Short Story Competition: Searching for the Sunrise
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Dawn was my favourite time of day. It had something to do with the variety of colours in the sky. Reds, oranges, blues and purples: simultaneously caressing each other to create such a vivid landscape. Every morning since my eighteenth birthday, I woke up without fail to catch the sunrise. In the winter nights the sun stayed hidden until 7:44am. It felt like such a long time to wait until I could see my one and only comfort again. It was my friend, the only thing that I could truly rely on to be there. The only thing I could make sense of in a world that seemed doomed to destitution. Everything around me was so dull and grey. Nothing was natural anymore; therefore I often wondered what would become of us in the future. How many excuses would have to be made for another war, how many corrupt politicians would go into power before we said no. How long would it be before I could stop thinking for a change? An irrational thinker, that’s what I was told. Firstly by my mum, who worried when I slowly began to detach myself from society. Secondly, by my A Level English Lit teacher, who said if I wanted to get anywhere in life I would need to adjust my attitude and learn to accept that I could never change the world. I was constantly told to become a forward thinker. But I was stuck, how was it possible to look to the future when I had no idea what I wanted to be, or who I was in the present. They say that being an adult is tough; if I could barely handle being a teenager what hope did I have in the real world? My confusion compared to a parallel universe, it played on my mind and emotions, and the line between reality and fantasy was blurred. You could say that it was like a toxic substance waiting to consume me, leaving nothing but an inanimate figure behind. Many of my family members knew I was an abnormal child; I collected random objects that no one cared for. Pieces of thread, buttons that were accidentally left behind and scrunched up pieces of paper. Most of the time these were just food receipts, a waste of paper, but I used them to make collages. I had been doing this for five years. Most people that came by the house found my pieces interesting. Others questioned my mothers’ judgement and found them too morbid. When I was little other girls’ my age would play with Sylvanian Families and beanie bears, whereas I built a vast collection of living dead dolls. I looked past their grotesque and naturally scary appearance because there was something within my basic human nature that encouraged me to vie for the underdog. This is what I slowly became. Except, I didn’t support myself, I only came to accept all of my flaws rather than embrace what I believed to be my non-existent talents. Invisibility had become my inescapable super power. I often imagined myself as a ghost, people would only see me if they wanted to and the want was as rare as white lions. School was over, well, for a month at least. The deadline for university applications loomed over me like a grim reaper. It was something that I wasn’t ready to deal with. I had trouble deciding what to wear on a daily basis, so you can imagine my frustration trying to come to a conclusion on this. Rather than sitting down at my soul-sucking computer screen to further plunge myself into a pit of depression, I decided that I was going to go out and walk until inspiration for my future came to me. Surely, it would just hit me in the face. I hoped. The sky looked pale and washed out. I loved nature; everything about the outdoors captivated me. I had been walking for almost an hour and yet nothing came to me, other than dispiriting epiphanies about the inevitable fate of society. I had passed old, almost pre-historic street lamps, tattered signs and the odd homeless person. A part of me was tempted to turn around and go home but I wanted an excuse to avoid filling out my application, so I kept walking. Another hour passed before I came to a closed off pathway. The gate that sealed the entrance was rusty, connected by a limp chain, which looked like it would crumble at the slightest touch. Curiosity got the best of me. I pushed the gate apart as far as I could before the thread like chain restricted me; it was stronger than it looked. I managed to wriggle my way through; the waist up was easy but somehow my bottom half provided a slight problem. Looking around, I saw gravestone upon gravestone. A cemetery. Great. I was hoping to find myself in wonderland or Oz. I guess that was certainly too much to ask for. The creepy concrete slabs were covered in moss. Thus, reinforcing the feeling that this place had been forgotten a long time ago. I wondered if any one visited at all. As I walked around each concrete hump, I cautiously avoided walking over the soft patches of grass just in case the earth tried to swallow me up. There must have been over two hundred or so and I realised that this was a place that I probably shouldn’t be alone. I was about three quarters along the stretched out crack ridden path, when a small gravestone further downhill caught my eye. It was isolated, alone, separated from the others. I was about to approach it although a voice from behind startled me “Hello.” It said. I swiftly turned around eager to see whom the voice belonged to. A little girl, with brunette locks and rosy cheeks was stood there smiling at me. She wore a bright yellow dress that had flowers featuring many colours. The dress almost mimicked the sunrise that I waited anxiously to see every morning. She had white frilly socks on and wore black T-bar dolly shoes. “Hi,” I responded nervously, looking around to see if I was going to get into trouble. She giggled. “Who are you looking for?” “Well, I’m not allowed to be here, I’m kind of trespassing.” Still looking around me. “Oh, you shouldn’t do that, you could get into big trouble.” She crossed her arms behind her back and in a childlike manner shuffled her feet around. I didn’t know how old she was but I guessed around the age of eleven. Then I realised that similarly to me she was also alone. I looked around but I couldn’t catch a glimpse of any adults. “Where are your parents? You’re not alone are you?” “They are here somewhere, I always lose them.” Proceeding to hold out her hand “I’m Lily.” Ignoring her attempt. “Well, Lily, you shouldn’t be wondering around on your own, especially here.” “So, why do you? Where are your friends?” She eagerly questioned. It came as no surprise she was one of those irritating kids that always asked questions. “I don’t have any.” I went to walk away and she grabbed my hand. “You’re freezing.” I said pulling it away. “Don’t you have a coat to put on?”
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