Dig Deep by Zeandri Rautenbach

This story is one of the September Writing Challenge entries that was chosen to be a featured story.


I stared through the curtain of mist. A soft buzzing grazed my ears; my unfed mind devoured itself. “Margret!” I heard the continued buzz, and it ripped me back to reality. Glaring eyes waited for my answer, and behind the hunk of a teacher I identified the words: Pop quiz. My tongue found its way to the pit of my stomach. I was saved by the unfamiliar black hair two rows back: “1805, sir,” and the bell distracted everyone from my burning cheeks.

The halls narrowed down as I tried to find my pride that had died along with my mother, but I went up to my locker instead. Humiliation sunk in as I found that my books had been in my backpack all along, and I drowned in an unexpected relief that my friends were in the minority. I fished among the bottom: assignment papers, dollar bills, and a note: “Dig deep,” but in unknown handwriting. I was drowned in both comfort and agonizing pain, witnessed by the same black-haired boy.

After the treacherous day I slumped to my car, only to find an annoying flyer for gardening services glued to my windshield. Seconds before I crumbled the paper, I noticed a handwritten note on the back with similar words: “Dig deep.” My eyes flashed to the surrounding parking lot, and my blood started boiling. I calmed myself by agreeing with both brain and body that it was a simple coincidence.

The next day I arrived at the imprisoning halls without expectation and 2 hours of sleep behind me. “Careful,” said a sweet soft voice as I almost missed the step. My eyes briefly met his, and I was awestruck at the transparency they held. I blinked. He was gone.

In Chemistry I plunged into my seat and opened the summons from hell only to find a third note written in the top corner: “Dig deep.” My eyes shifted to the black beauty two rows back, and a smirk spread across his face. Was it a sick joke? Didn’t he know that I had been punished enough, not 3 months before, when my mother was not given the chance to get her Babygirl through high school? With a nod he activated my volcano, and heat raised to my cheeks.

The moment the bell rang I raced over to him, staring straight into his transparent eyes that hid his soul magnificently. “What are you doing?” I asked, blood boiling. “Do you even know what these words mean to me or is this a joke to you?” The surface cracked. “You can’t just take my mother’s words and scatter them around like breadcrumbs for me to follow!” I had erupted. Tears ran over my face as the firerivers flowed uncontainably inside me. “She was all I had left! Now I have to find a way to live without her and it hurts. It burns!”

With gentle eyes and a quivering brow he replied: “That’s deep enough.”



Zeandri Rautenbach
South Africa
Germ Magazine guest author
… is a contributing guest author for Germ, which means the following criteria (and then some) have been met: possessor of a fresh, original voice; creator of fresh, original content; genius storyteller; superlative speller; fantastic dancer; expert joke teller; handy with a toolbox; brilliant at parties; loves us as much as we love them.



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