Arthur’s story: ‘Death in the Dark’

Winner: 8-11 years age category

Darkness everywhere. It is like I am in an envelope of nothing apart from walls winding around me on every side. There are millions of pathways winding about a maze of death and loneliness. There is no-one here for nine years on end, and when seven boys and seven girls come, I must devour them to survive. Without them I would die of hunger, for they are the only source of food that I have in this everlasting labyrinth. That is the routine. Every night I go through the network of walls, roaring for them to let me out, or even just to feed me, but they cannot understand me at all. To them I am a monstrous beast, half human half bull. But little did I know that today my torment would be ended. Something has caught my eye. One of the fourteen children! At last, the nine years are over. The child is screaming repeatedly. As I charge towards them, a tall and handsome boy blocks my path, with a magnificent sword. He is sturdily built and looks like royalty. He is holding something in his other hand. It is soft and thick… a ball of string! Someone has given him it to help him find his way out again. If I can get it of him and use it to find my way out of this jumble of pathways, then I can reach the freedom of the outdoors. But this boy does not look willing to hand it over. I may have to kill him to get to it. I start to charge, only thinking about the closest chance of freedom that I have ever had. I am not going to let him take that from me (or so I thought). My feet patter swiftly and silently on the floor, and I bow my head ready to strike him. His sword is raised, glinting in the light of one of the few torches on the walls. Its point is sharp enough to go straight through wood, and the blade could chop a pumpkin in half with little effort. He is standing his ground, not letting the string out of his grasp for fear of losing it. He is more afraid of losing the string than of me! I am nearing him ready to dodge out of the way of the sword, but I am not ready enough. I think that I have dodged the sword and hit him, but I look down at my body, and see blood pouring out. The end has reached me. But now there is only more darkness…