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The Race!

It was sweltering weather that day in Sydney. The day that would change my life. The stadium was jam-packed with people, young and old, all watching the greyhounds run after a hare. As I walked into the stadium, a loud cheer went up. Probably for that arrogant young mutt Anton, who thought he owned it all. The noise was overwhelming, people yelling their lungs out at each other and a loud voice booming from a metal box. Smells bombarded me. Garbage piled up in corners and sweaty people. Honestly, humans can be so unhygienic.!

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The usual lot were there, Sebastian and Alfred. Alfred was prattling on about nonsense while Sebastian just politely nodded. Routine. He quickly saw an opportunity as I entered and broke away from the one-sided conversation. “Oliver! I thought you wouldn’t make it.” ! “Ruth had to groom me for an eternity. Frankly, I don’t know what’s so important about today.” I replied. ! “It’s just an endless cycle: run, have breakfast, run, rest, run some more, etc.”, he continued, pawing the dirt. “I don't really feel the motivation inside me.”! “The only thing that keeps me going is the thought of catching that hare…” I responded dreamily, abruptly cut o" as Anton entered the waiting room, sniggering.! He retorted, “You’re never going to catch that hare. Nobody has ever done it. The only chance of someone catching it is me. Me, me, m-”! “I once caught the hare,” interrupted a deep and powerful voice. It belonged to that of a muscular dog with soft, glossy fur. His teeth were as white as fresh snow. We called him ‘Zeus’ for a reason. His ears stood erect and his tail held up vertically in a show of dominance. The others were completely mesmerised as Zeus continued with his story.!

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“A few months ago, in an event like this one, I knew I was going to catch the hare from the very beginning. I bolted from the starting blocks as soon as I saw that hare. The speed I was running at was unrealistic,” flexing his muscles, clearly loving the attention, “Think of the fastest thing you know and double that speed. That’s how fast I was.” He paused, waiting for us to ask the question.!

! “But what did the hare taste like?” we answered in unison, gazing at him in awe.! !

“It was the most wonderful thing you could ever imagine. The hare was young and lean and I fell her in one swoop. Its flesh was juicy and tender. It undoubtedly a wild-caught hare, for I could smell the grass and natural weeds it had consumed earlier. I finished it after tearing at it for a few seconds. Nothing could come close to the taste of that hare,” he finished dramatically.!
! By Zinzan Gurney 8A

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The whole prospect was salivating and I suddenly felt that I had to get that hare, I had to! The finest meal I ever had were tiny pieces of tough processed meat. Ruth never fed me anything delicious, only what was best for my health. ! Even before I was taken in by Ruth, my mother always insisted “If you want to become a fast runner, you need to eat the right nutrients.” I would sigh longingly and turn my head away. She would comfort me, licking my hair and, “You come from a family of racers. You have it in your blood. Your father was one of the best but his leg injury let him down. I know you will catch that hare for me and your father.”!

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The metal box buzzed loudly. Time to concentrate. Alfred was dozing, evidently past his heyday. The rest of us padded over to the cages, led by our trainers. Anton now less cocky than before and Sebastian scratching his ear to ward o" the anxiety. We all knew only one of us would get that hare. The general hubbub ceased. The sudden silence was unbearable. I could feel my heart beating faster and faster. “Just get it over and done with!” I thought. !

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And then I saw the hare. Instinctively we jumped out of the starting cages and started sprinting like our lives depended on it. The roar of the crowd was earsplitting. Zeus was already in front, followed by me and Anton. My eyes narrowed down to the hare. It looked as good as Zeus described it and I could imagine the smell of it. But it was fast. Whenever Zeus got closer to it, it seemed to skip just out of his reach. !

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During our second round of the oval, the hare began making strange noises. I knew immediately something was wrong. The hare started spluttering like one of those metal beasts that humans sit in. Smoke billowed from its back. I could smell the tang of black liquid that the metal beasts drank. The whirring slowed down and it came to an unexpected stop. !

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Everything happened in slow motion after that. Some greyhounds kept on going but the majority seemed stop. We were dumbfounded for a second until Anton snapped out of it and lunged at the hare. We all followed suit and ripped o" our muzzles as if they were gauze. I took a large chunk and chewed, imagining it would taste juicy and tender. But to my horror, it tasted more like plastic. !

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We all came to the same realisation: we had been tricked all along by those stupid humans. Our life goal turned out to be a clever fake. They made us believe that we were running after a real hare just for their entertainment. Even Zeus was shocked and admitted he had never caught the hare before. ! The race, the chase, what are they worth now?

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By Zinzan Gurney 8A

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