Books·The First Page

The Eye by Adam Schneider

Adam Schneider, 14, is one of 10 finalists in the Grades 7 to 9 category of The First Page student writing challenge.

2019 finalist: Grades 7 to 9 category

Adam Schneider, 14, is a 2019 finalist in the Grades 7 to 9 category for The First Page student writing challenge. (Submitted by Adam Schneider)

The Eye by Adam Schneider is one of 10 stories shortlisted for the The First Page student writing competition in the Grades 7 to 9 category. Students across Canada wrote the first page of a novel set 150 years in the future, imagining how a current-day trend or issue has played out. Nearly 2,000 students submitted their stories.

In The Eye, Schneider, a student at St. John Henry Newman in Calgary, considers what happens when surveillance goes too far.

All I heard were thin, ringing footsteps. I had merely finished running from the security mechs and was hiding in a dumpster in a back lane, wearing my anti-thermic detection suit.

The droids had been attempting to hunt me down for the past few weeks, but I had been extremely cautious with erasing my trails, with the chip in my neck, and my likely indestructible tracking band. I had only been free for around a month, after hacking into my GPS devices and disabling them.

After I was cleared from the rehab home, I was automatically enlisted in the "Youth Criminal Aid Program", but as soon as I finished the opening session, I never showed up again. I quickly fell back into the habit of laser-point robbery. It was the feeling of excitement that made it so easy to go back to it.

All around me was the feeling of loss, everything had a shade of grey to it, and everyone thought the same way; scared.

Once the droid footsteps had receded, I rose out of the dumpster, stowed my ATD suit into my pack, and began the trek back to the bunker. The trail was a dangerous one, Cleveland was one of the top cities in the world for surveillance and security, and that made it difficult for anyone to do anything. All around me was the feeling of loss, everything had a shade of grey to it, and everyone thought the same way; scared.

Cleveland was thought of as one of the safe havens in the states for people to go to either seek help or just to get away from their problems. It was thought that way because of all the security, but boy, were they wrong. It became the murder capital of North America, and you had to watch your every move. One tiny misstep, into the wrong store, or into a dangerous neighbourhood, you could be blown into oblivion.

Once I reached the bunker, I punched in my access code and waited for the doors to admit me. I stepped inside, slipped my pack onto the twin bed, and sat down.

I was watching my camera footage feed when I noticed something was amiss. The video kept echoing itself. Someone had hacked into my bunker! I scrambled to find my laser rifle and waited. The only thing I heard before losing consciousness was the scream of whoever was at my door, and an earsplitting explosion.

About The First Page student writing challenge

CBC Books asked students to give us a glimpse of the great Canadian novel of the year 2168. They wrote the first page of a book set 150 years in the future, with the protagonist facing an issue that's topical today and set the scene for how it's all playing out in a century and a half.

Kelley Armstrong is the bestselling author of more than 40 books. (Kathryn Hollinrake)

Two winning entries — one from the Grades 7 to 9 category and one from the Grades 10 to 12 category — will be chosen by bestselling YA author Kelley Armstrong, most known for her Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising series. The winner will be announced on CBC Books on March 11, 2020.

Both winners will receive a one-year subscription to OwlCrate, which sends fresh boxes of books to young readers across Canada on a monthly basis. In addition, each of the winners' schools will receive 50 free YA books.


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