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COV WORDS

POETRY PROSE Volume. 8 ISSN 2397- 7043 (Print) ISSN 2397- 7051 (Online) October 2017 Exclusive interview with Amanda Smyth

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PUBLISHED BY Coventry University Priory Street Coventry, CV1 5FB, UK Main telephone no: +44 (0) 24 7688 7688 Main website: www.coventry.ac.uk Web: blogs.coventry.ac.uk/coventrywords Facebook: /coventrywords Twitter: @CoventryWords Instagram: Coventry Words Magazine Submissions email: coventrywords.bes@coventry.ac.uk Telephone no: 024 77 65 8013

C o v Wo rd s M a g a z i n e S o c i e t y : Kathryn Morgan-Jones: President Toby Fermoy: Vice-President Elena Aldridge: Treasurer Bethany Smith: Inclusion Officer

E x e c u t i v e E d i t i n g Te a m : Kathryn Morgan-Jones Toby Fermoy Alyson Morris (Course Director) Anthony Luvera (Photography)

Graphic Designer: Tsz Ching Chan, Isabella

LETTER FROM THE EDITING TEAM Photography: Tiff Branscombe, Kelly Bryan, Katie Bywater, Michael Gaida, Alice Goulding, James Henry, U. Leone, Kathryn Morgan-Jones, Fifaliana Rakotoarison, Alexandre Vanier

We b a n d S o c i a l M e d i a Te a m : Seonaid Mckay: Social Media Manager Alyson Morris: Web Manager Lyle Weir: Assistant Web Manager With thanks to: Maria de Omena

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Each year CovWords strives to create an interesting and evocative magazine, and this year is no exception. Our main aim is to display the vast array of talent from students across Coventry University. Without the creativity and candour of all the students who submitted, our magazine would not have come together as successfully as it has. Therefore, our first thank you is to everyone who submitted to the magazine this year. We'd also like to show our gratitude to our graphic designer, Isabella, and our student photographers, who have worked tirelessly and brought the magazine to life. Creating a magazine is such an almighty task to undertake, and therefore it is important to have an eclectic, supportive and open-minded group of people around to help navigate the many obstacles and difficult decisions that producing a magazine invariably creates. So finally, our thanks to all those who attended society meetings and contributed to the creation of our best issue yet. We hope you enjoy reading CovWords magazine as much as we have enjoyed creating it.

Student Marketing and D i s t r i b u t i o n Te a m : Immanuela Abraham, Sana Afzil, Misbah Batule, Lucy Benardout, Eleanor Brown, Amy Cannell, Jennifer Cox, Muna Eid, Chloe Evans, Belgheys Fazeli, Amalia Gros, Melissa Healy, Richard Horton, Thomas Howell, Kamila Kwasniewska, Thomas Lawlor, Melisa Matvejeva, Sabrina McClune, Iram Mukhtar, Gergana Nikolova, Curtis Osborne, Bailey Pembro, Iulia Pletea, Maria de Fatima Salgueiro Figueira, Gabija Sasnauskaite, Gabija Simaityte, Julija Sosenko, Kirandeesh Kaur Thandi, Abigail Thomson, Maria de Omena

Any opinions expressed by a contributor are their own personal opinions, and do not reflect the opinions of the University or any employee thereof. The fact that the University’s images are used in this magazine shall not be considered as an endorsement of the University. The University is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the contributors. Any story characters are fictional, and bear no resemblance to living people. Any similarities are coincidental. Copyright in each separate contribution to the collective work is distinct from copyright in the collective work as a whole, and is vested in the author of the contribution. Unauthorised reproduction of any part of this publication is prohibited. Copyright Coventry University 2017.

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Welcome to Volume 8 of the CovWords magazine

Toby Fermoy

Kathryn Morgan-Jones

2

04/12/2017 08:42


PUBLISHED BY Coventry University Priory Street Coventry, CV1 5FB, UK Main telephone no: +44 (0) 24 7688 7688 Main website: www.coventry.ac.uk Web: blogs.coventry.ac.uk/coventrywords Facebook: /coventrywords Twitter: @CoventryWords Instagram: Coventry Words Magazine Submissions email: coventrywords.bes@coventry.ac.uk Telephone no: 024 77 65 8013

C o v Wo rd s M a g a z i n e S o c i e t y : Kathryn Morgan-Jones: President Toby Fermoy: Vice-President Elena Aldridge: Treasurer Bethany Smith: Inclusion Officer

E x e c u t i v e E d i t i n g Te a m : Kathryn Morgan-Jones Toby Fermoy Alyson Morris (Course Director) Anthony Luvera (Photography)

Graphic Designer: Tsz Ching Chan, Isabella

LETTER FROM THE EDITING TEAM Photography: Tiff Branscombe, Kelly Bryan, Katie Bywater, Michael Gaida, Alice Goulding, James Henry, U. Leone, Kathryn Morgan-Jones, Fifaliana Rakotoarison, Alexandre Vanier

We b a n d S o c i a l M e d i a Te a m : Seonaid Mckay: Social Media Manager Alyson Morris: Web Manager Lyle Weir: Assistant Web Manager With thanks to: Maria de Omena

COV WORDS FINAL.indd 2-3

Each year CovWords strives to create an interesting and evocative magazine, and this year is no exception. Our main aim is to display the vast array of talent from students across Coventry University. Without the creativity and candour of all the students who submitted, our magazine would not have come together as successfully as it has. Therefore, our first thank you is to everyone who submitted to the magazine this year. We'd also like to show our gratitude to our graphic designer, Isabella, and our student photographers, who have worked tirelessly and brought the magazine to life. Creating a magazine is such an almighty task to undertake, and therefore it is important to have an eclectic, supportive and open-minded group of people around to help navigate the many obstacles and difficult decisions that producing a magazine invariably creates. So finally, our thanks to all those who attended society meetings and contributed to the creation of our best issue yet. We hope you enjoy reading CovWords magazine as much as we have enjoyed creating it.

Student Marketing and D i s t r i b u t i o n Te a m : Immanuela Abraham, Sana Afzil, Misbah Batule, Lucy Benardout, Eleanor Brown, Amy Cannell, Jennifer Cox, Muna Eid, Chloe Evans, Belgheys Fazeli, Amalia Gros, Melissa Healy, Richard Horton, Thomas Howell, Kamila Kwasniewska, Thomas Lawlor, Melisa Matvejeva, Sabrina McClune, Iram Mukhtar, Gergana Nikolova, Curtis Osborne, Bailey Pembro, Iulia Pletea, Maria de Fatima Salgueiro Figueira, Gabija Sasnauskaite, Gabija Simaityte, Julija Sosenko, Kirandeesh Kaur Thandi, Abigail Thomson, Maria de Omena

Any opinions expressed by a contributor are their own personal opinions, and do not reflect the opinions of the University or any employee thereof. The fact that the University’s images are used in this magazine shall not be considered as an endorsement of the University. The University is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the contributors. Any story characters are fictional, and bear no resemblance to living people. Any similarities are coincidental. Copyright in each separate contribution to the collective work is distinct from copyright in the collective work as a whole, and is vested in the author of the contribution. Unauthorised reproduction of any part of this publication is prohibited. Copyright Coventry University 2017.

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Welcome to Volume 8 of the CovWords magazine

Toby Fermoy

Kathryn Morgan-Jones

2

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Contents GENERAL

SEASONS

5 6 7 8 12 13 14 15 17 19 20 21 24 25 26 27

48 49 50 51 54 55 56 57 59 60

Beauty, Javeria Fickle, Effie Ray Item 7, Ana Taylor RAM, Agnes Price I Wish, Fátima Figueira The View, Maria de Omena. Natural Healer, Emanuela Petrosyan Footprint, Joseph Audsley Limbo, Oluwaseyi Adeoye Thursday Afternoon, Elena Aldridge Broad Shoulders, Ryan Byrne SEEK, Sophie O’Sullivan Rejoice, My Dear Reveller, Leah Walker Cashmere, Ellys Lawlor SISA, Aanuoluwapo Adesina Student House, Bethany Smith

C R E AT I V E N O N - F I C T I O N 36 39 41 43 46

3

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Interview With Amanda Smyth Home: Unknown, Carlota Maura James The Stage of Refuge, Belgheys Fazeli Working with Pride Muguti: A Story from South Africa, Seb Charlton A Night to Remember, Ellys Lawlor

.

Sequence, Gabija Šimaityte The Blossoming Tree, Eleanor Brown Autumn, Melissa Healy Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Seonaid Mckay Summertime Nostalgia, Toby Fermoy Sensate, Amy Cannell Hermione, Zoe little Memory Leak, Bailey Pembro Changes, Nisna Mahtani Autumn Morning, Paul Kent

F R E D H O L L A N D P O E T RY C O L L E C T I O N AWA R D 62 63 64 65

Vindicated Masterpiece A Man/ Platinum A Journey (to silence)

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Contents GENERAL

SEASONS

5 6 7 8 12 13 14 15 17 19 20 21 24 25 26 27

48 49 50 51 54 55 56 57 59 60

Beauty, Javeria Fickle, Effie Ray Item 7, Ana Taylor RAM, Agnes Price I Wish, Fátima Figueira The View, Maria de Omena. Natural Healer, Emanuela Petrosyan Footprint, Joseph Audsley Limbo, Oluwaseyi Adeoye Thursday Afternoon, Elena Aldridge Broad Shoulders, Ryan Byrne SEEK, Sophie O’Sullivan Rejoice, My Dear Reveller, Leah Walker Cashmere, Ellys Lawlor SISA, Aanuoluwapo Adesina Student House, Bethany Smith

C R E AT I V E N O N - F I C T I O N 36 39 41 43 46

3

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Interview With Amanda Smyth Home: Unknown, Carlota Maura James The Stage of Refuge, Belgheys Fazeli Working with Pride Muguti: A Story from South Africa, Seb Charlton A Night to Remember, Ellys Lawlor

.

Sequence, Gabija Šimaityte The Blossoming Tree, Eleanor Brown Autumn, Melissa Healy Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Seonaid Mckay Summertime Nostalgia, Toby Fermoy Sensate, Amy Cannell Hermione, Zoe little Memory Leak, Bailey Pembro Changes, Nisna Mahtani Autumn Morning, Paul Kent

F R E D H O L L A N D P O E T RY C O L L E C T I O N AWA R D 62 63 64 65

Vindicated Masterpiece A Man/ Platinum A Journey (to silence)

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Photographer: Alice Goulding

Photographer: Kathryn Morgan-Jones

Beauty By Javeria

What is ‘Beauty?’ Is it the fairness of my skin the dimples near my chin the size of my waist the slimness of my face? How about the flush of my cheeks the sound of my voice when I speak the way I am with the people I meet? Or is it the gap between my thighs the looks I get when I rise the colour of my eyes the number on my jean size? How do you define ‘Beauty’? My smile, my jawline, my cheekbones? The length of my hair, the clothes that I wear my weight in stones? Dear definers be prepared to listen: how can we be beautiful when no one knows the definition?

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Fickle By Effie Ray

Would you lose me If you could? I bet you would. You’d drop me In a minute As soon as I put My foot in it, Looking for The next best thing; I bet you’d go For anything That could feed you, Keep you warm, Keep you safe, Away from harm, Pet you in that Special spot. Tell you that you’re Handsome and not Complain when you Wake them up at 3 am, but what else Can I expect from a cat?

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Photographer: Alice Goulding

Photographer: Kathryn Morgan-Jones

Beauty By Javeria

What is ‘Beauty?’ Is it the fairness of my skin the dimples near my chin the size of my waist the slimness of my face? How about the flush of my cheeks the sound of my voice when I speak the way I am with the people I meet? Or is it the gap between my thighs the looks I get when I rise the colour of my eyes the number on my jean size? How do you define ‘Beauty’? My smile, my jawline, my cheekbones? The length of my hair, the clothes that I wear my weight in stones? Dear definers be prepared to listen: how can we be beautiful when no one knows the definition?

5

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Fickle By Effie Ray

Would you lose me If you could? I bet you would. You’d drop me In a minute As soon as I put My foot in it, Looking for The next best thing; I bet you’d go For anything That could feed you, Keep you warm, Keep you safe, Away from harm, Pet you in that Special spot. Tell you that you’re Handsome and not Complain when you Wake them up at 3 am, but what else Can I expect from a cat?

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m e It

Arthur shielded his eyes from the sun. He was beside a lake, surrounded by aspens. To his right, a doe bounded off into the trees. Wow! They had said there was nothing like it. They weren’t kidding. The smell of the grass. The breeze on his face. The quiet. Nothing like the hustle and bustle of Chicago. The Shishone. It was as vast as it was beautiful. Arthur already felt at home. Emily used to talk about coming back. She loved the peace. Well, he was here now.

7

I watch them from this glass prison, glancing at the ‘historical’ objects around them. But never at me. Each of these mildly interesting items have a wonderful description about their mark on history. But me? What does mine say? Item 7: A Top Hat. That’s it. They have no idea where I’ve come from and I suppose they’ll never know how eloquent I looked sitting on a prestigious banker’s head. Until I got bored of him and told him to put all his money on red rather than black. The weak man across the table looked much more fun. I was right. When he won me, I found he was easily manipulated. A raging alcoholic with nothing to lose. I used to whisper in his ear all day long and when he got home I watched him arguing with that wife of his. I told him exactly what he needed to do. It took a year of him crying himself to sleep before I finally won. I observed in anticipation as he slit her throat and revelled in her screams. You see, a Top Hat soaks in sounds like a shell you picked up from the shore. You hear the waves like secrets from long ago. And here I am today just Item 7: A Top Hat. He should never have given into that guilt. At least I can still hear her scream.

RAM

He wandered beside the edge of the lake. The sky was bright. Almost unreal. Nothing like the grey haze back home. He was thinking about how Emily used to say he didn’t pay attention to the simple things. “Look at me now, Em. You proud?” His boot caught on a rock and sent him face first onto the ground. Someone giggled behind him. Arthur turned quickly and saw a red-haired woman standing not ten feet away. “What are you doing here?” “Nice to meet you too, Arthur.” “How the hell - how do you know my name?” he said, squinting up at her. The woman shrugged. “I’m resourceful.”

By

An

a

Arthur, slightly irritated by the unhelpful response, got to his feet. He hadn’t registered any visitors. How was she here? Was she a glitch? A virus?

Ta y

lor

By Agnes Price

7

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m e It

Arthur shielded his eyes from the sun. He was beside a lake, surrounded by aspens. To his right, a doe bounded off into the trees. Wow! They had said there was nothing like it. They weren’t kidding. The smell of the grass. The breeze on his face. The quiet. Nothing like the hustle and bustle of Chicago. The Shishone. It was as vast as it was beautiful. Arthur already felt at home. Emily used to talk about coming back. She loved the peace. Well, he was here now.

7

I watch them from this glass prison, glancing at the ‘historical’ objects around them. But never at me. Each of these mildly interesting items have a wonderful description about their mark on history. But me? What does mine say? Item 7: A Top Hat. That’s it. They have no idea where I’ve come from and I suppose they’ll never know how eloquent I looked sitting on a prestigious banker’s head. Until I got bored of him and told him to put all his money on red rather than black. The weak man across the table looked much more fun. I was right. When he won me, I found he was easily manipulated. A raging alcoholic with nothing to lose. I used to whisper in his ear all day long and when he got home I watched him arguing with that wife of his. I told him exactly what he needed to do. It took a year of him crying himself to sleep before I finally won. I observed in anticipation as he slit her throat and revelled in her screams. You see, a Top Hat soaks in sounds like a shell you picked up from the shore. You hear the waves like secrets from long ago. And here I am today just Item 7: A Top Hat. He should never have given into that guilt. At least I can still hear her scream.

RAM

He wandered beside the edge of the lake. The sky was bright. Almost unreal. Nothing like the grey haze back home. He was thinking about how Emily used to say he didn’t pay attention to the simple things. “Look at me now, Em. You proud?” His boot caught on a rock and sent him face first onto the ground. Someone giggled behind him. Arthur turned quickly and saw a red-haired woman standing not ten feet away. “What are you doing here?” “Nice to meet you too, Arthur.” “How the hell - how do you know my name?” he said, squinting up at her. The woman shrugged. “I’m resourceful.”

By

An

a

Arthur, slightly irritated by the unhelpful response, got to his feet. He hadn’t registered any visitors. How was she here? Was she a glitch? A virus?

Ta y

lor

By Agnes Price

7

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8

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Lena considered him for a moment before her gaze returned to the water. “I’m looking for someone.”

“How long have you been looking?”

She snorted. “You’re a real charmer, y’know.”

She waved a hand dismissively. “Nah. I don’t like to linger. Unlike some, I don’t detest my pathetic existence outside the upload.”

“What are you doing in my Memrize?”

“I don’t hate my life outside,” he lied.

“Sister? Husband?”

She rolled her eyes, “Fiiiine. I’m not a virus. I’m a person. Like you.”

“Sure you do. You wouldn’t be here otherwise.” The woman knelt and ran her hands over the grass, as if checking the texture quality. “I’m Lena by the way,” she said. “So is this Emily’s memory?”

“Wife, actually.” Arthur was tempted to make a snide comment, but Lena had spoken with such overwhelming sadness. “Did she get lost?”

That was almost as long as Memrize had been running. There must be billions of participants by now. Lena must have twigged what Arthur was thinking because she said, “They took her away from me and put her in this stupid simulation. I don’t care if it takes me a hundred years.”

“Yeah. She used to come here with her parents. They always said how pretty it was.”

Lena nodded.

“I wish I could help.”

“Oh,” he said redundantly. “I’m sorry.”

Lena perked up almost immediately.

“Save it. I don’t want your sympathy. I just want to find her.”

“My God. Maybe you can.”

“Are you a virus?”

“But I didn’t invite you.”

Lena’s shoulders slumped. “Fifteen months.”

“And yet here I am.” Arthur spoke cautiously, “So…you know Emily?” The second he said it, he wished he hadn’t. Memories flashed through his mind. Emily in the doctor’s office. Emily’s episodes at home. Emily crying on the front steps of the house. Emily in the hospital bed. Arthur felt nauseous. The woman arched an eyebrow, “Who’s Emily? Sister? Girlfriend?” “Wife.” Arthur attempted to ignore the bare finger on his left hand. “Huh. Well, no. I don’t know her. I don’t know you either.” She winked. “You just happen to be the lucky one today.” “I don’t understand.” “I mean I picked your Memrize. I’m a serial visitor.” Arthur tried not to sound irritated. “Don’t have your own Memrize?”

“And where’s Emily now?” “She’s unwell. Too sick for this.”

“Yeah?” Lena went to the lakeside and looked at her reflection. Eventually, she said, “Must be Alzheimer’s, right? If she’s too sick.” Arthur nodded. “Figures. Most people outside have that. One of the only diseases Memrize isn’t compatible with.” “She wanted me to see some of her favourite memories a while back when they were advertising this and…” His voice trailed off.

“But…if she’s gone…don’t you think - ” “No.” Their eyes met again. “She was dying when the Memrize beta trials started. It sounded too good to be true and I couldn’t-I wasn’t there. Her parents signed the consent form without me.” “Can’t you just search her name in the Mem Space?” She shook her head, “Parents blocked me out. They never liked me. And I’m not next of kin. Not like you.”

