From the vaults: my first publication
Since I was about 5 years old, my dream has been to be a published novelist. While this goal has yet to come true, I have been lucky enough to have had a number of smaller pieces published over the years. The first of these was a short story called Day of the Storm, which I penned back in 2000, at the age of 11. My Grade 5 teacher, an awesome fellow by the name of Mr Hooper, encouraged and assisted me in sending it to numerous magazines and anthologies, and finally it was picked up by a now defunct American publication called Lighthouse, which specialized in the work of young writers.
Digging it out of dusty retirement after 15 years, I cringe a bit reading it now, and resisting the urge to heavily rewrite it was like trying to hold a fart in while on a date, but in the spirit of preserving my child self’s voice, I have left it intact, flaws and all.
So, without further ado, I present my first piece of writing I ever had published:
The Day of the Storm
Gentle, swirling currents of fresh air wafted over the meadow, carrying rich odours of pollen which put me in a dreamy state.
Soon the storm would break with fury. The rage of the darkening sky was about to be unleashed. A wave of thunder rumbled high above the farm. Then a line of clouds appeared on the distant horizon like a range of black mountains. Dark clouds raced over the sky with the promise of a storm. Thick, gloomy cumulonimbus clouds overpowered the sun, a brilliant, incandescent orb, and I felt the air turn moist and tense.
A bolt of lightning lit up the heavens with a harsh flash of black and white contrasts. It was followed by a great, rolling clap of thunder that left me deafened. It reminded me of a fiery whip bridging the gulf between earth and sky. CRASH! Another thunder peal exploded with wild force.
My gumboots sloshed in the sloppy mixture of mud and cow dung as I sprinted passed the old windmill. A furious wind whipped up and the windmill fell. I threw myself facedown in the grass to avoid being pulverised into a gooey smear on the slimy muck, and I staggered upright as a whirl of razor sharp blades hurtled in my direction!
Adrenaline flooded through my veins and I bolted, the windborne, spiky rotor close behind me. Without warning I tripped on a loose rock and fell roughly, winded by the sudden impact. The windmill blade lunged towards me. I tried to get out of the damage path, but I couldn’t. I closed my eyes and waited to be sliced into pieces.
Visions of my life passed before my mind’s eye. Thoughts and images took shape in my mind. Our farmhouse. My first bicycle. Dad pushing me on the swing when I was little. My 6th Birthday cake. What would my parents do without me? I was their only child. I didn’t want to die like this, cut in half by a wild, vicious windmill blade. I am only 12. I’m too young to die. But I had no choice. I would never live to find out what it was like to grow up, or to have children of my own.
Then it struck me. Why am I not dead? I opened my eyes and saw a change in the wind had caused the rotor to miss me and collide with a barbed wire fence where it ground to a halt with a piercing scream of tortured metal.
I was saved.
I got up and stretched out my arms, feeling the wind blow and wrap around my body with its cool embrace. Gusts of wet air rustled the trees in the orchard with a whistling rhythm – the wind that had saved my life.
“I LOVE THE WIND!” I called into the storm. Then I listened as my voice echoed in the skies, mysteriously in harmony with the sound of the rain and thunder, and of course the wind. And it seemed to me that I heard a voice of calm and serenity answer from the heart of the clouds, “Thank you, friend.”