Watching

by Archie O’Dair, aged 12

2013 BRONZE WINNER - 10 Years & Under

Watch Oliver Phelps read 'Watching' during the 500 WORDS 2013 grand final.

Download a free MP3 of the story read by the BBC Radio Drama Company (right click and choose save as / save target as)

There is a man watching me. He doesn't think I know he's there, but I do. He was there yesterday too staring at my home as if he is waiting for something. He carries some sort of machine and it is making me nervous. I am scared and don't want to go out so I am sitting here watching him back.

I've been using the back entrance because I don't think he knows it is there. I worry about going outside but with a young family to feed I have to. I go and come back quickly. So far I have managed to bring in the meals without him realising I'm gone. The family know something is wrong even though I try to keep it from them by acting normally and keeping them away from the front entrance. To make it worse there are two of them today. The new one has a strange stick he talks into - he moves around; maybe he is more dangerous than the watcher.

The birds' warning calls woke me this morning. They sense the danger too, they are scared like me, not leaving their nests and only rarely looking for food. My family is hungry again and getting restless. They need to stretch their legs and run and play in the open. We can't stay prisoners like this for much longer. I'm going out for supplies and decide that if the watcher and the talker are still there when we have eaten I will face the danger.

The time has come, the meal is over and they are still there, still watching. I push the family back and away from the entrance. I walk slowly down the passage and outside. I take a few steps forward and sit down - I stare at them. They seem unsettled by my appearance and move their machines about. The birds go silent as I break into a run. I must protect my family.

"Good evening and welcome to the BBC news at ten. Here are the latest headlines. Filming of David Attenborough's latest wildlife documentary came to a dramatic and unexpected halt today after a vicious tiger attack. Mr Attenborough and his crew were filming a tiger family in Siberia when the attack occurred. A spokesman for the programme has told us that the crew were taken by surprise as they had been well hidden and thought the tiger family were unaware of their presence. The large female tiger struck out quickly before retreating back to her three cubs in the den. Speaking from his hospital bed Mr Attenborough said, "We underestimated the effects of our filming on the tiger family. You can't blame the tiger for protecting her cubs - we are just thankful that she only warned us off as she could easily have killed us" The BBC has confirmed that no further filming will take place in that location."

All is quiet. They have gone. No one is watching. My family is safe.