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Winning Stories - Henrietta Branford Writing Competition 2019

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The Branford Boase Award for

D.O.R.I.S

by Vranda Radia, aged 12 years

The air was thick with the sound of something being torn apart: a wrenching, screeching, groaning sound that made the earth tremble. The smell of smoke was so strong it caught in my throat and pooled like acid on my tongue.

It was scary - terrifying - but exhilarating. After all our work, it was finally happening.

 

The sun in the distant sky was setting, the earth was trembling with excitement. My mission was almost complete; the rocket was back with the final ingredient. The final ingredient to a better future for everyone. The world was against us at first, but now we’ve saved it. Years of planning and research, collecting the right components, waiting and hoping for good news… and it has finally paid off.

Just two clicks would do it, but there was a dark side to the project. Everything in life has a price and ours was that there was a small chance that it may not work. We would either save or destroy the world. You may be wondering what the project is. What is so great that it could save life on Earth? A machine, which bends the fabric of space to reach a distant world in a matter of seconds, just like Earth was before people invented things like factories and electricity. It was called Poseneus. And only half the people on Earth would go there. This would mean more resources for everyone, more land and on the new planet, you can create a new economy and government. If you were one of the chosen.

If this went wrong, the machine would turn into a black hole and suck Earth and the rest of our galaxy into it. You’re thinking: “Don’t do it, don’t do it! Who are you to decide the fate of the world? I don’t want to die!” Don’t worry. The odds are with us and if there is a black hole, you won’t die, you’ll just get sucked into it.

Back to the moment, the air was thick; it was difficult to breathe. The machine, which we named the D.O.R.I.S (Distant Object Reached In Seconds) required so much energy, the city of London had to be powered off for 12 hours. Also, no one but us knew about D.O.R.I.S so everyone else was wondering why the lights were off.

 

Suddenly there was a Whoosh and I could breathe again. The machine was creating a gap, which was shimmering the colours of the sunset. The lights were back on. The waves from the ocean were dancing in delight. Birds were singing and 100 cheers went up. That’s right, it took a hundred people to do this. To you it might seem like a lot, but to me, it was just enough. Each one of them made what was happening possible.

They saved the world. I saved the world. And now we were to face the consequences. The good and the bad. The emotion was intense. The atmosphere was tense. I opened the gates to the rest of the world. After days cooped up like prisoners in a dark, suffocating makeshift lab, the outside air was like heaven.

The ambulance was waiting outside. Three days ago, there was an accident. We had tried to activate D.O.R.I.S with a different type of space element. The machine did not have enough power and it went horribly wrong. With that little power, it couldn’t access the black hole, but it did allow a storm into the building. A blast of lightning had hit my left arm, forever scarred with a lightning shaped mark. My friends and peers had done their best to put my arm into a temporary sling, but it hurt badly. And I was one of the lucky ones.

Outside, the medics rushed to me. I wondered who had called them as we had confiscated phones from everyone involved with D.O.R.I.S so that no one would discover it before it was ready. The question raced through my mind over the next several hours in the hospital. I had received one hundred and two calls with-in half an hour. An hour later, a nurse came with a package for me. She said that it was left at reception with no note or writing except for my name: Darla

I cautiously opened the package and there was a box inside. In it, there was just a single note. It said: “Thank you for saving me”. I turned it over to try and find any clue to who sent it, but it was blank. I put it on my bedside. I hadn’t saved anyone. Not yet. I searched my mind for anyone who could’ve been this mystery man or woman, but I got nothing. I looked back at the note, only this time it said: “From Tina.” That was strange, even for me. The only Tina I knew was my 5-year-old sister but there was no way she could’ve done it… and, that paper had just been blank.

I looked back at the note. It said:” It bended time too, sis.” It took me a moment to realise what was going on. My machine bended time and my sister from the future sent the ambulance and the note. I looked up and I saw the 20-year older version of my sister. “Give me the note now. Remember me but never, ever tell anyone about me. If you don’t mess up this time, I will hopefully not exist anymore.” She said. She had battle scars on her face. She was dressed in army wear. Her tone was harsh and there were tears in her eyes. I sprang out of bed immediately. “What’s wrong T?” I asked. “Remember this,” she said, “You can’t solve all the world’s problems.” I stared at her. Her tone wasn’t just harsh, it was hurtful. She snatched the note and disappeared. “Darla!” came my sister’s playful voice. My head turned to see my 5-year-old sister running up to me with my mum and dad, her arms open.

I silently made a promise to myself: I will never let my sweet Tina become the future her.

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