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Survival at Dawn by AgencyMagic

Survival at Dawn by AgencyMagic


Runner-up, KidPub January 2011 Writing Contest



My blurry eyes opened, my mind barely waking. The ringing of bird calling ran though my ears. I struggled to sit up.

My limbs were sore as I struggled to sit. I fumbled, looking for my pocket. I looked around me, trying to decipher my surrounding.

I lay on mud, my arms buried under the wet dirt. I felt weak and sick, and tired. Around me was scattered trees, Vines, rocks, grass taller than me. A beetle started running up my leg. I had to escape. My heart was pounding, or was a migraine coming along?

I fumbled around my pocket finding a few items.

First I found three sheets of paper, crinkled up. I started chewing on a piece of gum from my pack of six. The flavour of mint soared through my mouth. One piece of paper was covering a dog biscuit. Funny, I never owned a pet. My old green yo-yo lay in my back pocket. Well, at least I wouldn’t die of boredom.

A black pen was in my hand, which I couldn’t move. My watch told me it was 6:33. I wasn’t sure if it was morning or day. I couldn’t see the sky from the foliage above me. My long blonde hair was all muddy and greasy, and although I was a perfectionist, I didn’t care. A library card was in my pocket.

I couldn’t remember any survival skills. Actually, nothing at all. I was sore all over. Spasms ran up my leg. Was this exposure? Or Pneumonia? Or even Multiple Sclerosis?

My stomach ached, but I was too tired to eat. Maybe it’s just a dream I thought, and I closed my eyes, hoping to get back to my world.


I was wrong.

When my eyes opened for the second time, the place was exactly the same. I wasn’t as tired and sore as before, but not willing to sit. I turned to be greeted by a pair of yellow eyes.

"Augh!" I screamed, jumping up like a firecracker. I looked for a knife instead finding myself armed with my yo-yo and the pen. I cursed under my breath. The monkey screeched. I swung, trying hard to get this monkey off my back! The yo-yo became tangled around the monkeys neck. The screech from the monkey echoed in my head, bouncing around the walls of my mind. It started clawing at the string. I pulled with all my might, playing Tug-of-war against the animal.

I kicked it in it’s flank. What was I doing? Trying hard to kill an animal. I was vegetarian. I was going on a rampage. The laws of the jungle were getting to me.

"Argh!" I moaned in desperation, letting go. The monkey untangled itself and ran into the foliage. I crashed into the ground, hugging my legs close to my body. I sighed, long and hearty.

I was never a survivor. I loved animals, loathed those people of the wilderness shows. I was a city girl, not caring of anything. And now, I was going to die out here in the jungle.

Slowly I picked myself up, staring into the abyss. Then I started running, never looking back.


Mud sloshed in my boots. I was running through nothing, vines and spikes tangling up in my hair, curling around me. Then I saw it. Sunlight, peaking though a gap from the trees. I sighed, with relief.

From what I could see, it was evening, the sky a beautiful rad and yellow, all mixed In a gradient, almost Iridescent. My legs spasms started up again as I tried to climb the vines. The dog biscuit started crunching up, sprinkling the crumbs to the ground. I didn’t look down. Then I felt myself sliding down. I looked, to see a pack of wolves growl.

There were dozens, each looking at me with black eyes, angry. Large crumbs fell from my pocket. One wolf leapt into the air to catch it. I started hyperventilating, trying to reach higher ground. I tried to do something. I threw the biscuit with all my might, landing twenty feet away from me. Surprisingly the wolves chased after it, leaving me with a few seconds to spare. I was just about to break into the light when I felt my vine be pulled down.

Then my body crashed to the ground.


The impact blew breath from my lungs. I wasn’t unconscious, but my bones felt like shattered debris. The wolves sniffed and searched my body, and ran away after one wolf howled in the distance. I let out a deep breath.

I saw the light slowly flicker into darkness. "Go to sleep, dawn. Rest. Wait for Dawn to break."

I slowly climbed up the vines, looking for a save haven, a tree or something. Nothing. No stable fork, no moss for a blanket, there seemed to be no bed apart from the grass and mud below me. And I may had been daft and clueless but I knew, predators crawled.

My mothers voice, an old lullaby from my old days. My mother. Is she missing me?

