Catherine Martin Literary Award Winners

Bushfire by Emma Parker

10 -12yo Catherine Martin Literary Highly Commended 2019

My horse Midnight was acting very strange, prancing around, ears pricked and nostrils flared, I took a deep breath and could faintly smell smoke on the evening breeze, I thought nothing of it and went to bed.

I awoke suddenly with my heart throbbing and body shaking, there was a loud thumping noise, I was confused. I slowly crept into my parents room, forcing my legs to move as fear had overtaken my body. The noise had woken my parents, Dad had managed to grab the cricket bat, in other circumstances I would have laughed. Dad slowly crept closer to the front door and we hid behind the wall so we would still hear what was happening. Dad opened the door and to our surprise it was a fireman.

The fireman was covered in soot, sympathetically he told us we were being evacuated due to a fire that had started yesterday in the valley and now it was getting closer. He said if we didn’t evacuate the fire would reach us in 4 hours or less if the conditions stayed the same. The decision was ours to stay or leave. He said the fire was moving fast and many people already had their lives stolen by the fire for deciding to stay. The last update was 60 people had lost their lives and he didn’t want to see that number rise. He gravely told us that the fire wasn’t stopping anytime soon.

I hate my parents! We’re leaving, we had to let all the stock run free, including Midnight. I tried pleading, crying and even tying myself to a tree to stay, it didn’t work so I finally gave up and packed my bags too.

I went to see if Midnight was still near and give him a carrot, I stepped out the door and I was blinded and breathless from the heavy black smoke and not the tiniest speck of fresh air could reach me anywhere. I went back inside and then we left to go to the Bushfire Centre that had been set up for evacuees.

We have been at the centre for two days and the fire has claimed more lives and land, tallies increased each day, so far 110 peoples lives had been lost and 100,000 hectares of land. We watched the news this morning and saw rain had started to fall during the night, the fire was becoming more controllable. We held out hope throughout the day as the musical sound of drops stayed steady. Then with eagerness we watched the night news, a cheer sang out in the centre after the reporter said the fire was under control!!!!

Today marks Day 3 and people were waking at 4:00am, eager for the news, by 5:00am the centre was buzzing with excitement. The news finally came, the fire was out and a fireman had found a lost horse that had survived the fire, they showed it on TV. It was, Midnight.

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