Land Beyond The Sky
Jerica Shevchenko, Grade 8
Imara feels the freshly watered grass beneath her fingers, inhaling the smell of burnt oil and sewage, as she tries to regain her consciousness. A bright fiery light catches her eye, she squints at the blinding luminescence belonging to a floating figure about five metres from her. Adrenaline courses all through her frail body, her heart pounds quicker and quicker. Imara observes the landscape, distinguishing deep cracks in the moist ground surrounding her. They seem to join up in an oval shape, bordering her. The brightness of the figure finally dims down enough for her to notice the long hair floating down and that ‘it’ is a ‘she’ and is hovering in the air by some sort of fire attached to her feet.
Imara chokes on the revolting tasting air realising that the woman has spoken. The strange woman zooms away, giving Imara a sense of relief as she dissolves into the smog. Her relief vanishes when the ground starts to rumble as if it is awakening. I’m moving upward Imara thought, to the sky. Without hesitation, Imara tries to stand on her two long, pale legs. She stumbles and falls, her foot slipping off the edge of a sheer drop. Falling to her knees she peers over the edge, realising that the huge part of ground she had called “safe” was a floating island shooting upward into the sky. The island starts to accelerate into the air, pushing Imara’s body to the carpet of fresh, green grass. The minutes seemingly turn into hours as Imara questions practically everything, Where am I going? Why am I here? Who was that woman?
* * *
“Beeeeeeep!” A long high pitch noise squeals, echoing in Imara’s ears. The force of the island suddenly coming to a halt flies Imara momentarily into the air, then crashes her back down, landing on her left arm. Sobbing, Imara attempts to move it in hope it isn’t broken.
Glancing around, a tingling feeling travels down her spine, she’s unsure of whether it’s a nervous or a happy feeling. All around are floating islands just like hers. There seem to be people on the larger islands, all staring at her.
Unexpectedly the island starts moving towards a much bigger island where teenagers stand confidently, waiting for Imara. Imara forces herself to gain enough strength to stand and prepare to defend herself. As she draws closer she can see their ragged dark purple shirts, probably once a deep blue and their ripped denim shorts, stopping at their knees. She notices deep, gory gashes and cuts all over their ghostly white bodies, looking as though an animal had sunk its teeth into their flesh. Imara almost loses her balance as the two islands connect. A tall girl jumps over to Imara’s island without hesitation, her long filthy auburn hair following her as she confronts Imara, towering over her. Something about her makes Imara feel unsure and fearful so tentatively she asks “Am I dead?“