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HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL LITERARY FESTIVAL

— “The Raven”, Edgar Allan Poe

“Imagining and Writing the Gothic” is an anthology of short stories written by secondary school students who participated in a creative writing programme organised by the Hong Kong International Literary Festival. The stories collected here are haunting, demonstrating the Gothic tradition, but also explores matters of life and death, friendship and betrayal, and what it is that makes us feel fear.

THE GOTHIC

The Festival is organised and coordinated by Hong Kong International Literary Festival Limited, a non-profit, charitable literary arts organisation that also manages the annual Hong Kong International Young Readers Festival.

illustrated and designed by jeffrey @ yeungstudio.hk

The Hong Kong International Literary Festival, founded in 2001, is an annual event held over ten days each autumn, bringing writers and book lovers together at events that allow them to share ideas.

IMAGINING AND WRITING

“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before”

IMAGINING AND WRITING

THE GOTHIC -5-

EDITED BY MIO DEBNAM


IMAGINING AND WRITING

THE GOTHIC


Disclaimer: The views, thoughts and opinions expressed in the stories belong solely to the authors and do not belong to Hong Kong International Literary Festival, the English Alliance 2017/18 and the University of Hong Kong.


Two hundred years have passed since Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was first published. On the bicentenary of this enduring tale, the Hong Kong International Literary Festival explores the Gothic genre with a programme designed to seek out mysterious happenings and the dark corners of the human mind. “Imagining and Writing the Gothic” is organised in collaboration with eleven local secondary schools, with seventy young writers gathered to produce their very own creative work inspired by the genre. Held over five weeks, students were invited to attend talks, film screenings and writing workshops hosted by experienced and knowledgeable practitioners. Leading the writing workshops were award-winning and best-selling British children’s writer Frances Hardinge and Hong Kong’s finest Young Adult authors Alex Dunn and Jordan Rivet. Academics from the School of English at the University of Hong Kong also introduced the Gothic genre in a series of interactive lectures. The students’ writing is collected in this anthology. Pick up a copy, but know that it is not for the faint of heart…


beware the shadows

P.10-89

A Ghost Human

Aigbekaen Godmercy Godblessings (Cheung Chau Government Secondary School)

The Unreachable Prince Charming It Waits… Blame It on the Ancestors The Storyteller Illusion in the Dark Wax

A Strange Encounter Seven Roses in Red Paint Past Memories None Can Hide The Girl Who Could Not Tell the Truth

Last Wish Ryan Ma (Wah Yan College, Hong Kong) Chan Ching Yan Emily (Queen Elizabeth School) Jeff Mak (HKUGA College) Lee Tsz Kiu Derek (Sing Yin Secondary School) Jim Man Yui (Ying Wa College)

The Terrible Toilet

A Dead Voice

Susie Kwong Shuk Sze (Leung Shek Chee College)

strange creatures

The Wardrobe

Yiu Chi Yuet (Queen Elizabeth School)

Cheung Tsun Wai (Wah Yan College, Hong Kong) Wong Chin Hoi (Wah Yan College, Hong Kong) Huang Yuyi (Toi Shan Association College) Jason Bootwala (HKUGA College) Owen Li (Ying Wa College)

Lunacy The Monster in My Family The Struggle of Atticus Hohenzollern Love Kills A Lost Girl

Beep On Pendle Hill A Village Under a Curse

Becoming Their Genuine Selves Living Amongst the Dead Revenge The Marriage of Blair Mallory

Michael Lin (HKUGA College) Lucida Wang (St Francis’ Canossian College) Luk Sze Ho (Sing Yin Secondary School) Ona Keung Chi Yin (St Francis’ Canossian College) Cheung Tin Yin Laura (Queen Elizabeth School) Luk Hon Man (Wah Yan College, Hong Kong) Kwan Yuan Xi (Leung Shek Chee College)

Rachael Leung (St Francis’ Canossian College)

A Mystery Boy

Mary Tam (Leung Shek Chee College)

Phoebe Lai (Leung Shek Chee College)

The Red Forest

Adrian Siu (Sing Yin Secondary School)

The Gothenburg Treasure

death returns

P.152-220

Grace Maxwell (St Francis’ Canossian College)

My Monster Father

The Friendship Goal

Justin Lee (Ying Wa College)

Timothy Lam (HKUGA College)

Wu Hoi Kwong (Sing Yin Secondary School)

V.agans

Yeung Angelina Lenka (Queen Elizabeth School)

Ng Kai Hing (Clementi Secondary School)

Black Mail Street

The Music Box Dancer

Zeng Qingchu (Toi Shan Association College)

The Diary of Gabrielle Anima - Soul Collector

Rats

Where Are They?