Lena looked Arthur dead in the eye, “You know this place isn’t real, right? It’s not revisiting old memories, it’s just pixels in your brain.”

“So you’re jumping from upload to upload to find her.”

“Well, why are you here?”

“Pretty much. Why would they block me if she wasn’t still alive?”

“When you clock out of here, when you wake up, you can search for her. Angela Heiser. 21st June, 2111. You’re not blocked so you can find her, easy.” Arthur bit his lip, “Lena…I can’t wake up. I’m permanent.” “What? You’re permanent?” “I donated my body before I got uploaded. I can’t leave.” He hadn’t seen the harm in crossing over for good. A lot of people were doing it these days and with Emily the way she was there was nothing left for him in the real world. “You’re unbelievable.”

Photographer: Kelly Bryan

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Lena considered him for a moment before her gaze returned to the water. “I’m looking for someone.”

“How long have you been looking?”

She snorted. “You’re a real charmer, y’know.”

She waved a hand dismissively. “Nah. I don’t like to linger. Unlike some, I don’t detest my pathetic existence outside the upload.”

“What are you doing in my Memrize?”

“I don’t hate my life outside,” he lied.

“Sister? Husband?”

She rolled her eyes, “Fiiiine. I’m not a virus. I’m a person. Like you.”

“Sure you do. You wouldn’t be here otherwise.” The woman knelt and ran her hands over the grass, as if checking the texture quality. “I’m Lena by the way,” she said. “So is this Emily’s memory?”

“Wife, actually.” Arthur was tempted to make a snide comment, but Lena had spoken with such overwhelming sadness. “Did she get lost?”

That was almost as long as Memrize had been running. There must be billions of participants by now. Lena must have twigged what Arthur was thinking because she said, “They took her away from me and put her in this stupid simulation. I don’t care if it takes me a hundred years.”

“Yeah. She used to come here with her parents. They always said how pretty it was.”

Lena nodded.

“I wish I could help.”

“Oh,” he said redundantly. “I’m sorry.”

Lena perked up almost immediately.

“Save it. I don’t want your sympathy. I just want to find her.”

“My God. Maybe you can.”

“Are you a virus?”

“But I didn’t invite you.”

Lena’s shoulders slumped. “Fifteen months.”

“And yet here I am.” Arthur spoke cautiously, “So…you know Emily?” The second he said it, he wished he hadn’t. Memories flashed through his mind. Emily in the doctor’s office. Emily’s episodes at home. Emily crying on the front steps of the house. Emily in the hospital bed. Arthur felt nauseous. The woman arched an eyebrow, “Who’s Emily? Sister? Girlfriend?” “Wife.” Arthur attempted to ignore the bare finger on his left hand. “Huh. Well, no. I don’t know her. I don’t know you either.” She winked. “You just happen to be the lucky one today.” “I don’t understand.” “I mean I picked your Memrize. I’m a serial visitor.” Arthur tried not to sound irritated. “Don’t have your own Memrize?”

“And where’s Emily now?” “She’s unwell. Too sick for this.”

“Yeah?” Lena went to the lakeside and looked at her reflection. Eventually, she said, “Must be Alzheimer’s, right? If she’s too sick.” Arthur nodded. “Figures. Most people outside have that. One of the only diseases Memrize isn’t compatible with.” “She wanted me to see some of her favourite memories a while back when they were advertising this and…” His voice trailed off.

“But…if she’s gone…don’t you think - ” “No.” Their eyes met again. “She was dying when the Memrize beta trials started. It sounded too good to be true and I couldn’t-I wasn’t there. Her parents signed the consent form without me.” “Can’t you just search her name in the Mem Space?” She shook her head, “Parents blocked me out. They never liked me. And I’m not next of kin. Not like you.”

Lena looked Arthur dead in the eye, “You know this place isn’t real, right? It’s not revisiting old memories, it’s just pixels in your brain.”

“So you’re jumping from upload to upload to find her.”

“Well, why are you here?”

“Pretty much. Why would they block me if she wasn’t still alive?”

“When you clock out of here, when you wake up, you can search for her. Angela Heiser. 21st June, 2111. You’re not blocked so you can find her, easy.” Arthur bit his lip, “Lena…I can’t wake up. I’m permanent.” “What? You’re permanent?” “I donated my body before I got uploaded. I can’t leave.” He hadn’t seen the harm in crossing over for good. A lot of people were doing it these days and with Emily the way she was there was nothing left for him in the real world. “You’re unbelievable.”

Photographer: Kelly Bryan

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“Lena-” “How old are you outside? How old is the slice of you that’s left?” “I’m fifty-six.” “And how long were you with your wife when she actually knew who you were?” That hurt. “Twenty years.” “Fifty-two. Fifty-two years. I’m eighty-one outside this show.” There were tears in Lena’s eyes. “You don’t know what that does to people. You can’t begin to imagine. The bond. The commitment. The boredom, the yearning, the laughter, the fighting, the hate, the love of it, the love! Everything we sacrificed for each other. And you think you’ve had it bad well good for you. At least your wife is alive. At least you know where she is. But you gave her up. You gave your own body up. What kind of person does that? You want to exist is this magical little program where nothing is real and you don’t age and you don’t do anything? Christ, if I had to live in your head I think I’d kill myself.”

I Wish

By Fátima Figueira

I wish I could tell you there is nothing to worry about. That the sea around us will never hurt you, The home you left behind is still there, And the place we are going to is certain. I wish I could tell you that Daddy is waiting for us (There, on the other side of the sea) And he will hug you and tell you how tall you are And your sister will be there with him... If only I could tell you that. The truth is this boat, with water creeping in, Is the only house I can offer you now. Four walls that no one can see An empty stomach and a dead family.

Arthur said nothing. Lena was shaking. Finally, she wiped her eyes and said, “I’m going.” “Wait Lena-” “Don’t, Arthur. Don’t even try.” “Lena, I’m sorry.” “Tell that to Emily.” She froze and flicked for a second before vanishing. The aspens quivered in the breeze. The sun reflected off the surface of the lake. Arthur was alone.

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“Lena-” “How old are you outside? How old is the slice of you that’s left?” “I’m fifty-six.” “And how long were you with your wife when she actually knew who you were?” That hurt. “Twenty years.” “Fifty-two. Fifty-two years. I’m eighty-one outside this show.” There were tears in Lena’s eyes. “You don’t know what that does to people. You can’t begin to imagine. The bond. The commitment. The boredom, the yearning, the laughter, the fighting, the hate, the love of it, the love! Everything we sacrificed for each other. And you think you’ve had it bad well good for you. At least your wife is alive. At least you know where she is. But you gave her up. You gave your own body up. What kind of person does that? You want to exist is this magical little program where nothing is real and you don’t age and you don’t do anything? Christ, if I had to live in your head I think I’d kill myself.”

I Wish

By Fátima Figueira

I wish I could tell you there is nothing to worry about. That the sea around us will never hurt you, The home you left behind is still there, And the place we are going to is certain. I wish I could tell you that Daddy is waiting for us (There, on the other side of the sea) And he will hug you and tell you how tall you are And your sister will be there with him... If only I could tell you that. The truth is this boat, with water creeping in, Is the only house I can offer you now. Four walls that no one can see An empty stomach and a dead family.

Arthur said nothing. Lena was shaking. Finally, she wiped her eyes and said, “I’m going.” “Wait Lena-” “Don’t, Arthur. Don’t even try.” “Lena, I’m sorry.” “Tell that to Emily.” She froze and flicked for a second before vanishing. The aspens quivered in the breeze. The sun reflected off the surface of the lake. Arthur was alone.

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What to do about the swirling vortex of droplets that turned the dazzling horizon into savagery with its roar. The aroma of pain, chaos – a mess of acidic scents that somehow drew me into the broken remains of Home. A palette of grey painted the background in a bleak dégradé, only lightened by an electric discharge – pity, not even a blatant manifestation of Thor’s power could save me now. The tempting image haunts me, and yet, saves me like a lucky shot in a game of Russian Roulette. Curiously, seeing the ruins of my mind palace made me realise that there must be beauty in destruction after all.

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Natural Healer

By Emanuela Petrosyan

I feel like medicine, always one step ahead. They own me because I am a natural healer bound with a heart that can bring down the sky, push away the Devil, with the power of words. But as medicine, I am only powerful when they are weaker unnecessary when they are strong.

Photographer: U. Leone

By Maria de Omena

Photographer: Kelly Bryan

The View

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What to do about the swirling vortex of droplets that turned the dazzling horizon into savagery with its roar. The aroma of pain, chaos – a mess of acidic scents that somehow drew me into the broken remains of Home. A palette of grey painted the background in a bleak dégradé, only lightened by an electric discharge – pity, not even a blatant manifestation of Thor’s power could save me now. The tempting image haunts me, and yet, saves me like a lucky shot in a game of Russian Roulette. Curiously, seeing the ruins of my mind palace made me realise that there must be beauty in destruction after all.

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Natural Healer

By Emanuela Petrosyan

I feel like medicine, always one step ahead. They own me because I am a natural healer bound with a heart that can bring down the sky, push away the Devil, with the power of words. But as medicine, I am only powerful when they are weaker unnecessary when they are strong.

Photographer: U. Leone

By Maria de Omena

Photographer: Kelly Bryan

The View

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04/12/2017 08:42


Footprint By Joseph Audsley

There was a footprint on an empty plateau. No such outlines, identical or mirrored, led to this footprint, just as none were its successor. The land kept the mark well. It might have been mud or clay, or mortar stepped upon before it hardened. Whatever the substance that contained it so perfectly, it was contained perfectly.

Just as the sun began to drown on the horizon a travelling merchant moseyed by.

A wayward vagabond wandered by it one day. This was the kind of man who saw no need for possessions. He saw no need to take a small plot of land as a home, for the plateau was that for him. His wanderlust moved him every day, and today it moved him here.

“Indeed. Say, did you travel this way earlier, and step queerly enough to make this lone mark?”

He stared at the footprint for a while. Its indent was one centimetre in width. If the plateau was a sandal, this would be where he would wear it. The vagabond removed his own sandal and placed his foot over the hole. His foot was too big. After a while of trying to jam it in the sullied ground, he sighed, re-donned his sandal and tried to think nothing else of it. However, he was obsessed. Making camp at this place, he kept glancing over at the print. He lit a fire with his blade and some flint to prepare a stew for his evening meal, and watched the footprint intently.

“Good evening, friend,” beckoned the vagabond. “Hello, traveller,” said the merchant. “Making camp, I see.”

“I don’t believe so,” the merchant answered. “Are you sure?” the vagabond asked for confirmation. “Sure enough.” “I see. No issue.” The vagabond was not satisfied with the merchant’s role in his endeavour. “Could you help me locate its maker?” “I’m afraid not, strange vagabond. I have my effects, and must get them to town before the morning bustle. I beg you, though, consider your worldly position.” And with that, he left.

For days, months, and then for years, he built a life on this small patch of land. He stacked lumber to form a shack, for it rained for half the days in this place. He sowed crops and hunted when necessary. The vagabond’s new routine was adopted quickly and he built a common life for himself in the middle of the plateau. When people walked by, the vagabond would greet them almost identically to how he greeted the merchant, two years ago now. The outcome would also be identical, as nobody had the foot to fit this print. This last day a boy came to the opening, dawdling with wide eyes and a grin. A trail of a tear cut through the dirt clinging to his cheek. “Hello friend,” beckoned the vagabond. “What brings you to these parts?” “My childhood,” he answered. “Please forgive my intrusion, but your home is built on the grave of my youth, where memories stop dead and laughs echo in the wind.”

“So, you’ve been here before?” the vagabond asked. “Do you know anything about this here footprint?” “Of course. I made it.” “Really!” the vagabond shouted. “May I see?” The boy removed his sandal and placed his foot over the hole. It didn’t fit. “That’s not your print!” the vagabond exclaimed. “I’m afraid my foot has grown in the years I have been absent from this plateau,” explained the boy. “Well, how can I know it was yours?” “Believe my words.” The vagabond was speechless. His profound confusion and disappointment was bountiful. His face turned redder the more he clenched his fists and a fury was directed at the boy. “You disappoint a wolf in hallowed halls. Why could you not venture to this place earlier?” “I didn’t care to.”

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16

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Footprint By Joseph Audsley

There was a footprint on an empty plateau. No such outlines, identical or mirrored, led to this footprint, just as none were its successor. The land kept the mark well. It might have been mud or clay, or mortar stepped upon before it hardened. Whatever the substance that contained it so perfectly, it was contained perfectly.

Just as the sun began to drown on the horizon a travelling merchant moseyed by.

A wayward vagabond wandered by it one day. This was the kind of man who saw no need for possessions. He saw no need to take a small plot of land as a home, for the plateau was that for him. His wanderlust moved him every day, and today it moved him here.

“Indeed. Say, did you travel this way earlier, and step queerly enough to make this lone mark?”

He stared at the footprint for a while. Its indent was one centimetre in width. If the plateau was a sandal, this would be where he would wear it. The vagabond removed his own sandal and placed his foot over the hole. His foot was too big. After a while of trying to jam it in the sullied ground, he sighed, re-donned his sandal and tried to think nothing else of it. However, he was obsessed. Making camp at this place, he kept glancing over at the print. He lit a fire with his blade and some flint to prepare a stew for his evening meal, and watched the footprint intently.

“Good evening, friend,” beckoned the vagabond. “Hello, traveller,” said the merchant. “Making camp, I see.”

“I don’t believe so,” the merchant answered. “Are you sure?” the vagabond asked for confirmation. “Sure enough.” “I see. No issue.” The vagabond was not satisfied with the merchant’s role in his endeavour. “Could you help me locate its maker?” “I’m afraid not, strange vagabond. I have my effects, and must get them to town before the morning bustle. I beg you, though, consider your worldly position.” And with that, he left.

For days, months, and then for years, he built a life on this small patch of land. He stacked lumber to form a shack, for it rained for half the days in this place. He sowed crops and hunted when necessary. The vagabond’s new routine was adopted quickly and he built a common life for himself in the middle of the plateau. When people walked by, the vagabond would greet them almost identically to how he greeted the merchant, two years ago now. The outcome would also be identical, as nobody had the foot to fit this print. This last day a boy came to the opening, dawdling with wide eyes and a grin. A trail of a tear cut through the dirt clinging to his cheek. “Hello friend,” beckoned the vagabond. “What brings you to these parts?” “My childhood,” he answered. “Please forgive my intrusion, but your home is built on the grave of my youth, where memories stop dead and laughs echo in the wind.”

“So, you’ve been here before?” the vagabond asked. “Do you know anything about this here footprint?” “Of course. I made it.” “Really!” the vagabond shouted. “May I see?” The boy removed his sandal and placed his foot over the hole. It didn’t fit. “That’s not your print!” the vagabond exclaimed. “I’m afraid my foot has grown in the years I have been absent from this plateau,” explained the boy. “Well, how can I know it was yours?” “Believe my words.” The vagabond was speechless. His profound confusion and disappointment was bountiful. His face turned redder the more he clenched his fists and a fury was directed at the boy. “You disappoint a wolf in hallowed halls. Why could you not venture to this place earlier?” “I didn’t care to.”

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Limbo

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By Oluwaseyi Adeoye

Photographer: Michael Gaida

limbo - 1. |ˈlimbō|noun (also Limbo)(in some Christian beliefs) the supposed abode of the souls of unbaptized infants, and of the just who died before Christ’s coming. 2. an uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution; an intermediate state or condition: the fate of the Contras is now in limbo. • a state of neglect or oblivion: children left in an emotional limbo (oxforddictionaries.com). I almost died today. I was more grateful than I imagined I would have been, escaping the blissful grasps of death. I learnt a few things from this feat, the first was that death had hands, they were cold and clumsy, quick to deal undeserving cards like life was a game, but sometimes its hands slip and you live even though you are not sure you deserve to. Another thing I learnt was that your entire life really does flash before your eyes like a second-rate thriller and one memory seemed to remain. My mother unfastened the blue robe that clung to my late blooming fourteen year old breasts, they were too pink around the nipples and I remember they hurt a lot that year and so I hated them, like a pair of unfitting jeans you bought at the store the other day but you can not return. “We can go home now” she said, her eyes pink and her smile too wide. “What did the doctor say?” I whined. “He said you’re free to go baby”. I knew that was not all, I should have been sick enough of the methylated smell of alcohol and old people’s rheumatism to hop in the car with her without questions, but I remembered I really wanted to know what the doctor said. When the silence on our journey home got too thick to cut through, I still felt her bloodshot glances on me, her hands moved from the steering wheel to ruffle my hair.

“You’ll be fine baby, you’ll be fine baby,” she chanted like it was a prayer and it annoyed me till I exploded. “Would you stop saying that? When will you accept that I’m dying, Mommy? I’ve accepted it. I’m fine with it too, now please would you tell me what the doctor said?” I had her attention, her pink gaze and fake smile rested on me, I remember her in that moment, with her fiery strands sticking out of her turban. I had not thought about how beautiful she looked, but she did, she always did. I swear I saw her mouth part before the giant trailer sent us tumbling downhill. I don’t remember if it was really a trailer, all I could see was her smile before death’s cold clumsy hands came and dealt her an undeserving card. I remember it was very crimson and it smelt like rust and it spilt everywhere, over and over and over and all I could think of was that she was about to tell me what the doctor said. I remember how, just a few months later, the doctors commended me on how well my treatments were working; it was a miracle they even said. But I kept thinking of how clumsy and indecisive death really was, it was always supposed to be me it took. I do not know if I believe in miracles, but there are quite a few things beyond my understanding, like how I willfully drink my insides to death on the nights I remember, and how I overdose on the painkillers I never need twice and each time, I live. I chase so fervently after this enigma called death and each time it outruns me. I almost did catch up with it this time though, but then I heard the whisper of her last words. “You’ll be alright baby.” Like a curse, they’ve kept me alive. Almost barely though, I could tell you about the type of death that only attacks you from within, this one has vicious, sure hands, but I’d keep this story for another day.

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Limbo

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By Oluwaseyi Adeoye

Photographer: Michael Gaida

limbo - 1. |ˈlimbō|noun (also Limbo)(in some Christian beliefs) the supposed abode of the souls of unbaptized infants, and of the just who died before Christ’s coming. 2. an uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution; an intermediate state or condition: the fate of the Contras is now in limbo. • a state of neglect or oblivion: children left in an emotional limbo (oxforddictionaries.com). I almost died today. I was more grateful than I imagined I would have been, escaping the blissful grasps of death. I learnt a few things from this feat, the first was that death had hands, they were cold and clumsy, quick to deal undeserving cards like life was a game, but sometimes its hands slip and you live even though you are not sure you deserve to. Another thing I learnt was that your entire life really does flash before your eyes like a second-rate thriller and one memory seemed to remain. My mother unfastened the blue robe that clung to my late blooming fourteen year old breasts, they were too pink around the nipples and I remember they hurt a lot that year and so I hated them, like a pair of unfitting jeans you bought at the store the other day but you can not return. “We can go home now” she said, her eyes pink and her smile too wide. “What did the doctor say?” I whined. “He said you’re free to go baby”. I knew that was not all, I should have been sick enough of the methylated smell of alcohol and old people’s rheumatism to hop in the car with her without questions, but I remembered I really wanted to know what the doctor said. When the silence on our journey home got too thick to cut through, I still felt her bloodshot glances on me, her hands moved from the steering wheel to ruffle my hair.

