They told me to run

By Jessica Kempster. Jessica, 13, lives in Stevenage, UK. She is a student at St Francis College. Please read her article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

The noise is unbearable. The boisterous shouts from below make my head whirl in anger and terror. They said to run, but, how could I? The blood-curdling screams from downstairs keep me frozen with distress. I can’t move. But they told me to run. No, I can’t.

Come on! I tell myself, one-foot in front of the other. Keep moving. I stumble up the steps, unsure of what I will see at the top. The shouting is getting closer. One foot in front of the other. I can still hear them, but my mind is a blur and I can’t determine where these noises are coming from. One foot in front if the other.

The shouts have ceased. I am reluctant to rest but I’m too tired to carry on. I sit down on the dirty steps. Imagining what horrors I have escaped from. How many steps have I just climbed? 200? I must be nearly at the top. I lean my head against the metal banister and try to catch my breath. Suddenly, I hear a low click from the floor below. I climb down a few steps so I can catch a glimpse of the source of the noise. I can see a tall thin man with brown hair and a scar running down his face. He is holding a pistol in his hands with his finger over the trigger. He looks around, as if confused, until he spots me through the banister. I jump up and spring like a cat towards the light switch. ‘Try and catch me now!’ I think savagely and make my way up more steps. Two steps at a time I make my way up, not daring to breathe or look back. ‘It’s going to be ok’ I reassure myself, only half-heartedly believing it. I hear a flurry of bullets shooting past my ear at dramatic speeds. The noise is deafening. I launch myself around a corner and stay out of sight, with my fingers firmly lodged in my ears. I hurriedly search around in the dark for something that I can use in self-defence. I feel something cold on my fingertips. ‘What are the chances of that?’ I say to myself with a small laugh, for the first time in weeks. I curl my finger round the trigger. Just in case.

When I feel that I’m safe I leap up and start for the stairs. But a bullet catches me across the back of my left calf. I scream in agony and fall to the floor. I hear footsteps only seconds away from me. Paralysed in pain, with one hand on my bleeding calf and the other on the gun, I can hear him. Coming ever closer.

I turn on the lights and now I can see him hurtling up the steps three at a time in my direction. He raises his gun an inch but I am too quick. He doubles over and lies, motionless, on the floor. His eyes are still open and clearly show his last emotions. I limp up a few stairs but I can’t carry on. I feel suffocated. Trapped in a whirlpool of regret, pain and death but I can’t think of that now. I push the thought out of my mind and carry on climbing. After what feels like hours, I make it, exhausted, to the top of the steps. I push on a rusty bar and enter through the doorway.

The view is breath-taking. So many colours fill my eyes at once I want to blink but I force my eyes open so I can view the beauty forever. I am stood on a glass balcony overlooking the city. I limp over to the edge and I feel so at peace. I forget everything. My name, my home, all of the torture I have endured. My life seems meaningless as I stare out at those colours letting them envelope me with warmth and joy, things I have done without for so long. The colours are saying ‘It’s all right’ and this time I believe it. I slowly drag myself back to my thoughts, back to reality. All I know is that I escaped, the others didn’t. I am alive, the others aren’t. And why? They told me to run.

4 comments on “They told me to run

  1. Vicky Bryan on

    This is a thrilling read! One never knows if the narrator is going to make it through the harrowing conditions or not, but she does and it’s a relief to the reader at the end. This is well-written and tense! Fantastic writing!

  2. Mandy Kempster on

    Wow! Gripping stuff…I wanted to read more, fantastic descriptive text that really set the the scene, you could feel the pain and torture of their situation and then sense of freedom at the end. Super stuff 👏🏼👏🏼


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