It was our English language assistant’s idea: Whatever else this lockdown was, it was also a time for stories! Listening to stories, reading stories, telling stories – or writing stories yourself? – As soon as it was suggested, invitations for the writing challenge were sent out to the students. Eight of them took part and sent in their own short stories to Annoushka Clear, recent English language and literature graduate from the University of Oxford. According to Annoushka, “they were all of a very high quality”, which made it difficult for her to decide on the winner, but she finally decided to award the prize to Verena Prosch from class 2D for her story “Emerald Eyes”. The runners up are Kathia Schmalzl (1D) and Alena Plank (5B). Congratulations to all of them!
The mystery prize for Verena is on its way from London! Here is her story ...
“Why did you try to kill me?” I asked the man in front of me on the ground. He didn’t seem much older than I looked, maybe twenty. My foot was on his back and the dagger was lying useless next to him. I leaned down and picked it up.
“Why did you try to kill me?” I asked again, louder, more demanding. But the man didn’t say a word. I grabbed him and held the dagger to his throat. The day had started so well and now THIS. Gosh...
“Why. Did. You. Try. To. Kill. Me!” It wasn’t a question anymore; I shouted every word. But the man... He just looked at me and smiled. He didn’t seem to care about the dagger, so I pressed it closer to his throat and some blood trickled out.
“Tell me why the hell you wanted to kill me!” I demanded.
“Who doesn’t want to kill you, witch?” His voice was as cold as ice and cutting like glass, but he kept smiling.
“You think you are extra brave, don’t you?” Now I was the one smiling. Suddenly he unexpectedly snatched the dagger from my hand and stabbed it in my back. I was too shocked to react and also the man seemed frozen, as if he couldn’t believe what he had just done. I sighed and then slowly pulled the dagger out of my back.
“Dumb boy,” I whispered, “I thought you knew that witches couldn’t be killed so easily.” The frightened look on his face made me laugh. “Don’t worry, I won’t kill you. I don’t think that’s very kind.” His striking emerald eyes widened. “But if you try to kill me again – and I hope that won’t happen – I won’t be so gracious.” He nodded and got up. I also got up and tapped the dust off my pants. The man turned around and wanted to go, but I stopped him.
“Wait,” I said, “you forgot your dagger.” I gave him back his dagger. He looked at me incredulously.
“Thank you,” he said slowly and then he mumbled, “You are different.” Then he was gone and I was alone in the forest. I took a deep breath and felt the wound that the dagger had left slowly healing. Actually, I was on my way home when this young man attacked me. Witches constantly got attacked by people and I hated it. Why couldn’t we just live together in peace? The witches weren’t the problem, but the people. They were afraid of us and jealous of our powers at the same time. Attacks have become more common lately. I didn’t know how to make them accept us...
I continued on my way and finally arrived at home. My “home” was a small hut hidden in the forest where I lived with my mother and my younger brother. I entered and was immediately hugged by my brother. He was three years younger than me and therefore 215, but his body looked like he was fifteen and mine like I was eighteen. Our bodies didn’t age. We could choose how old we wanted to look. Kasper thought it would be funny if he looked like a fifteen-year-old teenage boy but in reality was two hundred years older. After that I thought that immortality makes you humourless sometimes. But so that he wouldn’t be the only one, I did the same thing. I looked like an eighteen-year-old girl, but in reality I was 218 years old. Once you have decided on an appearance, it is difficult to change it again.
“Elaine, you are back!” he shouted.
“Calm down, Kasper. Of course I’m back,” I said, “and now please let me go, I can’t breathe!” He let go of me and because I had my hair tied up, he immediately discovered the blood stain on my back.
“Holy crap, did someone stab you?” he asked.
“Yes, the fourth time this week. And today it’s just Thursday. The culprit totally ruined my nice white T-shirt. The blood will never ever come out!” I complained.
“Did you kill him?” Kasper asked.
“No, I didn’t,” I answered.
“What the heck?! Bloody hell, why didn’t you kill him?! He definitely wanted to kill you and you just let him go like the other three guys this week? I can’t believe this!”
“Kasper, calm down. I think that all of these people are just tools. I think that they were all recruited by someone who told them to kill witches.”
“And I think that you should’ve killed them. The number of my wounds is the number of my dead enemies!” He really liked this saying and therefore said it all the time. I rolled my eyes.
“You should’ve seen them. They all tried to kill me with a dagger. With a dagger! They really had no clue, Kasper!”
“If you think so...”
“We have to find out who their... boss – or I don’t know what to call it – is. We have to find the person who sent all those people in the forest with the mission to kill us.”
“We should meet with the other witches and discuss this situation with them,” Kasper suggested.
“Let’s send them a fire message!” So we sent a fire message to all the witches who lived in our forest and asked them to come to the large clearing at midnight the next day. And because that was a very important topic, luckily they all came. We gathered around a big bonfire. Exactly as the people know it from all the legends and myths about witches.
“Elaine,” the chief witch said, “tell us about your experience with the people who’ve tried to kill you in the past few weeks.”
I wanted to answer but I suddenly felt very strange and couldn’t open my mouth anymore.
“Elaine?” The voice changed and got deeper. I opened my eyes and winced. I was in my room in my bed and realized that it all was just a dream. I breathed a sigh of relief.
“Elaine?” the voice asked again. But now it was the voice of a man. I turned my head to the side and a pair of emerald eyes that seemed very familiar were looking at me...
By Verena Prosch, 2D