Lam Lok Hei (Sing Yin Secondary School)

Ghost in the Opera Bell

Yum Yi Man (Toi Shan Association College)

The End of the Trip

Cindy Cheung (Cheung Chau Government Secondary School)

Soulmates

Little Zombies in a Fireplace A Deal With the Devil

Wong Lai Yi (Clementi Secondary School) Bee Lin Haofeng (CSBS Mrs. Aw Boon Haw Secondary School)

P.92-149

The Killer Bear

Nicholas Chan Hei Yat (Wah Yan College, Hong Kong)

The Nightmare

O Ki Hang (Clementi Secondary School)

Inconceivable Mirror

Peggy Kwok (Leung Shek Chee College)

The Dolls Wan Kit Hak Jack (Sing Yin Secondary School) Max Wong (Wah Yan College, Hong Kong) Chen Xiao Ran (Toi Shan Association College) Kimberley Li Tsz Ha (CSBS Mrs. Aw Boon Haw Secondary School) Stephanie Cheng (St Francis’ Canossian College) Tiffany Lee Hoi Lam (Leung Shek Chee College) Vivian Wong (St Francis’ Canossian College)

Salmon Su Chenggang (CSBS Mrs. Aw Boon Haw Secondary School)

The Half-Dead The Forest Remain Silent The Human-Mouse The Weird Room Love, From Woman

Ricky Zhou Weijie (CSBS Mrs. Aw Boon Haw Secondary School) Bernice Ng (St Francis’ Canossian College) Sam Tsoi Tik Sum (Clementi Secondary School) Watt Sheung Yin Thomas (Clementi Secondary School) Wong Chin Yuet (Clementi Secondary School) Tam Yuen Ying Wendy (Leung Shek Chee College) Laila Albuquerque (HKUGA College)


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BEWARE THE SHADOWS


It Waits…

By Ryan Ma (Wah Yan College, Hong Kong)

Where was the stain? Joe could have sworn it was right there. Yet all he was faced with was a perfectly smooth, completely stainless mirror. So perfect, in fact, that he could see the small hairs on the back of his hand and the veins in his eyes, except… His eyes were wrong.

Darkness. Silence. It waited impatiently, its nebulous, mist-like form swirling and shimmering, a caged animal thrashing against the bars. The only thing that kept it from dashing itself against the invisible walls that confined it, was the knowledge that it had been here many times, or at least been in similar situations. That, and the knowledge that it would be free of this silent cage very soon. Then it could begin its work. His name was Joe, and he was bored and exhausted. After being demoted by the amusement park manager for sleeping on the job (for the third time), Joe had spent the last week cleaning every nook and cranny of the ageing park, from the underground maintenance tunnels connecting the rides to the giant water slide at the top of the hill. Simply climbing the hill took him thirty minutes with his cart full of cleaning equipment; add the mazes and ‘fun’ houses and he was, invariably, the last one to leave every day. Which didn’t take into account the mess that the visitors left behind. Joe heaved a heartfelt sigh. At least he had devised a few shortcuts that cut his workload considerably, and he was getting faster at his job. But he still didn’t relish the notion of having to clean every smooth surface in the Hall of Mirrors by hand. He had yet to find a shortcut for that.

In the centre of the jet-black pupils were red dots. Not the dark crimson of blood, but the red associated with rubies, glowing scarlet, a flame dancing against the backdrop of a starless night. The outline of his face and hands, too, were wrong, shimmering as though a heat source were affecting it, wavering noticeably. Joe stepped back, only to freeze in horror as his ‘reflection’ stayed put. Then, the ‘reflection’ turned its head slightly to stare at Joe. A dark mist seeped out from the thing’s eyes, passing through the mirror, flowing towards Joe. He tried to run, but all his limbs did was tremble in impotent shock – his legs were firmly rooted to the ground, as if someone had locked him in place. The mist suddenly flew towards him with a speed that defied belief, entering Joe through every facial orifice. Joe’s final, desperate scream turned to a gurgling, choking gasp as the world went black and he could see nothing, and he was nothing, and there was nothing. “All right, boss, what’s this all about?” Special Officer Dan enquired. His boss remained silent, but pushed a file across the bare desk. Dan opened the folder and immediately felt nauseous. “Good Heavens…” His boss nodded. “This man is highly dangerous. We don’t know why he is attacking people seemingly at random, nor do we know how he has managed to elude the efforts of the entire city police force for over ten days. All we know is that he has no qualms about murder, and he employs… unique, shall we say, methods of killing.”

