2012 – 7th Grade National 2nd Place Winner
Diana Glebova, Minnesota.
What is the meaning of life ?
Then I saw it. The dark figure lurking in the grass was moving.
“Tejiri, it’s that lion!” I whispered.
We moved across the wooden planks over the water. My foot squished in the mud, and I spun around. The lion was gone. I searched for Tejiri’s hand.
“We need to leave. The lion will be searching for prey.”
We took off our sandals, and crouched to run through the grass. The sun was setting fast, and we needed to get home soon. All we caught were some birds, and that wasn’t enough to feed us both.
“Ambu look!” Tejiri pointed to a nearby tree. “It’s a Baglafecht Weaver!” Sure enough, sitting on the highest branch of the Baobab tree, was a yellow bird.
“Don’t go for it,” I whispered. “That lion is still out there.”
“It’s in plain sight, it will be quick,” Tejiri said as she searched for her bow. As fast as a bullet, the arrow was aimed at the bird. I tried to pull her away, but she wasn’t moving an inch. The arrow sailed through the air, past the bird and into the Poaceae grass.
“So close!” she whispered, and she scampered for the arrow.
I hunkered down on the ground and started to skin the birds. The sun was touching the horizon by now, so there was no way we could make it home.
I snapped some branches off the Baobab tree, looking to make a fire. When the fire was ablaze, I stood up looking for Tejiri.
She was walking back, but with a limp. As she got closer to the fire, I noticed her leg had red splotches all over.
“I think I rubbed against an Anacardiaceae plant,” she said with tears in her eyes.
I clasped my knapsack, eyeing the bandages.
“Sit down,” I told Tejiri. She squatted on a nearby rock, holding her wounded leg out.
I bound her thigh up, but Tejiri was appearing to be getting more and more groggy. I set her down on the grass, her head against a rock.
She wasn’t looking so good. I pondered if it was more than the Anacardiaceae plant that was making her sick.
Tejiri was falling asleep, and I was getting more somnolent by the minute. I was about to kill the fire when I saw an eerie figure far away.
Always a pessimist, I thought it was the lion coming back. I eyed the shape nervously for a bat of an eye, but the sleep finally caught up to me. I lay on the ground thinking about Tejiri, the fearless warrior, getting sick.
Things weren’t always this way for us. We used to be very important in the Anlo-Ewe tribe, Tejiri and I. The fastest runners, the quickest shooters, and the trickiest minds were us. But things changed. A horrible sickness came to our valley, destroying everything in its path. Tejiri and I made a run for it, into the wilderness of Africa. We became sisters and always looked out for each other.
I opened my eyes, and the sun was up. I viewed the eerie shape, but it was gone.
“Tejiri,” I sighed. She was still dozing off, so I set down to cook our breakfast—the rest of the birds and a mango.
I was too busy with the fire to see something lurking behind me.
As I was about to sit down and taste the Kori Bustard, I sensed something panting behind me. I slowly swiveled around, finding myself staring into the bloodthirsty pupils of a beast.
The lion curiously stared at us, not batting an eyelash.
If I run, I thought, Tejiri would be in great danger. If I don’t fight, we both will be eaten.
I decided I was not going to leave my sister, my one true friend, to be torn to shreds by this feline beast.
I slowly walked back to Tejiri, and collapsed into her lap.
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