Story Contest 2018 #1 Results » First Prize Winner - Junior Category

Robin Köhler

“Do What You Have To!” by Robin Köhler, Uganda, is the First Prize winning story in the junior category of the first biannual Short Story Contest 2018.

Do What You Have To!

I knew it is not allowed. I am the daughter of a smuggler of animals and I know it’s terrible but in Uganda it is very hard to get a decent job to earn a good salary. I hate it, so we fight, I lose, I don’t talk to him and this happens over and over again. Today he brought me a furry deep eyed animal: a chimp. It was so cute, yet I knew it was not right. “There you go Nakato, a chimp all for you” he whispered as he left the room. I felt sorry for it. Outside I heard the rumbling of thunder, the chimp screeched and ran into my arms. As a black curtain fell across the sky, her little chest rose up and down, she made me think of my twin sister, I wanted her back so bad. “I should name her. I will call her Chibirie" I thought “Like my twin sister Babirie and chi for chimp”. My eyes shut, my heart was filled with guilt, because I knew papa must have sold her mother to a rich man.

Then all of a sudden, I knew the right thing to do: I’d teach her to be a chimp. I got up and looked at the sunrise. Every week I have to skip a day of school, so I have to get water and clean the house. Usually I skip school on Fridays because it is the day we learn less. My dad needs me. “There” I said looking at my master piece. It was string with a banana attached at the end. It was for Chibirie so she could start to learn how to get food by herself because in the jungle you have to fight for food. I held Chibirie by her little soft hand and lead her to my invention “Food” I told her and left the house. I was exhausted as I walked 4 kilometers to get water. When I came back I started to scrub the floor then I noticed the banana on the string was gone. “Yes!” I thought to myself “It worked!” I looked at the little chimps dewy-eyes and I realized how much she meant to me.

Chimps grow fast, everyday mastering a new invention of mine like: filling my wash basin with water or hiding food in the garden. I knew it was almost time to let her go, but I didn’t want her to leave. “Maybe I should keep her. Anyway, she will have a much better life here than in the jungle” I was thinking "Where is the good in goodbye?” In the next few days I was making my brain hurt deciding whether I should keep Chibirie or not, but then something happened.

The day started like this: “Nakato, how do you feel about my job?” asked Papa. “I hate your job!” I said. He walked out of the room to talk to a man. Chibirie was in my arms while I was trying to make out what they were saying “Yes, it is very small, three thousand dollars” said Papa to the man. Then the words I feared came: “the CHIMP is yours”. Those words made my heart explode. I grabbed Chibirie and yanked her out of the house. Now it was time. I dashed into the large forest. Panting I put her down and said “Sorry, but it’s the best for you”. Giving her a nudge I told her go, but she ran into my arms again. She didn’t know how much she meant to me. “Go!” I said half shouting. Chibirie was trying to figure out what was wrong. Just then we heard chimp screeches. “Go" I said in a whisper, tears leaking from my eyes, “Be free.” Chibirie ran, then she stopped and looked at me, my heart raised, my eyes all damp I thought she was coming back and going to be mine once more, but she gave me an “I love you” look and ran. She didn’t turn back. “You did what you had to” I heard my sister whisper.