Artwork: Kabir Sait (Fourth Year)
Artwork: Mac Crawford (Fifth Year)
Welcome to Lion Print 2020 Welcome to the fifth edition of Lion Print, Hampton’s Creative Arts magazine, featuring some of the writing and artistic talent of First Year to Sixth Form Hamptonians. Developing our boys’ creativity is a fundamental aspect of a Hampton education and this magazine is a celebration of their remarkable literary and artistic talents. The writing comprises a range of stories produced by the 29 finalists in this year’s Creative Writing Awards. Author Sara Grant, who writes Young Adult fiction, selected winners and runners-up from the finalists in Junior, Intermediate and Senior age group categories. The competition’s challenge for all entrants was to write a 750-word story opening in a genre of their choice, with a focus on character, plot development and creating tension. Sara gave each finalist detailed, personalised feedback on ways to enhance their pieces, with emphasis on description and setting, dialogue, action and orientation. Sara was hugely impressed by the quality of writing from our competition entrants: ‘The quality of this year’s stories was extremely high. I had a very difficult time selecting just one winner and one runner-up in each category. I was delighted to read the work of such a talented group of writers.’
The artwork included in this edition of the Lion Print was produced over the last 12 months in Art lessons and clubs. The range and variety demonstrate the breadth of work that Hampton boys produce, in ways which enhance their personal expression in important and distinctive ways. We hope that you enjoy Lion Print 2020. With kind regards and best wishes
Kevin Knibbs Headmaster
2020 Prize Winners Pavit Kullar Unnoticed Senior Winner Creative Writing Awards 2020 Alex Syratt Jenn Senior Runner-Up Creative Writing Awards 2020 Luke Trotman The wrong path & Retribution Intermediate Winner Creative Writing Awards 2020 Abhishekdev Ramesh Once in a Lifetime Intermediate Runner-Up Creative Writing Awards 2020 Isaac Tarragano Last Flight
Junior Winner Creative Writing Awards 2020
Ben Rowe Torment Junior Runner-Up Creative Writing Awards 2020
Please note that this year, we have included written contibutions from our senior Hamptonians as a separate section from page 48 onwards, as some of the content may be unsuitable for younger readers.
Artwork: Alex Persson (Upper Sixth) 3
Beyond Thought 7.00 am. The alarm. I wake. Today feels different. Not just that the air is covered in a thick layer of misty, heavy fog, hanging over the city like a giant grey blanket, making it hard to breathe without choking on the intake of this ghastly poison-filled oxygen; no it isn’t that at all. It is that there is a sense of anticipation and dread that fills the pit of my stomach as I stretch and surrender myself to a new day. The sun struggles behind the gloom then breaks, beaming in and blinding me as the strong, unexpected light overwhelms my lost senses. As I get up I hear the cameras whirring as they track my every move. Eyes devouring my every breath, seeking to find anything that I might strive to hide, watching me exist, waiting for deceit. Exactly three minutes after the alarm roused me it beeps again, reminding me to submit my data to the Keepers regarding my evening’s sleep. Seconds later I feel the all too familiar jolt of electricity coursing through my veins as my night’s thoughts and feelings are given to them. Tense, I wait for the reassuring release as the collection ceases and my mind is freed. As it comes I finally exhale and glance with longing beyond the window and into the fog. If I had a choice I would run. Sarah, my sister, thought she had a choice. Before the reformation of the world, when there was still a chance for us to change, Sarah was the epitome of a global warrior. She attended every protest, signed every petition, knocked on every door attempting to gain followers, make us aware, incite change. Then the government started with plans to re-educate us on our planet, reform our world and protect us from ourselves. We had taken our planet for granted, they said, without looking out for future generations, but bio-technology would be our saviour. By monitoring how we lived they could help prevent environmental destruction and preserve the world we abused. This was a global plan to restore this world to its former glory and Sarah, well I thought she would be its biggest champion. Instead she was its biggest cynic. She saw the movement for what it was, this wasn’t about conserving the Earth, this was about control and power. In a time of need and desperation though, no one listened to my sister. Not even me. Memories, they’re not cherished now, only stored. Stored where the government believe every thought and belief belongs - and it’s no longer in our hearts.
The Keepers say that for change and salvation to happen we must obey, to protect the world we need to make our minds theirs so they can save us from ourselves. I don’t believe them now, no one believes them now and they know. There is nowhere to hide if you cannot escape into the comfort of your own mind. There are no bars or walls needed any longer. Our bodies are our prisons. What we need to see, hear, believe or learn is electronically transferred to us. What they wish to know is taken out in just the same way. 7.10 am My alarm sounds again alerting me that my breakfast has arrived. The bread is stale, the butter liquid: what’s new I ask myself? I sit and contemplate the food in front of me and try to free my mind. I need to be calmer. I need to think less. I’m already anxious, anxious that I thought about Sarah last night; and I know that data will already be in corrupt hands. I practise my breathing exercises like I have every day for the past year. I need to detach myself from my own thoughts; from my own mind. Inhale Exhale Inhale Exhale Inhale When I slowly exhale I feel an overwhelming sense of relief, my body slumps releasing its stiff posture as a slow smile draws across my face while I slip back into my chair. I suddenly remembered, in those few breaths, what was happening today. I didn’t say anything, nor did I think anything; I just detached myself from my own mind. It was time… The Government knows, one thought, one passing comment is enough to fuel a rebellion. I am not looking for an uprising though. I am looking for a war.
By Isaac Crowhurst (Second Year) 4
Artwork: Tom Harvey (Second Year)
Refurbished There it was. The gateway between my residence for life and liberty. Now, all I had to do was sneak towards the bush and shuffle through it without making enough noise to get spotted. A light flashed over me. I’d been seen, soon there would be guards surrounding me. I had to make this quick. I ran across some long, uncut grass and scuttled into the bush. There was the hole just as Old Wilson had said there would be.
I moved my arms in a commando crawl style, but I was stuck. I couldn’t feel what it was through my boots. It could have been a branch of the bush, even worse, it could have been a guard gripping on to my ankle. I heard shouting, ‘Over here! I can see his leg’. I pulled my foot free from what must have been a branch and scrambled out of the other side. My first look at the outside world since I was imprisoned for stealing from
that jewellery shop seven years ago. They found very little evidence, but the judge had dealt with me before and he clearly detested me. All of a sudden, the prison gates started to open and the police patrol vehicles rushed through the open gap like a brick smashing through a shop window. If I didn’t hide now, they would spot me. I crept through the shadows in the direction of my old home. I lurked past a jewellery shop, a clothing shop and a technology store, I was reminded of my days as a thief. Finally, I came to my home, some of my friends used to call it my lair but I have none now. They were all either put in prison or had changed their lives. It’s too late for me to change now though. I climbed down into my house, it was a wine cellar, abandoned by the previous owners of the house and until I discovered it, forgotten. Since I found this place, I had turned it into the perfect makeshift home for a guy like me. But when I first looked around, I knew something had changed. Some of the papers had fallen on the ground but that always happened because the door did not shut properly and a draft would always be blowing everything about. When I came in, I expected everything to be all dusty and messy, but it seemed like someone had recently been in there. Then I saw something pinned to the pinboard. It was an extension plan! The owners had obviously realised that this was their property and decided to join it with their main building. I couldn’t let that happen, otherwise I would be roaming the streets being chased by the police with no place to escape to.
Suddenly I heard voices, ‘I’m telling you Honey, I’m sure I saw someone coming into this place.’ I’d just managed to duck under the decrepit sofa before I saw a man’s foot step down the ladder followed by a woman, possibly his wife. ‘Sarah, don’t you think it’s weird, we discovered this place as if someone was living here and now, I’ve just seen someone enter it?’ By now he was peering behind a shelf and his wife (I’m just going to say that she is his wife) looking reluctant to be there, standing, uninterested, in the middle of the room. ‘Yes, it is a bit odd finding this place designed like a home but you don’t know for sure if you saw someone come in here, to me, it looks like no one has been in since we were in it this afternoon. So, please Graham, can we go back to bed?’ ‘Could you just help me look around?’ said Graham, clearly annoyed at his wife and the fact that he hadn’t found anyone yet. Sarah gave a huff, and started to walk towards the sofa, which I was hiding under! For a terrifying moment I thought that she was going to reveal my position but fortunately she only slumped on the soft pillow that I had found in a dump eight years ago. Soon, Graham got weary and gave up. They both made their way up the ladder and back up to bed. I couldn’t let them refurbish my home, I needed something to convince them that they didn’t want to venture in here again. That’s when my eyes glanced over to my supplies cupboard. By Alasdair McIntosh (First Year)
Last Flight There was a bang. Red consuming the control panel. Alarms blared. The plane was losing altitude. Sharply and suddenly, the throttle was pulled up by the pilot, but no response. “Mayday, mayday”, he shouted into his radio, but only static replied. There was a loud crack and a burst of light as lightning pierced the cloudy skies. Panic, fear and confusion seeped through every vein of Arthur’s body as he fought to keep the plane in the air. He was an experienced pilot but still feared for his life every time he went out in this rust-bucket of a plane. His wife always told him she’d see him later, not to worry; but this time he wasn’t so sure she was right. The cockpit filled with palpable terror as Arthur felt the nose of the plane buckle. He was losing control, and quickly. The wind whistled past as the plane shot downwards, Arthur faded in and out of consciousness as he was forced back into his seat by the force of the vertical freefall... “... ‘Last one to that river up ahead is a rotten egg’, Max shouts as the boys race off. Arthur feels the joy of being a ten year old out with his friend, no cares in the world. He pedals furiously to catch up with Max; feeling the warmth of the sunlight on his face and his bare arms. As Arthur reaches the river, he sees a rope swing, he takes a running start and jumps, attempts to grab onto the rope, but his fingers just touch thin air. A shout from Max, “are you ok”, as Arthur hits the water with a splash. Arthur sits back in fits of laughter, and he looks up to see Max glimmering like an angel, as the sunshine reflects off the water, blinding Arthur’s eyes...” A smile lit up Arthur’s face as the alarms of the plane cut through his black-out. He saw the numbers on the altitude display decreasing as the plane spiralled down towards the white horses riding the waves of the sea... “...Blinking through his tears, Arthur sees a sea of black suits and dresses. The funeral procession carries the coffin down the aisle of the church, and ‘Jerusalem’, his mother’s favourite song plays mournfully. Arthur raises his arm to wipe the tears away from his face, 24 years old, and the pain of his mother’s death opening up a wound in his heart. The high ceilings of the church illuminated by lit candles, dotted down the aisle; the joyful vibrant colours
of the stained-glass windows, almost out of place with the melancholy event taking place inside. Later, Arthur stands solemnly by her grave, the realisation of how much more time his mother could have had in this world hits him, and he bows his head in respect and sadness. Out of nowhere, his brother’s arm embraces him, and Arthur leans into it: ‘it’ll be okay, Mum would be proud of you’...” A tear dropped down Arthur’s cheek, onto the cockpit floor, and he wondered how much longer he could have to live. The outline of the coast faded out of his eye’s view as the sea came closer and closer... “...Applause erupts around the table as Arthur’s eldest daughter, Selena, cuts the first slice of turkey. Arthur hands round the plates, and everyone tucks in. The table raise their glasses in a Christmas toast to happiness. The dog snoring quietly in the corner, wakes up at the smell of food
Artwork: Oscar Nolan (Lower Sixth) and vivacious cheers, and darts under the table, urgently seeking the leftovers. A pause in the conversation, and Selena taps her glass with her fork. She rises up from the table, ‘I’ve got something to tell you” and with a nod, she glances at Arthur, and he knows, “I’m pregnant, you’re going to be a grandfather”. Arthur clasps Selena’s hand, tears in his eyes, choking an ‘I love you’, and he swells with pride and love at his family, all grown-up...” Everything was silent in the cockpit as the plane’s emergency systems shut down with a final screech. The seagulls shrieking as the plane approached the turbulent waves of the sea. Through his oblivion, Arthur gently smiled. As the plane hit the water with a crash, he felt the contentment of a life filled with happiness, love and friendship, and he was at peace.
