The Best

Chapter One

The noise from the crowd buzzed in my ears like a bee but I didn't hear it, I was too busy listening to my own heart beating like a sledgehammer in my chest. My legs took a step up and I stood on top of the block that had the number four in thick, clear writing printed on the side. I looked around at the people chatting to each other as if nothing was happening. The judges stood on the left side of the pool and the time keepers sat behind me. Other competitors took their place next to me as soon as the whistle was blown. The whistle blew again and I got into position, my arms holding on to the side of the block tightly and my legs were one behind the other. I bent down so that my forehead almost touched my knee. The gun went off and I flung my arms into the air and stuck my head between my arms so I was streamline. I flew out into the water and a slight splash followed. The noise left my ears but the sound of my heart beating in my chest stayed, that was a good sign, it meant I was still alive.

I surfaced from the water and took two quick freestyle strokes, then a breath. Soon I got into my normal rhythm; right arm…left arm….right arm…..breath. I flipped my legs over my head and pulled my body into a ball. The turn was quick and flowing. I got back into the old rhythm again. I was on my last lap now. Only 25m left. I picked up my speed despite the fact I felt my arms were going to drop off.

My fingers finally touched the finish line. I held onto the blocks and whipped off my cap and goggles. My breath came in short, sharp gasps as I tried to recover from the race. There was a giant board in the middle of the wall, it showed eight times, I scanned down to the fourth time, '01:05:32' the board read. Not bad, a personal best but not the time I was hoping for.

The whistle went for the next race and as soon as they were off I slowly swam breaststroke under the lane lines and then pulled myself out of the pool. I picked up my towel from the ground and walked over to my coach.

"Good time, not the best but it's progress," he said to me. My legs were weak from the adrenaline rush and they were like jelly than solid flesh and bone like they normally did.

I dived into the water slowly and started warming down in the dive pool. The water washed over me and I slowly began to cool off. My technique was a different rhythm this time it was more of a lift ……drag……slide…..lift head…..breath……put my head back in the water and then repeat .

I did four more laps before I got out of the pool and flopped down on the seat next to my friend.

"Maybe freestyle isn't your stroke, you're really good at backstroke," Ella said encouraging after noticing my fallen face.

"Yeah, maybe," I said sulking. Before our conversation could continue Ella was called up to swim, she was a great swimmer and her stroke was 200m break stroke. Ella won her heat and the gold.

one hour later

I stood on the blocks but they weren't swimming blocks this time, they were the blocks you stand on when you win a medal. My time hadn't gotten me first and it didn't get me second, but it did get me a bronze medal, well at least it's better that nothing. I bowed as they placed the medal over my neck and shook the person's hand before getting down from the podium and walking towards my father who was holding my bag.

I said goodbye to Ella as she went up to the podium to get her lovely, shiny, pretty, attractive, appealing gold medal then me and my dad got in the car and dad started to drive home.

"I think if you made your turn faster and got a little fitter, and make your arms go faster, then you'd have it in the bag," my dad said, he always did this after a swim meet.

I sat in the passenger's seat and nodded my head before grabbing a powerade that had been on the floor in front of me and taking a few sips to restore the energy I had recently lost.

45 minutes later

The car glided almost silently down the driveway and into the garage. I live in the country in a big brick building. We have seven and a half acres of land and a swimming pool, which I spent a lot of time in.

I got out of the car and went upstairs to have a shower. The hot water sprayed droplets of crystals over my body and I washed the chlorine out of my blond hair that reached down my back. I dried myself off and got into my pajamas. I

sat in front of the television. Dinner was at 6:30pm and I managed get into bed at 9:00pm. I had to get up at 5:00am so I could go to training and I wasn't looking forward to it. I liked swimming but I loved sleeping even more.

It wasn't the swimming that got to me the most though it was the fact that I had to go to school afterwards and that it was so early in the morning. I often fell asleep in class and my grades were slowly decreasing, I was still passing but only just. It was a decision I had to make, do I want to focus on my swimming or school work. I couldn't decide.

I finally feel asleep still wondering what to do, my mind wandered through the possibilities as I slept, in the form of a dream.

Dream sequence

The crowd cheered as a woman in her early twenties finished the final stretch. The gold would be hers. The Olympic gold medal would hang on her wall as a treasure and every time she would look at it she would feel pride. Any time her children looked at it they would think 'My mummies the fastest in the world,' and they would feel pride.

The dream changed, what happened if she didn't become the best? What would happen if she couldn't get any money?

"I've been working on the rail road….." the old woman sang, she was holding a tin can trying to get people to drop a small silver or gold coin into it or maybe even a five dollar note or something, but today was not her day.

"Shut up, you old bum," some young man yelled angrily at her as he walked past. She ignored him and went on singing still holding the rusted can out to people as they walked past. "….just to pass the time away."

Again the dream changed. Maybe she shouldn't keep going with swimming if there was a possibility of her becoming an old lady who was searching for money, shelter and food. Maybe it would be best to focus on her studies instead.

A plump lady sat at a desk that had stacks of paper on it piled in three messy rows. The desk also played host to a computer, a printer, a coffee mug and a big block of chocolate that had already been half eaten.

"I want this in by Friday Cole and I want a done well or your fired," the man was your typical boss. She stared up at the towering stack of papers that seemed to be getting bigger with every second that passed. She sat there in terror, then took a sip of coffee and started on her work.

Her boss walked in an hour later. "Are you finished my work yet Cole?" He ordered.

"N…n…n…not yet sir," she stuttered.

"I've had enough, you're fired Cole," he said and left. The office disappeared and darkness surrounded her. Her bosses head returned but only his head.

"Fired, fired, fired," it repeated staring holes into her head, "fired, fired, fired."

End dream sequence

My eyes flashed open. I head the radio screaming in my ears. I rolled over and turned it off then rolled back and went to sleep. Next thing I know my dads turned on the light and attempting to pull me off the bed. I held onto the mattress my eyes sealed shut tightly. The mattress came with me and I ended up in a heap on the floor, bleary eyed I wondered around the house getting dressed and gathering my school equipment, and overall getting ready for the long day ahead.

'Life is hard,' I thought to myself, 'and sometime unbelievably cruel,' I added.

This is a proofread version of the origonal 1st chapter.