Twenty minutes of back-breaking scrubbing later, Joe wished he had never applied for this job, as he had for the last few days. He had a cut on the palm of his hand, courtesy of a broken plastic toy someone had left in the place, and now a few beads of red were staining the mirror he was working on. Muttering profanities, he lifted his piece of cloth to wipe it off, and…and…

Dan slowly closed the manila folder. “So,” he said, “What is it you want me to do?”

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His boss adjusted his sunglasses. “The witnesses at each incident report that this… person… spends at least five minutes doing strange things to his victims. He falls into a trance-like state in that period – totally focused on his victim’s body. That is


how the eyewitnesses lived to tell the tale.” Behind the lenses, black pupils stared at their arctic-blue counterparts, “And that is when you will capture him.” The young woman shivered. The relentless north wind swept mercilessly across the city, laughing at her efforts to keep herself from catching cold, her efforts in pulling her coat tighter around her for warmth proving futile as the gaseous ice seeped through the seams of her clothing. Her footsteps quickened in the hope of finding shelter, then, unexplainably, she stopped. Something was calling her… For some reason she couldn’t explain, she felt the sudden urge to go through the narrow back alleyway – yes, it would be much better than the half-frozen main street, wouldn’t it? Without knowing it, she had already entered the dimly lit alley on the very edge of town near her home. She was so close to warmth and shelter… Rustle. She snapped out of her trance. Was that… a man in front of her? Or just another Halloween decoration, discarded, as was the norm in these parts of town? Maybe that was why its eyes were glowing red – that couldn’t be a human.

squinting to see some writing on the wall. Just cleaning up the streets, it said in big, bold red letters, No need to thank me! Dan stared at the letters in shock and anger, then shifted his gaze to see two crimson spheres staring back at him. In one fluid motion, the pistol was up, as was Dan. “Freeze!” He shouted. The other man dropped the bloody limb he was using as a pen, then vaulted over the brick wall with inhuman speed. Dan faltered as he confronted the grisly wreckage of what had once been a human, the remaining parts oddly arranged, almost like a cutlery set. He steeled his mind and gave chase. The metal bar, glinting in the pale moonlight, almost took his head off as he rounded the corner. His hand acted on reflex, firing two charged darts in the direction the bar came from. One missed by a wide margin… but the other struck the man squarely in the back, discharging 50,000 volts into his body. The man tipped his head back and let out a screech unlike any other sound Dan had heard, so shrill that it made Dan’s ears ring, but infused with low, demon-like undertones. Crimson orbs burning with rage whipped around.

Her last scream was cut short as the man lunged, burying his fingers in her throat.

Dan didn’t even have time to blink as the thing dashed across the open ground, fingers dripping with a dark crimson liquid, posed into the form of a dagger, aimed directly at Dan’s throat. Dan dodged frantically, but wasn’t quite fast enough as the thing’s knife-hand sliced into Dan’s shoulder, drawing blood. In one final act of desperation, Dan ignored the thing’s hand, which was poised to end his life for good, and emptied his pistol into the other’s belly.

A grey coat rushed around the corner. Rubber boots hammered the pavement as arctic-blue orbs swivelled frantically to find their target in the dim light. A slender, almost bony hand gripped the steel-grey electric pistol, still secured in a brown leather holster.

Everything happened in a blur. The thing flew backwards from the force of the darts, trailing a deep red smoke as it went, finally crashing against a stone wall. Then, it let out one last scream, full of rage and agony – and then, with a flash of red light, it was gone.

Special Officer Dan forced himself to slow down. Cautiously, he crept into the black alleyway. As he neared the site of the noises, he took cover behind a trashhauler and peeked out cautiously.

When Dan’s eyes finally cleared, he looked around for any trace of the killer of the three dozen innocents, but found nothing. After half an hour, he gave up the search with a sigh. He was going to have a lot of explaining to do.

It took all his self-control for him to keep silent. Red was everywhere: on the ground, on the walls and railings and all over the person himself, glistening in the moonlight. When Dan felt that he was brave enough, he peeked out again,

Two weeks later, Inspector Dan was straightening his uniform, preparing for another day’s work. He rubbed at a spot on the mirror, but only succeeded in smearing the mirror even further, as blood from a paper-cut stained the surface

Then the ‘decoration’ shifted its head to look at her. For a while, both stood there silently, one examining its prey, the other bone-white in fear.

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crimson. He reached for a tissue to wipe it clean, then turned back and frowned. Where was the stain?

Blame It on the Ancestors

By Chan Ching Yan Emily (Queen Elizabeth School)

He glanced up. Crimson dots glared back at him.