“You’ll be fine baby, you’ll be fine baby,” she chanted like it was a prayer and it annoyed me till I exploded. “Would you stop saying that? When will you accept that I’m dying, Mommy? I’ve accepted it. I’m fine with it too, now please would you tell me what the doctor said?” I had her attention, her pink gaze and fake smile rested on me, I remember her in that moment, with her fiery strands sticking out of her turban. I had not thought about how beautiful she looked, but she did, she always did. I swear I saw her mouth part before the giant trailer sent us tumbling downhill. I don’t remember if it was really a trailer, all I could see was her smile before death’s cold clumsy hands came and dealt her an undeserving card. I remember it was very crimson and it smelt like rust and it spilt everywhere, over and over and over and all I could think of was that she was about to tell me what the doctor said. I remember how, just a few months later, the doctors commended me on how well my treatments were working; it was a miracle they even said. But I kept thinking of how clumsy and indecisive death really was, it was always supposed to be me it took. I do not know if I believe in miracles, but there are quite a few things beyond my understanding, like how I willfully drink my insides to death on the nights I remember, and how I overdose on the painkillers I never need twice and each time, I live. I chase so fervently after this enigma called death and each time it outruns me. I almost did catch up with it this time though, but then I heard the whisper of her last words. “You’ll be alright baby.” Like a curse, they’ve kept me alive. Almost barely though, I could tell you about the type of death that only attacks you from within, this one has vicious, sure hands, but I’d keep this story for another day.

18

04/12/2017 08:42


By Ryan Byrne

Thursday Afternoon Photographer: Kathryn Morgan-Jones

By Elena Aldridge

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Eyes down, feet forward On till dawn Don’t rest your head Don’t even yawn That’s when they’ll catch you That’s when they come alive The thought, the terror, the tragedy Transcending towards total... darkness

Photographer: Fifaliana Rakotoarison

Broad Shoulders

So get me to the opaque windows that paint a thousand words Views of pews that remind me of years ago Where I would scratch profanities into the house of our lord And swig from the flask we stole when we were bored Right before the tainted doors Absolve me of my sins for I am yours My sweet escape An extension of my soul

It’s a Thursday afternoon, and the ticking of the clock— Echoes in the kitchen and spills into the halls And everywhere she looks, a memory persists And that memory will wiggle every time she looks A picture of her children, many years ago Mischief and trouble written across their faces, And she wonders where the time went And then a tear would spike her eye Because she’s lonely but she’s not alone And that’s a hard feeling to describe But perhaps a painting could capture this feeling That flash of nostalgia that tickles your spine We could forget the sorrow that leaks from the frame And paint a happy portrait. Of my dearest grandmother, Surrounded by the ones she loved.

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By Ryan Byrne

Thursday Afternoon Photographer: Kathryn Morgan-Jones

By Elena Aldridge

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Eyes down, feet forward On till dawn Don’t rest your head Don’t even yawn That’s when they’ll catch you That’s when they come alive The thought, the terror, the tragedy Transcending towards total... darkness

Photographer: Fifaliana Rakotoarison

Broad Shoulders

So get me to the opaque windows that paint a thousand words Views of pews that remind me of years ago Where I would scratch profanities into the house of our lord And swig from the flask we stole when we were bored Right before the tainted doors Absolve me of my sins for I am yours My sweet escape An extension of my soul

It’s a Thursday afternoon, and the ticking of the clock— Echoes in the kitchen and spills into the halls And everywhere she looks, a memory persists And that memory will wiggle every time she looks A picture of her children, many years ago Mischief and trouble written across their faces, And she wonders where the time went And then a tear would spike her eye Because she’s lonely but she’s not alone And that’s a hard feeling to describe But perhaps a painting could capture this feeling That flash of nostalgia that tickles your spine We could forget the sorrow that leaks from the frame And paint a happy portrait. Of my dearest grandmother, Surrounded by the ones she loved.

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SEEK ‘Don’t worry, it can’t hurt you. Not when it’s locked up, at least.’ This cave was warm, somewhat stifling. Water droplets fell from the towering ceiling. Fires on wooden sticks were suspended from the walls, crackling in the silence. A clawed hand stretched out from a cage. A low growl rising from behind it, the acoustics of which were ricocheting off the rocky walls. The sharp voice was right. Whatever it was, it could not get to me. I stumbled forward, inquisitive to look at this thing behind the stainless steel bars. A trace of fear was replaced with a quiet assurance. This wasn’t altogether an unfamiliar situation. ‘Why would you bring me back here? I wanted to get away and you bring me right back!’ The creature’s eyes gleamed at the sound of my voice, tinged with specks of yellow. They appeared much richer than the neighbouring darkness. I felt an odd connection with this thing like I had been in its company before. ‘It’s not just you it attacks.’ ‘What, there are others? People like me?’ I said, my breath catching. ‘Why, yes. You’re not the only one it pursues.’ The creature shook its cage. I was now close enough to feel the earth tremble. ‘So why haven’t I met anyone who has come across it before?’ The voice inhaled deeply, a sound that sent uneasy waves up and down my spine. ‘Many are hunted. But they don’t recognise they’re being followed.

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Photographer: Alexandre Vanier

By Sophie O’Sullivan They’re unaware until it’s too late.’ These unanswered questions irritated me. This whole setting seemed... vague. Mysterious. ‘Tell me what the hell is going on!’ ‘The thing is... this creature,’ the voice paused. My hands were becoming sticky with anticipation, ‘is nothing but an invention of the imagination.’ The creature let out a subdued growl as if it understood what we were saying. ‘But if it’s not real...’ My mind spun, trying to piece together the information, ‘…why is it trapped in that cage? Surely it can’t hurt me if it doesn’t even exist?’ ‘I wish I could tell you that. But... it’s a troublesome matter.’ The creature lashed out at me, its claws sharp like needles and clusters of fur missing from its bony knuckles. It appeared to be a stocky being, at least 7 feet tall. ‘It hasn’t been fed in weeks,’ the voice called out, ‘maybe I can let my pet run amok. I do so hate for it to be trapped like this.’ A snigger escaped. On every side, the walls shook, the ground rumbled, and on the righthand side of the cave, a passage presented itself. ‘You have 30 seconds. Make them count.’ What in God’s name was happening? ‘28... 27... 26...’ it drawled, the cage rattling in time with t h e s i n i s t e r countdown. The being clutched the metal rods, tugging relentlessly to move them.

This wasn’t a game. It was time to g e t o u t . I b o l t e d t o w a rd s t h e exposed passage, hands flailing to figure out which direction to take. The walls consisted of jagged rocks, moist and dressed in moss that felt comforting on my palms. Which way? Which way? Up wasn’t an option, with the ceiling showing no sign of an exit. The floor beneath me was solid, so there was no chance of tunnelling out. I maintained my pace, footsteps echoing as the walls closed in on me. My nose wrinkled at the odour that flourished in the tight passages. Damp. A place that hadn’t been touched by light or activity for a great amount of time. ’13… 12… 11…’ Distant echoes. I thought my luck was up until my hand slipped into something. It was a shallow cavity set into the wall, and it looked big enough for me to fit into. I pulled myself inside, contorting my body as I did so. Please don’t find me. ‘2…1… Seek.’ Rumbles erupted, followed by a captivating roar. It was coming. Thudding and stomping its way down the passage. It stopped close to where I was hiding. The creature paused, perked up what I believed were its ‘ears,’ and rushed past me. I didn’t even realise I had been holding my breath. Deciding that it was safe to move again, I crawled out of the cavity and set off in the opposite direction.

I was met with a passage that split into three. The left appeared the most promising route to take with strands of light leaking through, revealing the path. I ran until the eerie silence was broken by rushes of water sounding in the distance. 201 paces forward, a 45-degree turn to the right and seven steps more. A waterfall. But there was nothing beyond it. Nowhere to hide. I stepped backwards out of instinct, my feet edging towards the tumbling water. Desperate, I braced myself and plunged in, icy and unbearable, as my arms worked to pull my body through the underground pool. Just as I began to struggle for breath, the channel opened out into a breathing hole of sorts. Surfacing, I hauled myself up onto land, not bothering to shake myself down. My eyes scanned the room, landing on a thin light just above me. Yes! A way out! I scaled the wall towards the promising soft glow at the top, grinning from ear to ear. But my hope was short lived. The beast turned a corner and dashed towards me. I was

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SEEK ‘Don’t worry, it can’t hurt you. Not when it’s locked up, at least.’ This cave was warm, somewhat stifling. Water droplets fell from the towering ceiling. Fires on wooden sticks were suspended from the walls, crackling in the silence. A clawed hand stretched out from a cage. A low growl rising from behind it, the acoustics of which were ricocheting off the rocky walls. The sharp voice was right. Whatever it was, it could not get to me. I stumbled forward, inquisitive to look at this thing behind the stainless steel bars. A trace of fear was replaced with a quiet assurance. This wasn’t altogether an unfamiliar situation. ‘Why would you bring me back here? I wanted to get away and you bring me right back!’ The creature’s eyes gleamed at the sound of my voice, tinged with specks of yellow. They appeared much richer than the neighbouring darkness. I felt an odd connection with this thing like I had been in its company before. ‘It’s not just you it attacks.’ ‘What, there are others? People like me?’ I said, my breath catching. ‘Why, yes. You’re not the only one it pursues.’ The creature shook its cage. I was now close enough to feel the earth tremble. ‘So why haven’t I met anyone who has come across it before?’ The voice inhaled deeply, a sound that sent uneasy waves up and down my spine. ‘Many are hunted. But they don’t recognise they’re being followed.

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Photographer: Alexandre Vanier

By Sophie O’Sullivan They’re unaware until it’s too late.’ These unanswered questions irritated me. This whole setting seemed... vague. Mysterious. ‘Tell me what the hell is going on!’ ‘The thing is... this creature,’ the voice paused. My hands were becoming sticky with anticipation, ‘is nothing but an invention of the imagination.’ The creature let out a subdued growl as if it understood what we were saying. ‘But if it’s not real...’ My mind spun, trying to piece together the information, ‘…why is it trapped in that cage? Surely it can’t hurt me if it doesn’t even exist?’ ‘I wish I could tell you that. But... it’s a troublesome matter.’ The creature lashed out at me, its claws sharp like needles and clusters of fur missing from its bony knuckles. It appeared to be a stocky being, at least 7 feet tall. ‘It hasn’t been fed in weeks,’ the voice called out, ‘maybe I can let my pet run amok. I do so hate for it to be trapped like this.’ A snigger escaped. On every side, the walls shook, the ground rumbled, and on the righthand side of the cave, a passage presented itself. ‘You have 30 seconds. Make them count.’ What in God’s name was happening? ‘28... 27... 26...’ it drawled, the cage rattling in time with t h e s i n i s t e r countdown. The being clutched the metal rods, tugging relentlessly to move them.

This wasn’t a game. It was time to g e t o u t . I b o l t e d t o w a rd s t h e exposed passage, hands flailing to figure out which direction to take. The walls consisted of jagged rocks, moist and dressed in moss that felt comforting on my palms. Which way? Which way? Up wasn’t an option, with the ceiling showing no sign of an exit. The floor beneath me was solid, so there was no chance of tunnelling out. I maintained my pace, footsteps echoing as the walls closed in on me. My nose wrinkled at the odour that flourished in the tight passages. Damp. A place that hadn’t been touched by light or activity for a great amount of time. ’13… 12… 11…’ Distant echoes. I thought my luck was up until my hand slipped into something. It was a shallow cavity set into the wall, and it looked big enough for me to fit into. I pulled myself inside, contorting my body as I did so. Please don’t find me. ‘2…1… Seek.’ Rumbles erupted, followed by a captivating roar. It was coming. Thudding and stomping its way down the passage. It stopped close to where I was hiding. The creature paused, perked up what I believed were its ‘ears,’ and rushed past me. I didn’t even realise I had been holding my breath. Deciding that it was safe to move again, I crawled out of the cavity and set off in the opposite direction.

I was met with a passage that split into three. The left appeared the most promising route to take with strands of light leaking through, revealing the path. I ran until the eerie silence was broken by rushes of water sounding in the distance. 201 paces forward, a 45-degree turn to the right and seven steps more. A waterfall. But there was nothing beyond it. Nowhere to hide. I stepped backwards out of instinct, my feet edging towards the tumbling water. Desperate, I braced myself and plunged in, icy and unbearable, as my arms worked to pull my body through the underground pool. Just as I began to struggle for breath, the channel opened out into a breathing hole of sorts. Surfacing, I hauled myself up onto land, not bothering to shake myself down. My eyes scanned the room, landing on a thin light just above me. Yes! A way out! I scaled the wall towards the promising soft glow at the top, grinning from ear to ear. But my hope was short lived. The beast turned a corner and dashed towards me. I was

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convinced I had never had a chance of escape to begin with. It grabbed at my right leg, claws dragging down to my ankle. Blood ran and settled on its black fur, turning a deep maroon as the colours collided. ‘LET GO, LET GO, LET GO!’ I cried, kicking out at the brute, catching its snout. It let out a menacing howl, and pain shot up my nerves. I reached out in vain to pull myself up towards the encouraging light, towards the exit. But I was weak. My fingers wouldn’t curl around the rock above me, and I lost my footing, causing me to tumble to the ground far below. I couldn’t move. The creature was towering over me with a bloodthirsty gaze. The light grew stronger as the pain settled. But it wasn’t the soft light, it was much brighter. Fluorescent, even. Good for nothing. Not wanted. Easily forgotten. My limp body attempted to lunge forward but to no avail. My breathing was rapid, hands shaking. But I was alive. As I pulled back the duvet to inspect my leg, I was puzzled. No scratches, or blood. It was perfectly fine. I did, however, see faded scars

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on my leg, reminiscent of distressing memories. I snapped back to reality, realising what had happened. ‘Can’t believe I failed again!’ I mumbled, despising my brain for, once again, bringing me back. All my life had been so far was agony. Something that wasn’t worth waking up for. The soft light was my only way out and that had disappeared right in front of me. Slumping back into my pillow, my t h o u g h t s t u r n e d i n w a rd s . T h e overbearing white walls strained my eyes. All I could make out was a number printed on my arm: 201. Wires ran from my arm to an IV bag, hanging perilously at my side. Figures were standing behind a thin glass wall, talking in hushed tones: ‘Just in time… stable… recovery will be tough but possible…’ The door swung open and in stepped a white coat. It turned out that the real monster was standing 10 feet to my right with a clipboard in hand, clicking a pen. ‘Glad to see you’ve decided to join us. You’re very lucky to be alive.’ ‘Lucky isn’t what I’d call it.’

Rejoice, My Dear Reveller By Leah Walker My body is a broken down fairground; my mind a dazzling carousel of spinning half rendered thoughts. The eyes sunken into my skull are lights that flash too bright in shades of periwinkle, lime and crimson, I struggle to focus. My heart thuds inside my chest; it’s a bumper car crashing at full speed, against barriers not strong enough to withstand. My limbs are ferris wheels whirring and flying and I simply cannot sit still. My body feels all at once ethereal and insignificant that I find myself lost in the former beauty of this once animate corpse. Then I remember, this fairground has been forgotten. Lights that once burned so brightly, snuffed out by the world’s cruel breath. Arms that used to hold me safely to the earth have fluttered away, like dandelions in the wind. I stand in the centre of the deserted grounds, the smell of popcorn and pure joy long gone. I am the only reveller who remains, and my time of rejoicing has long departed.

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convinced I had never had a chance of escape to begin with. It grabbed at my right leg, claws dragging down to my ankle. Blood ran and settled on its black fur, turning a deep maroon as the colours collided. ‘LET GO, LET GO, LET GO!’ I cried, kicking out at the brute, catching its snout. It let out a menacing howl, and pain shot up my nerves. I reached out in vain to pull myself up towards the encouraging light, towards the exit. But I was weak. My fingers wouldn’t curl around the rock above me, and I lost my footing, causing me to tumble to the ground far below. I couldn’t move. The creature was towering over me with a bloodthirsty gaze. The light grew stronger as the pain settled. But it wasn’t the soft light, it was much brighter. Fluorescent, even. Good for nothing. Not wanted. Easily forgotten. My limp body attempted to lunge forward but to no avail. My breathing was rapid, hands shaking. But I was alive. As I pulled back the duvet to inspect my leg, I was puzzled. No scratches, or blood. It was perfectly fine. I did, however, see faded scars

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COV WORDS FINAL.indd 24-25

on my leg, reminiscent of distressing memories. I snapped back to reality, realising what had happened. ‘Can’t believe I failed again!’ I mumbled, despising my brain for, once again, bringing me back. All my life had been so far was agony. Something that wasn’t worth waking up for. The soft light was my only way out and that had disappeared right in front of me. Slumping back into my pillow, my t h o u g h t s t u r n e d i n w a rd s . T h e overbearing white walls strained my eyes. All I could make out was a number printed on my arm: 201. Wires ran from my arm to an IV bag, hanging perilously at my side. Figures were standing behind a thin glass wall, talking in hushed tones: ‘Just in time… stable… recovery will be tough but possible…’ The door swung open and in stepped a white coat. It turned out that the real monster was standing 10 feet to my right with a clipboard in hand, clicking a pen. ‘Glad to see you’ve decided to join us. You’re very lucky to be alive.’ ‘Lucky isn’t what I’d call it.’

Rejoice, My Dear Reveller By Leah Walker My body is a broken down fairground; my mind a dazzling carousel of spinning half rendered thoughts. The eyes sunken into my skull are lights that flash too bright in shades of periwinkle, lime and crimson, I struggle to focus. My heart thuds inside my chest; it’s a bumper car crashing at full speed, against barriers not strong enough to withstand. My limbs are ferris wheels whirring and flying and I simply cannot sit still. My body feels all at once ethereal and insignificant that I find myself lost in the former beauty of this once animate corpse. Then I remember, this fairground has been forgotten. Lights that once burned so brightly, snuffed out by the world’s cruel breath. Arms that used to hold me safely to the earth have fluttered away, like dandelions in the wind. I stand in the centre of the deserted grounds, the smell of popcorn and pure joy long gone. I am the only reveller who remains, and my time of rejoicing has long departed.

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Cashmere

SISA By Aanuoluwapo Adesina

By Ellys Lawlor

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COV WORDS FINAL.indd 26-27

Photographer: Michael Gaida

Behind a dusty microphone an old lounge singer croons telling stories of domestic damnation, life at the end of a rail he knows all too well. Decked out in meek cashmere and a spotlight he carries like a crown, the tired performer quietly dedicates his last show to the razor waiting in the left breast pocket of his warm, fuzzy jumper.

School halls are flooded with needles, and pavements are plastered with blood. It drags us to commit atrocious evils, sweeping through Athens like Poseidon’s flood.

Rows of teeth are parted from the gums, adorning a deep cola brown cloak. Our brains disintegrate into scantling crumbs, as the cloudy bulb causes me to choke. The traffic light fills my heart with anger, as its emotions become volatile. It prepares for war with its eyes of amber, as my soul is drowned in my bile. This white shawl of the mountain’s peak, clothes my mind till I wake up next week.

