Competitions. They are supposed to be fun and good for kids to show their true colours. This is what I kept telling myself as I walked into the gigantic dark room. There was a spotlight on me as I walked towards the only seat in the room. I looked around and tried to adjust to the surroundings. There wasn’t much to see, but I tried anyways. The ceiling was impossible to make out and looked as though it moved upwards infinitely. The walls seemed to loom over me, almost crumbling just at sight, as though they were waiting for me to make a mistake, just one mistake….. I sat down on the rock hard chair and got to work. I was working through the questions one by one and to my understanding, getting most, if not all, of them right. The first piece to fall out of the wall landed on my desk. I picked it up and moved it towards my ear. “The answer is C.” It whispered. I wasn’t sure if I should trust it, but because that was what I had already put down I kept with it. I answered some more questions as the walls crumbled more and more by the minute, each piece with their own opinion of the answer. I knew what would happen if I didn’t finish in time, so I soldiered on through increasingly harder questions. The wall was falling in chunks now and made it difficult to answer questions. I completed more and more questions and finally had one left. This question was different though. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I had dreaded this question from the beginning. Sweat was rolling from my brow and thoughts rushed through my mind. I scribbled the last answer quickly on the paper in an untidy scrawl as a massive boulder fell from the ceiling down towards me. I opened my eyes and to my amazement, saw my family and friends around me and thought back to what I wrote down, “Happy”.
Bill Burgess 2013
The Competition of Life
The Secret Cubby House
When I was a kid, my dad built a cubby house for my brothers and sisters. They would play for hours on end in the house, but I never quite knew why. So one day, I decided to join them in the fun. I ran up to the cubby, as my younger sibling handed me a fake sword. I rushed inside, expecting to see toys lying on the ground in a tiny room, but was astonished to see an amazing view of the ocean. I found myself on the deck of a massive pirate ship! I ran up to the edge of the ship to see down at all the sea life way below. I turned around and saw all my brothers and sisters in full, pirate clothing and also clutching onto their own cutlasses. “Man the Cannons!” someone shouted. I ran to the cannon next to me and began to load it and face it towards the enemy. “Aim… Fire!” Cannonballs filled the sky, shooting towards the enemy ship. Some shots came towards us, but the captain managed to dodge most of them. When we were close enough, we boarded their ship and looted their treasures. We were amazed at how much there was! We rushed back to our ship and back out into the normal world to show our parents. “Mum, Dad! Look what we found! Look at our Treasure!” Mum and Dad laughed “Yes, dear. Good Work!” I looked down at our gold and back at my parents. “But it is Gold, really!” I said “Of course, dear”, mum said cheerfully, “Nice work!”
My siblings and I went back to the cubby house often and found ourselves on different adventures every day. As time went on though, we had other things to do and our time in the cubby house was limited until eventually we didn’t go there at all. The treasures we had once found were all we had left of the adventures and they transformed as we got older too. If we go back to the cubby house nowadays, we don’t find pirates or castles or anything out of the ordinary. It is now a perfectly normal cubby house to us. Until of course, my young cousins came over. “Wow!” They would say “Where did you find all this amazing treasure!” I looked at my once extraordinary pile of gold, which was now an ordinary pile of rocks. “What do you mean?” I said “That’s just a bunch of rocks.” They looked at the rocks and back to me. “No it’s not!” They chorused “It’s a pile of gold!”