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Rise and Fall

My creative writing piece written in April ‘10 for my GCSE English Language exam.

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Rise and Fall

Michael Kingston was the unrivalled champion of the hundred metre sprint. People gathered in their millions to experience the second-hand adrenaline rush of the victor as he flew with an undeniable power across the broad, stretched surface that is the four hundred metre track. Despite the remainder of competitors, no athlete could compare to Kingston’s raw tenacity, his shear hunger for the gold. He was like a movie-star when off the track; reserved and humble, yet poised and willing. He not only gave the crowd a new record, but a show. He was an entertainer, born with an extreme talent full of promise. On the track, however, he was a lion starved of food, water and dignity. Every millisecond of that race, every fling of the arms, every lunge of the legs was dedicated to retaining his pride. When Michael Kingston entered the stadium, a pandemonium would ensue, for no man had ever sprinted with such pertinacious speed as the athlete.
  Very few were informed of Kingston’s dark past. Born into a nation of poverty in western Africa, the athlete was the son of a notorious drug dealer, specialising not only in providing for the minority of petty addicts living amongst the Kingston family, but primarily to gangs in western Asia; the brotherhoods of Hong Kong, the Yakuza, the Korean circle, the Chinese platoon; every infamous group known to commit from negligible crimes to millions of dollars worth of extortion, was involved with the purchasing of drugs from Michael Kingston’s father, Desmond.
  Desmond was not considered a troubled man by his son, but more as a father who would partake in the most outrageous tasks, simply in the pursuit of money to provide for his family. ‘You cannot do more than what you already know’ was always the excuse Michael gave to dismiss the pestering questions relating to his father and his work. This was often at interviews and press conferences.
“He was just doing what he knew to cater for such a large family.” He would nervously joke in the pressing heat of reporters, but little did the athlete know that the dishonest work of his Father would later be used against him.
  During the dense heat of a mid-summer’s day in Beijing, Kingston was observing himself in the mirror. Alone in the immaculate changing room of the modern complex, he was feeling a separate heat of his own. Kingston’s nerves were beginning to get the better of him as he scraped a hand across his forehead. He took a deep breath and gulped dramatically as he could feeling his stomach begin to churn.
  “Alright mate,” Jarrod Jones, his manager, appeared as if from nowhere. Jones was a portentous yet caring man in his early fifties. He had experience in the army as a much younger man, and prior to that, had worked in a firearms factory. He was the only person known to not only break Kingston’s composure, but to be the only person to see his client immediately before a race, when his usual cool had been shattered by nerves. Jones sensed the athlete’s usual disposition and planted a comforting hand on Kingston’s back.
  “Thought you’d be used to this by now. Getting a bit monotonous, y’know.” Kingston turned around and laid a reassured hand on his manager’s shoulder. Targeting his vision ahead of him, he began in a solid voice,
  “Going for gold is never monotonous.” And with that he marched towards the stadium.
  At the starting line, Kingston was recovering from the thrill the throngs of people had given him as he entered the Olympic Stadium. Just seconds before the moment he had been waiting for over half his life, Kingston observed the crowd for Jarrod Jones. Although he couldn’t rely on his parent’s appearance at events, Jarrod would consistently be there. The athlete felt a pang of uneasiness when his manager had disappeared from his seat, knowing he’d always had one reserved at the front row. But it was no time to consider the whereabouts of his manager, when it was possible that he had simply miscalculated the order of races and was pondering over the snack menu at a nearby cafe. Kingston felt a sudden strike of abandonment, despite the millions of people gazing in wonder at his possible predicted world record.
  Unknown to the athlete, Jarrod had fallen suspicious at the starting official. He had noticed, much to the advantage of sitting at the front row, that the official’s gun contained a larger barrel than the usual airgun. Jones decided not to hesitate in acting fast, especially considering Kingston’s past.
  Michael strode towards the starting line as signalled by the linesman. He was a short, thin and controlling man Michael had decided from his degrading attitude towards him and the other runners. Although the issue of a disappearing manager and the lineman’s behaviour was overlooked by Michael, simply because he had learnt to prioritise; nothing would affect his own attitude in terms of the race. This was his moment. His time to shine. Everyone had been silenced. It was an incredible atmosphere that was created by every mind that was present at the event.