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Cashmere

SISA By Aanuoluwapo Adesina

By Ellys Lawlor

25

COV WORDS FINAL.indd 26-27

Photographer: Michael Gaida

Behind a dusty microphone an old lounge singer croons telling stories of domestic damnation, life at the end of a rail he knows all too well. Decked out in meek cashmere and a spotlight he carries like a crown, the tired performer quietly dedicates his last show to the razor waiting in the left breast pocket of his warm, fuzzy jumper.

School halls are flooded with needles, and pavements are plastered with blood. It drags us to commit atrocious evils, sweeping through Athens like Poseidon’s flood.

Rows of teeth are parted from the gums, adorning a deep cola brown cloak. Our brains disintegrate into scantling crumbs, as the cloudy bulb causes me to choke. The traffic light fills my heart with anger, as its emotions become volatile. It prepares for war with its eyes of amber, as my soul is drowned in my bile. This white shawl of the mountain’s peak, clothes my mind till I wake up next week.

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Student House By Bethany Smith Characters PENNY- 19 years old. She is an uptight and stressed student with a short fuse. She is short, with her hair tied back in a ponytail. She is wearing a green coat and jeans. She has shopping bags on her arms and is wearing converse style shoes. BEN- 19 years old. He is a laidback student. He is tall, with messy bed hair. He is wearing pyjamas and a blue dressing gown. He is wearing slippers.

PENNY We’ve been robbed. [BEN looks around again.] BEN Are you sure? PENNY Yes, I’m sure. BEN How do you know? PENNY The place has never looked so clean.

Setting: Student house. The stage floor has clothes and food packets scattered across it.

PENNY How can you not tell?

Time: It is late afternoon.

BEN Oh wait, I see it now. [Gasps dramatically.] Oh no, the mess is slightly askew. That can only mean one thing. We’ve been robbed!

[PENNY enters the stage and mimes opening a door. She has shopping bags on her left arm and she is struggling to get into the house. She backs onto the stage with her shopping.] PENNY I’m back. [PENNY throws her keys over her shoulder. The keys fall onto the floor. PENNY pauses, then she turns around, drops her bags and looks around frantically. PENNY screams. BEN runs onto the stage pulling on a dressing gown over his pyjamas.] BEN What’s wrong? PENNY What’s wrong? Look around.

COV WORDS FINAL.indd 28-29

BEN I don’t see what the problem is.

JENNY- 20 years old. She is chilled out and hippy like student. She is tall, with her hair down. She is wearing a coat and yellow dress. She is wearing a shoulder bag and has flat shoes on.

[Synopsis: Penny, Jenny and Ben are roommates in a student house. The scene takes place in Penny, Jenny and Ben’s living room. Penny is just about to arrive home after shopping.]

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[BEN looks around. He looks back to PENNY and shrugs.]

[PENNY and BEN pause. BEN shrugs.]

PENNY This isn’t the time for sarcasm. BEN Okay then, I’ll be serious. I’m pretty sure it looks the same in here, but what d’you think is missing? PENNY The coffee table for a start. BEN We had a coffee table? PENNY It was buried under a pile of plates. Oh my god, where are the plates? They were IKEA’s finest. BEN [Snorts.] Yeah, right. PENNY They cost £5! BEN Wait a minute.

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Student House By Bethany Smith Characters PENNY- 19 years old. She is an uptight and stressed student with a short fuse. She is short, with her hair tied back in a ponytail. She is wearing a green coat and jeans. She has shopping bags on her arms and is wearing converse style shoes. BEN- 19 years old. He is a laidback student. He is tall, with messy bed hair. He is wearing pyjamas and a blue dressing gown. He is wearing slippers.

PENNY We’ve been robbed. [BEN looks around again.] BEN Are you sure? PENNY Yes, I’m sure. BEN How do you know? PENNY The place has never looked so clean.

Setting: Student house. The stage floor has clothes and food packets scattered across it.

PENNY How can you not tell?

Time: It is late afternoon.

BEN Oh wait, I see it now. [Gasps dramatically.] Oh no, the mess is slightly askew. That can only mean one thing. We’ve been robbed!

[PENNY enters the stage and mimes opening a door. She has shopping bags on her left arm and she is struggling to get into the house. She backs onto the stage with her shopping.] PENNY I’m back. [PENNY throws her keys over her shoulder. The keys fall onto the floor. PENNY pauses, then she turns around, drops her bags and looks around frantically. PENNY screams. BEN runs onto the stage pulling on a dressing gown over his pyjamas.] BEN What’s wrong? PENNY What’s wrong? Look around.

COV WORDS FINAL.indd 28-29

BEN I don’t see what the problem is.

JENNY- 20 years old. She is chilled out and hippy like student. She is tall, with her hair down. She is wearing a coat and yellow dress. She is wearing a shoulder bag and has flat shoes on.

[Synopsis: Penny, Jenny and Ben are roommates in a student house. The scene takes place in Penny, Jenny and Ben’s living room. Penny is just about to arrive home after shopping.]

27

[BEN looks around. He looks back to PENNY and shrugs.]

[PENNY and BEN pause. BEN shrugs.]

PENNY This isn’t the time for sarcasm. BEN Okay then, I’ll be serious. I’m pretty sure it looks the same in here, but what d’you think is missing? PENNY The coffee table for a start. BEN We had a coffee table? PENNY It was buried under a pile of plates. Oh my god, where are the plates? They were IKEA’s finest. BEN [Snorts.] Yeah, right. PENNY They cost £5! BEN Wait a minute.

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BEN looks around the floor. He walks over to a pile and digs through it. BEN gasps loudly.] BEN They stole my bloody crisps. PENNY And that’s the only thing you notice? Perhaps you’d like to notice we haven’t got a TV anymore! BEN You don’t understand. These were KETTLE crisps! [PENNY and BEN pause.] PENNY That’s what you’re upset about? You probably just put your crisps somewhere else under this mess. BEN I know exactly where I left them. PENNY How can you know where anything is in this place? BEN I left them under the pile, with the blue jacket to match the packet, and that jacket was by the kitchen because that’s where the kettle is. You know, like the name of the crisps. [PENNY and BEN pause.] PENNY And you couldn’t even remember that we had a coffee table! BEN I only remember important things. [BEN goes to sit down, but realises that there is no sofa. He trips backwards but does not fall.] PENNY Important things like that there was a sofa there? BEN Don’t be such a bi[JENNY enters the stage. She looks to PENNY and BEN.] JENNY What’s up with you guys? PENNY We were robbed.

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[JENNY looks around the stage.] JENNY Are you sure? PENNY Yes, I’m su…I’m not going through this again. We’ve been robbed and they’ve taken the coffee table, our laptops, our tablets, the TV…. BEN And my crisps. PENNY [Gives BEN a filthy look.] And Ben’s crisps are missing. JENNY So who took our stuff? [They all pause. PENNY looks dumbfounded.] PENNY How the hell should I know who took our stuff? It’s not like they left a note! JENNY What’s this then? [JENNY picks up a piece of paper from the floor and hands it to PENNY.] BEN What does it say? PENNY Dear students, thanks for all your stuff. Hope this didn’t inconvenience you too much. [PENNY, BEN and JENNY pause for two seconds. PENNY looks angry and like she is going to explode.] PENNY [Shouts.] Of course we’re bloody inconvenienced! They took all of our stuff. What kind of robber leaves a note? BEN What kind of robber writes inconvenience? JENNY Don’t judge robbers by their profession. They could be just as educated as the rest of us. [They all pause.] PENNY Are you seriously standing up for the robbers?

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BEN looks around the floor. He walks over to a pile and digs through it. BEN gasps loudly.] BEN They stole my bloody crisps. PENNY And that’s the only thing you notice? Perhaps you’d like to notice we haven’t got a TV anymore! BEN You don’t understand. These were KETTLE crisps! [PENNY and BEN pause.] PENNY That’s what you’re upset about? You probably just put your crisps somewhere else under this mess. BEN I know exactly where I left them. PENNY How can you know where anything is in this place? BEN I left them under the pile, with the blue jacket to match the packet, and that jacket was by the kitchen because that’s where the kettle is. You know, like the name of the crisps. [PENNY and BEN pause.] PENNY And you couldn’t even remember that we had a coffee table! BEN I only remember important things. [BEN goes to sit down, but realises that there is no sofa. He trips backwards but does not fall.] PENNY Important things like that there was a sofa there? BEN Don’t be such a bi[JENNY enters the stage. She looks to PENNY and BEN.] JENNY What’s up with you guys? PENNY We were robbed.

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COV WORDS FINAL.indd 30-31

[JENNY looks around the stage.] JENNY Are you sure? PENNY Yes, I’m su…I’m not going through this again. We’ve been robbed and they’ve taken the coffee table, our laptops, our tablets, the TV…. BEN And my crisps. PENNY [Gives BEN a filthy look.] And Ben’s crisps are missing. JENNY So who took our stuff? [They all pause. PENNY looks dumbfounded.] PENNY How the hell should I know who took our stuff? It’s not like they left a note! JENNY What’s this then? [JENNY picks up a piece of paper from the floor and hands it to PENNY.] BEN What does it say? PENNY Dear students, thanks for all your stuff. Hope this didn’t inconvenience you too much. [PENNY, BEN and JENNY pause for two seconds. PENNY looks angry and like she is going to explode.] PENNY [Shouts.] Of course we’re bloody inconvenienced! They took all of our stuff. What kind of robber leaves a note? BEN What kind of robber writes inconvenience? JENNY Don’t judge robbers by their profession. They could be just as educated as the rest of us. [They all pause.] PENNY Are you seriously standing up for the robbers?

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JENNY I’m just saying that you shouldn’t judge people without knowing them first, Penny. PENNY I think I know them well enough! Good people don’t go around stealing stuff!

[PENNY, BEN and JENNY pause.] PENNY They stole the bloody plates, Jenny! What has that got to do with unplugging? [BEN gasps dramatically.]

[PENNY takes a deep breath.] BEN You made Penny swear! PENNY You know what? This really isn’t helping. We need to think of a plan. PENNY Shut up Ben! [PENNY, BEN and JENNY all sit on the floor.] BEN What’re we going to do?

BEN I’ll ignore that because you’re upset. [To JENNY.] And in case you haven’t noticed, our surroundings are a mess. There’s nothing to appreciate.

PENNY We should call the police.

JENNY The world that we live in is a mess.

JENNY The Fuzz can’t help us.

PENNY This isn’t the time Jenny!

[PENNY and BEN look at JENNY and give her an odd look.]

[They all sigh.]

BEN This isn’t the eighties you hippy!

BEN I miss our stuff.

JENNY Hippies were actually a part of the seventies.

PENNY You didn’t even notice that our stuff was gone.

BEN I really don’t think they were.

JENNY Thank goodness I don’t place importance on possessions.

PENNY It doesn’t even matter! This isn’t solving anything.

PENNY I am giving you one last warning, Jenny!

[They all pause.]

[JENNY pulls a stroppy face at PENNY.]

BEN We can always get new stuff from the charity shop.

PENNY Wait a minute, weren’t you upstairs, Ben?

PENNY Like we can afford new stuff. You can’t even afford to replace your crisps.

[BEN awkwardly avoids making eye contact with PENNY.] PENNY Ben!

BEN KETTLE crisps are expensive! BEN I don’t recall being here. [They all pause.] PENNY You came from upstairs. JENNY Let’s look at this in a positive light. Maybe we should take this as an opportunity to unplug and appreciate the world around us.

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COV WORDS FINAL.indd 32-33

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JENNY I’m just saying that you shouldn’t judge people without knowing them first, Penny. PENNY I think I know them well enough! Good people don’t go around stealing stuff!

[PENNY, BEN and JENNY pause.] PENNY They stole the bloody plates, Jenny! What has that got to do with unplugging? [BEN gasps dramatically.]

[PENNY takes a deep breath.] BEN You made Penny swear! PENNY You know what? This really isn’t helping. We need to think of a plan. PENNY Shut up Ben! [PENNY, BEN and JENNY all sit on the floor.] BEN What’re we going to do?

BEN I’ll ignore that because you’re upset. [To JENNY.] And in case you haven’t noticed, our surroundings are a mess. There’s nothing to appreciate.

PENNY We should call the police.

JENNY The world that we live in is a mess.

JENNY The Fuzz can’t help us.

PENNY This isn’t the time Jenny!

[PENNY and BEN look at JENNY and give her an odd look.]

[They all sigh.]

BEN This isn’t the eighties you hippy!

BEN I miss our stuff.

JENNY Hippies were actually a part of the seventies.

PENNY You didn’t even notice that our stuff was gone.

BEN I really don’t think they were.

JENNY Thank goodness I don’t place importance on possessions.

PENNY It doesn’t even matter! This isn’t solving anything.

PENNY I am giving you one last warning, Jenny!

[They all pause.]

[JENNY pulls a stroppy face at PENNY.]

BEN We can always get new stuff from the charity shop.

PENNY Wait a minute, weren’t you upstairs, Ben?

PENNY Like we can afford new stuff. You can’t even afford to replace your crisps.

[BEN awkwardly avoids making eye contact with PENNY.] PENNY Ben!

BEN KETTLE crisps are expensive! BEN I don’t recall being here. [They all pause.] PENNY You came from upstairs. JENNY Let’s look at this in a positive light. Maybe we should take this as an opportunity to unplug and appreciate the world around us.

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JENNY Maybe he was sleeping.

JENNY Them who?

[PENNY looks directly at BEN.]

BEN The robbers!

PENNY Were you sleeping? BEN Well…I..

[PENNY stands up and picks up a shopping bag. She puts her finger to her lips to get them to be quiet and ushers them to follow her. BEN and JENNY stand up. BEN picks up a jacket. PENNY and BEN look at JENNY.]

PENNY I’m going to kill you!

JENNY I don’t believe in violence.

JENNY Aren’t we all dead inside anyway?

PENNY That wasn’t even five seconds.

[PENNY gestures for her to be quiet. They all step slowly and quietly towards the left side of the stage. PENNY mouths three, two, one. PENNY holds up her shopping bag and BEN holds his jacket like a weapon. PENNY mimes opening a door (almost offstage) and they all give a war cry. They all stop screaming when they see that nobody is there. They all look down at a box (off stage where door is). PENNY picks up the box and puts it onto floor centre stage. PENNY kneels down and opens the box.]

BEN You two are exhausting.

PENNY It’s all of our stuff.

PENNY Well, you’d know all about exhausting mister sleeps through an entire robbery!

[BEN goes onto his tiptoes and looks off stage.]

PENNY Can you stop being a stereotype for five minutes? JENNY Don’t oppress me!

JENNY You’re so ‘judgey’.

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COV WORDS FINAL.indd 34-35

BEN Our sofa, coffee table and TV are on the pavement too. [JENNY crouches down and pulls a piece of paper out of the box.]

PENNY That’s because I have so much to judge about! Especially with you two around.

JENNY There’s another note.

BEN What’s that supposed to mean?

[JENNY hands the paper to PENNY.]

PENNY Are you being serious?

BEN What’s it say this time?

[A knock comes from off stage. PENNY, BEN and JENNY all look off stage.]

PENNY Dear students...

BEN What if it’s them?

JENNY How do they know that we’re students?

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JENNY Maybe he was sleeping.

JENNY Them who?

[PENNY looks directly at BEN.]

BEN The robbers!

PENNY Were you sleeping? BEN Well…I..

[PENNY stands up and picks up a shopping bag. She puts her finger to her lips to get them to be quiet and ushers them to follow her. BEN and JENNY stand up. BEN picks up a jacket. PENNY and BEN look at JENNY.]

PENNY I’m going to kill you!

JENNY I don’t believe in violence.

JENNY Aren’t we all dead inside anyway?

PENNY That wasn’t even five seconds.

[PENNY gestures for her to be quiet. They all step slowly and quietly towards the left side of the stage. PENNY mouths three, two, one. PENNY holds up her shopping bag and BEN holds his jacket like a weapon. PENNY mimes opening a door (almost offstage) and they all give a war cry. They all stop screaming when they see that nobody is there. They all look down at a box (off stage where door is). PENNY picks up the box and puts it onto floor centre stage. PENNY kneels down and opens the box.]

BEN You two are exhausting.

PENNY It’s all of our stuff.

PENNY Well, you’d know all about exhausting mister sleeps through an entire robbery!

[BEN goes onto his tiptoes and looks off stage.]

PENNY Can you stop being a stereotype for five minutes? JENNY Don’t oppress me!

JENNY You’re so ‘judgey’.

33

COV WORDS FINAL.indd 34-35

BEN Our sofa, coffee table and TV are on the pavement too. [JENNY crouches down and pulls a piece of paper out of the box.]

PENNY That’s because I have so much to judge about! Especially with you two around.

JENNY There’s another note.

BEN What’s that supposed to mean?

[JENNY hands the paper to PENNY.]

PENNY Are you being serious?

BEN What’s it say this time?

[A knock comes from off stage. PENNY, BEN and JENNY all look off stage.]

PENNY Dear students...

BEN What if it’s them?

JENNY How do they know that we’re students?

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BEN They probably took one look at the place and figured it out. PENNY Are you guys going to listen to me or what? [BEN mimes zipping his mouth shut.] PENNY “Dear students, we’re giving you your stuff back. Your stuff was so crappy that we couldn’t even sell it…” [They all look at each other and pause for two seconds. PENNY looks back down at the piece of paper.] PENNY “…Honestly, we feel a bit sorry for you having stuff like this. You guys clearly deserve a break. Sorry for the inconvenience.” BEN What is it with these guys and saying inconvenience? PENNY PS. We took your crisps and can’t return them. [They all pause.] BEN I bloody knew it! The End.

Interview With Amanda Smyth Interviewed by Joseph Bennett and Seonaid Mckay

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COV WORDS FINAL.indd 36-37

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BEN They probably took one look at the place and figured it out. PENNY Are you guys going to listen to me or what? [BEN mimes zipping his mouth shut.] PENNY “Dear students, we’re giving you your stuff back. Your stuff was so crappy that we couldn’t even sell it…” [They all look at each other and pause for two seconds. PENNY looks back down at the piece of paper.] PENNY “…Honestly, we feel a bit sorry for you having stuff like this. You guys clearly deserve a break. Sorry for the inconvenience.” BEN What is it with these guys and saying inconvenience? PENNY PS. We took your crisps and can’t return them. [They all pause.] BEN I bloody knew it! The End.

Interview With Amanda Smyth Interviewed by Joseph Bennett and Seonaid Mckay

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COV WORDS FINAL.indd 36-37

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6.) Everybody’s writing process is different. Can you give us some insight into yours? 1.) What is your greatest source of inspiration? Great writing inspires me. I remember years ago, when I lived in London, opening a copy of The English Patient in Waterstones on Notting Hill Gate and gasping at the first page. I was astonished by the beauty of the language, and it made me want to write well, to write beautifully. That’s when I really started writing more seriously. Trinidad moves me as a place, [as] a landscape. It affects me deeply - childhood memories, the colour of the sea, the hills; these take me to my notebook and make me want to write about them. Then there are the human stories that move me - a moment, something happens, and I write a short story about it.

4.) You seem to have lived a wonderfully colourful life. How do you find your cultural background has influenced your writing? Trinidad has played a big part in my life and my writing life. The feeling of displacement I’ve always had - my family living so far away means I’m straddling the Atlantic most of the time,and never quite feeling I belong anywhere. That creates a void, and perhaps, writing has helped me to feel less of that void. I envy people who’ve lived in an area all their lives, with all their family nearby. But I guess having my family scattered means I get to experience this other rich world. It is so very different to life here. There’s a sweet pain in living this colourful life.

