HPS Grade 6 Short Story Contest Top 10 – No. 5

The Place Where Lost Children Go

By Izzy Andrigo
Running away for the 11th time

I ran down the dark alleyway as fast as I could, pulling my younger brother behind me and tripping over my own feet in the pitch black. 

I knew they weren’t very far behind me. They were my aunt and uncle. You might be asking yourself, why would a child’s aunt and uncle be chasing her down a dark alleyway in the middle of the night? Well, the answer is my aunt and uncle are not a normal aunt and uncle.

You see, my aunt and uncle are evil – to put it lightly.  No one knows who my parents were, except maybe my aunt and uncle. Apparently, I just ended up on the doorstep of my aunt and uncle’s mansion with my older sister, who was five at the time, and my younger brother, who was one. 

Ever since then my aunt and uncle have been mean to us. I don’t know why, but I think they just don’t like children. Once we were old enough to understand that we have been trying to get away.

We didn’t have names when we ended up at the mansion. Well, we probably had names when my aunt and uncle found us, but no one knew them so we named ourselves. My sister named herself Ocean, I named myself Sky and we named my brother River.  

I should probably stop thinking so much because it is making me slow down. I think this might be the time that I actually get away. Ocean managed to escape from the mansion two years ago. Before she left, she gave me a piece of paper with an address on it and said, “this is where you can find me when you escape with River.” 

“Why?” I asked her. “Why can’t me and River come, and how do you know where to go?”  

“Just trust me,” she said. Even though I didn’t want her to leave: I trusted her.

So she left.

I still have that piece of paper and, at the moment, it is clenched tightly in my fist.

My sister also told me that when I ran away and went to find her I must be exactly 11.  \

So, on my 11th birthday – which is today – November 11, 2020, I ran away. Not that I hadn’t tried 10 times before now; not caring what Ocean would say if she ever found out that I had disobeyed her.

But, today I just have this feeling that maybe just maybe it might work.

The Place Where Lost Children Go

We had been walking for days. At this point it wouldn’t matter if our aunt and uncle came looking for us; they wouldn’t be able to recognize us at all.  

River was complaining that he was hungry and tired. We hadn’t slept in days. I hadn’t packed any bags before we ran away, seeing as we had never gotten further than a block from the mansion before. 

My auburn hair was in a knot at the back of my head. I had tied it up as we ran and now I couldn’t get it out because it was actually in a giant knot, not one of those fashionable ones that famous people have. 

I had “borrowed” a map from a man who looked like he was nice enough while we were running through Bowmanville where our aunt and uncle live. 

We were now in Ottawa and we were almost to our destination which was Wellington Street. 

I did find it a bit weird that there was no house number on the piece of paper and that people kept laughing at us when we asked for directions to get there. Finally, one night I found it.

But, when we started walking up the road all we could see was a giant building, even bigger than the mansion that we had been living at. We found a man walking down the street, looking as though he found himself very important and we asked him where we were. 

He said, “you’re at the parliament building of course!” He then walked away giving us odd looks over his shoulder as he went.

“It must have all been a joke,” I said to myself. “Ocean can’t possibly be in there”.    

So, we left. I had no idea where we were going but I didn’t tell River this. One night as I sat on a grassy bank, I unclenched my hand revealing the piece of paper that Ocean had given me. 

 “Please,” I whispered to it, to Ocean, to anyone who could help me: “please tell me where I should really go.”  

Then suddenly as if it had really heard me writing appeared on the side of the paper that had been blank only seconds before. It said, Tambul.

That was it? I couldn’t believe it! That word had no meaning whatsoever to me. 

I lay down on my back beside my sleeping brother and started to whisper again hoping that maybe this time I would get some real help.

“I’m lost,” I said. “ I don’t know where I am or where I need to go and …”

All of a sudden a sudden wind enveloped me and my brother, waking River up. Everything went black and then just as quickly I landed on solid ground. I looked around me. Standing in front of me was a man in a grey suit with black polished shoes.

He called out in a loud booming voice “ Ocean they have arrived!” 

Then he turned back to me and my brother, both of us standing there with our mouths open at a loss for words. A million questions were swirling through my head. Could this be real? Had someone really heard me? Was Ocean really here? 

The man smiled kindly at us and said, “welcome children to Tambul, otherwise known as the place where lost children go.”

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