“On your marks,” Michael Kingston’s heart began racing.
“Get set,” A sudden rush of adrenaline pumped in all directions of the athletes. Michael’s mind was at a state of near death, whereby his life flashed before his eyes, and every decision he had made ran up to this very moment. He pulled his body backwards, his legs poised and controlled. At the point when the athlete was about to throw himself upwards towards an almost guaranteed victory, he heard a deafening clash that bellowed an echo for miles. Michael Kingston fell to the ground in agony. He had been hit, shot at by the suspicious official. An immediate uproar of disorder began amongst every human being within the stadium. People gasped, cried and screamed in distress. The awaiting athletes arose from their starting positions in bewilderment. The energy of a competitive atmosphere had changed to a confused and angry turbulence, and Kingston lay in the heart of the riot, clenching his right leg as his mind eventually surrendered and he passed out.
  Opening his eyes to an array of flowers and a smiling yet bruised Jarrod Jones, Michael Kingston found himself lying in a pristine bed, covered with spotless white sheets. Already curious though still distant, he glanced at his manager.
“Before you ask, your leg is fine.” Jones reassured the athlete.
“Yes, and the situation could have been far worse, Sir. Kingston.” A detective began as he appeared from behind Jones.
“I don’t understand.” He replied in a hazy voice.
“Your manager saved your life;” the detective began frankly. “It was clear that Ricky Lang, as you understand to be the starting official of your race, was part of a plot to assassinate you. Another accomplice was Kong Manchu, an onlooker of the event, but nevertheless still carrying a loaded gun.” Kingston was not surprised at the detective’s conclusion; he was not a stranger to violence and felt naive when he was not sceptical towards the official.
“Of course it would be foolish to assassinate an athlete within the presence of millions of people. That’s why Chi Heng, a third accomplice, was the gunman in hiding assigned to assassinate you. The official was designated to disguise the gun sound. Their plan, in short, was to kill you whilst Chi Heng remained out of sight and sound.” Jones decided to interrupt in an attempt to displace the detective’s harsh voice.
“I realised that the gun held by the official resembled a shotgun, not an airgun. Of course they don’t make airguns as loud as the one you heard, so they must’ve used a real gun in order to disguise the second.”
Kingston lay in awe of both men as questions circled his mind like a violent tornado.
“I don’t understand how you saved me, Jones.” He whispered.
“Simple,” explained the detective.
“Mr. Jones here managed to seize the gun from Manchu and used it to distract the assassin by shooting in his direction…”
“Bearing in mind all of these triggers were released at the same time.” beamed the manager as he once again interrupted the detective.
“In turn, the assassin was sidetracked by the unknown bullet and misaimed, causing him to hit your leg, instead of the head.” Kingston lay back against his pillow in deep thought. He considered his past, his main aim in life and how it had all been thrown away.
“Why would they want to kill me?” He asked.
“Michael, it was your Father.” Jones declared.
“He was to ensure that his men transported the drugs to the Asians by meeting them half way between the Maldives and the Bay of Bengal. Instead, your Father set them up with a trap from the police because he was owed thousands.”
Kingston’s mind started to unscramble as he realised he was to pay for his Father’s actions; that the brotherhoods of Hong Kong had taken the Olympics as a chance to get revenge on Desmond Kingston. He felt furious and foolish at his own actions for defending his Father; a Father who was also foolish for jeopardising his own family, for ruining his son’s career, hopes and dreams simply because he was hungry for money. Desmond had never attended practises or events, he was a poor Father; selfish, dishonest and deluded. A doctor entered the room and smiled as he looked at the clipboard in his hand.
“Sir, I see you’re awake.” The athlete refused to acknowledge the man as he submerged himself with his thoughts.
“Good news – the bullet has done no sufficient damage to sabotage your running career. I believe within a matter of weeks you shall be fit to begin training again.” Michael Kingston lifted his head to the doctor. A sense of joy poured itself around him. Maybe this was karma, or perhaps luck, he pondered.  No; he decided. I’ve always had a Father figure in my life – regardless of whether he’s blood or not.


1 Tomsandford93 | on 23 January 2013

This is one of the most incredible short stories I’ve ever read!

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