I’m slow. I take a long time. The idea for a novel comes as a sort of question, then I start thinking of how I can answer that question. So with Black Rock, I wanted to write about the murder of my great grandfather in Trinidad in the 1950s. We still don’t know who killed him, so the novel was initially about that and Celia, my protagonist started out as the murderer. As I wrote more of her, I realised she could never have murdered anyone, so it changed. But the question started the novel: “Who killed my great grandfather?”

2.) Who are your favourite w r i t e r s a n d authors? I am a big fan of Jean Rhys and return to her work often. Also, I love Raymond Carver [and] Richard Ford. I’m re-reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez at the moment, and I’d forgotten how rich and powerful his novels are. Love in the Time of Cholera - incredible.

I am drawn to different writers at different times. It depends on what I’m working on. When I wrote short stories I was always reading other short stories - and I loved Carver’s stripped back prose [and] economical sentences. I’m reading Marquez right now because I am trying to write a big novel [with] not-so stripped back sentences.

No, I really don’t think too much about that. And Charlie Sand came out of a project I was working on many years ago - a collection of stories for children. The first one happened to be set in Trinidad.

COV WORDS FINAL.indd 38-39

I think the process is similar, though a short story arrives and leaves much more quickly than a novel.

3.) Why do you find yourself so drawn to their work?

5.) Your books Black Rock and The Blessing of Charlie Sands share similar backdrops, but the target ages of these books vary considerably. Do you find yourself drawn to writing for a specific audience?

37

7.) You’ve written an array of both short stories and novels in your career so far, are there any differences in your approach to writing them, and if so, what are they?

8.) Out of your back catalogue, which piece of work did you find the most enjoyable to write? The novel I’m writing now. I’ve really let myself freewheel with this novel - writing from different points of view and not worrying about where it’s going. That’s been hugely liberating. Now I’m in the process of sorting it all out, which is really challenging, but it is worth it.

9.) With your experiences teaching on the Arvon Writing Courses and Writing West Midlands workshops, what programs or courses would you suggest to new, emerging writers? Arvon runs some fantastic courses with great tutors. It’s always worth finding out about grants, as they can be quite pricey. Also, join a writing group where you can workshop your stuff. I’m part of a writing group in Birmingham and we meet fortnightly. I always workshop my writing there before sending it to my agent.

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04/12/2017 08:43


6.) Everybody’s writing process is different. Can you give us some insight into yours? 1.) What is your greatest source of inspiration? Great writing inspires me. I remember years ago, when I lived in London, opening a copy of The English Patient in Waterstones on Notting Hill Gate and gasping at the first page. I was astonished by the beauty of the language, and it made me want to write well, to write beautifully. That’s when I really started writing more seriously. Trinidad moves me as a place, [as] a landscape. It affects me deeply - childhood memories, the colour of the sea, the hills; these take me to my notebook and make me want to write about them. Then there are the human stories that move me - a moment, something happens, and I write a short story about it.

4.) You seem to have lived a wonderfully colourful life. How do you find your cultural background has influenced your writing? Trinidad has played a big part in my life and my writing life. The feeling of displacement I’ve always had - my family living so far away means I’m straddling the Atlantic most of the time,and never quite feeling I belong anywhere. That creates a void, and perhaps, writing has helped me to feel less of that void. I envy people who’ve lived in an area all their lives, with all their family nearby. But I guess having my family scattered means I get to experience this other rich world. It is so very different to life here. There’s a sweet pain in living this colourful life.

I’m slow. I take a long time. The idea for a novel comes as a sort of question, then I start thinking of how I can answer that question. So with Black Rock, I wanted to write about the murder of my great grandfather in Trinidad in the 1950s. We still don’t know who killed him, so the novel was initially about that and Celia, my protagonist started out as the murderer. As I wrote more of her, I realised she could never have murdered anyone, so it changed. But the question started the novel: “Who killed my great grandfather?”

2.) Who are your favourite w r i t e r s a n d authors? I am a big fan of Jean Rhys and return to her work often. Also, I love Raymond Carver [and] Richard Ford. I’m re-reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez at the moment, and I’d forgotten how rich and powerful his novels are. Love in the Time of Cholera - incredible.

I am drawn to different writers at different times. It depends on what I’m working on. When I wrote short stories I was always reading other short stories - and I loved Carver’s stripped back prose [and] economical sentences. I’m reading Marquez right now because I am trying to write a big novel [with] not-so stripped back sentences.

No, I really don’t think too much about that. And Charlie Sand came out of a project I was working on many years ago - a collection of stories for children. The first one happened to be set in Trinidad.

COV WORDS FINAL.indd 38-39

I think the process is similar, though a short story arrives and leaves much more quickly than a novel.

3.) Why do you find yourself so drawn to their work?

5.) Your books Black Rock and The Blessing of Charlie Sands share similar backdrops, but the target ages of these books vary considerably. Do you find yourself drawn to writing for a specific audience?

37

7.) You’ve written an array of both short stories and novels in your career so far, are there any differences in your approach to writing them, and if so, what are they?

8.) Out of your back catalogue, which piece of work did you find the most enjoyable to write? The novel I’m writing now. I’ve really let myself freewheel with this novel - writing from different points of view and not worrying about where it’s going. That’s been hugely liberating. Now I’m in the process of sorting it all out, which is really challenging, but it is worth it.

9.) With your experiences teaching on the Arvon Writing Courses and Writing West Midlands workshops, what programs or courses would you suggest to new, emerging writers? Arvon runs some fantastic courses with great tutors. It’s always worth finding out about grants, as they can be quite pricey. Also, join a writing group where you can workshop your stuff. I’m part of a writing group in Birmingham and we meet fortnightly. I always workshop my writing there before sending it to my agent.

38

04/12/2017 08:43


Home: Unknown By Carlota Maura James

Some people are born like trees, with deep, unbreakable roots, no matter how far they stray from home. Others, much like ripped out weeds, spend a lifetime looking for one or fleeing from it. I’m an odd, deformed, half-weed. A cracked stem of what might have been a pretty flower, now stuck in the endless abyss between the colourful, pretty gardens and the wild wastelands. And like all rootless weeds, I found comfort in that abyss. The beach at The Point, Mossel Bay, was a new, undiscovered corner in my happy abyss. I stood on the rocks by the shore and felt it again: the soothing sound of the unknown, the only music I knew the lyrics to. I closed my eyes, expecting this sense of calm to grow, but in the darkness a shadow crept up behind me. I usually keep her hidden, but she’d found a way out. She took baby steps and stood beside me barefoot, with her perfectly braided hair and flower dress. We heard the waves crashing as they crashed back home, while memories of my childhood unravelled in my mind. They were memories of my grandfather, of her sitting on his lap, hugging him tight around his enormous belly every time she had to leave again, every time the wind took her away. She looked up at me, smiling with half of her teeth missing. Saying goodbye was easy back then: I could fly away and back again mindlessly, like dead grass, unconcerned about the thorns of remorse and longing growing inside of me. My trail of thought went back to my grandfather. I remembered how quietly he sat at the head of the table, surrounded by the six children he raised, and the fifteen loud grandchildren that followed. He would shut his eyes and smile to himself. That memory is, to this day, the most sincere representation of happiness I have ever seen. I shut my eyes quickly holding back the tears. “What do you shoot with?”

What the hell. I breathed heavily as he laughed at my face. “Eleven hundred dee! Canon!” How bloody hard was that? As he walked away, I mentally face-palmed myself. I walked away. I wasn’t ready to interact with more humans. I looked out at the horizon and breathed deeply, hoping the fresh breeze would swipe the tomato-coloured blush from my cheeks. We were all standing a fair distance from one another, and each of us probably had their mind somewhere far, far away. Suddenly, I felt less neurotic. Maybe I’m not so different. Belonging is a double edged sword. It’s something I tend to forget every time something bad happens. I attribute every mistake and every wrong decision to my lack of belonging and endless confusion. That day was the day I needed to remind myself, as I had countless times before, that change is no longer what I’m enslaved to. Change is something I was forced into but something that I learned to adopt as a choice. It’s what I want. I looked back on my childhood and teenage years; the constant moving vans, the long car rides, the first days of school...it was horror. Then I remembered the good stuff: the first drive through Paris to the sound of Aux Champs Elysées on the radio; my mother’s hilarious determination to fit an entire living room in the trunk of the car. When I was seven, Mum bought me this really tacky parrot pin I got fixated with at a flea market in the 7eme in Paris. I lost the pin shortly after. I lost that pin about ten times over the following years, and it always reappeared in the most unexpected places after every time we moved. I still have that pin parrot. Its current location is somewhere in my dorm room in England, but I’m not expecting to find it until I move again. I like to think I’m Andy from Toy Story, and that pin is my Woody, following me everywhere I go. Those were the things that made me want change: the adventures, the unexpected turn of events, the stories. That is why I move. That is why I write. Home isn’t a single place but all that is unknown, all that is waiting to be written about. Change is my drug, and the world my dealer.

I was abruptly pulled back into reality. I stumbled a bit, looking around like a slightly neurotic ostrich. He was standing right behind me, holding a camera that could easily have been mistaken for an actual Canon. He was looking at me expectantly. The sudden realisation of his blue eyes pulled me off balance. The whole thing was oddly well-timed. I stared down at my camera, suddenly unable to find the right information in my head. “I, uh, –” Oh for God’s sake, think. I coughed, as if that would solve all my problems. “Ah, the – hundred – no, sorry, I —” 39

COV WORDS FINAL.indd 40-41

40

04/12/2017 08:43


Home: Unknown By Carlota Maura James

Some people are born like trees, with deep, unbreakable roots, no matter how far they stray from home. Others, much like ripped out weeds, spend a lifetime looking for one or fleeing from it. I’m an odd, deformed, half-weed. A cracked stem of what might have been a pretty flower, now stuck in the endless abyss between the colourful, pretty gardens and the wild wastelands. And like all rootless weeds, I found comfort in that abyss. The beach at The Point, Mossel Bay, was a new, undiscovered corner in my happy abyss. I stood on the rocks by the shore and felt it again: the soothing sound of the unknown, the only music I knew the lyrics to. I closed my eyes, expecting this sense of calm to grow, but in the darkness a shadow crept up behind me. I usually keep her hidden, but she’d found a way out. She took baby steps and stood beside me barefoot, with her perfectly braided hair and flower dress. We heard the waves crashing as they crashed back home, while memories of my childhood unravelled in my mind. They were memories of my grandfather, of her sitting on his lap, hugging him tight around his enormous belly every time she had to leave again, every time the wind took her away. She looked up at me, smiling with half of her teeth missing. Saying goodbye was easy back then: I could fly away and back again mindlessly, like dead grass, unconcerned about the thorns of remorse and longing growing inside of me. My trail of thought went back to my grandfather. I remembered how quietly he sat at the head of the table, surrounded by the six children he raised, and the fifteen loud grandchildren that followed. He would shut his eyes and smile to himself. That memory is, to this day, the most sincere representation of happiness I have ever seen. I shut my eyes quickly holding back the tears. “What do you shoot with?”

What the hell. I breathed heavily as he laughed at my face. “Eleven hundred dee! Canon!” How bloody hard was that? As he walked away, I mentally face-palmed myself. I walked away. I wasn’t ready to interact with more humans. I looked out at the horizon and breathed deeply, hoping the fresh breeze would swipe the tomato-coloured blush from my cheeks. We were all standing a fair distance from one another, and each of us probably had their mind somewhere far, far away. Suddenly, I felt less neurotic. Maybe I’m not so different. Belonging is a double edged sword. It’s something I tend to forget every time something bad happens. I attribute every mistake and every wrong decision to my lack of belonging and endless confusion. That day was the day I needed to remind myself, as I had countless times before, that change is no longer what I’m enslaved to. Change is something I was forced into but something that I learned to adopt as a choice. It’s what I want. I looked back on my childhood and teenage years; the constant moving vans, the long car rides, the first days of school...it was horror. Then I remembered the good stuff: the first drive through Paris to the sound of Aux Champs Elysées on the radio; my mother’s hilarious determination to fit an entire living room in the trunk of the car. When I was seven, Mum bought me this really tacky parrot pin I got fixated with at a flea market in the 7eme in Paris. I lost the pin shortly after. I lost that pin about ten times over the following years, and it always reappeared in the most unexpected places after every time we moved. I still have that pin parrot. Its current location is somewhere in my dorm room in England, but I’m not expecting to find it until I move again. I like to think I’m Andy from Toy Story, and that pin is my Woody, following me everywhere I go. Those were the things that made me want change: the adventures, the unexpected turn of events, the stories. That is why I move. That is why I write. Home isn’t a single place but all that is unknown, all that is waiting to be written about. Change is my drug, and the world my dealer.

I was abruptly pulled back into reality. I stumbled a bit, looking around like a slightly neurotic ostrich. He was standing right behind me, holding a camera that could easily have been mistaken for an actual Canon. He was looking at me expectantly. The sudden realisation of his blue eyes pulled me off balance. The whole thing was oddly well-timed. I stared down at my camera, suddenly unable to find the right information in my head. “I, uh, –” Oh for God’s sake, think. I coughed, as if that would solve all my problems. “Ah, the – hundred – no, sorry, I —” 39

COV WORDS FINAL.indd 40-41

40

04/12/2017 08:43


The Stages of Refuge By Belgheys Fazeli

‘What’s that?’ A place that hasn’t been recognised as a location since 1925. I longed to hear the question ‘where?’. I missed the feeling of recognition, then again, ‘missed’ would be the wrong word to use. I can’t possibly miss what I’ve never had. In 1925, I lost what I wished to own, a land I could’ve called home. My grandfather, a political activist, died a martyr in the Iraq and Iran war. He was determined to make a change in the Ahwazi society, by bringing human rights back to the people. The death of my grandfather drove my father to follow in his footsteps. Working for the Iranian government is the only way a citizen can obtain their rights. Although the protests for basic human rights in Iran are peaceful, they aren’t permitted, and whoever contributes to them is punished. In 1999 the government began to destroy the homes of my father’s family and friends. My father’s companions were caught, punished, tortured and then eventually hung or forced to leave the country. In 2000, he realised my brothers and I couldn’t possibly have a future in Iran. Eventually, he broke the news to my grandmother that our family had to leave the country for good. Of course her initial response was to cry, to call him ‘majnoon’, and completely refuse the subject. Instead she tried to convince him that Ahwaz is the ‘perfect’ place to bring up the children. She knew she wasn’t fooling anyone, n o t herself, not anymore. She knew her son was in danger, and it was a matter of life or death. Eventually she came to grasp the horrible reality of it all. Before he left, she uttered these words to my father, “Don’t forget your country, or your people. Make me and your father proud.” October 2000, my father had no choice but to leave the country accompanied by his friends, as day by day the Iranian government was becoming more and more severe with their punishments. He was pushed to leave behind his family, his business, and his home. Of course, paying a trafficker to do the job wasn’t considered cheap, even with the state of the Iranian 41

COV WORDS FINAL.indd 42-43

currency plummeting. It led my grandmother to sell the house her husband built for her, in order to help her son have a safer life anywhere other than Ahwaz. “When someone travels, company is key.” Father believed that it would’ve been impossible to pass seven countries without any company, from Turkey, to Bosnia, to Croatia, to Slavonia, to Italy, to France and finally to the United Kingdom. By January 2001, my father reached the United Kingdom as a refugee. Being a refugee forced him to go through unreported employment just to fulfil his promise, that someday he’d bring us all to the United Kingdom. By the second year, he had finally got an indefinite leave to remain, which allowed him to work legally. Nevertheless, the moment he arrived in the United Kingdom he was already volunteering at the Ahwazi Human Rights Organisation, which he now co-runs and works for. I remember on my first birthday, after my father had left the country, I was too young to understand why, but eventually everything made sense to me. I wasn’t able to recognise my father after being separated for two years. I remember not knowing who he was at the airport, and running up to a complete stranger at the age of three, hugging his legs and thinking, ‘this must be baba.’ Turns out I accidently mistook him for my father. We’ve all been there, when we’ve failed an exam and feel too shameful to tell our parents. However, baba has always been generous due to the mixture of unfortunate occurring events in his life. Losing his father at the age of 15 forced him to mature before his age. Although he was loving, he has always been firm in regards to discipline. I failed my science exam in year eleven and assumed he was disappointed in me, but in reality he was trying to make it clear to me of all the privileges I had. Like the ability to learn a language of my own choice, the right to be equal, the right to speech and most importantly the right to education. H e w a s n ’t d i s a p p o i n t e d i n m y g r a d e , h e w a s disappointed in my efforts. I remember him saying, “take advantage of what you have Belgheys, don’t aim for average. I didn’t risk my life for you to achieve ‘average’, I risked it so you could make a change.” I didn’t completely understand the value of my father’s life until I reached where I am today. I’m currently a student at Coventry University, building my future and gaining all the knowledge I possibly can, so that soon I can make my own change. Although I still circle ‘ other’ on every application form to convince myself that I ‘fit’ somewhere, I know I’ll continue to fight for what’s mine. 42

04/12/2017 08:43


The Stages of Refuge By Belgheys Fazeli

‘What’s that?’ A place that hasn’t been recognised as a location since 1925. I longed to hear the question ‘where?’. I missed the feeling of recognition, then again, ‘missed’ would be the wrong word to use. I can’t possibly miss what I’ve never had. In 1925, I lost what I wished to own, a land I could’ve called home. My grandfather, a political activist, died a martyr in the Iraq and Iran war. He was determined to make a change in the Ahwazi society, by bringing human rights back to the people. The death of my grandfather drove my father to follow in his footsteps. Working for the Iranian government is the only way a citizen can obtain their rights. Although the protests for basic human rights in Iran are peaceful, they aren’t permitted, and whoever contributes to them is punished. In 1999 the government began to destroy the homes of my father’s family and friends. My father’s companions were caught, punished, tortured and then eventually hung or forced to leave the country. In 2000, he realised my brothers and I couldn’t possibly have a future in Iran. Eventually, he broke the news to my grandmother that our family had to leave the country for good. Of course her initial response was to cry, to call him ‘majnoon’, and completely refuse the subject. Instead she tried to convince him that Ahwaz is the ‘perfect’ place to bring up the children. She knew she wasn’t fooling anyone, n o t herself, not anymore. She knew her son was in danger, and it was a matter of life or death. Eventually she came to grasp the horrible reality of it all. Before he left, she uttered these words to my father, “Don’t forget your country, or your people. Make me and your father proud.” October 2000, my father had no choice but to leave the country accompanied by his friends, as day by day the Iranian government was becoming more and more severe with their punishments. He was pushed to leave behind his family, his business, and his home. Of course, paying a trafficker to do the job wasn’t considered cheap, even with the state of the Iranian 41

COV WORDS FINAL.indd 42-43

currency plummeting. It led my grandmother to sell the house her husband built for her, in order to help her son have a safer life anywhere other than Ahwaz. “When someone travels, company is key.” Father believed that it would’ve been impossible to pass seven countries without any company, from Turkey, to Bosnia, to Croatia, to Slavonia, to Italy, to France and finally to the United Kingdom. By January 2001, my father reached the United Kingdom as a refugee. Being a refugee forced him to go through unreported employment just to fulfil his promise, that someday he’d bring us all to the United Kingdom. By the second year, he had finally got an indefinite leave to remain, which allowed him to work legally. Nevertheless, the moment he arrived in the United Kingdom he was already volunteering at the Ahwazi Human Rights Organisation, which he now co-runs and works for. I remember on my first birthday, after my father had left the country, I was too young to understand why, but eventually everything made sense to me. I wasn’t able to recognise my father after being separated for two years. I remember not knowing who he was at the airport, and running up to a complete stranger at the age of three, hugging his legs and thinking, ‘this must be baba.’ Turns out I accidently mistook him for my father. We’ve all been there, when we’ve failed an exam and feel too shameful to tell our parents. However, baba has always been generous due to the mixture of unfortunate occurring events in his life. Losing his father at the age of 15 forced him to mature before his age. Although he was loving, he has always been firm in regards to discipline. I failed my science exam in year eleven and assumed he was disappointed in me, but in reality he was trying to make it clear to me of all the privileges I had. Like the ability to learn a language of my own choice, the right to be equal, the right to speech and most importantly the right to education. H e w a s n ’t d i s a p p o i n t e d i n m y g r a d e , h e w a s disappointed in my efforts. I remember him saying, “take advantage of what you have Belgheys, don’t aim for average. I didn’t risk my life for you to achieve ‘average’, I risked it so you could make a change.” I didn’t completely understand the value of my father’s life until I reached where I am today. I’m currently a student at Coventry University, building my future and gaining all the knowledge I possibly can, so that soon I can make my own change. Although I still circle ‘ other’ on every application form to convince myself that I ‘fit’ somewhere, I know I’ll continue to fight for what’s mine. 42

04/12/2017 08:43


Working with Pride Muguti: A Story from South Africa

Poverty by Pride Muguti Edited by Seb Charlton Poverty. I’ve found myself using that word a lot lately. There’spoverty in our villages and poverty makes us leave. So our families separate and poverty breeds. It’s a vicious cycle, and such a cycle we are trapped in.

