Sadie Ann Goosen
The year 2020 burnt across the world, leaving it scorched and gasping for breath. Buzzwords like “the new normal”, “in the time of COVID”, “home office”, and “lockdown” have forced change upon us just as Mother Nature gifts us with green sprigs of hope that burst forth on a charred landscape.
In August 2020, my granddaughter, Sadie-Ann Goosen sent me PDF screenshots of the initial 7 chapters of her first ever attempt at writing a novel. I was amazed as I read. Then I thought to myself that I was just biased, so I sent the first chapter to my soul sister and editor without telling her who wrote it, just merely that I received it from a child.
My heart burst with pride when she came back and told me that it was “excellent”. Only then did I tell her that it was not a 14 or 15 year old child as she suspected, but my granddaughter who is 11.
I thought I would share this with my reader audience. Please note that I left it unedited, so yes there are errors. I want to give you, my readers, the real feel of how it was written. I have always believed there is a writer in each of us. All it takes is hard work, determination, and to ignore that inner critic.
I was walking through the school hallway to get my math’s book. I walked past the three most popular girls in the school. As usual, they called out ‘Nerd! Loser! Freak!’ To be honest I do not really notice they say it anymore. As I got to my locker, I saw the school bad boy. The school bad boy is a jerk. If you were new, you could tell he was a jerk from miles away. I wanted to tell him to move so I could get to my locker, but I was scared he was going to hurt me like last time I tried.
“Could you please move? My locker is behind you…” I asked politely and gently.
“What are you going to do about it nerd?” he scowled at me.
“Ha-ha. Just what I thought.”
“Please just let me get my book and I’ll leave.”
“No can do. If you want your stupid book, you’re going to have to go through me.”
“I don’t know how to fight…”
I walked away holding back tears. Why me…It is just a darn book! What is his problem!? I thought to myself. I walked into math’s class. Everyone was sitting down at their desks on their phones, while the teacher was reading her emails. I quickly sat down trying to not be noticed by anybody because I saw the clock and it showed that I was 10 minutes late. I took an empty piece of paper from the drawers under my desk. I opened my pencil case and grabbed a pencil. Uh oh… I thought. My pencil was blunt. I quickly got my sharpener and started twisting my pencil in the smallest hole. Then my pencil tip snapped. I tried to pull my pencil out of the sharpener, but it would not budge. The lid went flying onto the floor when I tugged at it. Pencil skins landed all over me. I freaked out. Mom would kill me if I got this dress dirty. I quickly got up and hurried to the bin, cleaning myself. Then did I notice that everyone was staring at me, including my teacher. I could not take it anymore. I ran out of the classroom with tears rolling down my face. Just as I got out of class someone bumped me and the person and I both fell. I hit my head hard, so I passed out.
I don’t know how long I was passed out for, but when I woke up I was in the nurses office and a boy who looked about my age was sitting next to the bed I was laying on. I sat up, rubbing my head.
“Uh…” I mumbled.
“Oh, your awake!” the boy seemed happy I was awake.
I wondered why he was happy.
“Why do you sound so happy? Why am I here? Who are- “
“Woah there! Slow down. Let me answer your first question.” He giggled a little.
I felt embarrassed.
“I’m happy because you hit your head pretty hard when I bumped into you.” The boy said, still giggling a little.
“Is that why I’m here?” I asked
“No. You were hit in the head by a basketball.”
“Wait what?! How?” I said not even realizing that he was being sarcastic.
“Chill. I was being sarcastic, silly.” He laughed.
“I knew that!” I said quickly, embarrassed.
“Anyway. I have got to head to class. I’ll catch you later at recess!” he said with a smile.
“Sure. Bye.” I suddenly felt lonely when he left the room. Oh my gosh I did not even ask for his name! I face palmed myself and yelled at myself silently.
I got up and walked out of the nurse’s office. Just then the bell went for recess. I wondered if the bad boy would still be by my locker. If he were, I could ask that boy who helped me for some food. I walked to my locker. Thank goodness he was not there. I opened my locker door, grabbed my recess, and walked to the cafeteria.
The boy was sitting at a table all by himself. I felt a pinch of sadness for the boy. I approached him slowly.
“Hey. Are you okay? You look lonely.” I asked the boy who looked like he had gotten bad news about something.
Wow I am dumb. He does not have food. Poor guy. I thought to myself.
“I’m fine.” Said the boy quickly putting on a fake smile, as he looked at me through sad eyes.
“Where is your food?”
“Ace took it.” Said the boy.
Oh yeah. The bad boy’s name is Ace. I totally forgot. I laughed at myself silently.
“He’s a jerk.” I said sitting on the chair opposite the boy.
“Here is some food. I’m not that hungry anyway.” I handed him a juice box and some salad.
“You’re the best. You didn’t have to though.” He said looking at me.
“I want to. I’m repaying you for taking me to the nurse anyway.” I grinned.
“Thanks.” He said, now smiling brightly.
“Also, I forgot to catch your name?” I asked.
“Oh. It’s Zack.”
“Cool name! My name is Asher, but you can call me Ash for short.”
“You have a cool name too!”
Just then, the lockdown bell went off.
“CODE RED! CODE RED! CODE RED! GET UNDER TABLES NOW!” Yelled the cafeteria speakers.
“Oh my gosh! Quick get under the table!” I screeched at Zack.
We both climbed under the table.
The cafeteria door had opened! I could see that Zack was about to cry. His face was beginning to become red and his eyes were getting teary.
“Don’t cry. It’s okay, we’ll be fine.” I whispered into his ear.
“Thanks Ash. Please don’t leave me…” He whispered back.
“I won’t. I prom- “
Something grabbed me by my shirt and pulled me out from under the table. Oh no. Why me? Somebody please help! I prayed silently. I was being dragged out of the cafeteria by my shirt. I saw Zack. He was pale and crying. I am sorry I could not keep my promise. I will find you again… I promise. I mouthed to him as I was dragged out the cafeteria and into the hallway. Then I was pulled off the floor. I looked around to see who had dragged me away. Behind me was a man. I realized that he had a baseball bat in his hand and rope in the other. I started crying, praying to myself.
“What do you want from me?” I mumbled.
“Nothing.” Said the man.
“Then why did you take me?”
“To get revenge.”
The man took off his hoodie.
Oh my gosh…It was the guy who my parents shot after he tried kidnapping me when I was 7!
“It wasn’t my fault they shot you! It’s your own fault for trying to kidnap me!” I yelled at the man.
“I don’t care. I have the perfect punishment for you.”
“What is it?”
He put the bat on his shoulder and aimed at me.
He hit me with it. I passed out.