Superior Species

Maddie Winslett, Grade 8

I wake up to the sounds of screams and crashes. The revolution must have begun. The curtains are open, so I get up and look outside. Dead bodies fill the courtyard. Blood has stained the walkways. The bodies are everywhere, bloody, broken, beaten, missing pieces of themselves. I look away because I can’t stand the sight anymore.

Dead bodies fill the courtyard.

I head downstairs and go to the kitchen, about the eat the little bit of food we have. Before I can, I notice how empty the house seems. Normally, my parents are down here by now, but today they’re missing. That’s when I notice the blood. There’s not much, but I can tell that something bad happened here. My gut tells me that they’re dead, but how could they be? I start to feel dizzy, and I walk around the kitchen while every sound is drowned out. My eyes are watering and there’s a sharp pain in my chest. As I stumble around the kitchen, I realize that I am headed toward the front door as if I don’t care anymore. I reach for the handle with shaking arms and droopy eyes, not realizing what I am doing. The door opens.

Suddenly, I’m awake. My dizziness has receded and been replaced with a pounding headache. Out in the courtyard, it’s so much worse than watching from my room. I run as fast as I can because I can’t hide in a world out to get me. I look at the palace, and I see that it is my only chance of salvation. With all the chaos going on, nobody notices the fifteen-year-old boy slipping into the servant’s entrance.

I have emerged into a tunnel. It’s dark and smells terrible. I’m in the sewers. It never occurred to me that the King and Queen’s servants had to live like this. I follow the tunnel until I reach a door. I open it and prepare for the worst.

It’s the kitchens. My stomach grumbles as I see towers of cakes, pastries, and breads. It’s very dark, but the scents of the cakes are heavenly. I start eating some cake, and it helps me forget all my worries.

As I’m eating, I hear a snuffle. I look up and there is a rat looking me dead in the eye. It stares at me as if daring me to do something.

“What are you doing, rat?” I ask. It doesn’t occur to me that I’m talking to a rat.

The rat doesn’t say anything. Why would it? The only thing on its mind is probably cake, and it has most likely been feasting on this very food for months. How ironic that a rat has a better chance at food than the citizens. It keeps looking at me and tilts his head.

I smile because he’s rather cute, and continue, “You know what? I’m going to call you Pierre. Why are you here, Pierre?”

He goes back to his cake, as if answering my question or he’s just ignoring me. I take offense at this, that he doesn’t want to know my story.

Maybe we deserve to die.

“Oh?” I say, “You don’t want to know what brought me here? Fine. I won’t tell you.” After about three seconds I continue, “You’re like me, aren’t you? Alone? Resilient? Hoping for peace? Well, it’s not like it’s ever going to happen. You’re going to live longer than these awful rebels. Why would the universe make it so that the lowest form of life will surpass the greatest species?!”

Pierre looks at me as if I answered the question myself. I sigh, and look down as I whisper, “Or maybe, the lowest form of life are the ones that are killing everyone. Maybe we deserve to die.”

I had never thought about this before. Had I ever thought about the enemy? Who was to blame? It all dawned at me at once. It just happened to be the second that they found me.

Had I ever thought about the enemy?

I am dragged to the courtyard. I don’t want to go, but maybe I deserve it. As I wait for my turn, I see the blade hover for a split second, before killing its victim. Every time the blade strikes skin, it feels like a piece of me is dead, and a piece of humanity’s goodness has disappeared. When it is my turn, I’m the only one who doesn’t scream. I have decided to calmly accept it, accept the faults of our country. The last thing on my mind before the blade strikes is not France, not my parents, not my friends. I think of a rat, and how he will outlive all these horrible people. Then all I see is darkness.

Five days later, the courtyard is clear. The bodies are gone, but the memories of them will stay there forever. Only one body is still there, the one they forgot to clean up. No one remembers the teenage boy that calmly accepted his death, that didn’t deserve it in the first place. As the day ends, a rat emerges into the courtyard, sniffs the boy’s body, then disappears without a trace.


1 ~Editor's Note~2The Dragon's Toe3George's 4Exotic Flavor5Paper Cutter 6Masked , Big Fish , A Plant , and Pass, Hit, Set 7The Stories of Colors 8The Lightning Monster9The Rainy Life of the Weather Named Stormy 10Tables, Reflection , Arachnid , and Distant Forest 11Discovery 12Etched Blossoms , Owl, City Scape , and Puppy 13Superior Species 14Those Butterfly Wings , Converse , Tunnel Vison, and A Cloud 15A Sea of Red 16Nebula Metro17Life of a Diary 18Flowers , Swan , Waves , and Grass 19The Dragon's Tooth 20The Girl in a Dress 21Burning Out , Blue Dot , A Southern Feminist's Manifesto , and Silhouette 22The Fire Kindling: Chapter 1 23The Perfect Student , Social Pressures , and The Perfect Student 2 24Patina Nightmare25Eventide26Creative Shutdown, Eye's Through A Looking Glass , Head on Collision , and Writer's Block 27The Road to the Championship 28Reconnecting With Nature , Eos , you were a summer thunderstorm , and Reconnecting With Self 29Senior Spotlight: Ava Muller, Photography, The Landing , Tranquil , One-eyed Flyer , Grief , Dreamer , Fractured , Breakin', Lost Lives , and Lilypads 30Senior Spotlight: Maggie Huffman, Digital Illustration , Nice to Meet You!, Exploration of "Circe", Surfs Up! , The Return of Morales , Companionship , Mandalorian , Ambush , Just Hangin', and The High Priestess 31Senior Spotlight: Jolie Stumpff, Poetry , Don't, Muse, Being a Boy , In Search of a Cosmos, Overstimulation , Wheels , and Final Moments32Playing Time Struggles, Head in the Game , Sky High , and Moment of Glory 33Pollination , Azure Afternoon , Creator of Color, and Elegant Emu 34One , Fido , Heart Handles , and Early Birds35Dedication: Katherine Berdy