By Seb Charlton

A few months ago, I received an email from my course tutor. The email asked for a creative writer to voluntarily edit a story written by a young African called Pride Muguti. At the time, I happened to be checking my inbox and for this I am g r a t e f ul. Due to this piece of good fortune, I was able to be the first to respond to the email, and subsequently be given the privilege of getting to know Pride, and to edit his story. I study English and Creative Writing and aspire to be a writer and editor. I was excited to be given this opportunity considering the valuable experience I would gain from the process. The editing of Pride’s story was enjoyable. Most of the changes were superficial, in the sense that the narrative remained unchanged. Only translation to fluent English, some descriptive writing, and punctuation tweaks were required. I especially enjoyed getting to know Pride and his culture via our email exchanges. Pride and I have been writing to each other for several months now, and I hope that our friendship and correspondence will extend past the publishing date of his story. I was glad to hear that he has recently got a new job as a barista and waiter at a local lodge called Khaya N d l o v u in So u t h Africa. I n ad d ition to working, he is also in his first semester of study at the local college, where he 43

COV WORDS FINAL.indd 44-45

is undertaking a course in Information Technology. After this, Pride intends to go to university to enable him to achieve his dream of working in IT. He appears to me to be a very motivated person, and I’m positive that he will achieve whatever he wants.

It is said that witchcraft took place in Kolu. Nestled in mountainous ranges, the only way in and out was by dusty roads. In the mornings, the first sign of life was the rumble of a bus, the bitter taste of diesel fumes would choke its passengers as it took them to the nearby city, Kaninga. But normally, the more familiar sounds of Kulu were the dogs barking and the conversation and jokes between friends.

left was dirty. People with carts had to walk twenty kilometres to the nearest water source. It would take more than four hours, but the Mambo family had no such cart. The water source was nothing more than a bore hole in the ground. Hundreds of people would queue for h ou r s, h opin g t o f i l l t h e i r p i t c h e r s . Timothy had to do something, if they were to survive.

This p rocess enab led m e to ge t a n insight into a culture far less advantaged than my own.Pride’s story is fictional, but it is based on real life experiences in the p o o re r S o u t h A f r i c a n v i l l a g e s . H i s determination, and love of narrative, has inspired me, and reminds me that we sometimes, in our western ways, take for granted the privileges we have become accustomed to. Despite a language barrier, Pride persevered again and again to create the best piece of work that he possibly could. This is something I particularly admired, as it made me wonder if I would have the mental fortitude to engage with such editorial requests in my second language. I decided that I wouldn’t, and my respect for Pride only grew.

The Kolu people barely survived on farming. They had little workable land because of the lack of rain. The grass remained a light brown colour, and the trees appeared limp. Sometimes the rains came to return the deep green colours, the dust would clear and the air would fill with the smell of crops. All around the village, people would carefully tend to small patches of cotton, maize, groundnut and sunflowers. Most people had no other sources of income, and most were illiterate, so finding work in nearby Kaninga was almost impossible. Some villagers kept livestock like goats or chickens, hoping to breed them, sell them, and fund their children in school. But this didn’t often happen. Amongst these was the Mambo family.

Migration. Kolu men and women often fled to search for something better. If they had no money for the bus, they had to walk to the nearest city, Kaninga. The journey was long and tiring, but Timothy had no choice, and one morning he kissed his family goodbye with tears falling down his cheeks. For nearly five months, he slept on the streets of Kaninga. There were no friends or family to help him. His clothes hung off him in tatters, a n d h e l i v e d o ff s c r a p s t h ro w n o u t from restaurants. He would sit near the bins eating vegetable cuttings, leftover soup and even tea bags. He tried searching for jobs but no one would take him. He had never been to school. At night, he dreamed of Kolu village, his sons, and Sibongile.

We can all learn much about perseveranceand motivation from Pride Muguti. His story, which I hope you will enjoy, deserves this publication. I am delighted not only to be the editor, but also to have written this article on his merit.

Timothy and Sibongile Mambo had two sons, Paul and Percy. Timothy relied heavily on cattle and goats to pay for their sons to go to school. But one year the rains never came. The villagers, including the Mambo family were in trouble. Not only did they lose their cattle and goats, but they had no water to survive. Villagers dug wells in the dirt around their homes, but any water

Separation. Timothy dreamed of seeing his family again, but it all seemed hopeless. He was trapped in Kaninga’s glittering myriad of lights. But one day a little bit of light shone on Timothy and he found a job with Mr. Mulambo in his carpentry shop. Timothy had to clean the tools and sweep the benches and floor. Sometimes, when shop was quiet, he would make things 44

04/12/2017 08:43


Working with Pride Muguti: A Story from South Africa

Poverty by Pride Muguti Edited by Seb Charlton Poverty. I’ve found myself using that word a lot lately. There’spoverty in our villages and poverty makes us leave. So our families separate and poverty breeds. It’s a vicious cycle, and such a cycle we are trapped in.

By Seb Charlton

A few months ago, I received an email from my course tutor. The email asked for a creative writer to voluntarily edit a story written by a young African called Pride Muguti. At the time, I happened to be checking my inbox and for this I am g r a t e f ul. Due to this piece of good fortune, I was able to be the first to respond to the email, and subsequently be given the privilege of getting to know Pride, and to edit his story. I study English and Creative Writing and aspire to be a writer and editor. I was excited to be given this opportunity considering the valuable experience I would gain from the process. The editing of Pride’s story was enjoyable. Most of the changes were superficial, in the sense that the narrative remained unchanged. Only translation to fluent English, some descriptive writing, and punctuation tweaks were required. I especially enjoyed getting to know Pride and his culture via our email exchanges. Pride and I have been writing to each other for several months now, and I hope that our friendship and correspondence will extend past the publishing date of his story. I was glad to hear that he has recently got a new job as a barista and waiter at a local lodge called Khaya N d l o v u in So u t h Africa. I n ad d ition to working, he is also in his first semester of study at the local college, where he 43

COV WORDS FINAL.indd 44-45

is undertaking a course in Information Technology. After this, Pride intends to go to university to enable him to achieve his dream of working in IT. He appears to me to be a very motivated person, and I’m positive that he will achieve whatever he wants.

It is said that witchcraft took place in Kolu. Nestled in mountainous ranges, the only way in and out was by dusty roads. In the mornings, the first sign of life was the rumble of a bus, the bitter taste of diesel fumes would choke its passengers as it took them to the nearby city, Kaninga. But normally, the more familiar sounds of Kulu were the dogs barking and the conversation and jokes between friends.

left was dirty. People with carts had to walk twenty kilometres to the nearest water source. It would take more than four hours, but the Mambo family had no such cart. The water source was nothing more than a bore hole in the ground. Hundreds of people would queue for h ou r s, h opin g t o f i l l t h e i r p i t c h e r s . Timothy had to do something, if they were to survive.

This p rocess enab led m e to ge t a n insight into a culture far less advantaged than my own.Pride’s story is fictional, but it is based on real life experiences in the p o o re r S o u t h A f r i c a n v i l l a g e s . H i s determination, and love of narrative, has inspired me, and reminds me that we sometimes, in our western ways, take for granted the privileges we have become accustomed to. Despite a language barrier, Pride persevered again and again to create the best piece of work that he possibly could. This is something I particularly admired, as it made me wonder if I would have the mental fortitude to engage with such editorial requests in my second language. I decided that I wouldn’t, and my respect for Pride only grew.

The Kolu people barely survived on farming. They had little workable land because of the lack of rain. The grass remained a light brown colour, and the trees appeared limp. Sometimes the rains came to return the deep green colours, the dust would clear and the air would fill with the smell of crops. All around the village, people would carefully tend to small patches of cotton, maize, groundnut and sunflowers. Most people had no other sources of income, and most were illiterate, so finding work in nearby Kaninga was almost impossible. Some villagers kept livestock like goats or chickens, hoping to breed them, sell them, and fund their children in school. But this didn’t often happen. Amongst these was the Mambo family.

Migration. Kolu men and women often fled to search for something better. If they had no money for the bus, they had to walk to the nearest city, Kaninga. The journey was long and tiring, but Timothy had no choice, and one morning he kissed his family goodbye with tears falling down his cheeks. For nearly five months, he slept on the streets of Kaninga. There were no friends or family to help him. His clothes hung off him in tatters, a n d h e l i v e d o ff s c r a p s t h ro w n o u t from restaurants. He would sit near the bins eating vegetable cuttings, leftover soup and even tea bags. He tried searching for jobs but no one would take him. He had never been to school. At night, he dreamed of Kolu village, his sons, and Sibongile.

We can all learn much about perseveranceand motivation from Pride Muguti. His story, which I hope you will enjoy, deserves this publication. I am delighted not only to be the editor, but also to have written this article on his merit.

Timothy and Sibongile Mambo had two sons, Paul and Percy. Timothy relied heavily on cattle and goats to pay for their sons to go to school. But one year the rains never came. The villagers, including the Mambo family were in trouble. Not only did they lose their cattle and goats, but they had no water to survive. Villagers dug wells in the dirt around their homes, but any water

Separation. Timothy dreamed of seeing his family again, but it all seemed hopeless. He was trapped in Kaninga’s glittering myriad of lights. But one day a little bit of light shone on Timothy and he found a job with Mr. Mulambo in his carpentry shop. Timothy had to clean the tools and sweep the benches and floor. Sometimes, when shop was quiet, he would make things 44

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with scraps of wood found at the back of the shop. One day, he would take them home to Sibongile. When growing up in Kolu, Timothy would often make chairs and tables under the tuition of his father. He became quite good at it. It was in Mr. Mulambo’s shop that Timothy made a small, ornate table, with traditional African carvings on its legs. He felt sure that Sibongile would like it. Mr.Mulambo thought it an excellent piece of carpentry, and gave Timothy a full-time job. It wasn’t long before Timothy was making a name for himself as a carpenter. Finally he had some money to send home and the family rejoiced. Even Timothy leapt in the air, throwing fists towards the sky, when he received his first pay cheque. Sometimes he would visit Kolu himself and give Sibongile most of his wages f o r f o o d and school for Paul and Percy. Sibongile was able to buy some more goats. At other times, the money was sent home by bus. It was quite normal for Kolu men, who worked in the city, to pass their wages to the bus drivers, who would then pass it on to the Kolu wives. But as time passed, Timothy became troubled. Men and women had started to flatter him. They liked his handsome face and the way his body moved while carving and polishing his furniture. They would peer in the windows of the carpentry shop, or follow him home at night. Timothy started to notice his admirers, and before his first year in Kaninga had passed, he started to have affairs. His visits to Sibongile and his sons became scarce. When he did visit Kolu, there was hostility and sometimesviolence. When Timothy turned up one day with no money, Sibongile confronted him, only to be beaten in front of her children. Timothy continued to party around the city of Kaninga. He spent his money in clubs, drinking beer, and watching naked girls dance on poles. He began to use drugs, and still no money reached home.

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Sibongile’s life became very hard. She struggled to keep Percy and Paul in school. The boys became bitter. They were scared, and angry at their father for beating Sibongile. Who would look after them now?Timothy started to lose weight. His hair changed colour, and red botches appeared all over his body. His face became gaunt and his good looks faded. He blamed Sibongile for bewitching him. He thought the people of Kolu were cursing him, using devil worship and juju to condemn h i m f o r h i s extravagant lifestyle. He started to see spirits, ghosts in the night, and soon he was unable to work in Mr. Mulambo’s shop. Timothy could barely lift a fork to his mouth to feed himself, and he was forced to return to Kolu. Sibongile did not welcome him. But Timothy was still her husband, so she borrowed a cart from a friend to carry him on the ten-kilometre journey to the doctors. It was hot and humid. Impala criss-crossed the roads as the giant sun bore down upon them. The clinic was two blocks high, with four rooms and a grass thatched roof. There was never enough medication there. Timothy was diagnosed with AIDS, and within threemonths, he was dead. Sigongile had to accept she was also infected with HIV. She took pills every day and tried her best to stay well for the boys. Determined to keep her Paul and Percy at school, she worked hard. She farmed cotton, maize and reared cattle. She had to break the cycle: poverty, migration, family separation… They had to have a better life.

As the author of Poverty, I would like my characters to have a good ending. I will shine a little light on Sibongile and her boys. She is a strong character, and like many women in Africa, she is a survivor. So I am giving her a decent job as counsellor for those suffering from AIDS. And through the grace of God, and Sibongile’s guidance, Paul and Percy will go to university. (Pride Muguti)

A Night to Remember Suits, boots and tell-tale golden statuettes... You’d be forgiven for thinking Coventry had played host to one of Hollywood’s famously glamorous awards evenings, but the Academy Awards this wasn’t. Instead, May 9th saw the premiere of an ambitious collaborative filmproject between 3rd year students of English and Creative Writing and Media Production courses. Hosted by course tutors adorned in flashy evening wear, the event also saw awards dealt for Best Script and Best Film among the 3 scripts selected to be adapted to short films by the organised production companies formed by the final year media students. Best Script went to Alexandra Thomas, writer of The Birthday Card. The story of an illicit affair turned deadly after a wife discovers her husband’s indiscretions, Thomas was in the unique position of having produced 3 different variations on her script after The Birthday Card had been selected by 3 different groups for production. ‘It was good working with [the other students]’ she said, ‘it was good to see thecontrast between [the films] through the filmmakers’interpretations.’ The other award of the night, Best Film, was given to Story of Toys, a short by La Jetée Productions based on a script written by Effie Ray. Described by Ray as ‘a cross between Toy Story and 1984’, it follows a day in the life of a plush mouse in a disjointed, human world populated by toys.‘From the moment we read Ray’s script we had a very strong visual idea of how we wanted the film to look’ said Tara Rutledge and Ashish Patel of La Jetée

By Ellys Lawlor Productions. It’s easy to tell looking at the finished product. Story of Toys blends a wholly unique style inspired by Chris Marker’s short film La Jetée (the namesake of their production company) that utilises acombination of visual techniques, largely stills, atop a sparse soundtrack. It’s a perfect way of visualising the slippery, stilted otherworld presented by the film, culminating in a gloriously chaotic twist of the knife as the toy mouse settles down in front of its television atthe end of a busy workday. Saddled with time constraints, it was an uphill, multi-national (kind of) battle to get the film shot. ‘[The film] was shot in a variety of locations. Some we had to build the scenery for ourselves, while other locations were found through some rather unconventional scouting routes. We even flew to Dublin and back to film the Mouse’s walk to work, and home again, all within just 12 hours!’. Thanks to their graft and the materials department of IKEA, La Jetée Productions, have a golden statue to make up for the hard work. ‘The combination of stop motion and partially animated stills really added to the eerie tone I wanted to achieve’ Effie Ray said, after having seen La Jetée’s take on her script on the big screen, ‘I’d be happy to work with them again. I especially admired their dedication.’ With awards doled out, hopefully the scene’s set for similar collaborative project in the future. ‘It feels good and I’m grateful that I was given this opportunity’ said Alexandra Thomas after winning Best Script, ‘I really enjoyed the whole experience.’.

Photographer: James Henry

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with scraps of wood found at the back of the shop. One day, he would take them home to Sibongile. When growing up in Kolu, Timothy would often make chairs and tables under the tuition of his father. He became quite good at it. It was in Mr. Mulambo’s shop that Timothy made a small, ornate table, with traditional African carvings on its legs. He felt sure that Sibongile would like it. Mr.Mulambo thought it an excellent piece of carpentry, and gave Timothy a full-time job. It wasn’t long before Timothy was making a name for himself as a carpenter. Finally he had some money to send home and the family rejoiced. Even Timothy leapt in the air, throwing fists towards the sky, when he received his first pay cheque. Sometimes he would visit Kolu himself and give Sibongile most of his wages f o r f o o d and school for Paul and Percy. Sibongile was able to buy some more goats. At other times, the money was sent home by bus. It was quite normal for Kolu men, who worked in the city, to pass their wages to the bus drivers, who would then pass it on to the Kolu wives. But as time passed, Timothy became troubled. Men and women had started to flatter him. They liked his handsome face and the way his body moved while carving and polishing his furniture. They would peer in the windows of the carpentry shop, or follow him home at night. Timothy started to notice his admirers, and before his first year in Kaninga had passed, he started to have affairs. His visits to Sibongile and his sons became scarce. When he did visit Kolu, there was hostility and sometimesviolence. When Timothy turned up one day with no money, Sibongile confronted him, only to be beaten in front of her children. Timothy continued to party around the city of Kaninga. He spent his money in clubs, drinking beer, and watching naked girls dance on poles. He began to use drugs, and still no money reached home.

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Sibongile’s life became very hard. She struggled to keep Percy and Paul in school. The boys became bitter. They were scared, and angry at their father for beating Sibongile. Who would look after them now?Timothy started to lose weight. His hair changed colour, and red botches appeared all over his body. His face became gaunt and his good looks faded. He blamed Sibongile for bewitching him. He thought the people of Kolu were cursing him, using devil worship and juju to condemn h i m f o r h i s extravagant lifestyle. He started to see spirits, ghosts in the night, and soon he was unable to work in Mr. Mulambo’s shop. Timothy could barely lift a fork to his mouth to feed himself, and he was forced to return to Kolu. Sibongile did not welcome him. But Timothy was still her husband, so she borrowed a cart from a friend to carry him on the ten-kilometre journey to the doctors. It was hot and humid. Impala criss-crossed the roads as the giant sun bore down upon them. The clinic was two blocks high, with four rooms and a grass thatched roof. There was never enough medication there. Timothy was diagnosed with AIDS, and within threemonths, he was dead. Sigongile had to accept she was also infected with HIV. She took pills every day and tried her best to stay well for the boys. Determined to keep her Paul and Percy at school, she worked hard. She farmed cotton, maize and reared cattle. She had to break the cycle: poverty, migration, family separation… They had to have a better life.

