There Might Just be Hope.

They are all cheering now!

I can feel the cramped up box, slowly closing in on me. Itís cool metal sides refresh me, but my heart is racing. Longing. It will come soon. Three...two...one...And weíre off. Sprinting for our lives. I can feel the texture of the sand in between my toes. Soft, smooth, sleek, just like me. Iím streamlined. Racing past the others. The weight of the worldís on my shoulders now. I can feel the blood pumping through my veins to every muscle in my body. My legs are moving in time to the rhythm of the track. The intense noise from the speakers makes my ears bleed. Theyíre cheering even more now, for me. This is my life. This is my goal. To win this race. For who knows what will happen if I donít. The texture of the nylon jacket is cool and familiar against my skin. We all speed round the corner, like thereís no tomorrow, and if I donít win, there might not be. The hard wire muzzle rubs against my nose. Itís hurting me slightly, but I donít care. All I know is that I have to win this race. Iíve taken the lead now. Eat my dust Losers. I can feel the encouraging crowd in my blood. They want me to win. Just then, another comes from behind me. I know him. We shared a mother. He nudges the back of my leg. I take a stumble, only small. However itís small enough for me to trip over my own feet. Someone is shouting at me from the side. I recognize his voice. That same spindly voice. I have a terrible pain in my paw now. Itís travelling up my whole leg, but Iím determined to go on. My vision is going blurry. The pain is intense. The others rush in front of me, as I squeal helplessly and limp. One by one...Itís all fading now...The screaming crowd...The others....The strength of it all...itís all....fading....

Iím in a pen now. A cramped up pen, with my waste all over the floor. A cramped up smelly pen, which is so small. So small that it feels as if the walls are closing in on me. Thereís still that agonising pain in my leg. The slot in the door is closed. Itís black. The only light is from the small hole in the ceiling. Thereís a stain there and it drips every so often. Although the smooth water is comforting for this pain, I know that I lost tonight. And I dread to think what will happen to me tomorrow.

Itís morning now. The night was restless. IĎm not sure how early it is. I can hear footsteps. Heavy footsteps. They sound like theyíre coming closer to me, so I squeal and squeal for my freedom. A very angry voice answers back. Itís my time to suffer now, not for freedom. I hear whirring of wheels, against the rough gravel. Getting quieter, quieter, quieter...Until it eventually fades away...And Iím alone again. I panic. My throat barks and barks for a companion, however no one will ever come. Eventually I let my head rest against the wall as my eyes close, slowly...Just drifting into a sleep I hope I never wake up from...

Itís been a week now. No one has come here. No oneís coming back. My skin sticks to my bones like elastic. Iím dying for food. Or maybe just dying. The water I have had is from the stain on the roof. Itís made a hefty puddle now. Even though itís dirty, itís all I have. I lick it helplessly. I can feel the pains in my stomach. Itís hunger. I feel so weak. I limp around pathetically, as I donít know what to do. Iím going to die here...I know it.

Iím guessing another week has passed. It feels like that. Just lying here, fading away to death. My head feels heavy, as does my whole body. I canít move. Itís too painful. Instead I just lie here. I long to be free. Free to run, through fields, and meadows. Forests, to dodge in and out of the trees. But I know thatís never going to happen. I know my time has come. And this time, itís death. Life has had to be a game for me, sure. But I guess Iíve lost...

Who knows how long itís been now. My breathing is rapidly decreasing. All I can do is lie here, thinking. Remembering the good times. I came from a loving mother. Passed on to a selfish racer, that used me for his own good. Who knows how many times Iíve been sold after that, Iíve had too many owners. If you can even call them that. Neither one cared more than the last. And now itís come to this. Just me, withering away to nothing....

I hear something. Footsteps. Bouncing, happy footsteps. Not like the other ones. I can hear them still. Laughing and dancing, it sounds fun. Oh how I wish I could join them. My head is too heavy to raise, and my throat is sore from barking and whining. Nevertheless, I let out a low pitched squeak. Itís ever so quiet, I hope they hear me. I squeak a little more. The pain of it all is intense, I hope itís worth it. The door slides open. Light. Iíve never been so happy to see it. There they are. The people I heard. They look so young. They gawp at my pathetic state, and I would do if I were them. One of them rushes to be by my side. They stroke my belly whilst having their hand on my paw. I can feel my tail wag a little now. Their hands are smooth and soft. Just then, another one comes in with some water. Oh how good it feels, to drink again. The water rushes down my throat as I smile at them. Theyíre still stroking me. It feels so nice to be loved again. I feel my eyes slowly closing. Iím so tired...so...tired....

I wake up, some time much later. Thereís a lot of people around me now, all different sizes. I glance around. Theyíve put a bandage on my leg, and are putting something on my wounds. They help me up, and carry me to a bed in the back of a big machine with wheels. It so soft, so comfy. I look up at them, and suddenly realise, I just might be okay.

Poppy Wilson age 12.

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