Refuge (Short Story – an excerpt)



Liam | Antonio Park Primary School |
Primary English | Term 4 2023

Empty Roads

Cement was really starting to annoy Phillip. He’d been staring at nothing but paved tiles and empty tarmac for over a week now. Craving the time when duty switch was called, Phillip had begun marking the days on his makeshift calendar, whiteboard markers made efficient scrawling tools. In fact he really needed another, his current utensil was running low on ink-

“You going to sit daydreaming all day or come get a Crawler Roll with me?” Cameron called out to his friend from across the cobbled path, passing a living quarters and hopping over a collapsed bin, he strode across the half finished pave job and shook Phillip’s shoulders.

“Ok, I get it!” Phillip yelled at the sudden movement out of his sleepy state. “I’m awake! I’m awake!

Cameron ceased his assault, “I was just making sure…” He grinned, Phillip sighed. Friendship, a truly indulgent experience.

“Heard they’ve started work on a new exploration expedition.” Cameron said between aggressive mouthfuls of crispy Lurker and fluffy bun.

The booth in which they sat was comforting, the solidarity meant that eavesdroppers were minimal, but Phillip still wasn’t the kind to make bold statements in a public place.

“What!? How’d you find out?” Phillip said, spitting out a chunk of shell and flesh.

A few heads turned towards the outburst, Phillip slid lower in his chair and hunched his shoulders. “I have my ways…” Cameron smirked.

“Your ways are ridiculous, you’re ridiculous!” Phillip raised a hand to his face and shook his head pitifully. Cameron however, wiping the sesame seeds off his face seemed quite content, stuffing his face without a care in the world.

They both pushed their plates away and sat up, thanking the staff before heading out the small carved mahogany door of The Grotto, a particularly cute cafe Phillip was particularly fond of.

They turned into Little Street just as the street lights flickered on, a dim glow illuminating the shallow ferns parting the sidewalk. The small insects scattered at the reverberation of their footsteps and scurried into the gaps between moss coated pebbles, taking shelter in whatever shells or exoskeletons protected their fickle bodies. Phillip watched this scene unfold with a face of serenity, in one way watching the bugs was calming but on the other, it was just another new mystery for him to avoid.

There were many of those in his current arrangement, by themselves they were just little droplets, but they had begun to swarm into an ocean, Phillip was drowning. The small pleasantries of day to day life were the only thing keeping him buoyant.

Cameron yawned as he stretched his body comfortably over the small stone bench.

“I could really just fall asleep right here, man…” Cameron sighed in contentment and slowly shut his eyes.

“Wait!” Cameron stared at Phillip with a pointed glance of annoyance, forming a guilty grin over Phillip’s face.

“I don’t wanna talk.” The laid back companion complained, leaning back.

“I won’t keep you for long, just tell me all you know about this construction work.” Phillip pleaded, this seemed important, too important to give up on simply due to Cameron’s laziness.

Cameron looked about as swayed as a camel being told it had won a holiday to Brazil. “Uhh, fine. Basically it’s just Orion and his work force hoping to expand the colony through the ice to the large portion beyond, something about royalty needing a higher standard.”

Phillip’s face twinkled at the name of his former workmate, who somehow had managed to crawl up the ranks into the position of secretary of head office, putting him in charge of the numerous expansion projects in the ever growing city.

“Wonder how they’ll get through the wastes, the blizzards haven’t shown any sign of slowing down and the beasts out there aren’t exactly heartwarmingly friendly.” Phillip said aloud to himself.

“Dunno man,” Muttered his exhausted friend, “Can we talk about this tomorrow, cool thanks.” Smiling to himself, Cameron shut his eyes yet again, leaving Phillip contemplating on the sturdy stone bench.

Prolonged Break

The duty schedule had finally been updated.


Greetings Phillip,

From today, your new work appointment shall be in place until the next official schedule is released.

Your new job is as presented below.

Public Guard

You shall be in charge of patrolling streets and guarding public buildings on the requests of any higher authorities. Uniform shall be delivered by next hour. Work begins at the 16th hour. Your salary shall be 400𓅱 per hour.

For additional information, please contact the application board for training and extra guidance,

Yours sincerely, The Applications Board.

Liam | Antonio Park Primary School

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