By Isaac Tarragano (Second Year)
Creative Writing Competition 2020 “Great opening line! ‘There was a bang.’ Intriguing and mysterious. Isaac has hooked me and I want to read on. I admire his choice to show lovely flashbacks – small, poignant moments from Arthur’s life. And wow, just wow at how he ended his story!” Sara Grant Judge
Three Weeks In Venice “Are you having a laugh?” We stood in the doorway of the apartment, looking inside. I turned to him in disbelief, and repeated myself. “Are you having a laugh?” “Oh come on,” my brother whined, his piercing blue eyes wide like a puppy’s, “it’ll be fun!” My shock turned to anger, as I felt the knot of fury rise up from my gut once again. Typical. My younger brother is always doing this. I hadn’t seen him for nearly a year, and I’d taken three weeks of unpaid leave to come with him to Venice to luxuriate in the rich history and culture of the magnificent city, and this is where we ended up? This rotten, stinking space trying to sell itself as an apartment, that looked like it hadn’t been used since Vivaldi wrote The Four Seasons. The knot was growing. It was now in the bottom of my throat, making it hard to breathe. Jack was always doing this, he’d always been headstrong and selfindulgent, and it infuriated me how he never changed. This was the final straw, I thought, and was about to yell, but was interrupted by a rat scampering through the door. “Jesus, even the rats don’t want to stay in this filthy hellhole!” He laughed. Another annoying characteristic. His laugh was infectious, and I could never stay angry at him for long. I sighed, and admitted defeat. “Fine. One night. But first thing tomorrow, we’re finding a proper hotel.” Jack’s face beamed and he embraced me in a big hug. “Thank you, big bro.” I sighed. “You’re welcome. Now, shall we unpack?” Jack stepped inside the rotten apartment. “Not just yet,” he said, “I want to show you something.” Striding towards the far side of the room, he constantly looked back over his shoulder to check I was watching. He moved towards two large, old wooden doors. “This is kinda cool,” he said, still glancing back, hardly able to contain himself . Then, he swung the doors open and bright light spilled through, making me squint through my hand, and I was washed in the heat of the late
Artwork: Sebastian Khan (Upper Sixth)
afternoon sun. When I took my hand away I was mesmerised by one of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen. “Wow. This is more like it.” I joined him on an old, rusty balcony and looked outwards. “You’re such a romantic.” he smirked at my awe, “And you’re incorrigible!” I laughed back as I turned to admire the view. The whole of Venice was stretched out in front of us, the bright orange sun setting just behind, transforming the canals into liquid gold. I could see the Santa Maria standing proud, it’s majestic dome protruding into the blazing sky. And there it was. “Wow!” I gasped, captivated by the sight. St Mark’s Square was to the west of us, and I leaned precariously out over the balcony to get a better view. Tourists were bustling around like ants, but I ignored them. All I cared about was the Basilica. Saint Mark’s Basilica caught the sunlight beautifully, it’s lustrous, golden arches and spires were the crown of Venice. Mesmerised for a moment, I gaped at the astounding view, before I was awoken to Jack’s voice, “Come on Picasso, get your sketchbook whilst it’s still daylight. Nothing good about this apartment, eh?” He laughed as I hurried inside. I picked my rucksack up from by the door and rummaged through, beginning to think I might have forgotten my pencils, but just before I gave up I found them tucked in a corner at the bottom of my bag. Grabbing them, I turned. “Got it.” But Jack wasn’t there. Where could he be? Not in the room, not on the balcony, he couldn’t have gone through the door, I would have seen him. Startled by screams in the square below, a wave of panic came over me, and it was as if my feet were cemented to the floor. Slowly… Trembling… I edged my way over to the other side of the room. Now I was shaking violently, and crying, filled with dread and expectation. I peered over the edge… I was wrong. What I saw changed my life, in ways you couldn’t possibly imagine. By Adam Gaunt (Second Year)
Torment Run! Run! Get out of here as fast as you can and never come back! The boy stumbled and tumbled down the old cobbled pathway in a delirious manner, the last and only words he remembered ringing in his ears. He didn’t even know why he was running. It was all a blazing blur, his mind a steamy fog of questions, red hot thoughts bouncing and ricocheting around the borders of his brain. Something compelled him to stop. And think. His name was… he couldn’t quite remember. He took a gulp of the chilled night air, hoping that it would revive his senses, and then tried again, desperately scouring his memories, if indeed he had any left. Just a flashback. The merest glimpse, anything, of who he was. Nothing. It was like a neverending nightmare. He stood over stray puddles strewn across the damp, desolate, empty street, peering in to discover who it was staring back at him. But it was to no avail. Just a tense, tired and tatty teenager gazing up at the looming, lamp-lit sky. Neither of them really belonged here. Click. Click. Click. Piercing the fathomless silence like a knife through butter, shiny, metal toe-capped shoes performed immaculately even footsteps only a few metres away. It could have been just some ordinary person walking down the street, but something wasn’t right. He just knew it. The sharp metronomic footsteps crept closer and closer towards him. They were coming for him. Always. Only for him. He had to keep moving. He had no choice. He staggered on. Towards who knows where? Pockets of cold air burst from his breathless body as he tried to pick up the pace, narrowly avoiding lampposts and isolated lumps of rock lying on the pavement. He ran and ran and ran just like he had been told to do. But why? And by whom? But the further on he went the closer the footsteps seemed to be. Damn. How was that possible! Wherever he looked, in whichever direction he ran, the footsteps would always be close behind. Neverending. Click. Click. Click. As he ran ragged, his thoughts ran riot. What twisted sadistic figure was out there? In the shadows. Tracking him. Tormenting him. He tried not to think about it. The important thing was that the fire in his strained soul, the fire that had kept him alive, was still burning. Even if it was now a diminishing, dying fire, it was the only
sensation he could salvage across his entire body. What was that? Out of the corner of his eye. Movement? He had only been on this street for just a few minutes, but it appeared to be deserted. There was no one to talk to. No one to help him. Even so, he was certain he had seen something in one of the seemingly abandoned old houses. Click. Click. Click. A foreboding sense of inevitability accompanied the approaching footsteps. He cut across the road, towards the derelict house. With a faintly audible creak, he eased open the rusted gate, climbed the crooked steps and peered through one of the grimy windows. Perhaps this should have felt wrong. Perhaps he should have felt scared. But something was drawing him in. He had to know. He had to look. He stared into the endless black abyss that was looming only metres away from him. For a moment it felt like there was someone staring back at him, through him, looking deep within his soul, then nothing. A pungent, putrid smell emanating from the darkness snapped him back to his senses. He had to leave. He had to keep moving. Wait! What was that? Flapping at the bottom of the porch. An old brown newspaper. Why could he not tear his eyes away from it? What was pulling him in? He swept it up in his hands and fixed on the headline. “LOCAL BOY DANIEL WATSON NOW MISSING FOR SEVEN WEEKS”. And that face in the photo. It was the same one from the puddle. The shuddering shock of recognition was short lived with the sudden realisation that the sound of the footsteps had stopped. His whole spine shivered in the silence. He sensed an overpowering presence. The shrill creak of the garden gate was left ringing in his ears. He whirled round to witness a smile of maniacal satisfaction and the footsteps were upon him. CLICK. CLICK. CLICK.
By Ben Rowe (First Year)
Creative Writing Competition 2020 “Ben’s piece is packed with atmosphere, tension and drama. I love that he ends with ‘and the footsteps were upon him. Click. Click. Click.’ Very powerful!” Sara Grant Judge
Artwork: Arjan Sian (Fourth Year)
Survival It all started on a bitterly cold, dark, morning. I was getting ready for my morning run whilst my mum and dad were having a row in the kitchen. “Goodbye!”, I said to no-one in particular. Not as if they could hear me anyway. They were still too busy shouting in the kitchen. Slowly, I started to jog because I was not really in the mood for a morning run. Today of all days. The day my real parents died… Slowly but surely, I began to pick up the pace. Sweat trickled down my cheek as I finished my three-mile run. I put in my air pods and got the nearest bus home. Knocking on the door, I waited for a response. No-one came. That was peculiar. My dad always opened the door for me no matter how upset he was. I opened the door with the spare key I had with me and stepped inside. A man held a gun pointing directly at my mother. My father was on the floor helpless. A bullet wound straight to the head. He was losing consciousness. His eyes closed. He was dead… My mother locked eye contact with me once more and mouthed, I love you. She was shot. Straight in the head. The man in the black coat holding the gun looked at me. He reloaded his gun and shot. Bullets sprayed everywhere but he could not hit me. I was moving too fast. I ran. I ran as fast as my legs could carry me. I would not stop. Never. After 3 hours of continuous running, I looked around me. The man was nowhere in sight. I felt like a coward. I was a coward. How could I have let my foster parents down. I did not even try and help them. I am useless, utterly useless. I sat down on a nearby bench and cried. I cried for my real parents and my foster ones. Why was my life so complicated? This time I was not going to sit back and do nothing. I was going to avenge my family. All of them. I was going to show those murderers how ruthless I really am… I stayed on the bench for what seemed like hours and felt lost. Truly lost. I had no friends or family to get me through my situation. None at all. Quickly, I glanced around me. Nothing peculiar was happening. There was no time for lamentation. I had to keep moving. As tired as I was, I continued to run. I ran from my past, from my future. From
everything. I thought about phoning the police, but I knew there was no point. This was my fight and my fight alone. I doubled back to my house and my parents were gone. The house was looking just as tidy as it usually did. Those murderers were definitely not risking anything. Silently, I crept to the hidden closet where my dad kept his gun, ammo and knife. I picked them up. This was my destiny. I was born for this. I knew this was a lie but what I learnt from today was that people only got by by being someone they were not. I plonked them in my rucksack and scanned the floor
Artwork: Alex Kavanagh (Lower Sixth) for clues. There were none. These people were clearly professionals. Frowning in disgust, I twirled the ring on my index finger. What was I meant to do? Thoughts whizzed through my mind at 100 miles per hour. I heard footsteps at the front door. Someone was coming. I hid in the kitchen. My heart beat so hard I was afraid it made a noise. More footsteps were at the door. With butterflies in my stomach, I brought out the gun and loaded it. I was ready. I heard a creak in the door. Aiming my gun, I got ready to shoot. It was the man in the
grey coat. The murderer. I shot at him three times. Each bullet missed. I was no good with guns. I brought out my knife and slashed at him madly. Just before I hit him, he knocked my feet apart and I lost balance and toppled over. He brought out his gun and shot. He got me this time. Straight in the ribs. He shot me again for good measure. I saw my life flash before my eyes. My seventh birthday. My first try (in rugby). My first love interest. It was time. Time for me to meet my family again. Goodbye worldâ€Ś
By Jason David-West (Fourth Year) 33 14
The Year 2050
The year 2050 did look promising. As I walked down the streets of the city, I gazed at the azure sky above, shrouded from view by white clouds. The morning sun shone bright on the towering skyscrapers, stretching upwards to the hundreds of flying cars gliding effortlessly above. Some could be seen descending onto the ground below almost in a show of elegance, others continued to raise towards the glistening sun. The coast could be seen not far off, the shimmering water below foaming at the tips, leaning in towards the withered cliff faces. On the borderline of the horizon, large wind turbines protruded out of the sea, harnessing the power of the light northern breeze. The entire planet has had to transform and adapt to these new technologies – with many more being produced. The world has changed so much – you just have to take one look around you. I should probably introduce myself. I currently own one of the biggest businesses in the entire world – the flying car. It was a struggle. I had made some big mistakes in the past, once resulting in my entire team leaving me. However, we pulled through eventually. Despite having produced thousands of units the world has never been fully satisfied - always needing more speed, more range. Today was going to be the day to change it all. Our team has designed the flying car Mark Three – a fully autonomous car which would be flying around the entire world. I had insisted on being inside the car whilst the incredible feat would be taking place as this was my dream and I would be there to witness it. I was heading towards the aviation centre right now for that exact reason. The large complex loomed into view where my team was assembled outside. As I cleared past the crowd, I was aware of the excitement and I soon knew why. In front of us stood the beautiful Mark Three, gleaming in the sun. Even with a figure as slender as one of the finest aircrafts it still looked very much like a car. Two powerful headlights shone so brightly they could penetrate even the darkest storm clouds. These sleek lights merged into a screen displaying the weather and time – a bold blue against the car’s black finish. It certainly was the car of the future.
Artwork: Matthew Hibbert (Fifth Year)
After the noise died down, I could enter the car. As I opened the doors, I could tell this was something different. The absence of a steering wheel allowed the set-up to be more of a lounge than a conventional car, complete with a television, tables and not seats but lush sofas! The entire cabin was made entirely from sustainable materials of the highest quality and strips of ambient lighting. At the centre lay a screen allowing the person to interact with the car – a futuristic addition recently devised by the design team. Using this I managed to start the car. Immediately I could hear the humming of the motors below working to get the car airborne. The wheels started to rotate until each was fully horizontal, just hovering over the smooth tarmac. They extended outwards until the car was in the figure of a drone whilst the wheels reached full power. Acting like a jet engine, these spun at immense speeds producing thrust, resulting in the car raising higher and higher away from the ground. We were airborne. These physics had taken years to get right – you can imagine my delight when the car took to the skies. Although I had experienced this hundreds of times it never failed to excite me. I rolled down the window as the breeze filled the cabin. I soon realised that I still had work to do. My journey would take me to many places, but I would have to contact my team first to ensure connections ran smoothly. I switched on the interface and dialled my team. No answer. I tried again in vain. This had got me concerned but I realised it was probably a connection issue, so I turned onto the view instead. Below me was nothing but the deep blue plane of sea and above was the sky. Suddenly a huge blast came from the front left wheel. I looked to my horror to see it had become a blazing wreck! The last thing I saw was the sea hurtling towards me. This was it; I knew it. It had to be, right? But it wasn’t.
