Alex Lam, Grade 8, Westminster School
Cooper woke up in an abandoned alleyway. It was wet in there, and foggy. He stood up unsteadily. He had no idea where he was, nor who he was. And this place didn’t seem to be the best place to stay. Using the wall to support himself, Cooper stumbled down the alleyway. Surprisingly, it wasn’t long until he found someone. “There you are,” said the stranger, a girl. She seemed to recognise him. “Sorry, do I know you?” he asked. “No,” answered the stranger, “and neither do I. But don’t worry about that. There are other things to be worrying about-”
And as if on cue, two humanoid figures stomped their way towards them. Their footsteps sounded metallic. “Like them?” Cooper asked. “They’re here,” the stranger growled. “Quick, this way!” She ran off, Cooper stumbling behind her. “What are they?” he asked. “The Machines,” the girl answered, “we call them Clankers.”
“Yeah, because, they clank, when they move?” The robots’ footsteps were now louder than before. “They’re closing in,” muttered the stranger. She stopped abruptly, and Cooper bumped into her. “Why have we stopped?”
“Because we’ve reached our destination,” she said. The stranger was now looking for something on the wall. “It was somewhere around here,” she muttered. “Here it is!” A brick fell away from the wall. The girl whispered something into the gap, and it sealed up again. “What was that supposed to do?” Cooper asked.
“Just wait,” the stranger hissed back. A portion of the wall then fell backwards. Someone from inside gestured for them to come in. “Who’s inside there?” Cooper asked, as the girl crept inside. “Friends,” she replied, “that’s all you need to know for now.” She dragged him inside, and set the false wall back in place. The robots walked right past, their footsteps shaking the ground. “Okay,” the stranger breathed. “We’re safe for now.”
“Where are we?” Cooper demanded. “And where did they come from? Those robots?” he asked. “You’re better off not asking questions like that,” another person laughed. Cooper recoiled back. A boy about his age (what was his age, anyway?), was standing there. “Oh, it’s you, James,” the girl muttered. “You’re welcome, Alice.” James replied as irritably. “I saved your lives, by opening that door. “I’m sure I could have found another way.” Alice smirked.
James snorted. “Yeah, right. There’s only one way inside this place.” He gave her a wink. James turned to Cooper next. “So this is the new guy? Doesn’t look like much. Have you checked him for a tag?” Alice tensed. “No I didn’t,” she said quietly. James paled. “You didn’t check? If he’s tagged, then they could find and kill us! And Graham will strangle us.”
“We could just check him right now?” Alice suggested. “Graham wouldn’t know.” James paused, and looked behind him. “Sure,” he answered. “Roll up your sleeves,” said Alice to Cooper. He did so, and found a red dot, which was blinking on his shoulder. “We’re dead.” James moaned.