear hits my face, asking my eyes to open. Mum. With the opening of my eyes, tears fall like a rainstorm. Soft hair brushes my face, ending the storm. And I see her run. Run away from me.
A deep sadness fills Sam’s chest., as the memory resurfaces in her brain. Since that day all she has known was to run from what seems like danger, what seems like fear. She runs faster, trying to outrun the overwhelming sadness, and soon the empty, longing feeling in her chest is replaced by the burning of physical exertion. The overpowering ache of sadness is replaced with the clamping pain of cramping muscles, the body’s urgent cry for rest. As the pain of feeling fades away, so does her speed. Her worried eyes scan the forest for a safe resting place.
She spots nothing.
Panic fills her skittish mind. Every shadow becomes a danger. Every rabbit, a bear. The trees unclimbable. No fallen branches to make a shelter.
No energy left to run.
With her back against a rough fir tree she becomes a wounded deer, surrounded by a pack of hungry wolves.
With nowhere to go the forest comes alive with noise. Fear prickles along her spine. Too scared to sit down while being so exposed, her legs tremble with exhaustion.
And then she hears it.
The snuffling growl of a bear.
She digs her nails into the rough bark behind her, desperate for some escape.
Then she sees it. Young, so smaller than an adult, but full of so much more energy, so much less fear.
Her instincts kick in and she realizes, she has no choice left but to fight. She grabs a small sharp stick off the ground by her feet, her eyes not leaving the bear.
And then she runs. Not away, but towards the bear. Screaming at the top of her worn out lungs, fueled by the need to survive. She braces herself for the collision with the hot, dank fur, but it never comes.
Opening her eyes she sees the bear run.
Run away from her.
And Sam never felt so proud.