By Avi Bhatt (First Year)
Artwork: Thomas Cowin (Fourth Year)
Fantis Famine I wake up to the sound of shouting in the streets. They’re here. I look out the window and I see them, beating up an elderly man on the street. Then I see a shrivelled-up figure on the floor. It’s the man’s wife. She’s not moving. The man is down on his knees, crying out as more vicious strikes hit his frail body. He is too weak to do anything. Just like my family, I can see his ribs protruding out of his starved chest. His cheeks are caving inwards, and his legs are about as thin as his arms. Suddenly he stops screaming, blood gushes out of his mouth and he falls to the floor. I want to help him, but I haven’t got the strength to help him, and get water and food for my family, all in the sweltering heat. I feel my lips, and immediately wish I hadn’t. It’s getting worse. I walk in to my Mum and Dad’s room. As always, they are lying in bed with a stench of sweat filling the room. I hear a siren sounding in the street. It’s the Fantis, telling us it’s time to get water and food. I struggle into my shorts and flip flops, they’re the only things bearable to wear in this furnace of a city. I hobble down the street. The effort of putting one foot in front of the other almost too much. As I walk with difficulty, I see abandoned cars, now with no means to be on the road. They are rusting memorials to a time gone by. Fuel is now reserved for The Fantis alone. As I see all of this, I remember a time before the Fantis, before the unbearable heat and before the extreme cravings for water and food. I was running down the streets with my dog Bella, and my best friend Michael. I remember the bliss of the breeze caressing my cheeks as I ran by. Michael slipped over and banged his knee, so Bella and I helped him back to my house, where Mum gave him an ice pack and a hot drink, and praised me and Bella for getting Michael home safely. That was a different world. Pets are now a thing of the past. There hasn’t been a single breeze for half my life, and it hasn’t rained in two years. Michael was the lucky one, he
managed to escape this hell-hole. Escape the jurisdiction of The Fantis. I haven’t seen him in six years. I continue to limp on. As I near the well, more and more people are beginning to appear, malnourished and fragile. There are guards positioned around the well. One of them reaches in and fills his huge bottle up to the brim with precious water. He then throws it all over his head to taunt the crowd. This was too much. Suddenly, the crowd surges forward towards the well and the guards. The guards try to keep control by shooting in the air, but it doesn’t deter the hundreds of people, desperate for water. There is a black Fantis truck, containing reinforcements speeding towards the crowd. It skids to a halt and a swarm of guards emerge. They
start dragging people away from the well into the back of the truck. Suddenly the frenzy stops. I hear poor souls screaming and banging from inside the boiling hot truck, because no one that has been taken by The Fantis has ever returned. As quickly as it arrived, the truck of death disappears into the distance, leaving a trail of dust behind. The people now form an orderly queue. There is a woman softly sobbing in the corner. Her son that was just a minute ago standing beside her, is gone. As I wait for my turn, I feel my sunburned skin. It’s dry and falling away, just like my faith in humanity. I finally get to the front of the queue, I reach out to receive the stale water, and collect my family’s meagre food ration. Bread
and bread and bread. Always bread. I start the torturous journey home, passing people trudging towards the well, passing an old couple on their short yet long journey home. As I near the house, the craving gets too much. I gulp down some of the tepid and foul-tasting water. It’s not good but it is enough to get me home. I enter our house. “I’m back,” I manage to croak. No reply. I frown, and struggle up the stairs. I open the bedroom door. I drop the water and the food. I try to scream but no sound comes out. I fall to my knees. I’ve dreaded this day, but never thought it would happen this soon. I need to find Michael.
By Raphael Taylor (First Year) 18
2052 - Impact! The shadowy blob in the sky was getting larger and larger. Seventy-eight billion kilograms of rock were hurtling towards us menacingly, blotting out the sun in a sinister way. Only a few decades ago, this would have been a gigantic catastrophe. It would be the end of the world and mankind, as it was for the mighty yet defenceless dinosaurs, millions of years ago. However, surprising as it may seem, it is merely a form of entertainment for us, watching meteors, large and small, being destroyed by our powerful SonicDissipator technology.
devices. The UniversalOS can contact people, book and organise transport, do shopping, inform you of events nearby that you may enjoy and a whole lot more. It is an implant that is surgically embedded in everyone’s brain, in the cerebral cortex. Our PAs are not people who are Personal Assistants, they are Personal Androids. They work alongside the UniversalOS. Our control over everything using technology makes us feel like Gods.
Welcome to 2052. Our world operates on extremely advanced state-of-the-art technology – shopping, transport, entertainment, communications – I’d say everything depends on technology. Few decades ago, people would use these little cuboids, punching in phone numbers to contact others. They were called “Smartphones”. Smart? Compared to the intelligent UniversalOS chip, phones are slow, clunky and boring
As part of the Advanced Scientist Group, I was intently watching the incoming meteor with the other scientists in the monitoring room which was covered with hologram projectors. We were watching a 3D holographic image of the incoming meteor. Although it was of astronomical size it posed no danger to our world. When the meteor reaches a few hundred kilometres away from the surface, our SonicDissipators would pop into action. They would use highly focussed ultrasonic waves to smash it into smithereens.
No world can be better than ours. It is perfect.
We watched the holograms even more closely as the imposing explosion of the meteor took place. Multicoloured sparks flew wildly in all directions. The feral sparks were
followed by flaring rocks, streaming with flaming tongues of fire. Then the ultrasound resonance tech kicked in, flinging them all into outer space with such speed that a sonic boom was heard distantly. We heard cheers from a group of onlookers outside our office – this was common ever since we have had meteor showers in the last decade – a stellar spectacle on their way to their workplace. However, this time something caught my attention. What was that unusually strange greenish red mass which had come from the meteor? And why hadn’t it blown up? Our Chief scientist spoke to his PA “Give us a radio spectrograph. NOW!” The reading came through and my heart skipped a beat. “Chief!”, I said. “ The readings match those of the Spaltion Explorer!” The Spaltion was an interplanetary probe that had suddenly stopped sending messages back to Earth. Satellite photographs showed that all of its metal parts, including electrical circuits had been shockingly inverted into carbon! There has been research on this enigmatic subject, but with no results so far. My heart was thumping against my chest and and I was having a thousand questions in my mind. I felt dizzy. Suddenly, all the lights flickered off leaving us in a pitch black room. The holograms blanked out. There was utter chaos in the room, scientists were running around with readings. Annoyed yells, “Why hasn’t the backup power kicked in?” and “Stop that weird humming sound!!!” I looked aghast at the chief’s PA which had crashed to the floor, its information screen displaying “Fatal Operating System fault: Inversion reaction to Carbon.” That explained what happened to our equipment - all electrical circuits were being converted into inert carbon circuits, deeming them worthless, like the Spaltion Explorer.
My dizziness was getting worse. The throbbing felt like sledgehammers banging against my skull. We had to find a way to fix this immeasurable damage. I turned round to talk to the Chief. The situation around the room jolted me to the core. All the scientists and the chief had fallen to the ground. How did this even happen? I get why this happened to the machines, but why humans??? I rushed towards the Chief to help, but staggered with overpowering dizziness. As I fell helplessly backwards to the ground, final thoughts hit my struggling mind: “The dizziness, buzzing sounds, fallen scientists… Oh God! The unexplained mass from the meteor … The UniversalOS chips embedded intimately into our brains… carbonised…..”
By Trivikram Prashanth (First Year)
Artwork: First Year Pupils
Artwork: Toby Gwynne (Fourth Year)
This Is Not A Drill “This is not a drill, repeat, this is not a drill,” was what woke up thirteen-year-old Michael on a Monday morning. The source of the unusual voice was coming from his phone and computer, he also noticed that the voice was coming from the TV in his parents’ bedroom. His parents were at work so why was the TV on? Was it Skittles the hamster? No, even though Skittles was quite intelligent for his species he couldn’t get out of his cage. The voice then said, “This is an emergency broadcast regarding an extinction level event. We require you to pay full attention”. The voice changed to a young man, possibly a scientist: “An unknown spacecraft has entered Earth’s atmosphere and it’s around twenty miles in diameter. At the moment we are assessing the situation and it doesn’t seem like it’s a…” Michael heard an ear-splitting noise like a ‘screech!’ and then could hear strange voices speaking a different language. Then, as Michael watched the video go static on his phone, then a strange whir of machinery and suddenly a strange figure popped up on the screen. It looked just like Xenomorph but with no sharp teeth and a shorter head. There was a short pause and then the figure started talking, “Dear lifeforms of Planet A15, we are the Schirax, other lifeforms that live on Planet 729469. You refer to us as ‘aliens’ and we will allow you to do so for now. We have travelled a long way to your planet for a specific reason. The Ex0 shard.” “The shard is an extremely powerful and scarce mineral that was mined from planet Ex0. It was a dwarf planet which contained so much of the Ex0 mineral that wars were fought over it. Then, after many years peace was made and we all received our share of land until an asteroid hit. The planet was obliterated and its contents were lost forever. When the planet was destroyed, space communities hurried to get the last remnants of it. We placed trackers on our shards so that we wouldn’t lose them but one shard was lost and hit Earth and now it happens to be located on Earth and we require it to power our craft.” The voice went back to the scientist, “So, you’re saying that one of those special shards is on Earth?”
The video cut back to the alien, “Precisely, the shard is a transparent green rock that makes sounds if you listen close to it. If the rock is moved, we will be alerted of its presence and pick it up.” “What if we refuse to give the shard to you?” asked the timid scientist. “An electromagnetic pulse will be fired at Earth and it is so large it can disable half the world’s electricity leading to the death of half the world’s population.” “Why can’t you search for it? You have all the equipment you need.” “Our troops cannot breathe the air on your planet as on our planet we breathe Schirath which is our breathable air. That’s why we need you to find it for us. We will send the coordinates of the last seen position to you now.’ Then there was a beep meaning that the video had ended. Michael knew that looking for a rock in a place would be hard depending on its size. He looked at his collection of rocks. He had all sorts of rocks; big or small, heavy or light but his favourite was the lapis lazuli he once found while he was collecting rocks on a scout trip. Then he heard a sound coming from his drawer. It sounded like a squeak from a balloon letting out air. He opened the drawer and rummaged around its contents and soon enough found the source of the sound. It was a very dusty object, Michael had to wash it and then gasped as he realised what it was: a transparent green rock. Suddenly an enormous amount of wind and dust entered through his window, nearly choking Michael. The sunlight was fading away fast, but why? Michael looked through his open window and saw a massive spacecraft as it came to a halt. It knew that the rock had been moved and it had come for it. The rock, which was lying on the bedroom floor, smashed through the bedroom wall and rocketed towards the spaceship where it couldn’t be seen any more.
By Vaibhav Neela (Second Year)
Hide And Seek It had been a day like any other in Derry. I met with my best friends Mikey, Gordy and Sam at Grampa’s place and we set out across the grassy meadow towards the deserted farmhouse near the rusty railyard. We loved to play hide and seek at dusk, with its long shadows and the chance of surprising a nocturnal animal. We often saw an owl sweeping from tree to tree. We would run and hide until it was too dark, even though our eyes had adjusted. Grampa liked to spook us out with his tales of strange creatures that roamed the gloomy woods at night, but we knew none of that stuff was real. We picked our way through the golden cornfield then squeezed through the gap we had tunnelled under the rusty wire fence earlier that summer.
‘Knees’ I shouted loudly. We all dropped to the ground quickly except for Gordy who, as usual, was in a world of his own. As the last one to kneel down on the bare earth, Gordy would be seeker. It was always Gordy, but we liked to give him a chance. Gordy turned his back and started counting slowly to sixty. The three of us ran in different directions. I headed towards the lake to the rear of the dilapidated property. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Mikey making his way up the steps of the farmhouse, and guessed Sam was halfway up a tree by now. I dived into a bush, not minding a few scratches and scrapes as I did so. As my heartbeat returned to normal I felt a sudden chill in the air, strange for this time of year.
