Highly Commended Story - Junior Category
“Avalanche” by Ilayda Sonmez, Istanbul Haramidere Aci College, Turkey, is the Highly Commended story in the junior category of the first biannual Short Story Contest 2020.
İlayda Sönmez was born in Istanbul, Turkey in 2007. İlayda, a seventh grader, began writing her first stories in preschool with pictures. She began writing her first story with a space adventure in second grade. It was followed by stories about her love of animals and nature. Her stories won awards. In this story, titled Avalanche, written in English, she holds up a mirror to the lives of children struggling to read.
Karakaya village woke up to a snowy day. It was very cold and foggy outside. “Wake up my dear!” Hatice’s mother Cemile said. Her father had already gone to the mountains. He was a shepherd. Hatice woke up and got dressed then she walked to her cousin Omer’s house. He was ready when Hatice arrived. Omer was older than Hatice. He was 12 and she was 9. The greeted each other and walked along the road that went to school. They waited their friends there.
Meanwhile, Mahmud was waiting for Abdullah. “Abdullah, you know that school is far away?! Hurry up or we’ll miss the first lesson” said Mahmud. Abdullah was the laziest of four friends. He was 11 and Mahmud was 9 years old. They lived close to each other. Finally, Abdullah got dressed and two of his friends started to run along the road. “We have been waiting for you about 20 minutes. What were you doing for so long? Hatice asked “I’d been waiting for Abdullah” – Mahmud answered. They all were ready for the stressful day. They walked 4 kilometers to reach the school every day. They loved studying. The school road was very long and it was going near the mountains. That’s why it was always cold. Also, they woke up in the dark to go to school. Although, the four friends knew the road very well, it was very difficult to go to school that day. They couldn’t even see each other. Luckily, they arrived to school on time and without an accident. Their school was small. The students from other villages were coming to that school too. All 3rd, 4th and 5th grades had the lessons together. But there were only 23 students in their class. Their teacher was Mr. Ibrahim. He was a funny man, he had dark brown hair, and he was short and plump. All four friends loved him very much and he loved them too. That day they left the school early because of the snowfall. There was 1 meter of fallen snow on the ground. The four friends went on the snow to their village. “Oh. There is too much homework” – Abdullah said thoughtfully. “Oh my God! Will you do all your homework? I am so surprised” Omer replied. Then Hatice asked: “What do you want to be in future, Mahmud?” “My dream is to be an engineer!” – he said. Then he threw a snowball to Abdullah and they started playing snowballs game, they enjoyed a lot. Then they made the snowman and got carried away. The snowman looked like them, it also had a cheerful happy face as he also was their friend and for a while, it seemed to them that the snowman was alive, because there was some kind of magic flying in the air. Maybe it was just the influence of the snowfall, cold winter or nature of mountains, who knows?! But definitely, there was something in the air predicting that something good or bad will happen, but what, they couldn’t understand. “Catch me if you can!” Mahmud said running. “Help me!!!” he cried out suddenly and disappeared. It turned out that there was an avalanche that came from the mountains and fell on Mahmud. Everyone stopped and was shocked. All friends quickly started rescuing Mahmud’s life. While they were rescuing his life, another avalanche came and covered Abdullah. Omer and Hatice burst out crying because it was very scary. The day was very cold and they didn’t know how to rescue their friends’ life because they were in a panic. After a while, Hatice decided to run as fast as she could and find people who would be able to rescue her friends’ life…Omer was very terrified but tried to be brave and did not lose his control because it was the most important feeling in that situation. He cheered his friends up while his friends were under the avalanche. Meanwhile, Hatice reached the village and called all people she knew. People came to the children as soon as possible they could. They were with the plough track that could dig and operated quickly. After a few hours they hardly could save the friends. They were nearly freezing. They were sent to the town hospital immediately.
They stayed in the hospital for 10 days. But everything ended well without tragedy and it was a great experience for the kids. Because they realized that life not only consists of happy moments, also there could be unexpected situations that you have to be ready for and don’t leave friends in any difficulties because sometimes their lives depend on you! After all, they went to school and the friends that faced the avalanche knew that they had the biggest treasure – Friendship!