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2018 Story Competition Winner Lower Secondary Alex Tepaski

The Edge of Insanity

Ameera used to find it hard to kill a man. Now, standing in the darkness, she remembered why.

She studied the scenery around her. The bridge on which she stood ran from one side of the mouth of the bay to the other. To her left, the sun had set, leaving her in the cover of night. To her right, she could still just make out the silhouette of buildings and skyscrapers that made up the city. Her city.

Finally, her gaze shifted downward. He stared up at her, brown eyes struck with fear, salt and pepper hair clinging to his forehead in sweaty clumps.

“Please Ameera,” he sobbed as he grasped helplessly at the edge of the bridge, the only thing stopping him from falling into the violent water below. “Ameera, I’ll take you to the park. Buy you ice-cream, help you climb the trees like we used to, remember?”

Lightning flashed in the sky above them, Ameera’s red curls bounced and flew in the wind. Stumbling back, she nearly fell over the edge herself, the criss-crossing iron flooring clanking under her feat. She clutched her face in her hands as her mind raced back 13 years ago. She did remember. She remembered all too well. Images of piggy back rides and loving smiles, and the fear on his face as her three-year-old self fell from a tree.

She couldn’t think that way. Those smiles weren’t full of love for her. Those panicked glances weren’t full of fear for her. They were all for his weapon. He didn’t save her. He led her into the trap from the very beginning. He raised her to kill.

Then. Why. Was. This. So. Hard?

“Ameera, you know I’m not a bad guy. I raised you. I loved you.” He swung upwards, attempting to get a second hand on the railing, and she almost let him. Stepping forwards, she kicked his hand away. He swung back and nearly lost his grip. Ameera wished he had. It would have made this so much easier.

“You killed,” her voice came out halfway between a croak and a groan. “You killed my mother.”

He hesitated.

“Your mother,” he began “died in a car accide-“

“DON’T YOU DARE!” Her pale eyes filled with rage. The grey looked less soft now and more like the storm clouds in the night above them, blocking out the stars, moon and anything beautiful that came with darkness. “Don’t you dare try and feed me those lies. Not again. Never again…” her voice faded to incoherent muttering as she paced up and down the bridge. He tried to get her attention, but she couldn’t hear anything over the sound of her own heartbeat pulsing in her ears. She’d lived with her mother’s killer so long she had begun to think of him as a father. How could she not realise what he was doing to her?

The world around her blurred and refused to clear, no matter how many times she blinked. The ringing in her ears was almost unbearable. Numbness spread throughout her entire body. She couldn’t feel the clothes on her back, nor the shoes on her feet. So, she did the only thing she could do.

Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.

Her heartrate slowed. Gradually, her thoughts came back to her. She looked at what she was, from a distance this time, and gradually, came to accept it.

Ameera was a weapon. An assassin. A killer in every way, shape and form. It was what she was trained to be. It’s what she had been for the past six years. Just because she generally didn’t go on missions unless absolutely necessary didn’t mean that she hadn’t used her capabilities.

She never had a choice in her actions, not really. Once he was gone, she’d have freedom she’d never had before.

Straightening up, she pushed her shoulders back and lifted her head high. The way she carried herself held a new air of confidence, of purpose, but the lopsided grin on her face gave away just how broken she truly was. She moved toward him with boldness and authority. Her eyes, icy and cold, glinted maniacally.

He saw her expression and began to panic. His pleadings turned to screams, his screams to helpless sobs.

She knelt to be closer to him. “This is what you trained me to be Arthur,” she called down to him. “aren’t you proud?”

“You’re insane!” He choked

Her grin widened. “I know.”

Then she stood, lowered her healed boot onto his fingers, and listened to his screams as he fell.

By Alex Tepaski

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