Artwork: Dominic Nunn (Upper Sixth)
The deep lake was surprisingly still and it was only then that I noticed the full moon reflected in ghostly detail in its surface. The knotty branches of the trees seemed to reach down towards me like giant hands. A breeze ran through the woods and it felt like sprits whispering in a language I did not know. Suddenly I was aware of the slightest movement. Something stirred in the water, creating long, slow ripples, then disappeared again. It was eerily quiet: all I could hear was my own heavy breathing. Suddenly a bird flapped its way out of a hiding place, making me jump. Something didn’t feel right. I crept out from behind the bush and called out to the guys. “Gordy, Sam, Mikey. Where are you? Stop kidding around” There was no reply. I shouted again, “Come on guys, can we go home now?” Still nothing.
Where were they all? Had they played a trick and gone home without me? Were they looking for me? What was going on? This wasn’t fun anymore. Something moved furtively in the woods behind me. An animal, perhaps a deer, I prayed. I squinted my eyes to try to make out a shape but all I could see was darkness. I slowly turned back towards the house to see that an amber light had been turned on in one of the upstairs rooms. My eyes were drawn towards a tall, black silhouette that seemed to be looking down at me. Was it Mikey messing around? It looked too tall to be Mikey, but maybe my eyes were playing tricks on me. I ran up the entrance steps and through the battered front door, and crept stealthily up the creaky stairs to the room I thought he was hiding in. Then I froze, when a sinister voice said: “Let’s play a game”.
By Daniel Venner (Second Year)
Artwork: Sebastian Khan (Upper Sixth)
The Potassium Incident
The morning was a beautiful one. The sun’s rays shone down through James’s open curtains, casting a golden circle onto his bed covers. As he sat up in bed, he was filled with exhilaration. He had arranged the previous year to visit a market selling all kinds of elements and had been longing for the day to finally come. His mother called him from downstairs, “James, where are you? We need to go now!”.
made it in ten minutes. As they drew up, he flung open his door and jumped out. Slamming it, he shouted back, “See you later!”, and sprinted off to mingle around the mass of stalls. He glossed past samples of radium, magnesium, zinc, germanium, bismuth and manganese. He steered well clear of the sodium – who could forget the day he very nearly poisoned his school after contaminating the water in a water fountain, before finally reaching the potassium?
As he ran downstairs, he just had time to grab his rucksack, and he hoisted it up onto his shoulder. He wished he had remembered to empty it the night before, as he could feel the sodium and fluoride samples weighing it down. Still, the hope of purchasing new elements spurred him on, and he ran out to the car, his mum impatiently waiting in the drive with the engine on. As he jumped in, his mum turned around and looked at him. “Remember what I said James. No dangerous elements, especially after the sodium episode. I’m sure you can still have fun with the safe ones.” “I won’t get any Mum, I promise!” he replied. “Good, now let’s get going”. The market was only across town, so James and his mum
There it was, sealed in a little glass vial. There was good reason for keeping it this way – potassium is so reactive that it would explode merely upon contact with air. Put it in water, and the consequences could be deadly. Of course, James knew all of this, but his mother didn’t and he was determined for it to stay that way – if she found out, she would almost certainly ban his experiments; she had done before. He quickly paid for it and called his mum to tell her he was done. “That was quick!” she answered, “What did you get?” “Oh, only a bit of gallium and bismuth” he lied. “OK, I’m just outside.” And with that he hung up. True to her word, James’s mum was ready for him at the
exit of the market. As he jumped in the car, she asked him how it had been. “Great,” he replied, “I can’t wait to look at some of my new samples.” “You might have to”, his mum told him, “I have your Parents’ Evening tonight. You can come with me if you want, but you’ll have to stay in your classroom.” He was so upset by this new revelation that he couldn’t even return her gaze. They drove the rest of the journey in silence. That night, he made his way to his classroom, ready to admire his new acquisition. When he opened his bag, there it was, pristine and ready for his thorough inspection. Carefully taking it out, he realised that he had his Mum’s phone in his rucksack. He grabbed the phone and ran off to give it to her, knocking the rucksack off the table in his haste to return it. He had just given the phone back, and was making his way back to his classroom, when he heard a muffled whoomph in the distance.
off the table the sodium and fluoride rocks had landed on the vial containing the potassium. Of course, the exposure to air had been enough to cause the small explosion he had just heard. He broke into a sprint and quickly arrived at the classroom. While the explosion hadn’t been large enough to break any walls, it had certainly obliterated five or six tables, and half the room was caked in soot. As if to sum up James’s feelings, the fire alarm and sprinklers went off, soaking him from head to toe. At this point, someone noticed what had happened and hurried over to investigate. When they found James, soaked and crying, they came to the obvious conclusion that he had somehow caused this explosion. “You, young man, have a lot of explaining to do.”
By Sam Govier (Second Year)
Unbeknown to him, when he had dropped the rucksack
Artwork: Jamie Smith (Third Year)
Between Two Worlds Beads of sweat hurried down my face as I sprang up in bed, a chill dancing down my spine. I woke to the eerie, blood curdling sound of the air raid siren. This was my first ever real air raid. Before, my family and I had only done drills, never the real thing. With my heart drumming in my chest with fear, I raced down the stairs to find the pale, white faces of my parents staring up at me. Quickly throwing on my gas mask bag and getting dressed we dashed out to the air raid shelter. My brother, Luke was already there, frantically beckoning us in as we desperately hurried along the lawn. Looking back at my house, my home, I hoped and prayed that this would not be the last time I saw it. “C’mon Sam, hurry up!” shouted Luke. I was reluctant to go in, looking back at the house but I could hear the scared tone in my Dad’s voice as he called me. I ran to the shelter as fast as I could but then heard an overpowering sound above. My heart was pounding. Near to the entrance I looked up and saw something that turned my blood cold. A Mescherschmitt in the sky above. Something dropping..everything went black… I felt as if I were opening my eyes for the first time, almost like a new world. My family stood by the shelter, their eyes filled with tears and talking to a local man we knew called Mr McGregor who seemed to be trying to comfort them. “Hi Mum.” I talked in a quiet voice and they obviously didn’t hear me. “Hello!” I said again but a bit louder. Still they didn’t hear me. Then I saw what I did not want to see. My whole house, destroyed! Walking over in shock my vision started to blur as tears filled my eyes. I fell to my knees and looked at all the rubble around me. I began to weep. “Hello there.” A voice spoke to me. It was the voice of a child. Looking up I saw a boy, about my age, with a strange glow about him. At a loss for words I could only manage a stutter while just mindlessly staring. The boy had a flat top hairstyle and a light blue shirt, which looked like a nightdress, hanging past his ankles. “Hi I’m Charles. I was wondering if you could show me around the
town so I could get used to it?” “Sure I…” I was promptly interrupted by the boy. “ Terribly sorry, I didn’t ask you your name.” “Oh it’s Sam.” I answered, already looking forward to being friends with Charles. He seemed kind. “Let’s start now shall we.” I began to walk away from my destroyed house, something to hopefully take my mind off it and sure I needed to go with Charles. Many houses had been obliterated. I saw a neighbour of ours on her knees and crying. It was Miss Smith. “Are you alright there?” I spoke softly to her, in a comforting way yet like my family she ignored me. She then turned towards my destroyed home and whispered to herself in a shaky voice, “That poor boy!” I looked towards the rubble where my house once stood. “Come on Sam, what are you waiting for?” urged Charles. Every day without fail, Mr. Parker, the greengrocer, always doffed his cap to me and and addressed me as ‘young sir’ but as I walked past him today he simply stared through me. It seemed as if I wasn’t there, invisible. I then saw my two best friends, Bill and Kieran. “Come on Charles, come and meet my friends!” I called to him. “Maybe not now, Sam,” he said staring at me intently. He seemed wary but I encouraged him to come. I started to walk towards them but Charles grabbed me. “No Sam don’t go to them!” He seemed worried about something, something I didn’t know about. I was just able to get free of Charles’ firm grip and run over to Billy and Kieran. “Hey guys I…” One of them started speaking as if I was not there, not right there in front of them. “Did you hear about Sam?” Kieran said sadly to Billy. “He might not make it.” It was then that I realised. I had to get back. I spun round, past the outstretched hand of Charles, and started running. I had to get back…
By Sam Trotman (First Year)
Once In A Lifetime
As the sun began to set and the evening light cast a red tint all around, a large wooden sailing boat glided gracefully. On first glance, the boat looked perfectly normal, just like any other sailing boat. The sort you would expect a pirate to sail the seven seas. It was made entirely from the finest oak and wooden, spindled banisters lined the staircase to the top deck. However, this boat did not sail, it floated. It floated amongst the clouds. An enormous cream, barrage balloon, which was attached by numerous ropes, was suspended above the boat.
trousers and a brown t-shirt and had a red bandana tied around his head, which we can only presume was hiding his thinning, grey hair.
All appeared calm and peaceful high up in the sky, yet the lone sailor was in fact feeling the exact opposite of calm and peaceful. He was both worried and stressed. The man, who was in his late 60s, had a long white moustache almost reaching his sideburns. He was wearing brown
The gentleman hung his head in utter despair. He stood still for quite some time, pondering his new predicament, when, in the distance, a loud, unusual sound caught his attention. He quickly reached for his telescope and could not believe what he was seeing. He vigorously rubbed the
Perched on top of this bandana was a pair of orange-rimmed goggles, not like swimming goggles, more like the type of goggles a biker would wear. His anxiety started the very moment the rudder fell from the boat and plummeted to the ground, thousands of miles below. The boat came to a halt and he was stuck; suspended there in mid-air.
INTERMEDIATE RUNNER-UP Creative Writing Competition 2020
“Lovely atmospheric opening to a beautiful and magical tale. Highly original and wonderfully described.” Sara Grant Judge
lens, then, just to be sure, rubbed his eyes and looked again. Sure enough, floating, gliding through the sky were enormous green turtles. They moved with the grace of an angel. There were at least 20 of them, soaring elegantly through the clouds and each one was almost the size of his boat. They were quite a spectacle to see as they moved closer and closer. Not wanting to miss what might be his only opportunity of a rescue, he grabbed a large rope and lassoed one of the turtles around its neck. For a short while, it seemed like this plan would work. The boat was moving once again, but it was clear that the turtle was struggling to drag the weight of the ship behind it. To his dismay, the rope snapped suddenly and the nest of turtles drifted away. Once again, a feeling of anxiety swept through his body.
Just when all hope was nearly lost, a single cry could be heard in the distance. He glanced behind to see a young turtle racing to keep up with the others. The man, feeling desperate, clambered on to the edge of his beloved boat. He sighed, as his love for the boat ran deeply, before leaping bravely onto the back of the young turtle. Gripping tightly onto the turtle’s shell, he floated silently into the distance, not knowing where he was going.
By Abhishekdev Ramesh (Third Year)
Artwork: Nik Yazikov (Upper Sixth) 30
The World Between Worlds
Artwork: Jamie Reger (Fourth Year)
The world between worlds. He saw it now. He had travelled far and yet, just a step away, was his house. Relentlessly, pulsating grains of dust grated past his face, tearing at his hair and biting at his nails. Embedded in the fog of this new place were malevolent spires jutting out of the harsh, rough ground. Furthering his gaze into the hazy distance, he managed to make out the faint shape of a glimmering tower. Silently, he revelled in the distraction. As he looked back to where he had come from, the image of his laboratory was blurred, shrouded by the faintness of time.
his eyes squinting in a frail attempt to protect them from the unforgiving elements of this new place. Without him knowing, he started to sway, his head slowly filling with darkness. He felt something grab his ankle, but he could not muster the power to see. Abruptly, he felt himself flung into the air. For a second he stayed there, suspended in a crushingly heavy fog. And yet it was calm. It felt like he could be there forever, hovering above the ground in a hypnotic tranquility. As time slowed, he fell into a peaceful trance. He felt out weakly with his hand, but it fell limp, taking his consciousness with it.
Carefully, he took his first step. The air was surprisingly heavy, pushing back against his feet. But, he persisted, the hardships of his journey making failure unbearable. With courage, he made his way towards the magical tower that had held his attention so frivolously at his arrival.
Desperately, he awoke. As he hung by his feet, he looked into the void-like eyes of the phantasmic man. Suddenly, its face melted into that of a woman. It looked kind to the traveller, but its empty eyes still remained.
Quickly, the silence of this world revealed to him a truth. He should not have come here. He passed through the unforgiving land slowly, taking time over every step. Yet the space around him seemed to move past much faster. Rapidly, the tower approached him, bearing down on him with foreboding power. Without much thought he groped forwards, trying to prevent it from slamming into him. Suddenly, a violet mist smothered him, dragging him away from his destination. An apparition gradually formed in the shape of a man, standing confidently ten feet high.
