Monday, 16 April 2012

The Day of the System

This is my 500 word story that I entered in the 500 words competition (for the BBC). I didn't win but here it is!


The Day of the System

Kestrel fingered the wires. Her head was pounding; the countdown still going, second by second. The bomb had been sitting there for days, untouched on the pavement of Kentucky road. She examined the system and jotted down a few sentences in her battered notepad. She pulled her hair into a ponytail, away from her unnaturally pale face.

Spotting a glass bottle propped up on a wall, an idea struck her and she rushed towards the bottle. She smashed it against the kerb and shards of glass flew around, hitting her and forcing silver blood from her arm.

"I was trying to live a normal life when my blood came out and suddenly I was a freak" Kestrel thought bitterly in remembrance of the time when Dylan Harris, a student at her high school had slashed her with his craft knife. She pushed her feelings away, grabbed a piece of sharp glass from the concrete and strode back towards the bomb. Cogs and gears whirred inside her massive brain as she calculated the position of the time mechanism and took a deep breath in. Holding the wire in one hand and the shard poised above it she struck down. The wire snapped and suddenly electricity surged through her body. With a cry Kestrel collapsed onto the dusty pavement and everything went dark.

She woke with a twang of guilt. She knew that she hadn’t cut the right wire. When she looked at the numbers on the screen it was too late. Way too late.
The explosion shook the town. Debris flew at such speed it could have taken down thousands of men. It was over for Kestrel. The sound was deafening and countless people died in an instant. Kestrel scrunched up her eyes as the bomb ripped the roads and houses apart. Screams pierced the chilly air and there was nothing she could do about it. The danger was immeasurable and it was impossible for any human to live if they were within 20 miles of the bomb. Kestrel was closer than anyone so there is surely no chance... But she is no normal human.

No pain came, although she had stood for many minutes. With one last breath she opened her eyes and terror snaked down her throat nearly choking her. A massive rock was hurtling straight at her! It was inches away... so close... gone. She spun round and to her astonishment the immense boulder was disappearing into the distance

She looked around in dismay. All this destruction was her fault and even a boulder refused to end her misery. Kestrel hung her head.

Her heart skipped a beat. She was hovering with nothing to keep her from falling, nothing to keep her from dying. Out of all the weird things that had happened to her this was the weirdest. She was a ghost?!

No way!!


But deep down inside her she knew she was not dead.

Colour flooded into her face.

She knew that she was special.


  1. Bruce,
    You have me quite curious on what happens next? What are her real powers? How did she get them? What is her background story with her family?...... Anyway.... this was well written and kept my attention. Have you written anything else like this?

  2. @Dave - Thanks for your comment. This was actually written by my daughter (age 10). I showed her your comment, and she was very pleased by your reaction, and is now inspired to try and write more of the story. (It was originally submitted to a competition with max 500 words).

  3. Wow! I just followed the link on your Nano page and found this. It's so good, you're really talented. It's very well-written, too, and at 14 I'm still not sure I can write as well as this. I hope you write more so I can see what happens after the destruction, why is she special, and what she does about it.