Look around you.
Can you be saved?
Look around you?
Is your destiny in place?
When you were gone . . .
I would be searching high and low
hoping your safe.
that’s all I need to know.

For some reason, I felt my mothers arms close around me in a embrace. I had to survive. I had to do it! For her! For my mom. She’s all I had left!

Look around you.
Don’t sink in quicksand
Look around you.
When I can’t give you a hand.
If your are gone.
Search high and low.
Remember my name
I hope that is one thing you know . . .

It was horrifying, hearing my mothers words come into motion. My mothers song, my lullaby. The words were calming as a baby, and I prepared for the final verse:

Look at you!
Curled in your dress.
Look at you!
Oh your a mess.
But here's a tip. While your are gone
search high and low
and maybe one day
you’ll come!
Back to me
Your a survivor
you can decide what’ s right
you must know
Look at you
Look around you
You know best.


"But, Momma? The kids pushed me to the ground and laughed at me!" I say, watching my mom sooth my cuts and sand burns.

"Stick it out dawn, your a survivor, you know?"

"What the flip are you talking about mom." I say, using my newly found knowledge of the phrase. My mom put a finger to my lips.

"Now, now, Dawn. Don’t be afraid. One day, you’ll understand."

I rolled my yo – yo in between my hands, listening to my stomach growl. It was the third day in this hell hole. I tried to see what my surroundings were, looking through the meagre gaps I seldom came across. Look Up. Look around you. Search high and low. My eyes looked to the gap sending beams of light on my shoulders. Vines looped around me, causing a good rope. Slowly, using trees as a step, I slowly picked myself up into the sky. A large fork was below my feet, causing a good standing ground. It was twenty feet high off the ground. My head just peaked over the trees, as for my height – five feet, two inches – and looked at my surroundings.

First there was endless trees, almost a rainforests, about a dozen miles wide and double that in length. Behind me though, was round about eighty feet long, the same width. I sighed. Then there was a rocky place, lots of grass, and a stream, running down the jungle. I had come across bits and pieces of the stream, using my hand and my library card, curved, as a cup, but it seemed to be a long river down the jungle. At the end of the stream was more rocks, more grass. Then water. It was like beach. At my sides, I could barely see it, but I did. The same terrain around me, then water. An island.

It was very hard to know what to do. Then it hit me.

Did my mom’s words guide me somehow? Tell me how to do it. Using a sheet of paper and the pen, I wrote down the lyrics, trying to decipher what the lyrics meant.

I worked all day, chewing the the hundred calorie gum, checking the time for normal dinner time, so my stomach wouldn’t be confused, crying out ‘eat! Fill me’ causing the pain. I worked, until there was no sunlight left. My legs swung fro the fork, desperately trying to wait for moonlight. There was none. Nothing to light the sky, apart from stars. But it was dark. So, gathering all my objects, threading moss together to hold them, using foliage and needles as a blanket, of warmth and protection, I lay on the large trunk. It was very wide. Three feet, I figured. I stuffed the objects at my feet, using large rocks as weights.

So I had no choice but to hug the song close to my chest, cover myself up with leaves and moss and wait until...


My eyes opened up with such force, it sent a ripple down my body. It was dawn. I was Dawn. My name had rung through my ears. My mom had told me, taught me – rather – to sleep still, in case I was alone and predators were at the corners of my surrounding. I rolled my eyes, but learnt anyway.

I sighed, wondering how I was supposed to do this. I was lost, alone, and very scared. Eight hours later, my mother had finished my mind sentence, or waking me up by warning me it was the time of Dawn.

I yawned, then almost like an electric current ran up my body, I realised where I was. I was in a daze, the corners of things black and blurry. I was hungry. Would there be berries or something? Maybe I could make a decent breakfast. How I survived these days, I don’t know. Maybe to was the protein rich, nutritional pack of gum as my life saver.

Now it was time to figure out an escape plan. Using my pen, running out of ink, I slowly drew a map, trying to remember everything correctly, get a good clone for it. Not that I could do anything. The only two plans would be ‘stay here, grow old, die.’ or ‘swim.’

No other option.

Trying to figure everytihng out, I slowly took in deep breathes. "Die." "Swim." "Swim and Die. Stay here, swim, die, grow old, swim, die."

Swim. Die. Swim. Die.

