A Chase
       My eyes darted hither and thither as I looked for any signs of danger. I watched the shopkeeper's every move. Many times, he turned to stare at me, but I avoided his glance. I crept along the narrow passageway of the shop. Then, hiding in a corner, I signalled for her to come.

       An old lady hobbled to the shopkeeper, asking for a whole lot of groceries. She was trembling. She stuttered. But I knew she wasn't stuttering because she was old, she stuttered out of fear ...

       There were butterflies in my stomach and my palms were sweating. I crept towards it, slowly reaching out my hand to grab it, but withdrawing my hand every time I heard a sound. My ears strained until they hurt. I saw my chance. The shopkeeper was totally immersed in serving the old lady. "Good work, Grandma, I'll give you a treat after this," I thought, smiling. I looked around again. No one was around, but it seemed to me that every pair of eyes was staring at me. I reached my hand out.

       "Now!" I told myself. I grabbed the bottle and dashed out of the shop. I was panting heavily, my lungs screaming for air. It felt as if they were going to burst. I told myself to hang on, gripping the bottle as tightly as I could with my sweaty palms. "Stop, thief!" I heard from behind me. I told myself to keep on running, never to look back. I only hoped that my grandmother was safe ... A mixture of yelling, crying and running were behind me. I could hear that the footsteps were coming nearer and nearer. I looked around for any sign of escape. I told myself that there was always light at the end of the tunnel. But where was my light? My head felt giddy but I was determined to find a way out. I could not give up now.

Click to hear ...
       I leapt across the high brick wall and ran and ran. Finally, I found my light. It was a narrow passageway to somewhere. I was not sure where it would lead to. But my instinct told me that that was an escape route. A voice in my head told me to run into the passageway, while another told me to keep running straight. I was terribly confused. "Now what?" a voice screamed in my head. The footsteps were coming nearer. I squeezed myself into the passageway. It led into an alley. I was panting heavily. My nose and mouth opened wide to get more air, while my heart was palpitating against my chest. I leaned back against the wall and I sighed with relief. I had got the bottle.

       "He's here! He's here!" a voice shouted. I knew they were still after me. I whirled around and ran. Suddenly, I stopped. It was a dead end.

       I turned back to see a policeman pointing a gun at me. "Surrender, Jack Lim! You're under arrest for shoplifting and illegal trafficking of drugs!" I held on to the bottle. "No!" I screamed. Then all I heard was a shot ringing in the air. Then, an excruciating pain seared through my leg and I blacked out ...

       I was lying on the hospital bed, struggling to get up. Then, the door to my ward opened and I saw my grandmother sobbing, accompanied by two policemen. I knew I was doomed. I braced myself for the worst. "Tell me the truth," one policeman said. I told them everything. "I was on drugs but could not afford them. I had no choice. I was drug trafficking to get the money for drugs. But it was still not enough. I begged my grandma to give me some but she did not have any. I thought of a way. I knew that the owner of minimart was rich. I thought that stealing a bit of his money wouldn't hurt. I asked my grandma to distract him while I took the bottle where he kept his money." I was fighting to hold back my tears. "Kill me if you want to, but don't hurt my grandma, please," I begged.

       The judge in the court sentenced me to jail for three years and I was also sent for "cold turkey' treatment. I regretted what I had done and I determined in my heart that I would turn over a new leaf.