Miranda Kate’s Picture Choice: Both
Isabella ran as hard as she could, but the soft sand stole her footfalls and slowed her down. When she hit the decking of the jetty she sped up, flinging herself over the rail at the end, gasping for air.
As she hung there, she looked down into the depths of the lake, letting her eyes trace the hundreds of thrombolites sitting at the bottom. They’d been down there since the beginning of time, believed to be responsible for oxygenating the earth. They reminded her of how trivial she really was; her tiny lifespan insignificant against these living rocks, reducing her to nothing but a blip in the whole space time continuum. No matter how screwy things got you couldn’t mess with that fact, it grounded you. And things had got screwy – really screwy!
As her breathing returned to normal she brought herself up, looking out over the watery vista. She spotted something on the surface of the water, its strange bright colour giving it away as it contrasted the landscape.
It looked like some kind of flower, but as more appeared she wasn’t so sure. Then hundreds came into view, cresting the ripples of the lake, sporting all sorts of colours: orange, red, pink, yellow, purple, green, blue, turquoise, and some of them had patterns.
Isabella bent down under the railings, leaning over the edge of the jetty to try and grab one as they drifted passed. As she did she found they were tiny origami birds; perfectly folded, with long necks.
They were his, she was sure of it. He always had something in his hands, always fiddling; his restless nature demanding it. Her heart rate quickened and her stomach started to churn.
She gathered up more, bringing them out of the water, inspecting each one, even unfolding a couple in case they held a message of some kind. Then she heard his cackle in her head and her eyes flicked up scanning the shore line, but no one was there. This made her realise how vulnerable she was here at the end of the jetty; there was no means of escape.
Isabella stood up, grabbing a handful of the inspected paper birds and stuffing them into her pocket. She didn’t know why, but it seemed the right thing to do. Then she made her way back off the jetty, cautious this time wondering if he was going to suddenly appear and grab her again.
When she reached the sand his cackled grew louder and she panicked, setting off at a run. But she didn’t get far before she blinked and found herself running on tarmac in an empty street at night.
She didn’t slow down, knowing that this location could be dangerous. She would just kept going until she could work out what game he was playing now and how to stop it.
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