It was 6:20. a few hours before I would wake up on a normal day. The words buzzed around my head. No escape. Trapped. My body was curled up in a ball, on the large tree trunk. My eyes scanned the abyss. Mud, dirt, water, grass, trees, foliage.

Then I heard it. Again, the same word as what I heard when I woke. But terror and fear were visible in the tone, as well and it seeming grotesque.


I jumped to the ground, landing on my tailbone. "Mom!" I screamed, my lungs aching, not as awake as the rest of my body. I sprinted towards the place where it seemed closest. The place behind me, eighty feet long. All I had in hand was my yo-yo and library card, ditching my other objects, bringing whatever was in my hand at the time. Grass tangled around my feet. Causing me to trip, stumble, and crash to the ground on my way.

Then I came across the end, slowly pulling myself to the rocks.

My heart ached for my mom. She was tangled up in the long grass, her eyes weren’t on me though. A few feet shifted from my left. A growl, low as it may seem, was audible. Then the tiger leapt out into the abyss.

Throwing my yo-yo at the animal, trying to figure out what to do. Tears ran down my cheeks, as I tasted the salt, I pulled, de ja vu overcoming me from my first day here. I sidn’t know what to do. The tiger pulled at my string, and it easily ripped like a piece of paper. I threw a stick at it, yelling. Screaming for my mom to run. The tiger was fast, bit injured I realised. it’s leg was cut, and it was limping.

But I cared more for my mother, who taught me of survival.

My breathing was shaky as I tried to fend off the animal. "Mom!" I screamed again.

Somehow, I don’t know, I was thrown into the grass, the nine foot long grass, and I heard a yelp from the tiger, as the blurry and dark corners overtook my vision.


My eyes opened, like the first time. I saw the jungle, like the first time. I saw a dead tiger. Unlike the first time. And I saw my mother, for the first time in ripped clothes and messy hair, and chipped nails.

Her hand was lair out, her face red nd stained with tears. "Mom." I whispered. "Mom!" I flung my hands aroudn her neck. "Mom." I whispered.


"But . . ." I whipsered. "Hod did you. How did I . . ." I sighed. "What happened?"

"Well . . ." My mom sighed. "I don’t know."

We didn’t know why we suddenly woke up on an island. But it was my idea, my skills that sent us back to out home town.

I formed a sort of boat and, as a competent swimmer, I pulled the boat, carrying mom. Moms idea was knif grass together as a note, or wash away on a rock, or piece of driftwood. It was my idea to get the rocks and wood provided and pretty much swim. I ran back and found my items. Tying the three metre string together in places, cewign and sticking gum as blu-tack to paper. I didn’t mind getting my clothes wet, but I did mind my arms getting tired and restless. I held up the "Boat" and let mom carry my weight. She was a good swimmer, too, so she didn’t have any problems.

We couldn’t see anything apart from water. Then a light came across us. It was still early, the dawn still upon us, and no enough light for boats.

A lighthouse!

Were were swimming for hours and hours on end. It was 9.20 as my watch proclaimed, and the sun wasn’t even high yet! Why?

But that didn’t bother me at the time. We were about ten miniutes swim away. I jumped off the boat, letting my self sink into the water.

I swum so fast, water splashed into my eyes. My mum was very far behind. Then I saw it. The fin, grey like a dolphins. I screamed. We were deep. And we didn’t have trouble until now. "Help!" I screamed. "HELP!!"

I reached fo my moms hands and pulled her along. The shark was going to catch up. Five minutes . . .

I still had my library card. That was all. I continued swimming. We were two minute away and I could just touch the ground, my mum was running pulling me forward.

We were at the beach, and I was shasking. It was cold. I collsapsed. Onto the sand, sure to stay away from the shore. We were at a city, not sure what, but . . .

"Dawn!" a girl yelled, tan and blonde. "Oh my god! Where were you?" Laura yelled throwing her arms around me.

"Just a jungle." I said sarcasticly. I shrugged. My heart was pounding, and laura was so close I was sure she could feel it.

"A jungle hey?"

I wished it a dream. I wished it wasn’t real. But I soon forgot about it. I loved each sunrise, each dawn. I wasn’t a survivor, much, but I couldn’t stop thinking about those three days. I wanted to go home, so here I was.

The first day back at home, I looked out, on the porch, and watch the dawn break.


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