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11 edicin del Certamen literario Instituto Espaol de Londres, 2011-2012

Categora A: Prosa, Primer premio ex aequo:

Ainara Vasquez Goitia

2 E.S.O. A


I was startled awake by the hair-rising scream that resonated throughout the cave. By impulse, I immediately ran towards the sound, my heart on my throat wondering if wed been found. I made it to the clearing, the one we all went to when we were going crazy because of the lack of light, and found Lea and Clove staring down at the man that had been haunting all our dreams. Clove turned towards me, her face panic stricken and shocked, and said: Its him. He just appeared out of thin air. Literally! She stumbled through the words. Slowly, the rest of the people started making it to the clearing and the same feeling of shock and panic reflected on all their faces. The same words echoed throughout the cave as every single person-not that there were many of us-repeated them. Its him. Ever since we escaped from the Troops, every single one of us had been hallucinating with this man. We would see him in dreams, reflected on rocks and sand, in the water. Anywhere. The only thing that was always the same was the sound, he seemed to be speaking to us but we could not understand. His voice had an echo and the sound was completely altered, like auto-tune gone very badly. But although we could never understand him, he always seemed to be warning us. We all looked at each other, and for that moment, it was as if we were all telepathic. We knew exactly what each and every one of us was thinking: Is he one of them? Suddenly the man walked towards us and said: Alright, calm down everybody! I am not one of them, and I find it quite insulting that you would think so. But no matter, because-unfortunately for meI have been sent here to enlighten you. He said enlighten in a heavily sarcastic tone, his voice was husky and gruff, and by the way he stared at his feet it was almost as if he was talking to himself. This would not have surprised me since every word he said seem to be a struggle and he spoke in an incomprehensible slur, which led me to believe that he was quite possibly drunk; though I could not understand where he would find the alcohol, unless he had ran from the city carrying a load of bottles. Looking at him closely, I wouldnt put the idea past him. Enlighten us to what? I asked in a slightly accusing tone.

Ah, you must be Leo. He looked at me with sad eyes as he said it. It was as if he knew things about me that I did not even know myself, as if he felt sorry for me. How do you know my name? Without meaning to, my voice came out slightly hysterical and defensive as I said it. Lea rested her hand on my arm reassuringly. Relax Leo, she said, I dont think hes dangerous. Her voice, as always, was musical and entrancing. It made me feel safe. The man ignored my question anyway and told us all to sit down. No one protested, we all formed a perfect circle, just like when we were children at school and looked at the man expectantly, waiting for him to talk. He seemed to have forgotten he was meant to enlighten us about something because, after a long minute he looked at us surprised and exclaimed, Oh! Rightwhere was I? he stopped for another while to remember what he was meant to tell us. Finally, he looked at all of us. Well, you may just be children-or teenagers, whatever you prefer-but Im guessing youre not completely stupid, so you must now the situation is pretty grim. We all stared at him, beginning to feel annoyed that this man was here to tell us something, and all he was doing was wasting our time by stating the obvious, when we could have been doing something a lot more useful, like finding food. And he was also managing to insult us in the process. Despite this, we let him continue. Not many people managed to escape, at these words we all looked at each other, in fact; youre the only ones that we know of. There may be a few others, were still not sure, but even so itll only be a few, if not none. Most of the population is either dead or stuck there with them. Therefore, there isnt much hope. Youre the only ones that can fight back. A stunned silence followed his words. What do you mean fight back? asked Milo. I mean that we have to do something. Do you really expect to hide here for the rest of your lives while they tear this country apart? This is our home and they are going take it all away from us. You cant just do nothing. And, I dont even mean it from a moral point of view, there is no way you can stay here forever and expect to live. Theyll find you eventually, and if not, youll die of starvation or thirst. So since you will end up dying anyway you might as well fight back, because even if we lose the revolution you would have at least died trying. Revolution? Were just a bunch of kids! Were not going to make any difference! exclaimed Lilah. Yes, I know you are only kids! And for the life of me, I promise you I have no idea why the hell you would be chosen, neither of you seems particularly bright. But, whats done is done, and I have to believe that you will be able to make a difference! he was the one who was starting to get annoyed now. What do you mean chosen? asked Clove.

Come on, you think its a coincidence that youre all here? That you all managed to find each other while you were escaping? Think! When the Troops arrived to your homes and started attacking, didnt the rest of your family go out of their way to save you? Im guessing most of you have siblings, but your parents tried hardest to save you, and, Im also guessing that even your siblings were helping. And once you made it out of you homes, when you were in the streets and the Troops were destroying everything, beating people up, didnt those people do everything they could to get you to safety? In fact, didnt some of them seem to want to get beaten, just to provide the Troops with a distraction? We stopped to think, and immediately we knew it was true. Once we had all found a place that looked safe enough to stay in, we exchanged stories. And in every single story it had seemed like people had been doing everything in their power to protect us. The realisation must have shown in our faces because the man said: Exactly. You were the ones we chose to save. This may sound horrible, but we really had no choice. We knew there was absolutely no way that we could evacuate the whole city, so we had to choose a few. And as the Troops make it to all the other cities we will have to choose more to evacuate. We need to start building up an army and youre part of it. Did they all die? whispered Lea. A few, not all of them. The Troops dont want everybody dead; otherwise what is the point of dictating a country if there is no one to dictate. They just want to kill a few, enough to scare the rest of them. But Im telling you, and I do not mean to sound morbid, but the ones who are deadwell, I think theyre the lucky ones. He paused to look at our horrified expressions. Thats why we have to do something, he said. OK, so what do we do? I asked. Im glad you asked! First, we get all of you to our headquarters and we begin to train you. Then, we wait for a few other people that we might be able to save. After that, we make a plan, and then, war begins. But listen to me, it is dangerous, but you really have no choice. Do it for the people who saved you, they wouldnt have gone through what they did if they didnt believe that you were their last hope. You are the only chance of getting our country back. We all looked at each other, wondering if we would all survive, and if so, who would be the ones dead. We wondered how much time we had left, but, despite the how frightening it all was, we knew he was right; we had to fight back, not only for us but for everybody. We had to start a war.