Take The Leap
Hadley Smyth, Grade 9, Cairns State High School -
It was gaining on her.
Freia’s feet pounded against the damp soil of the rainforest floor, skidding across the moss-covered roots and splashing through muddy heaps of dead leaves. She turned, catching another short glimpse of her pursuer, only a short distance behind her. It let out a shrill roar, sending shivers down Freia’s spine as she sprinted through the trees. Suddenly it let out a second roar, and with it, Freia realised it was becoming closer with every second. She had to do something.
Suddenly, there was an opportunity.
Freia, chest heaving, gathered every bit of remaining energy left inside of her and sprinted towards what could be her saviour – the rocky cliffs ahead, cutting through the dense rainforest like a jagged tear in the earth’s surface. She knew it would be risky, but what other choice did she have? Her chest filled with terror and again a shiver ran down her spine.
Trusting her eyes not to fall on the 30-foot ravine lurking below, Freia leapt, stretching her arms desperately towards a low hanging vine. An immediate sense of relief washed over her as she felt the tough bark on her hands, but the feeling didn’t last long. She let out a gasp at the sight of the sharp rocks beneath her, suddenly hurtling rapidly toward her as she fell, and she realised that she had underestimated the width of the ravine.
I’m going to die, she thought, not believing the words she was thinking. Freia frantically grabbed at the air, thousands of thoughts rushing through her head. I’m going to die. But suddenly, to her great surprise, Freia was seized by a strong arm and before she knew it, she was tossed roughly to the side, landing heavily on the other side of the cliffs. She lay there for a second, panting and sprawled out on the grass. Freia looked up, still stunned, to see her rescuer, but they were out of sight, leaving with only a rustle in the trees and the swinging vine.
Safe at last, even though temporarily, Freia let out a shuddering sigh of relief. Hot tears stung her eyes and she began to laugh nervously, still in shock.
Freia stumbled to her feet, her heart still pounding with adrenaline and her face flushed. She looked up in time to see her pursuer come to an abrupt stop at the edge of the ravine. The tiger’s paws skidded to a stop, creating a spray of dirt and small rocks which fell in a dusty shower into the depths of the ravine. It roared angrily and paced at the edge, tail moving ominously from side to side. But Freia didn’t wait to see what the tiger did next. She turned and fled, her cheeks tear-stained and her hair plastered to her face with sweat. Behind her, she heard it begin slinking away, most likely disappointed to have lost another meal. But something was still gnawing away at her mind as she disappeared back into the dense foliage. Who had saved her?