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Emma Bannister

Isobelle Carmody Award

for Creative Writing

Highly Commended

Watch for its eyes, the calm gentle hand,

its fake words of kindness which crumble to sand.

The light hasn’t left yet, though it never was bright,

slowly light leaves you to dark wretched night.

I feel like I have swallowed broken glass, like my throat has been

raked by my words. But I can’t stop yelling, every time I feel the hot

flash of pain I know I deserve it. I am the one who lost him, left him

alone. This is my punishment.

I had watched him play by the television, enthralled by his latest find; a straw

hat, one of those old ones that you imagine an old farmer working in or the type

that a scarecrow wears. I watched him place it on his small head and pull the brim

down until it covered his face, his chubby little fingers tightening on the coarse

straw until his knuckles whitened with force.

“If I can’t see you, you can’t see me!” Rowan called to me, the sound of his voice

mixing with the chatter from the television.

Never did I think that this would be the last time I would see him happy and

smiling, so content with the presence of a straw hat. Never did I think that it

would have been the last time I saw him.

The sky is as dark as a raven’s wing with clouds stealing the moon’s

light, casting the earth in an embracing shadow. The industrial

flashlight inmy hands is the only thing that cuts through the darkness

with sharp precision, but all the light brought me is mounting fear

Where was he, where did he go? Trees that stretch across our great

expanse of land loom over me, their roots sneaking out of the dank

earth to create knobby hurdles that succeed in their mission of

tripping me repetitively. I can’t find him, how have I let him get


I watched him with a smile, rolling my eyes at the bubbling laughter that had

erupted from beneath the hat. Then the telephone rang and my attention slipped.

I wasn’t thinking, why didn’t I think? I walked to the other room. My mind

wandered as I talked, so did Rowan.

All that was left was the straw hat and the open door. The silence was

deafening, even with the T.V on full blast. Rowan was gone, and it was my fault.

A cracking and grinding of wheels on dirt alert me of my parents’

arrival home. I can’t tell them, but I have to. Air abandons me as my

lungs fill with fear and guilt, I turn on my heel back toward the

house, my heart breaking with every step.

We don’t stop looking for him until the sun paints the clouds