With that the spectre vanished, engulfed in ethereal vapour. Gingerly, the traveller crept towards the tower. It was featureless, a rectangle piercing into the heavens.
Nervously, the traveller darted to the side. Coldly, the ghost’s glare was fixated on the spot where he had stood. In fear, he attempted to run. Hastily, he moved his legs, his feet thrashing viciously through the dense dust and fog. He made it out of the mist, but as he looked back, he saw a snaking claw reach after him. It floated through the air towards him, gently carried on the harsh wind.
As he got closer it began to change. They were subtle changes, however he noticed them. A scarlet door appeared, proudly showing him the entrance. He made his way nearer and nearer until he could touch it. As he did so, the door began to change. A door knocker made of leaves grew out of it and a plaque appeared above it simply saying ‘welcome’. Cautiously he knocked on the door, being sure to only do it three times to avoid irritating what may be inside. In answer, a doorknob made of tulips blossomed from the door. Delicately, he touched it, twisted and pulled. It felt soft, stroking his hand with care and sympathy. It felt like home.
The traveller looked at it, his head tilted to the side and
By Jamie Reger (Fourth Year)
“What has brought you here, traveller?” it hissed, its words violently tossed around by the brutal dust and maliciously thrust at him.
Artwork: Jamie Reger (Third Year) 31
“You have come far traveller,” it stated, its words smooth, controlling the wind rather than being battered by it, “I have waited so long for something with such a physical form to arrive. This tower has been here longer than all of us, but I have been forbidden to enter. I will not order you to go yourself, nor will I be able to help you if you choose to, however I can give you a warning. Don’t run, don’t fight, don’t fear. Just question.”
‘Experiment on a Bird in an Air Pump’ by Joseph Wright of Derby – Third Year re-enactment photograph.
Fear Of The Unknown
A beam of moonlight. Solitary. Single. Alone. A cracked walkway. Desolate. Ignored. Unwanted. These two guidelines were the compass towards his alcazar. The fortress of his dreams. The manor that he so longed to see. He followed this moonlit path, onwards, towards his castle. Followed. Followed. Followed. A bat hung from an autumn tree, tracing his footsteps, watching his feet. The icy cold dug into his skin, like blades of hate, scythes of betrayal. Trees flanked his sides, ready to pincer on him and complete his journey in these woods.
of hope. He swung it from side to side, hoping that it could somehow have the power to protect him for what was to come. What was to come from the unknown. The monstrosity that awaited him above the hill. Always there, watching, waiting. In the trees, hiding in the moonlight and prominent throughout the wind. Omniscient and omnipotent. The man’s lips opened and closed, muttering under his breath, praying to his god, hoping his god could save him, but knowing that his god could neither help nor hear his prayers.
A blanket of unease was cast over all that dwelled on that mountainside, snuffing out any idea of hope and light. But still, he continued to walk, transfixed by the structure above that towered over all known to man. A gold, simple chain decorated his neck, the symbol of Christ. His symbol
A black crow sat from a tree trunk. Its beady eyes boring into the soul the man who had dared to walk this path. To follow the moonlight to above. Its black wings lay sleekly beside it, unnaturally smooth and just, altered by another force. The ribbons of moonlight was just a façade. You
could now truly see what was hidden beneath. Black and hatred. He realised how much he feared the unknown. He did not know what awaited him. He feared the unknown. The crow lifted his wings and flew up towards the manâ€™s fate. Reporting to his hidden master what he has managed to find. The man had walked for so long, yet his goal was still so far to reach. Visions of the pain that he would be delivered plagued his mind, and no one was there to help. He was trapped on this hillside. Unwanted by all. Scared of the unknown. But he knew that his destiny awaited him. So he went on. Too late to try and recover what he has turned his back on. Too late to try and continue to survive.
away, slowly, into the darkness and by then, it was too late to turn back. His suffering was finally over. He had found redemption. He no longer feared the unknown. Without even reaching his destination, his journey was complete. Over. Finished. Done.
By Josh Freer (Third Year)
He had decided that it was time to make a sacrifice. He no longer feared the unknown. He embraced it, he made it his own. The path turned, away from civilisation and he faded
Artwork: Mac Crawford (Fifth Year)
Alone “Five, four, three, two-“ BANG. It was ten years since the tragic loss of Andrew Pillock. A hero determined to rediscover our history. The port he was to be sent from had shattered from being overwhelmed by energy, and had collapsed. He was gone, and for months so was our hope. The catastrophic event was the largest loss we had in the industry of time travel. The man of exceptional integrity was intended to travel back seven hundred years to the commencement of the second millennium, however his life was cut inequitably short at a mere 85 years of age. All of this was caused by a minor yet abhorrent flaw in the system. I scrutinised the desolating moment on my wristband. It was an antique model; the time display would frequently halt when it reached the thirteenth hour. The wristband would also struggle to display the image without slight distortion. I looked through the glass barrier between me and the rest of the planet. It was a petrifying thought that I was never going to see it again. I was advised that in this instance the chance of failure was so inconsequential that it was absurd to consider it. I shuddered at the thought of Andrew being told these same words, before the horrifying destruction of his tempexplorer. I was about to enter through the same port he was, despite all the impending possibilities of disasters, I was destined to endure the journey ahead. “T minus three hours.” My homonator announced. His piezo would require changing, his voice was incessantly interrupted by a cacophony of crackles. He was the closest thing I had to a friend for the past fourteen days; I was forbidden from contacting any Human for the risk of unintentionally revealing information to the independent state of Moscow . We had very little information on the space war between our distant ancestors, where an intense competition was held in order to reach space. In memory of our success my tempexplorer was named after ‘Apollo 1‘, the only rocket we have information on. It seemed as though history was repeating itself. Ever since the great internet collapse in 2405 AD, historians worked tirelessly to gather the fragments of information left describing the life before the twenty-third century. The entire purpose of our expedition through reality was
essentially to observe our predecessors, and use it to rewrite the parts of history that were missing. “T minus two hours, make haste and proceed to shuttle.” The curt language the homonator spoke in was very amusing. Human simulators had not advanced very far at all, and it spoke in a monosyllabic and unexpressive tone. I inspected the port. It was constructed out of an extremely reliable alloy. It exhibited a dull shade of grey, one that juxtaposed my bitter cocktail of excitement and fear. I was terrified. I looked at the malevolent countdown screen on the corner of my screen, it smirked knowing the colossal amount of terror it was infusing me with. The minutes gradually disappeared. I could only hope that I was not going to disappear in the same way. It was the final ten seconds. I was being watched by approximately 45.8 billion people, all expecting I would not experience the dreadful fate of Andrew Pillock. I had prepared for this for eighty five years. I anticipated I had not prepared for an inevitable end. Only time would tell. “Five, four, three, two, one. Good luck, we have a mission.” It seemed as though the planet had revolved backwards around me, as if it were going to give me a final moment of splendour before it decided my fate. It took one hour and twenty minutes before I had successfully landed in 2020 AD. I was in an ancient building with a plain symbol on its side, it was called ‘spacecraft testing room’. There were very archaic designs placed on the walls of inefficient energy consuming space shuttles. The ignorance portrayed with the design informed me I had landed. I was exhilarated, and I decided to inform my colleagues of the astounding news. “Communication Failure.” ‘That must have been an error,’ I mumbled hiding my rising alarm. “Communication Failure.” “Communication Failure.” “Three errors.” I was struck with a devastating blow of realisation. I dropped to my knees in agony. ‘I am stuck in a different era.’ The painful thought persistently reoccurred in my head. I was frightened and disappointed. I was alone.
By Krishna Wijayasingham (Fourth Year)
Artwork: Sam Owen (Third Year)
The Wrong Path The cat knew. He had no idea how it understood but he was convinced that his cat was fully aware of what he had done. As it stared at him, he could plainly see it in its eyes. Anger. Resentment. Disappointment? Arthur didn’t want his cat to be disappointed in him. If his pet felt disappointment in him, Arthur could hardly imagine how his parents would feel… Arthur ran from detention before Mr Ronald had even finished dismissing him. There were only four of them in there that day. Less than usual. He and Mikey were always there, the two regulars, with a few others. It was funny, he’d never even spoken with Mikey, except about really basic things – like what the time was because no-one had ever even thought to put a clock in the detention room. Arthur never even saw him at school. He wondered if he even showed up for any lessons… Arthur paced around in his small room. Sweating profusely. He was afraid. Did they know where he lived? Had they forgotten about him? What should he do?! He heard a key turn in the lock, and his heart rate rose further – such that he felt dizzy. He couldn’t face his parents, he just couldn’t… Straight after leaving detention, he hurtled past his house without so much as a sideward glance. Maybe a hint of one. Not long enough to stop. Not long enough to think about what he was doing. Five minutes later, he was on the train, heading to an unknown address, for an unknown appointment with an unknown person. As Arthur got off the train, a suited man was walking towards him. One of his dad’s friends. Arthur panicked – what if this man recognised him? Throwing his hood over his head, he walked briskly in the opposite direction. After ten minutes, he arrived at the address on the random piece of paper he had found in his locker. The light was fading fast as he hurried through the backstreets of London. It was at this point that he first began to consider the foolishness of his action. Adrenaline shut those thoughts down. He had come too far.
Why couldn’t he have stopped? He thought rationally for a second. As Arthur sat there, head in his hands, he silently cursed himself for being so thoughtless. So arrogant. So selfish. What if he’d put his family in danger? What if— It was a warehouse, leaning slightly into the tenebrous alleyway as though about to collapse. Purposefully, he strode towards the building, before being swallowed by the blackness inside. He took off his hood slowly, then entered the dark corner where whispering voices echoed. “You OK Art?”, his mother called up kindly. “All fine mum. Lots of homework!”, he lied, hiding the shaking of his voice. Could he tell them? What would they do? How horrified and upset would they be? “Finally, he’s arrived. Didn’t think you’d even show up…”, one of them laughed, Arthur couldn’t see his whole face, which was shielded by a hoodie, but guessed he was
about his age – sixteen. There were four of them there, all with faces hidden. It added to the already sinister mood of the place. “Sure. Here now though...” Arthur replied, in as casual a tone as he could muster, “So, what’s the deal with calling me here?”. A second one glanced at the first, who appeared to be the leader, and Arthur thought he could see the hints of a smirk forming on the second one’s face. He recognised that smirk. Before he could register who it belonged to, they all tore off their hoods. He looked over to the second one. It was Mikey.
of people…”, he hesitated, “But, they, uh, have a sort of ‘initiation’ ritual, thing. They, need you to …”, Mikey stopped. The leader stepped in, “We want you to rob a shop”, he said so calmly it was disconcerting, “To show you want to be a part of us…”. “When?”, he asked nervously, unable to maintain a casual façade. “Now.”, the leader grinned.
By Luke Trotman (Fourth Year)
What did it matter that Mikey was there? Why had it encouraged him to stay? He should have run while he still could, before he caved under the pressure, and did as they said.
“Hey Arthur.” Mikey smiled, and Arthur couldn’t discern whether the smile was mocking or kind. “I thought you’d want to be part of this. These guys, they’re your kind
Sara Grant Judge
Creative Writing Competition 2020 “Luke has created two action-packed and intriguing stories that hold twists, turns and surprises. Well done!”
