8th Grade, 1st Place
by Azka Mubashir,
I’ve finally gotten all of them. The last one took a while to find, but she’s here now. Their voices called out to her. She found them. She found all of us. She’s here.
It does not matter that she is in agony, that she is in pain, that she is completely and utterly ruined and in distress. Her suffering hasn’t mattered, and it never will. I’ve done this to her.
She ruined me. My home. Everyone I loved. Everything. All because they thought…I was evil.
They all did this. Her body lies alongside the others. She isn’t dead yet, I know that. The poor lady still has a pulse. I watch her struggle to sit back upright, looking up at me with desperate eyes. As soon as she catches her breath, she gasps when she sees the dead bodies. Her friends. Our old friends.
“Don’t… do this. Please, don’t do this to me, Mary,” she pleads. She looks young again, just like how I knew her. The old Athena, my friend. But it’s too late now. Her dreading words mean nothing to me, now. I glance down at my claws, her blood drizzling down my fingertips; rain pouring down my face like it’s the blood of all the victims I have killed. I used their voices to find her. Now, she’s the only one left. I can finally take hers. Besides, they did this to me. This is what they all get. I’m not a monster. Not the word that was constantly whispered in my ear decades ago, and not what is what I have become. Athena stares at me, waiting for a response. I can tell she knew this was coming, that I would get her sooner or later because of what she did. I can tell she already knows it’s not a nice one. Good. She deserves it. In fact, they all do.
“Why did you do this to me? To all of them?” she motions a blood-drenched, scarred hand to the decaying bodies beside her, the forest trees surrounding us. Why, she asks? Easy. I use their voices to bribe the enemies. I give a smile, a hesitant one, and begin circling her, slowly.
“Oh, Athena…” I whisper, keeping my voice low, my voice sharp and crisp. “You don’t get it, do you? Don’t know why you’re here, huh? Don’t you recall a single thing for what you and your little friends did to me?”
Athena scrambles to sit up again, hands on the filthy ground, the wet dirt sinking between her fingertips as she clutched a clump of dirt between them. The rain is still dripping down, getting lighter than it was before. She doesn’t get it. She has no idea why she’s here. Why I brought all of them here.
“I did nothing! I’m…I’m not scared of you, you know!” she hollers out, her voice hoarse from screaming when I had gotten her. That makes me laugh. This girl really is naive. I stop circling her; my boots stop slushing under all the mud.
“You will be.”