As the author of Poverty, I would like my characters to have a good ending. I will shine a little light on Sibongile and her boys. She is a strong character, and like many women in Africa, she is a survivor. So I am giving her a decent job as counsellor for those suffering from AIDS. And through the grace of God, and Sibongile’s guidance, Paul and Percy will go to university. (Pride Muguti)

A Night to Remember Suits, boots and tell-tale golden statuettes... You’d be forgiven for thinking Coventry had played host to one of Hollywood’s famously glamorous awards evenings, but the Academy Awards this wasn’t. Instead, May 9th saw the premiere of an ambitious collaborative filmproject between 3rd year students of English and Creative Writing and Media Production courses. Hosted by course tutors adorned in flashy evening wear, the event also saw awards dealt for Best Script and Best Film among the 3 scripts selected to be adapted to short films by the organised production companies formed by the final year media students. Best Script went to Alexandra Thomas, writer of The Birthday Card. The story of an illicit affair turned deadly after a wife discovers her husband’s indiscretions, Thomas was in the unique position of having produced 3 different variations on her script after The Birthday Card had been selected by 3 different groups for production. ‘It was good working with [the other students]’ she said, ‘it was good to see thecontrast between [the films] through the filmmakers’interpretations.’ The other award of the night, Best Film, was given to Story of Toys, a short by La Jetée Productions based on a script written by Effie Ray. Described by Ray as ‘a cross between Toy Story and 1984’, it follows a day in the life of a plush mouse in a disjointed, human world populated by toys.‘From the moment we read Ray’s script we had a very strong visual idea of how we wanted the film to look’ said Tara Rutledge and Ashish Patel of La Jetée

By Ellys Lawlor Productions. It’s easy to tell looking at the finished product. Story of Toys blends a wholly unique style inspired by Chris Marker’s short film La Jetée (the namesake of their production company) that utilises acombination of visual techniques, largely stills, atop a sparse soundtrack. It’s a perfect way of visualising the slippery, stilted otherworld presented by the film, culminating in a gloriously chaotic twist of the knife as the toy mouse settles down in front of its television atthe end of a busy workday. Saddled with time constraints, it was an uphill, multi-national (kind of) battle to get the film shot. ‘[The film] was shot in a variety of locations. Some we had to build the scenery for ourselves, while other locations were found through some rather unconventional scouting routes. We even flew to Dublin and back to film the Mouse’s walk to work, and home again, all within just 12 hours!’. Thanks to their graft and the materials department of IKEA, La Jetée Productions, have a golden statue to make up for the hard work. ‘The combination of stop motion and partially animated stills really added to the eerie tone I wanted to achieve’ Effie Ray said, after having seen La Jetée’s take on her script on the big screen, ‘I’d be happy to work with them again. I especially admired their dedication.’ With awards doled out, hopefully the scene’s set for similar collaborative project in the future. ‘It feels good and I’m grateful that I was given this opportunity’ said Alexandra Thomas after winning Best Script, ‘I really enjoyed the whole experience.’.

Photographer: James Henry

46

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SEASONS

Sequence By Gabija Šimaitytė

II Three rays of light dance In tall grass under the trees To rhythms of the wind.

Photographer: Katie Bywater

I Slipping through venules Of leaves, raindrops land on glass. The windows fog up.

Each edition of CovWords magazine has a themed section, based on a topic chosen by the editors. This year’s theme is Seasons. With each season carrying its own unique connotations, and the seasons altogether representing change, there was a lot for our writers to dive into and explore. Please enjoy their work.

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48

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SEASONS

Sequence By Gabija Šimaitytė

II Three rays of light dance In tall grass under the trees To rhythms of the wind.

Photographer: Katie Bywater

I Slipping through venules Of leaves, raindrops land on glass. The windows fog up.

Each edition of CovWords magazine has a themed section, based on a topic chosen by the editors. This year’s theme is Seasons. With each season carrying its own unique connotations, and the seasons altogether representing change, there was a lot for our writers to dive into and explore. Please enjoy their work.

47

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Branches grow wildly to keep the darkness of the corner I was placed in, from being a part of me. Flowers dance in the wind, like a pink frilled dress, spinning freely at a ball. Petals fall and delicately decorate the floor.

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The Blossoming Tree

My strength put entirely into burgeoning bright blossoms, to cover the cold metal gates that keep your gaze from me.

By Eleanor Brown

My blossoms grow together, like a child’s gathering of flowers, showing spring is not far. Velvet flowers cling onto my branches, to give something different to the world.

By Melissa Healy

Autumn

Sunshine Turns to darkness Autumn is upon us We lament the death of summer It’s gone.

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Branches grow wildly to keep the darkness of the corner I was placed in, from being a part of me. Flowers dance in the wind, like a pink frilled dress, spinning freely at a ball. Petals fall and delicately decorate the floor.

49

COV WORDS FINAL.indd 50-51

The Blossoming Tree

My strength put entirely into burgeoning bright blossoms, to cover the cold metal gates that keep your gaze from me.

By Eleanor Brown

My blossoms grow together, like a child’s gathering of flowers, showing spring is not far. Velvet flowers cling onto my branches, to give something different to the world.

By Melissa Healy

Autumn

Sunshine Turns to darkness Autumn is upon us We lament the death of summer It’s gone.

50

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By Seonaid Mckay

It was the worst week of his life. Sitting in a red and white striped chair on the deck of his grandad’s yacht, Francis stared out into the distance. The salty Atlantic air brushed its fingers through his curly blonde hair as he clutched a peanut butter sandwich firmly in his hand. The sun was almost blinding but Francis didn’t care. He was imagining that the blackened silhouettes of the seagulls against the sun were fire-breathing dragons from Romania. He had read about them in one of his books. The one that his grandad had bought for him on his birthday earlier that year. Francis hoped that the dragons were here to bring his grandad back. Back from his quest to save the penguins from the giant mechanical killer sharks off the coast of Southern Africa. Francis had heard about those in a story his grandad had once told him on this very deck. Swirling a mixture of bready peanut butter in his mouth, Francis felt a strange sense of nothingness. Eating sandwiches was hardly as fun without his grandad here to act out all of his adventures against a glistening ocean backdrop. His parents thought that this would be good for him. He had heard them talking about it that morning through hushed whispers against the kitchen door.

“Just take him today, Jim, please?” his mum asked. “Are you sure he’s ready?” his dad responded. Francis wasn’t ready but he wasn’t not ready either. He just felt a bit numb about the whole thing. He didn’t really want to be here without his grandad. It felt weird that his dad was sitting in the hull reading his book, while Francis shivered on the deck imagining a whole new world alone. 51

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Photographer: Tiff Branscombe

Peanut Butter Sandwiches

* Francis thought that the death of his grandad would be easier to deal with at school. Sometimes he would even momentarily forget. But then he’d remember a few seconds later. Deep down it felt like his heart was still sobbing against his ribcage. All of the knots in his belly would tighten to their highest capacity, and he’d feel more than a little bit sick. The constant dry heaving in the middle of class really didn’t help him to blend into the background, either. “Are you okay, Francis?” Ashley leaned over and whispered in his ear. “I’m fine.” “How are you feeling?” Phil asked at lunch time, patting his back. “I’m fine.” “I would be really upset if I was you,” Una exclaimed during Maths. “I’m fine.” He wasn’t really though. He wasn’t fine at all. He had told everyone that his grandad was off on another one of his crazy adventures. This time he was in the Oceania district helping mermaids rebuild their lost fortress out of shipwrecks. But they all knew the truth. The school counsellor thought his imagination was problematic. He knew this because he heard her saying it against the glass of the Headmaster’s office door. “This isn’t healthy. He needs closure, not made up stories,” she said. He saw her pass a note to his parents. Later he would discover that the note had the contact details for

someone else who had lost someone special. Someone who would soon become very special to him, too. It was the note that led him to her. * When Francis met Violet, his week took a turn for the better. She was beautiful. Maybe the most beautiful person he had ever met. She smiled as if the world was full of only good things. Like rainbows, and magic, and unicorns. And her hair was impossibly lovely. A soft brown, cascading down her shoulder blades. It reminded him of the time he blew the seeds off of hundreds of dead dandelions. His grandad had told him that, come summer, the seeds would shroud the fields in a layer of magnolia sunshine. Violet made him feel like his heart was the sunshine. Th e ir f r i e n d s h i p h a d b e c o me a whirlwind of adventures and storytelling. A big pool of joy and forgetfulness. “Where did your mum go?” Francis asked one evening. “She’s up in the clouds, Francis. Sometimes I can see her winking down at me from the stars,” said Violet. 52

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By Seonaid Mckay

It was the worst week of his life. Sitting in a red and white striped chair on the deck of his grandad’s yacht, Francis stared out into the distance. The salty Atlantic air brushed its fingers through his curly blonde hair as he clutched a peanut butter sandwich firmly in his hand. The sun was almost blinding but Francis didn’t care. He was imagining that the blackened silhouettes of the seagulls against the sun were fire-breathing dragons from Romania. He had read about them in one of his books. The one that his grandad had bought for him on his birthday earlier that year. Francis hoped that the dragons were here to bring his grandad back. Back from his quest to save the penguins from the giant mechanical killer sharks off the coast of Southern Africa. Francis had heard about those in a story his grandad had once told him on this very deck. Swirling a mixture of bready peanut butter in his mouth, Francis felt a strange sense of nothingness. Eating sandwiches was hardly as fun without his grandad here to act out all of his adventures against a glistening ocean backdrop. His parents thought that this would be good for him. He had heard them talking about it that morning through hushed whispers against the kitchen door.

“Just take him today, Jim, please?” his mum asked. “Are you sure he’s ready?” his dad responded. Francis wasn’t ready but he wasn’t not ready either. He just felt a bit numb about the whole thing. He didn’t really want to be here without his grandad. It felt weird that his dad was sitting in the hull reading his book, while Francis shivered on the deck imagining a whole new world alone. 51

COV WORDS FINAL.indd 52-53

Photographer: Tiff Branscombe

Peanut Butter Sandwiches

* Francis thought that the death of his grandad would be easier to deal with at school. Sometimes he would even momentarily forget. But then he’d remember a few seconds later. Deep down it felt like his heart was still sobbing against his ribcage. All of the knots in his belly would tighten to their highest capacity, and he’d feel more than a little bit sick. The constant dry heaving in the middle of class really didn’t help him to blend into the background, either. “Are you okay, Francis?” Ashley leaned over and whispered in his ear. “I’m fine.” “How are you feeling?” Phil asked at lunch time, patting his back. “I’m fine.” “I would be really upset if I was you,” Una exclaimed during Maths. “I’m fine.” He wasn’t really though. He wasn’t fine at all. He had told everyone that his grandad was off on another one of his crazy adventures. This time he was in the Oceania district helping mermaids rebuild their lost fortress out of shipwrecks. But they all knew the truth. The school counsellor thought his imagination was problematic. He knew this because he heard her saying it against the glass of the Headmaster’s office door. “This isn’t healthy. He needs closure, not made up stories,” she said. He saw her pass a note to his parents. Later he would discover that the note had the contact details for

someone else who had lost someone special. Someone who would soon become very special to him, too. It was the note that led him to her. * When Francis met Violet, his week took a turn for the better. She was beautiful. Maybe the most beautiful person he had ever met. She smiled as if the world was full of only good things. Like rainbows, and magic, and unicorns. And her hair was impossibly lovely. A soft brown, cascading down her shoulder blades. It reminded him of the time he blew the seeds off of hundreds of dead dandelions. His grandad had told him that, come summer, the seeds would shroud the fields in a layer of magnolia sunshine. Violet made him feel like his heart was the sunshine. Th e ir f r i e n d s h i p h a d b e c o me a whirlwind of adventures and storytelling. A big pool of joy and forgetfulness. “Where did your mum go?” Francis asked one evening. “She’s up in the clouds, Francis. Sometimes I can see her winking down at me from the stars,” said Violet. 52

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Summertime Nostalgia By Toby Fermoy

“Now find your grandad,” she whispered into his ear. “Is my grandad up in the clouds too?” “Of course he is. I’ll show you.” Violet grasped his hand in her warm palm and they ran all the way to the docks from her house. They kicked their shoes off and climbed up onto his grandad’s yacht. The sky was littered with millions of shiny balls of fire. Tiny little sparkling suns. His grandad had told him that once. That the sun was actually just a star. They cleared the deck completely, pushing the stripy chairs aside, throwing oars out onto the jetty, and they melted their bodies into the woodwork. Sprawling out like starfish, fingers laced together as they stared up at the sky above. “Look Francis, there’s my mum.” Violet pointed up at the shiniest star he had ever seen. It was so twinkly that it did almost look as if it was winking down at the ocean. At them. At Violet.

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Francis scanned the sky. He tried to imagine his grandad up in there, jumping from star to star in a supersonic fire-resistant spacesuit. “He’s there. I can almost see him.” Francis pointed up at the moon. They both squinted up at the cosmos until their eyes began to water. And the water soon turned into tears. Big huge ones splashing onto the deck like a tap that isn’t quite turned off properly. They sobbed and sobbed and sobbed, curled up in each other’s arms until the moon left and the sun took its place. The knots in Francis’ belly uncurled themselves, and his heart stopped hurting so much. He knew that his grandad was gone forever. He wasn’t coming back. Not even after a million years. But he was there. Up in the clouds. Sitting on a lovely red and white striped chair on the deck of a yacht with a peanut butter sandwich pressed to his palm. His grandad was sailing across the moon hand-inhand with Violet’s mum, always watching Francis from a distance. And now Francis could watch him too. Every single night.

Bright skies And shining pavements Fill me with Summertime nostalgia

Now I’m older And when I go home for the summer I fantasise about All the things I wanted to do Five years ago.

And regret. For a time when Anything was possible But nothing was done. When I was sixteen, The bright, open, endless and optimistic world stretched out in front of my feet And I stayed home.

As I walk the streets that have stayed the same- but knowing that I have changedThe summer sun blasts my skull And fills my head with Summertime nostalgia Making me forget That one day I’ll be feeling Summertime nostalgia About today.

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Summertime Nostalgia By Toby Fermoy

“Now find your grandad,” she whispered into his ear. “Is my grandad up in the clouds too?” “Of course he is. I’ll show you.” Violet grasped his hand in her warm palm and they ran all the way to the docks from her house. They kicked their shoes off and climbed up onto his grandad’s yacht. The sky was littered with millions of shiny balls of fire. Tiny little sparkling suns. His grandad had told him that once. That the sun was actually just a star. They cleared the deck completely, pushing the stripy chairs aside, throwing oars out onto the jetty, and they melted their bodies into the woodwork. Sprawling out like starfish, fingers laced together as they stared up at the sky above. “Look Francis, there’s my mum.” Violet pointed up at the shiniest star he had ever seen. It was so twinkly that it did almost look as if it was winking down at the ocean. At them. At Violet.

53

COV WORDS FINAL.indd 54-55

Francis scanned the sky. He tried to imagine his grandad up in there, jumping from star to star in a supersonic fire-resistant spacesuit. “He’s there. I can almost see him.” Francis pointed up at the moon. They both squinted up at the cosmos until their eyes began to water. And the water soon turned into tears. Big huge ones splashing onto the deck like a tap that isn’t quite turned off properly. They sobbed and sobbed and sobbed, curled up in each other’s arms until the moon left and the sun took its place. The knots in Francis’ belly uncurled themselves, and his heart stopped hurting so much. He knew that his grandad was gone forever. He wasn’t coming back. Not even after a million years. But he was there. Up in the clouds. Sitting on a lovely red and white striped chair on the deck of a yacht with a peanut butter sandwich pressed to his palm. His grandad was sailing across the moon hand-inhand with Violet’s mum, always watching Francis from a distance. And now Francis could watch him too. Every single night.

Bright skies And shining pavements Fill me with Summertime nostalgia

Now I’m older And when I go home for the summer I fantasise about All the things I wanted to do Five years ago.

And regret. For a time when Anything was possible But nothing was done. When I was sixteen, The bright, open, endless and optimistic world stretched out in front of my feet And I stayed home.

As I walk the streets that have stayed the same- but knowing that I have changedThe summer sun blasts my skull And fills my head with Summertime nostalgia Making me forget That one day I’ll be feeling Summertime nostalgia About today.

54

04/12/2017 08:43


Sensate Hermione

By Amy Cannell She left without warning. No robin red sign In the cherry coloured dawn, And no limp note Left in the sundae fountain On the lawn. No hasty words and thoughts scrawled Across walls and doors, And no blood On the lip of the bath-

By Zoe Little

The dew drops webbed across the stonework of the statue, nestling into the patches of sporadic moss, like flesh absorbing tears turning stale on a cheek. There was a chip in her shoulder, which dripped into a long fracture marring the once smooth texture of the limb. But no one would ever notice; sprawling up her left side was a battalion of clematis plants, with petals alter nating between a liquid violet and wine-burgundy.

Gone.

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Photographer: Katie Bywater

They wrapped around her slender neck, with one plant head resting on her sculpted jaw. When the sun broke through the clouds a honeyed beam would often fall across her eyes – eyes which stared across the lake towards the house encased in willows and blossom trees. Although she was made of granite, her lips were red. Very red. Like they had been painted but smeared by a careless hand.

When the woodland was blanketed with ribbons of frost, there always seemed to be a glimmer of watery ultramarine lingering in those stone irises, brought out only by the cold. And on summer nights, when reflections of fairy lights foxtrotted across the liquid panes of aqua-green, the water l a p p i n g u p o n t h e b a n k s o f ro s e s a n d lilies, and the moon seemed close enough to touch, a voice conflated with the breeze. It was a mellifluous whisper, humming to an angelic melody, gradually ascending into a shattered cry. But it was just the wind. The wind and foxes. Statues couldn’t sing, and they certainly couldn’t cry.

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Sensate Hermione

By Amy Cannell She left without warning. No robin red sign In the cherry coloured dawn, And no limp note Left in the sundae fountain On the lawn. No hasty words and thoughts scrawled Across walls and doors, And no blood On the lip of the bath-

By Zoe Little

The dew drops webbed across the stonework of the statue, nestling into the patches of sporadic moss, like flesh absorbing tears turning stale on a cheek. There was a chip in her shoulder, which dripped into a long fracture marring the once smooth texture of the limb. But no one would ever notice; sprawling up her left side was a battalion of clematis plants, with petals alter nating between a liquid violet and wine-burgundy.

Gone.

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Photographer: Katie Bywater

They wrapped around her slender neck, with one plant head resting on her sculpted jaw. When the sun broke through the clouds a honeyed beam would often fall across her eyes – eyes which stared across the lake towards the house encased in willows and blossom trees. Although she was made of granite, her lips were red. Very red. Like they had been painted but smeared by a careless hand.

