IGCSE narrative essay | 2010 May-Jun | 'Alex was someone who liked to live life 'on the


You are advised to write between 350 and 500 words on the following topic:

‘Alex was someone who liked to live life ‘on the edge’ for too long, barely managing to survive. Now, in desperation, s(he) would do anything…’. Use this quotation as the start of a story.

Model Essay

Alex was someone who liked to live life ‘on the edge’ for too long, barely managing to survive. Now, in desperation, she would do anything to escape the relentless cycle of risk and consequence that had defined her existence. The thrill of dangerous pursuits had lost its charm, replaced by a gnawing fear of the inevitable crash that awaited her. The breaking point came on a stormy night when she found herself trapped in a situation more perilous than any she had faced before.

It was a high-stakes poker game in an underground club known only to those who sought the adrenaline rush of gambling away more than just money. Alex had walked in with a confident swagger, but as the night wore on, her luck turned sour. The final hand was a crushing blow: she lost everything. The debts she accumulated were now owed to dangerous individuals who didn’t believe in second chances.

Panicked, Alex stumbled out into the rain-soaked streets, her mind racing for a way out. The neon lights blurred through her tears, casting an eerie glow on the deserted alleyways. She thought of her family, the friends she had alienated, and the countless bridges she had burned in her pursuit of thrills. Her desperation grew as she realized there was no one left to turn to for help.

As she wandered aimlessly, she noticed an old, weathered poster on a lamppost, half-torn and fluttering in the wind. It advertised a mysterious job opportunity: “Looking for someone brave enough to take on the impossible. High reward. Immediate start.” Desperation clouded her judgment, and she tore the poster down, calling the number without hesitation.

The voice on the other end was calm and composed. “Meet me at the old warehouse on 5th Street, in an hour. Bring nothing but yourself.”

The warehouse was a decaying relic of the city’s industrial past, looming ominously in the darkness. Alex’s heart pounded as she approached, her footsteps echoing through the empty corridors. She pushed open the heavy door and stepped inside, the musty air thick with tension.


A single light bulb flickered above a table where a man sat, his face hidden in the shadows. “Alex,” he said, his voice resonating with authority. “I understand you’re in a bind. I have a proposition for you.”

He slid a folder across the table. Inside were details of a heist – not just any heist, but one that targeted a heavily guarded vault rumored to hold priceless artifacts. The man explained that success would erase her debts and set her up for life. Failure, however, was not an option.

Desperation overshadowed fear as Alex agreed. She spent the next week meticulously planning, her mind sharp and focused like never before. The thrill of danger was replaced by a grim determination to survive. On the night of the heist, she moved with precision, bypassing security systems and evading guards with an uncanny skill honed from years of living on the edge.

As she stood before the vault, cracking the final code, a sense of calm washed over her. She realized this was not just about survival but a chance at redemption. The vault door swung open, revealing treasures beyond her wildest dreams. She gathered what she needed, leaving the rest untouched, and made her escape just as dawn broke.

Back in the alleyways, Alex’s steps were lighter. She had outsmarted the odds one last time, but more importantly, she had found a new purpose. With her debts cleared, she vowed to leave the life of danger behind. The taste of desperation had shown her the value of stability and the possibility of a future free from the shadows of her past.

Alex walked away from the warehouse with a resolve to rebuild her life, knowing that she had been given a second chance. The edge she had once danced on was now a distant memory, replaced by a path she could navigate with hope and determination.

Word Count: 662