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The Branford Boase Award for

Henrietta Branford Writing Competition 2016 - winning stories


The Way Home

by Elsie Leiper, aged 12 years, Hemel Hempstead

 

I sat by the bus stop, my hands folded on my lap. If the bus didn't arrive soon I would be late. Raindrops creep down the glass next to me. I had just finished my shift in the local supermarket. My stomach rumbled hungrily. Unfortunately, I had skipped lunch today, a mistake I was now regretting. I took off my glasses and wiped them on my jumper. They had been all steamed up from all the bad weather. I closed my eyes, concentrating on the pitter-patter of the rain, blocking out the noise of the busy traffic and the smell of the nearby cafe. Finally, I had found what I needed. The future came rushing into my brain, blocking my vision and replacing it with what was going to happen today. I saw me at the bus stop, boarding the bus. We were driving along the road when suddenly a car swerved, knocking into us. The bus toppled over and I could hear the screams of the passengers. The smell of burning petrol stung my nose and I felt paralyzed with fear. Stunned, I opened my eyes. Nevermind the bus, I would have to find another mode of transport. Five minutes later the bus arrived. Making sure nobody saw, I sneaked up to the wheel. Slowly, I took my keys out, using the sharp end to Pierce the tyre. From the distance I watched the driver come out to check his wheel. As I had expected, the bus couldn't start. Smiling, I walked away.

Now the bus was no longer an option I would have to take the train. I consulted my watch. Quarter past five. I had forty-five minutes to get home. I arrived at the train station and sat on the bench. Again, I closed my eyes. The future showed me sitting on the train, waiting in my seat. The train had had to stop due to an accident that had happened earlier on. It wouldn't continue for another hour. If I took this train I would be half an hour late! Sighing, I headed back outside. It had began to rain again, absolutely pouring it down. I ran into a nearby newsagent for cover. Inside it was only me, the shop lady, and another man buying a packet of biscuits. The shop lady told him he was fifty pence short. From the look of him he was homeless. His clothes were dirty and covered in holes. I took out my wallet and handed him some money. "The numbers for the lottery are twelve, four, five, two and seven." I told him. He nodded thanks and smiled gratefully as I left the shop.

The rain had slowed down now to a drizzle. There were no nearby taxis so I was forced to hitch-hike. I stood on the muddy pavement, holding out my thumb. It didn't take long before a car stopped for me. The man inside smiled sinisterly at me."Wanna ride?" Suddenly a vision came of him pulling up to a place far from my house. He opened the door and attempted to mug me. I opened my eyes, snapping back into reality. "No thanks" I replied. Disappointed, he drove away. No other cars stopped for me so I decided to take a taxi. The walk back to the train station wasn't very long and I arrived there in no time at all. By the train station there were a load of taxis waiting for people to come. I walked along to one. Shutting my eyes, I tried to look into the future. The man in this one would charge way too much. I wouldn't be able to pay it all at the end of the ride. Sighing, I walked to a different one. "Excuse me, could you take me to Storey Street?" I asked the driver. "Yes, hop in", the man replied kindly.

Five minutes later I was at my front door. I let myself in with the keys that earlier I had used to puncture the bus wheel. I checked my watch. Only six minutes late. I took off my wet coat realizing that I was completely soaked to the skin. Inside the warm smell of soups wafted towards me. My mum was sat at the table with my two siblings. They were greedily slurping the soup mum had given them. "You're late. Was it tricky getting home? I heard that there was a delayed train." She said anxiously. "You have no idea" I breathe.

Josie Davies  |  Devon Davies |  Elsie Leiper  |  Isabelle Mills  |  Jessica Wood  |  David Wright

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