Artwork: Matthew Barnett (Third Year) 39
Retribution The arrow sliced through the air without resistance, hurtling towards its target with unrelenting speed. Straight towards me. It was travelling almost as quickly as my reactions would be… almost. I allowed it to reach so close that I could hear its faint scream as it shot towards me. How ironic – it would come to mirror the screams of he who had fired it. I shifted my weight from one foot to the other. In a split-second, I was poised and ready to attack. With a single, long intake of breath, I cleared my mind of any distractions, as though about to meditate. My reasons for being here no longer mattered. All that existed now was this fight, and this fight alone. After hearing the reverberating impact of the arrow smashing itself into the bark of the tree behind me, I sprang into action. Drawing my two daggers in a moment, I enjoyed the scrape as they scratched the sheath. My mind working in slow motion, I sprinted towards the man who had dared shoot an arrow at me. He would live to regret it. If only for a short while. The blades seemed to swing of their own accord, my hands had performed these same intricate motions so many times before. Moving rapidly in an arc through the air, they cut through his neck as if it were little more than paper, preserving his last facial expression for ever. One of shock. One of horror. One of pain. As I stared down into his empty eyes, feelings of guilt began to rise inside me. This man was little more than a pawn in the King’s game. What I had done was necessary, but this did not mean that I was remorseless or unforgiving. I would never – could never – become the psychopath the King was. “Sire, he is drawing closer. None of the men we are sending out to stop him seem to have any effect. At this current rate, he will have reached us – you – by tomorrow. Surely you see it is necessary to send out the garrison – he holds too much power! Why put your life in unnecessary risk? Kill him while you still can!”, panted the King’s advisor, having run from the soldiers’ quarters. “No.”, responded the King bluntly, with an almost imperceptible grin, ‘I have plans for him. Let him come. He’ll regret ever nearing my palace – if only for a short time…’. As his advisor turned
briskly to leave, the King called him back. “Keep sending our men though”, he ordered, “He can’t figure out the game is up…”. His advisor paled, “S- Sire”, he stuttered, “But he’ll just kill them?”. “Yes, for the greater good, every sacrifice is worth making. You’ll see…”, the King announced. “And he’ll see…”, he whispered to himself. It’s not to say that I never tired on my journey. Much to my disappointment, I never will have limitless stamina, able to sprint without feeling fatigue for days on end. But I have other advantages, I only hope they will be enough to succeed. As darkness began to wrap its hand round the skies each night, I would feel compelled to scale a tree, ensuring I would not remain an easy target for my pursuers. As I stared up each night, I would question the morality of what I was doing. What I planned to do. I searched my conscience for fundamental faults in my murderous intentions. Though I understood murder was wrong, in these circumstances, I could find no evil in my plans. None. It was a weighty burden to sleep upon, but I recognised the importance of such thoughts. For without my conscience, what was I? “He has been spotted, Sire, not five mile from here. Our first concrete sighting of him, and I am not the only one who believes it will be our last. My King, he is simply too—”. “Too what?!”, the King snapped, “Too intelligent for me? Too cunning for me? Too strong for me? Whatever your doubts are, banish them immediately! He has not a chance of reaching me without being noticed. Justice will be served for all he intends to do.” As his advisor left the King’s quarters, head bowed, a thought occurred to him. An interesting thought. One that should have been dismissed instantly. But it wasn’t. Yes, the King’s foe would never be able to reach the King. Not unless he helped him…
By Luke Trotman (Fourth Year) 40
Artwork: Calum Warner (Fourth Year) 41 32
A Shard of Glass The lady, her face visible through the lace veil stood perfectly still, almost like one of my sister’s dolls from when we were little; she did not even tremble at the sinister and sobering sight of the unforgiving coffin. An empty gaze occupied her pale grey face; and icy rain came down from the heavens. A solemn sea of black surrounded me, matching the drab and sombre tone of the sky above. I turned my attention towards a large, ominous clock that towered up above on the steeple, the hand of the clock began to shift, slowly but purposely, backwards in time, leaving me in my car.
“Just do It!” Phoebe exclaimed, her pressure was like a revolver pressed into my sweat-coated and quivering head.
My sister was there too in the passenger seat, an innocent, glazed look on her face as we rattled along the country lanes. We were both driving home following a festival in Reading, both of us still feeling the elation and buzz of the weekend.
Overidden with panic and chaos I threw every last bit of energy at the steering wheel — attempting to heave the car out of the way. Everything slowed down as the truck loomed closer — which was now about five metres away — all the vibrant colour that was in my sister’s smooth and delicate skin had gone, to leave a loom of terror; we were going to die.
“Speed up,” she remarked encouragingly, “or we’ll be late for dinner.” she continued. Reluctantly, I agreed to her terms and pressed my sodden shoes further on the accelerator. As we glided past the lush countryside hedgerows and danced through the twisting turns, my sister, Phoebe, sat there, smiling, as the sunlight rippled through her glossy hair. “How was that for a 21st birthday, eh?” She laughed, “Amazing, really, but I’m frankly exhausted and drained from it!” I replied jokingly, with an element of truth to my words. A period of silence followed, before Phoebe turned to me and stated bluntly, “Mum and Dad will be worrying about us if you don’t hurry up.” A wide smile crept onto her face, exposing a set of gleaming, white teeth.
Wanting to avoid an escalation in her temper, I overtook the car in front whilst we were rounding a gentle bend. A rambunctious horn bellowed deeply up ahead: a truck, lurching and lunging round the corner the ominous vehicle, like a mechanised bull, rampaged towards us. We were facing a head-on collision.
An excruciating pain struck me as the realisation clicked. The both of us screaming, the bonnet of the car was crumpled and a sharp stop followed. Propelled forwards, we shattered the windscreen, flying fowards into the bright headlights. The coarse tarmac left gaping gashes in my flesh. Glass everywhere. My bones fragmented. As the truck ploughed on, crashing into the hedgerows in a futile attempt to avoid collision, it exposed Phoebe, lying motionless on the cold, unforgiving road. Her insides lay disembowelled before her, surrounded by a pool of her rich, crimson blood. An unbearable pain surged through my body as I tried to go towards her corpse.
Giving in to my younger sister’s demands once more, I increased the speed, the mechanical and somewhat hypnotic sound of the car poured into my ears, increasing my anxiety. We approached a compact and rather small car, its burnished metal glistened and glinted In the sunset, as visibility began to deteriorate. I began to slow the car to a mere twenty miles an hour over the speed limit.
Phoebe was dead.
“Just overtake him, or we’ll be here all night.” My sister retorted, her exhaustion and frustration finally beginning to become evident.
It was my fault.
“Oh come on sis, we’ll be home in a—“
The clock ticked and tocked once more, forcing me back to the bleak and heartbreaking occasion that was her funeral. I had killed her.
By Ollie Lycett (Fourth Year)
Artwork: Sebastian Khan (Upper Sixth) 43
Out At Sea A man, out at sea; at the mercy of the waves. With the wind brushing against every bristle on his cheek and every hair on his head, the water that pushed his wooden float splashed against his leg. Though only a small drop, it was foisted upon his warm skin – it emulated the pain that dwelled within.
Amid the internal bane of the man, he felt a surge of courage and remembered the little strength he had and now his lungs were emptied and his head was clear – reality had taken control. Still, amongst the gentle waves of the sea rocking his little boat he was still in contempt; his mind was on the verge of breaking.
The man did not understand this pain for he had not endured this kind of heartache before. It hurt his chest, like a spire being thrust at his heart. It was a sharp feeling that only emerged once solitude became present. It filtered all other feelings. The emergence of this feeling of solitude submerged him and the sufferance led him to a place of thought -a prison he could not escape. He pondered much on this notion. But time swelled with the anguish that lay deep, awaiting egress. During this time, he gazed intently upon the horizon whence the Moon and the Sun rise and fall. The stars glistened at him as he glared up at them. They strove to give him answers to his troubles, but nothing was revealed.
He saw the water below him, and became witness to a thought of an afflicted-self. To merely stride off of the edge of his little boat and make haste towards a sharp breath neath the surface. To think of this thought and to execute it, would that make the man a person of immoral disposition? If doing so, would that make him a regretted decision? Would have anyone cared if he had done so?
Only the voice of nature accompanied the man. The waves crashed against the boat and swayed it to and fro. Though where his boat floated freely across the expanse of the sea, the man was drowning. Suppressed by thought, his mind was being dragged deeper towards what was below – darkness. So dark that soon he would not be able to see. He would not be able to see himself. The man could not even see the lustre of Selene, only falling deeper into the abyss. The water tightly grasped his skin as it rushed past it; agonising to inconceivable extents. With the currents drying his eyes and the water filling the man’s lungs, dragging him down further into the darkness: so far down that he could not escape, only pulled down by his burden. This scourge hauled the man further downwards into the deep unknown.
The man’s feet were over the brink of the little boat and he sparked up what little courage he still possessed and edged his body closer towards the bitter, icy water. It was rough and splashed against the side of the boat, rocking it harshly in the strong upward gale. Amongst this great calamity, he gazed upon his own reflection – something that he had not seen before he was lost to the waves. He saw a miserable, wretched man filled with woe. This glint of hope sparked his faith towards life. He stepped away from the edge of the boat and saw upon the horizon a small glimmer of light. He pushed his boat along the water towards it. But it was not there. Only the Moon edging back over the horizon whence the Sun will set the following night. Perhaps it was not to be. Though pains swelled, he felt liberated. In solitude, he continued his journey forward; awaiting a new hope.
By Marcus Otis (Third Year)
Lost In The Streets I sprinted away and away and away. My legs ached. My heart was pounding. My stomach tightened up in a stitch. I turned the corner of the street and ran down some more. Then I stopped. I couldn’t go on. I collapsed on the hard, gravel ground. Exhausted, I dropped the rucksack, duvet and the bright red locket. Being homeless wasn’t easy. Constantly on the run and always trying to find somewhere to hide. Carefully, I picked up and opened the locket. I looked at the battered, ripped image inside. The only thing I had to remember her. Her hair was so beautiful, those long strands of brown. Her cheeks pale and those eyes: crystal blue, young and so innocent back then. My daughter, Cassie. Then, a sudden flash of memories invaded my head. The memories where Cassie was growing up: changing so much. The ones where Cassie was crying, screaming, yelling, she was losing trust, leaving for the others, she didn’t care, she didn’t love, joining the wrong groups, and the violence and theft and pain and suffering and hatred and angI suddenly jolted up against the wall. My breathing came out into short, shallow gasps. My heart missed a beat, squeezed like a vice and I clutched my head, groaning. My hands were quivering and my body shuddered. I didn’t want to remember that. I looked up at the gloomy sky, attempting to clear my mind again. The first, heavy drops of rain had started to fall. A black car skidded past, the headlights illuminating the area and blinding my eyes. The wheels loudly rushed past a large puddle, which sprayed violently at my ragged clothes. The water was cold and bitter and dirty and horrible. I wanted to complain. I wanted to cry. But I didn’t bother. I just sat there. I opened the zip of my rucksack and looked inside. Nothing. I sighed and pushed it away in frustration and disappointment. I looked out into the distance. The streets were mostly empty and a sudden loneliness spread through my chest like a dull ache. The branches of the distant trees creaked in the breeze. I looked over at the duvet and my weak arms slowly brought it over my body. I felt weariness overcome me. My drooping eyelids closed as everything went black. * I was woken up by the sounds of the bustling street. I heard the footsteps of people, rushing past me and the sounds of the cars and buses. Reluctantly, I opened my eyes and
forced my heavy body upwards. As I did every morning, I scanned my surroundings to check I had my possessions. I could see the duvet, rucksack and the bright red locI couldn’t find the locket. I froze. Desperately, I rummaged through the duvet and the rucksack. Nothing. I looked on the nearby ground. Still nothing. I got up and started shouting, “Anybody seen my locket? I just had it and its flippin’ gone now!” A few strangers glanced at me. Then they quickly scurried off. Nobody was going to help. Of course. Why would they? A homeless guy yelling at them – like they would ever care… I ran out into the streets. Where was I meant to go for help? Panicked, I sprinted down the street, shoving past groups of people. My pulse raced and beads of sweat ran down my forehead, as I manoeuvred in and out of other people. Then, in the distance throughout all the crowds, I saw a distinctive figure which immediately caught my eye. Rushing through the streets like me, they were dressed in black and wore a hood. They had chains of jewellery attached to their clothes: gems, bracelets, rings, and - yes – a red locket! Immediately, I brought up my pace and swung my legs forward as fast as I could. I was getting closer and closer. The hooded person took a sharp turn down a dark alleyway. I followed after and shouted, “Hey you! Come back!” They didn’t stop – still trying to escape. “Oi! I said stop!” I yelled again. I could spot the dead end, at the end of the alleyway. They stopped. I trudged towards the figure, who was turned away from me. “Give it back,” I demanded. “The locket is mine.” The person hesitated, then slowly turned around. They lifted their hood up. It was a girl, with long brown hair. She stared at me and a flicker of recollection momentarily passed across her face…
By Vishal Saha (Third Year)
Artwork: Oscar Nolan (Lower Sixth) 46 33
Cold. Alone. My eyes flickered open. Cold air was plunged down my raw throat. A harsh cough erupted from my ruptured lungs. My room was cold, the smell of ripe moss hanging over the flat as if a thin layer of water covered it, soaking everything inside. I lay in my bed, sheets barely white, hanging onto the bed like I was hanging onto life, weakly. Old brown bags, covered in slimy grease, decorated the shy, ancient, wood table that sat in the corner of the cramped apartment. Cupboards hung open, empty with only the occasional, depressed piece of china. Some cupboards reached for freedom, their hinges hardly surviving the battering they take when I slam them. Caked in grey fluff, the windows allowed little light into the already dingy space. The single light bulb hung from the ceiling, as if a rope was drawn around its neck. It hung limply. It emphasised the lack of life in the room. I sat up. I reached to my bedside table. My hands felt the paper of a cigarette and the cool, metal case. I flicked it open. A warm orange flame flared up and licked the end of the cigarette. A warm breath of smoke pilled down my gullet and sat in my lungs. I felt the nicotine course through my cold body, a hot fire in a howling blizzard. My eyes, yet to fully adjust, gazed around the hazy room. Dim light shone down on the table sending beams of light through my smoke and into my eyes. Ash floated down, settling in a small, undisturbed pile on my boxers. I felt no pain from it, my emotions lay in tatters along with my senses. My whole body was trembling with cold but I couldnâ€™t feel it. All I could feel was the rush. I dragged my legs out of bed, surprised my body even functioned with the harm it had been through. I reached into my jacket pocket. My hand grasped at a small, crinkled, cold plastic ziplock. I opened it up. My fingers twitched as I rolled. My head spun as I inhaled. My defences lowered as I sat back down on the bed. My eyes closed. Cold. Alone. The bump of my neighbours upstairs. The shots that echoed through the room. It was too much.