When the woodland was blanketed with ribbons of frost, there always seemed to be a glimmer of watery ultramarine lingering in those stone irises, brought out only by the cold. And on summer nights, when reflections of fairy lights foxtrotted across the liquid panes of aqua-green, the water l a p p i n g u p o n t h e b a n k s o f ro s e s a n d lilies, and the moon seemed close enough to touch, a voice conflated with the breeze. It was a mellifluous whisper, humming to an angelic melody, gradually ascending into a shattered cry. But it was just the wind. The wind and foxes. Statues couldn’t sing, and they certainly couldn’t cry.

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Memory Leak 18:29 PM. Sitting under an overhang of stones I watch the sinking sun. Charging using the last of the sun I enter Sleep mode.

By Bailey Pembro 11:50 AM. Warm capricious sunlight is reflecting off a bronze carapace. My eyes flicker alive, words in a bright red flash in front of me: [SYSTEM REBOOT] - [FIXING DAMAGED SOFTWARE PLEASE WAIT]. Vision wavers through different settings, an audible click as procedure checks which systems are damaged or not functional. Feeling returns to my arm, sand slides out of the joints as I move it. Each digit is checked individually and successfully, which cannot be said for the other arm. It has been taken out of the socket and is out of sight, I will have to find it later. Picking myself up I analyse my surroundings. My memory appears t o b e i n n e e d o f re s t o r i n g a s I cannot remember how I had ended up here. The lapping of water against rocks and sand is the only sound, aside from the rustle of tropical trees and brush when agitated by a slight breeze. An almost clear sky dotted with clouds. Idyllic. Tilting my head I calculate the next best possible course of action. Finding my arm is one priority. Contacting… someone, anyone, is the next.

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14:23 PM. The search for my arm has so far been unsuccessful. Following the beach along the coast has only given me a rough estimate for the island’s size, I have been walking for 2 hours and 23 minutes. From the position of the sun I must be coming back round to where I found myself. Further inland plants and trees grew abundant and green. On my walk I have so far seen 17 birds, 3 lizards, 20 crabs and 4 boars. One of the birds was a vibrant electric blue in colour, white plumage around the neck and striped along the wings. Stopping, I notice several more islands to my right. Counting them they come to a total of 5, 6 islands in total including the one I am on. Shallow turquoise blue water connects each island, hopefully shallow enough for me to cross if I need to. The largest of the islands is surrounded by 3 of the others, the remaining 2 a little further on the other side of it. Enhancing the image, I zoom in on the prominent island. Wisps of smoke betray civilisation. Low-level technology, but civilisation nonetheless.

05:02 AM. Reawakening in the early morning light I notice the family of boars not too far from the overhang, digging the undergrowth for food. Curious, I walk closer to observe them only to startle one. I step back, not wanting to disturb them anymore I decide to go searching for my arm again, determined that it must be somewhere along the beach. 09:32 AM. ...1023. 1024. 1025. 1026. 1027. 1028. 1029. 1030. 1031. 1032. 1033. 1034. 1035. 1036. 1037. 1038. 1039. 1040. 1041. 1042. 1043. 1044. 1045...

09:45 AM. I found my arm, after 2,334 steps. It was washed up under a pile of driftwood and half buried in sand. 22 crabs were found crawling about in the shade of the plywood pallet. I also found 5 crates with the label ‘Tessellate INC’ on the side. Thankfully the joint of the arm was not broken, and easily placed back into its socket. 18:30 PM. Glowing golden I study the low hanging sun again. Photoreceptors open full to catch as much light as possible, I would not mind being here for a little longer. Over the course of being here a day I have not been able to recall what my name is or any other piece of information to do with my history. Tomorrow I shall investigate the crates that had washed up on the beach, a calculated guess suggests that they are a clue as to why I am here on this island. Slowly my vision shuts off as systems run final checks before completely falling asleep.

58

04/12/2017 08:43


Memory Leak 18:29 PM. Sitting under an overhang of stones I watch the sinking sun. Charging using the last of the sun I enter Sleep mode.

By Bailey Pembro 11:50 AM. Warm capricious sunlight is reflecting off a bronze carapace. My eyes flicker alive, words in a bright red flash in front of me: [SYSTEM REBOOT] - [FIXING DAMAGED SOFTWARE PLEASE WAIT]. Vision wavers through different settings, an audible click as procedure checks which systems are damaged or not functional. Feeling returns to my arm, sand slides out of the joints as I move it. Each digit is checked individually and successfully, which cannot be said for the other arm. It has been taken out of the socket and is out of sight, I will have to find it later. Picking myself up I analyse my surroundings. My memory appears t o b e i n n e e d o f re s t o r i n g a s I cannot remember how I had ended up here. The lapping of water against rocks and sand is the only sound, aside from the rustle of tropical trees and brush when agitated by a slight breeze. An almost clear sky dotted with clouds. Idyllic. Tilting my head I calculate the next best possible course of action. Finding my arm is one priority. Contacting… someone, anyone, is the next.

57

COV WORDS FINAL.indd 58-59

14:23 PM. The search for my arm has so far been unsuccessful. Following the beach along the coast has only given me a rough estimate for the island’s size, I have been walking for 2 hours and 23 minutes. From the position of the sun I must be coming back round to where I found myself. Further inland plants and trees grew abundant and green. On my walk I have so far seen 17 birds, 3 lizards, 20 crabs and 4 boars. One of the birds was a vibrant electric blue in colour, white plumage around the neck and striped along the wings. Stopping, I notice several more islands to my right. Counting them they come to a total of 5, 6 islands in total including the one I am on. Shallow turquoise blue water connects each island, hopefully shallow enough for me to cross if I need to. The largest of the islands is surrounded by 3 of the others, the remaining 2 a little further on the other side of it. Enhancing the image, I zoom in on the prominent island. Wisps of smoke betray civilisation. Low-level technology, but civilisation nonetheless.

05:02 AM. Reawakening in the early morning light I notice the family of boars not too far from the overhang, digging the undergrowth for food. Curious, I walk closer to observe them only to startle one. I step back, not wanting to disturb them anymore I decide to go searching for my arm again, determined that it must be somewhere along the beach. 09:32 AM. ...1023. 1024. 1025. 1026. 1027. 1028. 1029. 1030. 1031. 1032. 1033. 1034. 1035. 1036. 1037. 1038. 1039. 1040. 1041. 1042. 1043. 1044. 1045...

09:45 AM. I found my arm, after 2,334 steps. It was washed up under a pile of driftwood and half buried in sand. 22 crabs were found crawling about in the shade of the plywood pallet. I also found 5 crates with the label ‘Tessellate INC’ on the side. Thankfully the joint of the arm was not broken, and easily placed back into its socket. 18:30 PM. Glowing golden I study the low hanging sun again. Photoreceptors open full to catch as much light as possible, I would not mind being here for a little longer. Over the course of being here a day I have not been able to recall what my name is or any other piece of information to do with my history. Tomorrow I shall investigate the crates that had washed up on the beach, a calculated guess suggests that they are a clue as to why I am here on this island. Slowly my vision shuts off as systems run final checks before completely falling asleep.

58

04/12/2017 08:43


Autumn Morning

Changes

By Paul Kent

By Nisna Mahtani

How beautiful the autumn leaves, a carpet of bright yellow and orange, and the flurries of spiralling colour as giggling children joyfully throw handfuls. The satisfying crunching underfoot, whispering “Summer is gone, winter is coming.”

The wind whipped through the tops of winter trees, The birds flapped hard against the breeze, The leaves, they turn from green to amber, gold, The grass, coated in morning dew, And winter seeks its vengeance, summer’s gone.

The fresh cool mornings, not yet cold enough to silence the birds as they serenade the rising sun, provoke a raised collar and a distant memory of a winter coat stored somewhere, now long forgotten.

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Photographer: Katie Bywater

As the leaves descend, each dancing in their own time, they reveal a profound beauty; something woven into the fabric of the earth. So much life from what is dead. So much purpose still to come.

60

04/12/2017 08:43


Autumn Morning

Changes

By Paul Kent

By Nisna Mahtani

How beautiful the autumn leaves, a carpet of bright yellow and orange, and the flurries of spiralling colour as giggling children joyfully throw handfuls. The satisfying crunching underfoot, whispering “Summer is gone, winter is coming.”

The wind whipped through the tops of winter trees, The birds flapped hard against the breeze, The leaves, they turn from green to amber, gold, The grass, coated in morning dew, And winter seeks its vengeance, summer’s gone.

The fresh cool mornings, not yet cold enough to silence the birds as they serenade the rising sun, provoke a raised collar and a distant memory of a winter coat stored somewhere, now long forgotten.

59

COV WORDS FINAL.indd 60-61

Photographer: Katie Bywater

As the leaves descend, each dancing in their own time, they reveal a profound beauty; something woven into the fabric of the earth. So much life from what is dead. So much purpose still to come.

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04/12/2017 08:43


A collection called: There is no Light

I’m a 21 year old student from Brazil and I write about anything that ignites my passion. Poetry has always been my favourite form to express myself and ever-present in my life, thanks to my grandmother who read her poems to me. I dream of becoming a published and best-selling writer and of starting my own publishing company. Maria de Omena BA English and Creative Writing, Year 1

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COV WORDS FINAL.indd 62-63

Vindicated

Winner of the Fred Holland Poetry Collection Award 2017

Should eons from now, the shackles that bind my wrists oxidise and grind granting me freedom; giving me a solace I never knew I needed, enabling the chafed skins on my wrists to finally heal from the unrelenting grip forced upon me, I will still feel enslaved. Should in a switch the magnetic force binding our essences change directions and poles making my charge and yours the same, both victims of the same crime slaves of the same demons confused by the same riddles I will still feel out of place. Should karma come and you find yourself with a sword digging in your throat. Your gag reflex making your Adam’s apple bob desperately for this time, it is I holding the hilt, I want you to look into my eyes and bend to my will but still, vindicated is not what I’ll feel.

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04/12/2017 08:43


A collection called: There is no Light

I’m a 21 year old student from Brazil and I write about anything that ignites my passion. Poetry has always been my favourite form to express myself and ever-present in my life, thanks to my grandmother who read her poems to me. I dream of becoming a published and best-selling writer and of starting my own publishing company. Maria de Omena BA English and Creative Writing, Year 1

61

COV WORDS FINAL.indd 62-63

Vindicated

Winner of the Fred Holland Poetry Collection Award 2017

Should eons from now, the shackles that bind my wrists oxidise and grind granting me freedom; giving me a solace I never knew I needed, enabling the chafed skins on my wrists to finally heal from the unrelenting grip forced upon me, I will still feel enslaved. Should in a switch the magnetic force binding our essences change directions and poles making my charge and yours the same, both victims of the same crime slaves of the same demons confused by the same riddles I will still feel out of place. Should karma come and you find yourself with a sword digging in your throat. Your gag reflex making your Adam’s apple bob desperately for this time, it is I holding the hilt, I want you to look into my eyes and bend to my will but still, vindicated is not what I’ll feel.

62

04/12/2017 08:43


I remember when I told you I liked red, you said I looked exquisite in it. Is that why you made me bleed? So you could paint my body with your fingers, touching, ripping, shredding. Crafting and carving on my skin. I recall when I told you I liked purple, until I became it. Your face branded on my eyelids every time I moved, with your twisted fingers you’ve tattooed me. The arms around me resembled a cage – I should have run when I had the chance. I remember when you said my grey eyes were beautiful. Maybe you liked them so much that you wanted them still. The gris turning to ice, losing its sparkle; orbs always open and never blinking you would be the last thing I see. I recall every time you said you would help me become what I found most beautiful. I was the only canvas you needed to express your artistry. You loved me, so you would make me your masterpiece. I wonder, if I had said I was colour blind, would you have let me live?

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1, 2, 3 Breathe in... that’s it. Don’t worry, pretty girl, your path is free! But what if there’s a hand in a dark alley waiting for a skirt to rip? 4, 5, A few blocks to go. Hurry your steps, stay under the lights. Though what if the old man two posts down is a creeper hunting amongst the crowd? 6, 7, She could take a shortcut... Yet the thought of a desert alley is enough to make the pretty girl with bleeding feet choose to walk miles more than take a turn. 8, 9, Oh Lord! Where is everyone? Wait, there’s a shadow at a distance. Is it weird that she’d rather it was a murderer than another rapist? 10 In this world you better hope you’re born a Man.

Platinum

A Man

Masterpiece

I was floating in the middle of a green field, cold hands grabbed my waist. A bleached tissue covered my mouth and chloroform had never smelled so bittersweet.

The moment I saw you I was reminded of silver. The way your smile shone in the sunlight made you seem more like a precious metal than a stack of organic material. You kissed me and I felt the heat as if you had lit up a torch inside me; The metallic taste of our kiss was addictive, your scent reminded me of some spice: exotic, rare, never explored. Then you slipped through my fingers when I tried to reciprocate. It was when you tried to break me that I found out I was Platinum. I was just as resilient, even more precious. I was the rare one, you were but a scavenger. The bitterness in our kisses was the taste of my own blood, the light in your eyes was the reflection of my own. You forgot that while you’re a famous catalytic, I am known for being highly unreactive. So shall we take a leap into this lava pit? And while you are melting inside the gates of hell I’ll crawl out, still whole, radiating heat.

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I remember when I told you I liked red, you said I looked exquisite in it. Is that why you made me bleed? So you could paint my body with your fingers, touching, ripping, shredding. Crafting and carving on my skin. I recall when I told you I liked purple, until I became it. Your face branded on my eyelids every time I moved, with your twisted fingers you’ve tattooed me. The arms around me resembled a cage – I should have run when I had the chance. I remember when you said my grey eyes were beautiful. Maybe you liked them so much that you wanted them still. The gris turning to ice, losing its sparkle; orbs always open and never blinking you would be the last thing I see. I recall every time you said you would help me become what I found most beautiful. I was the only canvas you needed to express your artistry. You loved me, so you would make me your masterpiece. I wonder, if I had said I was colour blind, would you have let me live?

63

COV WORDS FINAL.indd 64-65

1, 2, 3 Breathe in... that’s it. Don’t worry, pretty girl, your path is free! But what if there’s a hand in a dark alley waiting for a skirt to rip? 4, 5, A few blocks to go. Hurry your steps, stay under the lights. Though what if the old man two posts down is a creeper hunting amongst the crowd? 6, 7, She could take a shortcut... Yet the thought of a desert alley is enough to make the pretty girl with bleeding feet choose to walk miles more than take a turn. 8, 9, Oh Lord! Where is everyone? Wait, there’s a shadow at a distance. Is it weird that she’d rather it was a murderer than another rapist? 10 In this world you better hope you’re born a Man.

Platinum

A Man

Masterpiece

I was floating in the middle of a green field, cold hands grabbed my waist. A bleached tissue covered my mouth and chloroform had never smelled so bittersweet.

The moment I saw you I was reminded of silver. The way your smile shone in the sunlight made you seem more like a precious metal than a stack of organic material. You kissed me and I felt the heat as if you had lit up a torch inside me; The metallic taste of our kiss was addictive, your scent reminded me of some spice: exotic, rare, never explored. Then you slipped through my fingers when I tried to reciprocate. It was when you tried to break me that I found out I was Platinum. I was just as resilient, even more precious. I was the rare one, you were but a scavenger. The bitterness in our kisses was the taste of my own blood, the light in your eyes was the reflection of my own. You forgot that while you’re a famous catalytic, I am known for being highly unreactive. So shall we take a leap into this lava pit? And while you are melting inside the gates of hell I’ll crawl out, still whole, radiating heat.

64

04/12/2017 08:43


A Journey (to silence)

Submissions for CovWords 2018 Issue: “Fix me,” I yelled. I can be good for you! I will take all the blame as you stomp over my soul. I will be the best thing that’s ever happened to you even if you are my very doom. “Mend me,” I cried. Glue these broken pieces, sew this loose strap. In fact, you can alter me I was not made to last. “Hold me,” I begged. Don’t crush me. Anyhow, I will love you like you should love me if only I could believe I deserved so. “See me,” I whispered. Give me a chance to change and I will be whoever you want me to. “Mould me,” I croaked, so I’ll fit in your frigid arms. Silence: I should have cut the roots at the start.

Since the magazine is only as good as our student writers, we depend on you to send us your work. If you would like to contribute to the printed magazine or website please check the guidelines on: http://blogs.coventry.ac.uk/coventrywords/ and email your work to: coventrywords.bes@coventry.ac.uk. Be sure to provide your full name and course title and place your submission within the body of the email (we do not accept attachments). Let us know in the subject line whether you’re submitting to the website or magazine. Good luck! If you are interested in being part of the amazing team that creates the magazine you can join the CovWords Magazine Society via the Student Union website: http://www.cusu.org/opportunities/societies/a-z-societies. As well as enabling students to experience the key processes of magazine production, the society organises writing projects and special events. Active members will be involved in design, editing submissions, marketing and promotion (including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the official website) and distribution alongside students of the English and Creative Writing course. Contacts for 2017-18 are: Bailey Pembro (President), Kathryn Morgan-Jones (Inclusion Officer), Toby Fermoy (Treasurer) and Seonaid Mckay (Social Media Manager). Email: coventrywordsmagazine.su@uni.coventry.ac.uk.

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A Journey (to silence)

Submissions for CovWords 2018 Issue: “Fix me,” I yelled. I can be good for you! I will take all the blame as you stomp over my soul. I will be the best thing that’s ever happened to you even if you are my very doom. “Mend me,” I cried. Glue these broken pieces, sew this loose strap. In fact, you can alter me I was not made to last. “Hold me,” I begged. Don’t crush me. Anyhow, I will love you like you should love me if only I could believe I deserved so. “See me,” I whispered. Give me a chance to change and I will be whoever you want me to. “Mould me,” I croaked, so I’ll fit in your frigid arms. Silence: I should have cut the roots at the start.

Since the magazine is only as good as our student writers, we depend on you to send us your work. If you would like to contribute to the printed magazine or website please check the guidelines on: http://blogs.coventry.ac.uk/coventrywords/ and email your work to: coventrywords.bes@coventry.ac.uk. Be sure to provide your full name and course title and place your submission within the body of the email (we do not accept attachments). Let us know in the subject line whether you’re submitting to the website or magazine. Good luck! If you are interested in being part of the amazing team that creates the magazine you can join the CovWords Magazine Society via the Student Union website: http://www.cusu.org/opportunities/societies/a-z-societies. As well as enabling students to experience the key processes of magazine production, the society organises writing projects and special events. Active members will be involved in design, editing submissions, marketing and promotion (including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the official website) and distribution alongside students of the English and Creative Writing course. Contacts for 2017-18 are: Bailey Pembro (President), Kathryn Morgan-Jones (Inclusion Officer), Toby Fermoy (Treasurer) and Seonaid Mckay (Social Media Manager). Email: coventrywordsmagazine.su@uni.coventry.ac.uk.

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“I really love the mixture of poetry, prose and photos. It really looks professionally done, and the contents are all good. People would pay good money for a publication like this.” – Benjamin Zephaniah about CovWords

facebook:coventrywords twitter: @coventrywords

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CovWords Magazine: Volume 8 2027  

Each year CovWords strives to create an interesting and evocative magazine, and this year is no exception. Our main aim is to display the va...

CovWords Magazine: Volume 8 2027  

Each year CovWords strives to create an interesting and evocative magazine, and this year is no exception. Our main aim is to display the va...

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