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Chris Riddell

The Visitor

The polar explorer looked out from the deck of his ice-bound ship. He had lived here at the North Pole with only an albatross for company ever since a series of unfortunate incidents in his youth. They had called him a monster, run away from him screaming wherever he went.

The polar explorer shivered, though not from the cold. Unlike the people who’d been so unkind to him all those years ago, the polar explorer didn’t feel the cold. Here in this wilderness of ice he was completely alone. The polar explorer peered into the worsening snowstorm. Someone was coming…

Finished by Abigail Burn from Salisbury, aged 11

Suddenly, the memories from the Explorer’s youth flooded back…
His deceased brother; his parents, grief-stricken, begging the doctors. So he was made; a Clone of his brother.

The world was alarmed and unnerved by this lab-made creature. When overhearing their parents talking about ‘monsters’ and ‘bad fortune’ horrified children ran away screaming whenever they saw him. His parents tried to shield him.

But then, in a fire, they died.

His baby sister was whisked off by their Aunt and Uncle, the authorities claiming it was best for the siblings to be separated so as not to ruin her life by growing up with him. Eventually, he left for the Arctic in the hope that the world would forget him. He became a lonely Polar Explorer.
He still had the diary recording those years of suffering.

Now, here in the Arctic, he could see the visitor approaching was a woman. Immediately he was faced with a decision; should he break his isolation and bring her on board, or leave her to confront the oncoming blizzard by herself?

He ventured into the storm and led her to his cabin. As he removed her sodden gloves and socks he was taken aback… severe frostbite. If it did not get better he’d have to seek help from the society he’d left behind all those years ago.

“I’m Emily,” she murmured, interrupting his thoughts.

“I’m a Polar Explorer,” he replied, “You don’t need to know my name.”

He looked after Emily with kindness, like any other human being would, hoping her frostbite would improve. They watched the Aurora swirl and illuminate the sky and studied the constellations together. He trusted and loved her as the friend he’d never had.

But her frostbite grew worse causing her increasing agony. He had to make a decision; should he contact the society that had loathed him in his youth, or let his only friend continue to suffer?
He chose to face his fears and seek help. Leaving Emily on the ship he trekked across the tundra until he reached a dwelling where he phoned for a doctor.

When he eventually returned to the ship the medics had already taken Emily. There were two letters addressed to him. The first read:

“Dear Sam
I read your diary; your memories filled my heart with sorrow. But times have changed; now people have more understanding. So come home Sam, where you are missed.
Your loving sister,
Emily xxx”

The second letter, from the doctor, announced she had passed away.

Sam, the Polar Explorer, looked up through his tears and saw in the night sky a single star. And in that star he saw the visitor, Emily, his sister.