Third Prize

Pierre Dumont’s Tale

Josiah Tooley
Year 9 Grammar School

"Another?" The bartender waved a glass at me, and I was tempted. It had been a great market day, and I'd had a few drinks with my friends, but Ruth was waiting at home, and a nasty storm was brewing. I shook my head and stood up to leave. Outside, the weather was worse than I'd thought. I pulled my coat tighter around me and started to walk, the pub's jovial sounds fading from earshot as I walked. By the time I reached Corbiere, my clothes were sodden, my boots heavy with mud and wet, my cheeks and hands burning from the lashing wind and rain. I wished I'd stayed in the pub. That's when I heard it, a high, almost shrill voice calling "Help!" through the wind's roar. Thinking I'd imagined it, I kept walking, but I heard it again, louder now. "Help! Help me!" It was a child! I had no choice but to follow it toward the cliff edge. I couldn't see and struggled to hear, and in the dark and rain and wind, I was afraid I might go over the edge. "Can you get to me?" I shouted, and moments later, I felt the child place its cold, thin hand into mine. In the darkness, I could see only its outline. How was so small a child out here in this storm? The wind howled, and I shouted to be heard, "Come with me, I'll keep you safe." Talking was impossible, and I was glad to reach my gate. Ruth ran to open the door but then screamed and drew back, pointing at my companion. I looked down. What I had thought was a child was an old, wizened creature, a pouque: "I am Le p'tit Colin, you promised to keep me safe", he said...

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