THIRD PLACE: 11-14
Hailey Stewart, 13, Port Coquitlam
The soft, compressed dirt cushioned Adalee’s feet as they propelled her through the towering cornstalks.
The wind rustled the stalks as she ran through them. The leaves whipped Adalee’s exposed skin. She raised her arms to cover her face but her bare arms stung beyond belief.
She couldn’t tell where she was going in the darkness nor did she care, she just had to get away, away from them.
“Adalee” she heard them whisper.
She was running but they weren’t getting any further, they were surrounding her. She cupped her hands over her ears, but the whispers just turned into wails. They were getting louder and louder.
“Adalee” they screamed.
She looked for the end but all she saw was them. They appeared and disappeared as she passed. She knew they weren’t real. It was all in her head. She had been told this countless times before. It just felt so real. They were ululating at her now, screeching her name. She wanted it to end, she wanted it all to stop but she couldn’t do anything. Her legs were burning from running but she couldn’t stop.
Tears streamed down her face as she screamed back. “Stop it, stop it now!” Her throat burned as she screamed but she didn’t care.
Just as she wanted to stop she saw bright lights up ahead. She sprinted with all she had left in her to the end of the corn and suddenly the screams stopped. It was silent other than the rustling corn she had stumbled out of.
It was a barn, but the red paint was chipped and peeling so it couldn’t have been new. “Maybe they could help,” she thought.
She walked over to the big barn doors and pushed one open. The rusty bolts screeched open.
“Hello?” Adalee said into the darkness. She repeated herself and still no answer. After her eyes adjusted, she grabbed the hanging light chain and yanked it.
As the light filled the barn she stumbled back in horror. It was a truly gruesome sight. There, in the middle of the barn lay her sister Maize, cut open like a pig in a butcher shop. The young girl was in a puddle of her own blood, guts and ichor. She ran to Maize’s side and collapsed to her knees on the floor beside her, sobbing.
“Maize?” she said softly through her tight throat. She stared at her sister’s lifeless corpse, hoping this wasn’t real too, that this was just one of her episodes and that it would all be okay in the morning. She dropped her head, closed her eyes, and placed her hand on Maize’s still chest.
Then, she felt Maize’s small, cold hand grab back.