Isobelle Carmody Award
for Creative Writing
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