2022 DSE English Writing Question 8 (Sample)

8: Learning English through Short Stories

You entered the “Stories of Survival” short story competition. The theme of this year’s competition is “Nature: friend or enemy?” Write a story about a hiker who gets caught in a storm while hiking in the mountains.

Nature: Both a friend and an enemy

It is springtime in early March. The sun is shining through the cracks in the clouds and a mild breeze is blowing in the air on a Sunday morning. Zoe wakes up to the radio broadcast in the sitting room which is forecasting some sunny days with a few passing clouds throughout the week. “The weather feels so pleasant!” Zoe thinks to herself. She then calls her best friend Suzy and asks her to go for hiking together. Zoe and Suzy are just average hikers. They usually do the easy hikes for recreational purpose at weekends. 

Today, they decide to hike up to the Peak from the University of Hong Kong and then continue the climb up to Mount High West because the scenic views up there is superb. Along the way, the sunshine is creeping in through the shaking leaves on the trees and a stream with clear water is flowing gently down the mountain. The air is crispy fresh. When they are halfway up the Peak, to their amazement, there emerges the spectacular view of the Victoria Harbour between Central and West Kowloon. Zoe and Suzy love the cozy feeling that nature brings.

When they reach the Peak, the weather seems to be changing suddenly. The sky is filled with dark clouds and the wind becomes stronger. Suzy decides to stay under the shelter in the park to have a rest. Zoe insists on going on with her hike to Mount High West and leaves behind Suzy. The path to Mount High West consists mainly of steep, narrow and rocky stairs . When Zoe is in the midway, it suddenly rains heavily and becomes stormy. The stairs are too slippery for her to climb downhill. Zoe cannot move but gets stuck there. She is very scared and trembles severely without any help.

Noticing that the weather is getting worse, Suzy thinks that Zoe might be in danger and calls for the rescue immediately. The search and rescue team flying in the helicopter comes in five minutes and saves Zoe successfully. Luckily, Zoe still survives and only suffers from a little panic attack. 

Nature is always changing. It can be both a friend and an enemy to human beings. It can give us a pleasant breezy warm day which is good for our well-being as well as a bad stormy day which is dangerous to our lives. Like a friend, we can enjoy the friendly company of nature; as an enemy, we need to protect ourselves against its threats and attacks. By adapting ourselves to the precarious nature, we can live with nature in harmony and peace.   

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