I woke up. My hands clasped an orange pot, capped with a white lid. A prescription was written around the side. The pot signified a key. That key opened up an escape. A way out. From the trauma, the stress, the money, the drugs. I could get away from it all. The capsules were a cream white and a deep red, the colour of my nightmares and dreams. In the nightmares they didnâ€™t work. I was trapped in this living hell for a lifetime that felt like forever. In the dreams I fell asleep, never waking up. Except I did, every day. I slipped on my battered shoes, not that I used them excessively, just I had owned them since I was a kid. I lumbered out of the apartment, slamming the door behind me. No need to lock it, I lived my life out of my jacket. The sunlight that strained through the cloud was still brighter
Artwork: Rudi Parrish (Second Year)
than my room ever was. My eyes flicked left and right. The streets were cold, empty and still. Everything in my world was. A man came round the corner. He was bald, a scar carved down his brow and onto his lip. His eyes were black, permanent reminders of fights, acting as war paint. His hand reached deep into his pocket. When it emerged, a black shadow sat in his hand, its head dim in the morning sun. “What have you got?” Alcohol. His breath reeked of it. His teeth were non-existent and those that were there, were ragged, black mounds that protruded from browned gums. “Pack of cigs and 3 grams.” My voice was steady and calm.
“No.” I knew what I was doing. He could be an angel in disguise. The trigger nestled in his sweaty finger. The barrel was cool against my temples. “Givem!” His voice raised. I shook my head slowly. I wasn’t scared. I hadn’t been for a long time. I felt the vibrations of the trigger being pulled. This surely was the end. I felt pain but it was quickly subdued by a darkness that covered my mind and vision. I heard a scream as I fell to the floor. I felt him reach through my pockets. I smelt the cheap alcohol hanging around his neck. I saw my eyelids close. Hopefully for the last time. I woke up. I always woke up.
By William Holden (Fourth Year)
“Givem.” His voice demanded, almost longingly.
The Senior Section
Welcome to the Senior Section, showcasing some of the writing and artistic talent of Senior Hamptonians. Some of the pupils’ writing may not be suitable for younger readers.
Artwork: ‘Leak’ by Jacob Costen (Fifth Year)
Artwork: Sebastian Khan (Upper Sixth)
The Storm Splinter. Screech. Crack. The mighty, cumbersome hull of the great galleon contorted under the relentless hammering of the furious waves and within its bowels a haggard sailor awoke to the sounds of snoring deckhands, swinging suspended hammocks and the distant cacophony of a brilliant storm. Hauling himself from the bed of tangled, twisted ropes where he slept, he dragged his dreary feet across the gnarled wooden boards. A bittersweet stench drifted from the drunken, crumpled forms of his crew mates whilst he staggered to the hatch and a stray tankard rolled lazily past his bare foot as the ship tilted to one side. His mouth felt dry and sour and his sweaty, stained vest plastered his skin in the cramped, humid space. From the murky kitchen he caught the rancid taste of brine in his mouth and the musky, stale odour of tasteless grey biscuits. Clambering up the ancient rungs, chest heaving, he grasped the frigid iron handle and thrust the hatch upwards, unleashing a raging torrent of screaming gusts and abrasive rain into the calm warmth where the other sailors were enthralled in sleep. Harsh daggers of
water battered his face and stabbed at his eyes but he managed to stumble on to the sodden deck. Drapes of slimy, black seaweed clung to the damp floor and barnacles had invaded the mast. In the darkness he strained to make out the silhouette of the humongous vessel but an occasional stray shard of moonlight breaking through the mass of clouds overhead or a sudden flash of lightning across the waves brought clarity as the galleon was illuminated in an ethereal glow. A salty odour pervaded his nostrils as giant waves crashed against rotting wood and clawed their way up the sides before their meagre tendrils slithered across the deck like the tentacles of an octopus. It was cascading down so violently that he barely noticed the cold creeping in, chilling his core and sending him into fits of shivers. Nearby, a faint yellow light spewed out from beneath the door of the Captain’s cabin, and he could picture silver candles flickering from within an ornate bedroom with a crimson silk sheeted bed and decadent viridian curtains. An old man’s stern voice reverberated in his mind ; “Hoist!”, “Lift!”, “Heave!” he shouted stubbornly, coarse
grey hair billowing in the sea breeze and fist raised like a triumphant commander. Even this self-centred, pompous man had succumbed to the thick, strong ale served the previous night so that the galley was now adrift upon a roaring ocean with none to guide its way. A monstrous wave rose up effortlessly and slammed headfirst into the hull, sending the ship and the sailor careening starboard. He lurched into the railing and clutched on dizzily before yanking himself up in a haze with no chance to recover. For a time he stood in awe, conceding to nature, allowing the elements to overwhelm him as the raw, freezing gales bit into him. Above, in the inky sky, the tattered sails flapped vigorously in the foreboding wind like the flickering tendrils of a dying flame whilst the sea shrieked and cried like an elegant siren, tempting the sailor to plunge into its abyssal depths. Taking to the shipâ€™s prow, he noticed a patch of light in the distance where the drab veil parted and a swathe of shimmering, golden sunlight bounced off of the calm, navy waters. Gradually, the passionate swaying of the galleon slowed as it drifted listlessly towards the placid cerulean
sea and the tides became less combative as if welcoming the sailor to their concealed paradise. Roiling water which spewed and sprayed gave way to gentle, lapping waves which tickled the shipâ€™s immense belly. The eye of the storm. Far away, a thick blanket of ominous grey cotton swathes smothered the wild, empty ocean, a threatening reminder of where they had come from and where they would inevitably return to. Baking in the piercing sun, the sailor surveyed the chaotic mess: the shredded fabric sails with the silver sigil reduced to threads; smashed, sodden buckets and crates; tortured, gnarled floor planks and a coating of assorted debris. He was a long way from the dirt and grime of the London slums, but he could still picture its dark, imposing streets and the stench of burning coal which permeated the air. America was a new beginning. An overpowering euphoric sensationÂ took ahold of him at the prospect. Only one obstacle stood before him now. The Storm.
By Ben Strong (Fifth Year)
Jenn My name is Tom. Or, it was. My new name is Jenn, I am sixteen years old and I am transgender. Today is my first day at the new school, Walton Private; no one knows who I used to be. I never used to fit in, but now is finally my chance to create a new life, a new beginning. I sat up in bed, the faint glow of the South England sun, struggling through the autumn clouds. Tired, I pulled myself onto my feet, walking over to the tall oak wardrobe. Reaching inside, I pulled out a murky grey coloured shirt, bland and boring, perfect. I did not want to draw unwanted attention to myself. The longer I could stay unnoticed by anyone of significance, the more likely I could have a normal life. Or, as normal as a transgender’s life can be. I pulled out a similar skirt, plain and black. Cute, but not enough to get me noticed. Staring into a dusty mirror I fasten the school tie around my neck. A sharp knock at the door makes me jump. Slowly, I turn and see my mother peering in through the early morning gloom. My mother is a kind woman. Young-looking for her age, yet plump, no one would ever guess she is forty-eight. She sent me a kind smile and then slowly waddled to the middle of the room where I was seated. She sat behind me braiding my hair into a long French plait. After she had finished she stood me up, brushing the baby hair out of my eyes. Her soft brown eyes, seemingly filled with sorrow and regret stared into mine, “You look beautiful, daughter”. That was the first time either of my parents had called me daughter. It took my mother a while to get used to the change, but she was supportive. My father on the other hand, well he is no longer in the picture. As I span around, the sun shone on my newly styled hair, in the mirror through the corner of my eye, I could make out a glistening river of blonde gold flowing down my back. My mother smiled again, and in a voice fighting off tears choked, “your hair always was the perfect complement for your emerald eyes”. She hastily looked away, wiping tears from her eyes before telling me to get ready to leave. As I left my room, my sister ran out to give me a hug. This was new, she almost never hugged me, but I was not complaining. I had always been close with her, Sophie, my older sister. She knew about my feelings and changes months before anyone else. I could trust her, with her is where I felt safe and comfortable. Mother and I sat in the car in complete silence, the road ahead of us stretching for miles. Through the frosted over window of my mother’s ancient Saab, I could see the frozen white ground, and miserable sky. Every now and then, the sun would attempt to break through the cloud line, but to no avail. The road ahead of us disappeared all too suddenly, shrouded by a thick mist. Through the silence
and blindness all I could perceive was the beating of my own heart, thumping irregular and panicked. I must have been short of breath too, as my mother put a hand on my thigh and squeezed tight. “You will be fine Jenn. I promise.” “Cross your heart..?” “And hope to die”, she mimed drawing a cross over her heart. It was a silly thing, but it was something I knew I could trust. “Nothing will go wrong, no one will know, no one needs to know. Take deep breaths and try and relax. Show the world who you really are”. Her words hung in my head like a beehive. Those last few words, buzzing over and over and over, “who you really are?” Who am I? What is my future, where will I go? Who am I? The old car ground to a stop and I got out. Through the mist loomed two large ominous stone pillars. I stood staring up at the large entrance, it seemed like it belonged to a mental hospital rather than a secondary education campus. The old Saab slowly drew away into the mist, coughing and spluttering as it vanished. I closed my eyes, taking in a deep breath. Stepping forward through the large gates, I thought over and over, “Who am I? I am Jenn Brady. I am sixteen years old. It’s time to show the world who I really am”. I opened my eyes and walked into what would be the first day of the rest of my life.
By Alexander Syratt (Lower Sixth)
Artwork: Stefan Deverill (Third Year)
Creative Writing Competition 2020 “Alex hooked me from the opening line! ‘My name is Tom. Or, it was.’ Brilliant. With seven words he sets up a mystery and hooks his readers. Well done.” Sara Grant Judge
Be Free You fell Before the feet of the lamb And bleated out an awkward prayer. You shouted ‘help me!’ ‘Save us all!’ But no one heard your chanting; No one saw your face.
Forgotten memories overtake the kingdom you left behind, Although you did not want to. ‘Salvation is at hand,’ they whisper, As softly as snowfall in heaven. Bright light extinguishes your sleep, A slingshot hitting its mark. ‘You are free now,’ he will proclaim, When time stands still and all look towards you. ‘He will come for you’ in the joy of morning, Wielding nothing but his spirit And your life.
By Pallav Bagchi (Fifth Year)
Artwork: Alex Kavanagh (Lower Sixth)
Refugees Ladies and gentlemen, I wholeheartedly agree that Great Britain is a country which places immense importance on law and order. I would not be in my profession if I didnâ€™t. Nevertheless, I believe this is also a country which prides itself on doing the right thing. There is no disputing my clients have committed a crime, a very minor crime, but a crime nonetheless. What you must answer is this: should their punishment for sleeping in an empty house really be sending them back to poverty, persecution, even death? These people behind me are the victims of an international crime network, which stretches from the deserts of the Sahara to the mountains of Iraq to the streets of Milan to the white cliffs of Dover. It pervades every level of society and even reaches here, the heart of London. My clients are not the illegal immigrants of the extreme press: they are not invading to steal, maim, kill; they are fleeing from violence and have arrived here, because they know Britain to be the haven of freedom, security and fairness that it undoubtedly is. Forgive me the theatrics, but I have always been a visual learner, so I want to paint you a picture. Imagine a small wooden boat floating in the middle of the English Channel, occasionally able to look out onto an enormous ferry or
freight ship passing by, but otherwise completely hidden from human civilisation. It is a cloudy night, with the moon faintly struggling through the clouds, unable to offer any real light. The waves and wind are gentle, but noticeable. Now imagine twelve people crammed onto this boat. They are all universally terrified of the ocean, because none of them have ever learned to swim. Their desire for liberty, equality, happiness is, however, far stronger than their fear and has driven them this far. All they have left is their hope, painfully intangible to them as they huddle together in the centre of the boat, both for warmth and to distance themselves from the remorseless water. Now I do not pretend to know much about your lives, but, despite not being a betting man, I would be happy to wager my house that none of you have ever felt desperation like these people felt on that boat. Let me remind you of the lives my clients have endured. Isaias, only twenty comes from Eritrea, a country some studies say is more heavily censored than North Korea. After being caught attempting to avoid compulsory national service, Isaias was imprisoned and tortured.
