September 16, 2005 Features & Images » Feature Story

The Vicious Circle returns 

Fresh from their success with the Collective Novel Experiment, and with two grants lining the coffers, Whistler’s Writers Group, the Vicious Circle, hosted its annual Writer’s Festival and retreat to in Whistler from Sept. 8 to 13.

In conjunction with the festival, Pique Newsmagazine is showcasing four short stories by local writers from Aug. 25 to Sept. 15. We hope you enjoy these stories.


Sara Leach writes fiction for children. This except is from her chapter book manuscript, A Blue-Footed What?, aimed at seven to 10 year olds. In it, Jake, Emily and Eleanor discover a blue-footed booby, a South American bird, on an island in southwestern British Columbia. Soon after they spot it, they realize the tide has come in, stranding them on a shoal far from shore. When Eleanor admits she cannot swim, Jake and Emily decide to pull her to shore using a log.

An excerpt from A Blue-Footed What?

Jake splashed into the water. Soon the water passed his knees, then his waist. He shuddered as it hit his chest, then dove in.

He pushed the log toward Emily and Eleanor. As he did, several seals barked and slipped into the water.

Eleanor jumped back from the water’s edge. "I can’t do it," she yelled. "The seals will eat us!"

Jake looked at Emily. "Is she for real?" he asked.

Emily sighed. "Eleanor read an article about some kids who were attacked by harbour seals."

Jake shook his head. "People have swum here forever, and no one’s ever had a seal come near them. Look, the tide’s come in more." The water lapped near their feet. Soon the sand would be covered. "This is your only ride home. Take it or leave it."

Eleanor sobbed and nodded. "You’d better watch out for seals."

Jake and Emily helped Eleanor to the log, which floated at knee depth. Emily took her bag and put the camera in it.

"How are you going to keep that dry?" asked Jake.

"I guess I’ll hold it on the log," said Emily.

"Don’t drop it. My mom will kill me if the camera gets wet."

"And it has the pictures of the blue-footed booby. No one will believe us if we destroy them," Jake said.

Emily blew a strand of hair out of her face and rolled her eyes. "Relax you guys. I won’t drop it."

"Eleanor, hold on tight to the log," said Jake. "We’re going to walk into the water."

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