Damien And The Animals
Tabitha Knight, Grade 9, Blackwood High School
It was the school holidays and Damien's mother was at work. He didn't like being at home alone. Not since he started hearing noises coming from the basement. Scratching, snarling, sinister noises. Damien was ten years old - too old to be thinking of monsters. But the minute his mother had left, the noises started up.
After half an hour he'd had enough and decided to ride to the beach. He sat watching the waves, thinking. He wondered if he should tell his mother about the noises, but thought better of it. She wouldn’t understand.
After two hours Damien knew he had to go home and face those horrible sounds. He sighed, got up and collected his bike from the rack. He rode home, terrified. He knew he had to be brave, but his imagination was already running wild.
There was only one way to ease his mind about the noises. He went to the kitchen and found the key marked "basement."
With trembling hands he stuck the key in the basement door and turned. The door opened with a creak, as if it was unwilling to reveal its secrets. He soon knew why.
He pulled the chain dangling just above his head and the room was suddenly bathed in a yellow glow. He suddenly wished he had never come down here.
The basement was filled with cages of animals - dogs, cats, rabbits, even monkeys. Some of the animals had sores in their fur, some had had their fur shaved off. Damien felt like crying.
"Damien," a voice said. He turned. It was his mother. He felt sick.
"I told you not to come down here Damien."
"What are you doing to them?!” He yelled. His mother just smiled.
"I'm developing a vaccine for the common cold. I've almost perfected it."
"You're hurting them!"
"A small price to pay for a medical breakthrough. All that’s left to do now is test it. But you can help me with that, can’t you?”
He swallowed, "What do I have to do?"
She smiled and took his hand.
"Lie down on the table, it won't take a moment darling."
Damien bolted. He ran up the basement stairs, grabbing for the phone. He managed to give his address and screamed that it was an emergency just as his mother grabbed him.
"You shouldn't have run away Damien," she said as she carried him back to the basement. He screamed and struggled against her grip.
The police took half an hour to reach his house. They burst into the basement to see Damien strapped to a table. His mother had injected him with the prototype vaccine seconds before the police arrived.
Damien went into instant anaphylactic shock, but at least he had saved the animals. Surely they would be released, sent to good homes. They would spend the rest of their lives happy and safe. That was his last thought as he slipped away.