Artwork: Sebastian Khan (Upper Sixth)
Mohammad and Kalila are 16-year-old twins from Syria, where civil war has been raging since 2011. They have seen their father, plus many others, been killed during one of the near-constant air strikes. Taara has for the last four years been fleeing from Afghanistan, where she was sentenced to death after being discovered having a homosexual relationship with her best friend. Ibrahim and Fatima were finally forced to escape from South Sudan at the ages of 60 and 55 respectively after seeing their three children killed by a murderous horde of rebel soldiers. Sandar is 31 and smuggled herself out of Myanmar after the government initiated a genocide against the Rohingya Muslims, the group she was born into. Pierre lived through four years of famine in the Democratic Republic of Congo and it was only when soldiers ransacked his home that he finally decided that at 40 it was his final chance to search for a better life.
Maha comes from Yemen, which has suffered under a Saudi Arabian blockade since 2015, ensuring its citizens are almost universally suffering from starvation. Pia, Salena and Zaina are three friends from India, all of whom were raped repeatedly every day after being kidnapped and forced to work in a brothel. These are only quick summaries of the horrors my clients have endured, and I have not even spoken of the difficulties they faced on their journey to Great Britain. Is it really fair to force these helpless people back to their home countries, where they will be ostracised and persecuted, just because they sought shelter in an empty house when they finally landed in Sussex? That is the end of my speech but remember if these people are sent back, their pain and deaths will be on your conscience.
By Maxi Grindley (Lower Sixth)
Tomorrow’s Fate I am going into battle tomorrow. A war. And the thing that affects me is that I don’t know if I’ll live to see tomorrow night. I’m not the most experienced fighter, I was forced into 101st Airborne Division (the lads over here call us ‘The Spitting Eagles’), December 1943. Considering that tomorrow is the 17th September 1944, I’ve only had training for about nine months. The same time it takes a baby to grow in the womb. You may say that that’s a long time and I should be well equipped enough. But, trust me, if you were going to be parachuted into a middle of warzone, you’d want more training.
bother me, because we had space. A lot of it. The front and back yard stretched out for what seemed like forever, fields of corn grew right behind the fence where our property ended. My brother and I would spend countless hours out there in the summer, tossing a football about enjoying the innocence of childhood. I remember the swing tyre I used to push my brother, Allister, in the summer nights where he would look at the stars and dream about what he could be. He was in the D-Day attacks. I haven’t heard anything since. I only thank God he wasn’t at Omaha.
All I want now is to go home to Lexington, South Carolina. I was born there and, God willing, I will die there. But I think that’s unlikely. Now all I face is the creeping thought that all I achieved in my 24 years there was nothing. No lasting legacy. I don’t even know if they’ll write my name on the war memorial. Given, of course, we even win, and they decide to build one.
“You got a lighter?” asked Tex, cigarette in his mouth.
I know why the army chose me in their regular conscription tours. I trained to become a doctor at the University of Columbia. No, not that one. The one in Columbia, South Carolina. Prior to January 1944 I’d never even left South Carolina. I’ve never wanted to leave. Due to my knowledge of medicine, I was made field medic. At least there’s that. I tell myself that at least I’m out here saving lives not taking them. It’s just not in my nature to take a life. Then again, war isn’t natural. “You alright?” says Tex. Tex is my best friend I got out here. He came in roughly the same time as me, a sports player. He aspired to making it into the big leagues, playing football for a living before they snatched him for Airborne. I guess college football players make the best soldiers. I nodded towards him and said I was fine. I wasn’t of course. I missed my family. I missed my girlfriend. I missed home. Home. A treasured word for me in a time like this. The thought of home does wonders to an agitated mind. When I get nervous, I always think of my old childhood home. It was modest, built by my great grandfather from his bare hands, or so my grandfather used to tell me. A small wooden house, one floor and limited furniture. That didn’t
“Yeah, I should do,” I replied and felt around in my breast pocket, pulled out a silver lighter. He took it and lit his cigarette. Outside it was now dark, with stars in the sky. “What’s the time?” he asked. I pulled out my pocket watch and was greeted by the most beautiful face I had ever seen. Mary, her name was. Mary, the thought of the name alone made me miss her smile, her sense of humour, her. We were childhood sweethearts, met at high school. It was clichéd but sweet. I wouldn’t have it any other way. A plane flew right overhead, sending the whole room practically shaking. Tex was unfussed, he often was. I had a lot of admiration for him, he was good-tempered and calm. Composed. It helps in a situation like this. I now lay on the bed, trying unwillingly to get to sleep. I couldn’t. I would just keep awake thinking still. I was thinking of the tyre swing, blowing in the wind. There was no one on it. That’s when I lost it. I started crying like a baby. Tex came over and said nothing. In hindsight that’s all he could have done. I fell asleep in the short hours, ready but never ready for war.
By Charles Maddox (Upper Sixth)
Artwork: Naavya Sharma (Third Year) 58
Artwork: Theo Mathers-Jones (Third Year)
Unnoticed It was a necessity. There was no other option now. It had to be done. It just wasn’t in his nature. He had always been a wimp if anything, never capable of standing up to that bully. He let him push him over, knock him down, call him names. He endured those three long years, perfecting the mask. The mask that showed everyone who saw it the warm smile of a boy enjoying his life. The mask that hid the pain of each of those names, every bruise on his arm, the pain in his soul. The mask that blended him into that sea of joy which everyone around him seemed to float in. Now he had to get past all of that. For when it was done, the words ‘weakling, coward and wimp’ would be replaced with a more sinister one. Something he’d never think that he would become. He could see his mother sitting in that witness box. Attesting to the fact that he was of good character and that there must be some kind of mistake. Of course, there’d be no trial, this wasn’t that sort of affair. It’d be blatant enough that those three syllables may as well be etched into his forehead. Murderer. Perhaps it should be of no surprise. So much time underneath a mask is enough for anyone’s skin to rot, exposing a monster that lies within. He thought it a kindness when it first started, a way to protect those around him from his pain. Why share this suffering when he could contain it so neatly within himself? How could plaguing those who he loved with such information help anything? How selfish a person would he be to do so? And so, he built his facade with thick, impenetrable walls; complete with all the marks of a successful young man: good grades, a cupboard full of medals and a loving family. So artfully finished that no one would ever feel the need to examine what lay beneath. It became harder and harder to remove, each forced smile and faux happy remark left him evermore alone. He didn’t want anything more than for it all to be real, to not feel that pain in his chest when he’d sit alone deep into the night counting the seconds go by. To share in that glee he saw all around him after a joke. To just feel ok. He attributed all this to one person. After all, who else could be blamed for sending him into this deep cavern of misery, filled with tears and blood?
The knife felt heavy in the hand, perhaps it was the weight of the action he was about to undertake that was weighing it down but nonetheless he could hardly lift it. He fixed his eyes on his victim and sighed softly. He set his mind to work trying to inspire the hatred and anger that fuelled this whole plan. He placed the knife on his throat and prepared to do it. Only now could he appreciate how sharp the cold blade was. He saw no other way out, he had got himself into this desperate, hellish situation and now he had to do the only thing that he thought could get him out. He didn’t want to die particularly, there were so many things he had left to see in the world, to experience, to fall in love with. He wanted to go to another party and just get drunk surrounded by his closest friends. He wanted to see the sun softly sink behind that girl who he should’ve kissed on that warm Autumn evening one more time. He wanted to have someone sit a metre across from him and look into his eyes in a way that made him weightless and dizzy all at once. He let out a sharp gasp of shock, a shriek sharp enough to draw blood. The sound of his phone ringing had caught him off guard. He set the knife down and slowly moved towards it. His hands were shaking so much he could hardly pick it up. He saw the picture of his mother on his home screen accompanied by the two familiar symbols. His thumb hovered above that red cross for a few seconds before finally he pressed his finger to the screen. Now in complete hysterics hardly able to breathe, he put everything he had into one final sentence: “Mum, I need your help.”
By Pavit Kullar (Upper Sixth)
Creative Writing Competition 2020 “A powerful and emotional story. Pavit wonderfully shares the insights into the tormented life of his main character and shows us a rollercoaster of an emotional journey that I was glad ended with the protagonist reaching out for help. Excellent work!” Sara Grant Judge
Artwork: Theo Mathers Jones (Third Year) 60
When the lone wolf walks into the clearing, he pauses. He sniffs the air, paws the ground and carefully observes his surroundings. He feels the insects gnaw at the leaves around him, their tiny mandibles slowly stripping the foliage. The birds high above, drawing unrecognisable patterns into the sky, calling to each other as they fall into long, low dives, drunk on each other’s love. The otter, busy building his dam in the shortest stretch of the river, paused briefly then resumed his work.
Artwork: Kai Kelly (Fourth Year)
The clearing broadly widened out into a wide flat plain, ringed by trees. Ferns littered the forest floor, damp from a squall that had passed hours before. They brushed the wolf’s shimmering coat as he padded by, revealing the darker underfur. His hackles were low, a façade. Every wolf should be alert, especially this one. The wolf’s name was Torsson. Wolves live in packs but he does not. Raised by a Bear and an Owl, he had had a different childhood.
Two robins flirted above, their plumage matching the deep, dark red hues of the sunset far out on the horizon. The soft clouds had turned claret. He padded onwards, following the invisible trails of the forest. As he reached the treeline on the other side of the clearing, he stopped. The undergrowth bristled. Torsson turned. Lowering his silverbacked head, he inhaled the scents on the meandering breeze. Nothing new. His large yellow eyes burned fiercely; the pain of hunger was never far away. As the light slowly began to fade over the green canopy above him, Torsson could feel the ground becoming more and more moist. A fast-flowing river cut off the path ahead, soaking its banks with spray. He had no choice but to find a suitable crossing further upstream. Staying close to the edge, he trespassed the knots and tangles of thick tree roots, upturned by the immense power of the river. The last rays of light punched across the trunks of the spruce trees, illuminating the lines and curves ingrained in the bark. Torsson’s fur gleamed. A beautiful combination of slate grey, charcoal and the deepest black imaginable. He fitted perfectly into the chill night. On cold winter days his coat normally glows ice blue in the frosty air, a shimmering hue. The gnarled muscles under his skin silently carried him onwards. Torsson crossed the river, the sub-zero water numbing him slightly. He did not feel the pain. He did not feel much nowadays. Emotions like happiness and anger had quietly left a long time ago, was there any need for them anyways? The animals of the forest had always treated him with respect, which he reciprocated. It is one thing to be feared but another to have the awe of the forest follow him. Night had fallen, blanketing the forest in the endless dark,
punctuated by chinks of light from the frozen glow of a winter’s moon. Torsson stopped and looked down, seeing his reflection in the centre of a puddle staring back up at him. Eyes blazing, he swung his head up, he had tasted death on his tongue. His corded muscles rapidly contracted and relaxed as he flew through the undergrowth. He was aware of his effect on the web of life, his actions rippling outwards as he tore through the bushes. Animals scattered out of his way, anxious not to evoke his wrath. The taste of death filled the air around him, blocking his senses, blinding him. His low, wet panting was drowned out by the sound of an animal mewling out in its primal fear as he raced towards it. He had no choice but to rely on the natural forms of the forest in his night vision and his lightening fast reactions to evade the trees and hidden roots that lay in his path. Fresh blood stained the air. Torsson broke through into a clearing. Inside a fully-grown deer lay. Illuminated by the brilliant white light of the moon, its intestines spill out of its stomach. The stench of blood filled Torsson’s nose, he bared his teeth. Carved into the rump of the deer were ancient runes, runes stating that this was an offering. Its eyes were wild in a painful ecstasy, it tried to raise its head. I am truly sorry; this is not an acceptable way to die. It looked up at him as if to say quickly. Torsson sliced the deer’s throat cleanly, ending its intense suffering instantaneously.
By Sam Skinner (Fifth Year)
Hampton School, Hanworth Road, Hampton, TW12 3HD
Tel: 020 8979 5526 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @HamptonSchool
Cover Artwork: Tom Shepherd (GCSE)