The Unforeseen Ordeal

“If you value your life, stay away from the farm”. The message was neatly inscribed on a wooden board and hung over our mailbox.
“Who could have done this?” “Which farm?” “I haven’t got any farm”. These were a few questions that I could remember from my father’s rant. I have never seen him so rattled and concerned about any issue as he was after sighting the mysterious warning. To say I was utterly perplexed and worried to my marrow was a gross understatement. “Are we in trouble?” I nervously asked my father, who was about to make a phone call to the police.
“No, my dear daughter, " he said as he raised his head from his phone, trembling in his hands. I could barely hear his baritone voice. At this point, I got the answer to my question from the non-verbal cues, the only time I have utilised a lesson I learnt from my Civics teacher, Mr Law.
“I’ve got to do something now”. “But what?” I heard myself talking to none but my bedroom space in a hopeless manner. I started sobbing from my heart just as I realised how my mother would have supported my father in this bizarre circumstance if she had been around. She had travelled with my brother, Edu, to our hometown to participate in her niece’s wedding. Strangely, I found myself envisioning my cousin walking down the aisle in her immaculate white, flowing wedding dress with her father guiding her steps. I pictured hundreds of eyes admiring her as she walked angelically on the rugged floor with the soundtrack of a famous song – “I’m here”. I was jolted back to the reality of the threat to my family by my father’s phone ringtone – Ding dong! Ding dong! Ding dong! I leapt out of my bed and hurried to the lounge, hoping that the phone call would usher in relief to our predicament. My anticipation was thrashed to the ground when the caller remained silent whilst my horrified father was shrieking, “Hello! Hello! Hello! Hello! My anguish was no less than his. Poor father!
I summoned the courage and whispered to him – “We’ll sort it out soon, dad”. I said without any scintilla of certainty in my voice. I stared into his traumatised face as tears welled up in his eyes. In the twinkle of an eye, a great idea to log into our suburb website, Lyde4Life, to know if any residents had such an experience flashed through my mind.
I raced through our hallway to grab my mother’s laptop. I remembered her password because she had once told me. I logged into the “Lyde4Life” website with racing heartbeats. My eyes could not behold the news title on the first page: “Beware of - If you value your life ….” messages. “Dad! Dad! Dad! It’s a scam! I screamed to my dad, who was running towards me. He hissed a sigh of relief – “Now we know what we are up against”.


23 was established in 1997, and since then we have successfully completed numerous short story and poetry competitions and publications.
We receive an overwhelming positive feedback each year from the teachers, parents and students who have involvement in these competitions and publications, and we will continue to strive to attain this level of excellence with each competition we hold.


Stay informed about the latest competitions, competition winners and latest news!