Mr. Clifford Arrow was new to the wealthy streets of Victorian London. He had moved here when his wife, Mrs. Martha Arrow, née Yates, had died during childbirth. Mr. Arrow was an unfortunate man. Although he earned more than a hundred thousand pounds a year, he had no family left. His grandparents and his parents had all died when they were only thirty, as had his wife. Trying to move on with his life, he decided to live in a new place and seek peace after his tragic loss. Mr. Arrow unpacked his stuff in his brand new house. It was perfect, except for the dark basement. He was afraid of confined places, so he made a decision to try to store the boxes in one attempt. He clumsily grabbed all the boxes and tried to squeeze them through the door. However, he didn’t succeed. “Why did I even buy a house with a basement?” he groaned. He entered the space unwillingly. The chummy landlady, Mrs. Young, had reassured him that the basement wasn’t that bad. Mr. Arrow turned on the dim electric light and saw several objects which had been left by the landlady. He pulled away a velvet cover and a portrait was revealed. It was of a loving couple in medieval clothing. The man had a sculpted face and smiling eyes. The woman with rosy cheeks appeared to be serene. Mr. Arrow’s fingers traced the edge of the rusty frame and touched something: “Lord Carnell Ashton Lanford Arrow and Lady Marigold Ivy Tianna Young,” he read. “Hm! Interesting. Same surname as me, eh?” Lifting the portrait, he opened the chest below it. A time-worn book with a lock

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was the only thing inside. Its title was burnt, but few words could still be seen – ‘The Book of C.A’. He couldn’t open the lock. In the heated moment as he tried to break the metal of the lock, he heard a noise. It was the doorbell, which reminded him that his dining table set was being delivered. His heart skipped at the sudden interruption. “Coming!” he shouted. As the other furniture wasn’t going to arrive for hours, he decided to take a leisurely walk in the neighbourhood. The streets were full of people and carriages. Mr. Arrow turned a corner and noticed a tiny antique store that many people would probably have ignored. But this man was different. He was an antique lover. He was immediately attracted to the store when he saw a set of vintage tableware in the window. The doorbell tinkled and the wooden door creaked noisily as he stepped in. A smell burst into his nostrils which it was neither pleasant nor unpleasant. “Ah, yes… This is what leaving things in one place for years smells like!” he thought, delighted that he had discovered this new world. Mr. Arrow peeked through the shelves, but there wasn’t anyone other than himself there. He could examine the antiques comfortably, and in his own time. Mr. Arrow began to look around. Sunlight shone through the windows and landed on a skull cabinet. He wrinkled his nose at the attacking odour of chamber pots. There were glass candlesticks, tarnished pewter plates and broken china pieces. The other side of the wall was lined with cupboards. They held three waxed dodo birds, a plaster sculpture of Prince Albert and two feather bonnets. The man walked deeper into the store and marvelled at a row of grandfather clocks. Corridors became narrower and the light grew dimmer. He was aware of how crowded and dark this place was, but curiosity overcame fear. There was a half-open door behind the empty cash-register. Mr. Arrow knocked to see if anyone was inside, but no reply came. Screeeeeee, the door creaked open. The first thing that came to his nose was a mysterious scent. He blinked furiously to adapt to the darkness.

- 18 -

He was surprised when he saw a table of tarot cards, parchments falling out of shelves, and strange astrology symbols and charts drawn on the wall. There was also a fireplace with an archaic mantelpiece. An ancient book was open and placed on a stand in the middle of the room, surrounded by more spooky candles. Without thinking, he started flipping through the pages. Whilst he was doing this, the front door of the shop was locked with a ‘click’. The graceful sound of pendulums stopped. But Mr. Arrow didn’t notice. Paragraph after paragraph, he scanned through the contents. It was a story about two ancient rival families: Once upon a time, Lord Carnell, sole heir of the Arrows, had fallen in love with Lady Marigold of the Youngs. Their parents had been furious, especially Lady Marigold’s mother, Lady Young, as Lord Carnell had murdered her husband. Unbeknownst to anyone, Lady Young was a sorceress. After Lady Margaret and Lord Carnell wed, Lady Young had cast a curse on her shameful daughter’s descendants to avenge her husband, so they wouldn’t live beyond their thirtieth birthday… Which had been the age that Lady Marigold had died of the Black Death, and Lord Cornell had committed suicide in despair. It was the magical version of Romeo and Juliet! He read on. The next page caught his attention. On it was the same portrait that he had seen in his basement. He was shocked to find their familiar faces and names in the book. He turned to the next page to see another portrait – this one was of Carsen Aldwin Lyman Arrow and Mercia Isabel Theresa Young. Their names had the same initials as his and his wife’s names – C.A.L.A. and M.I.T.Y. Next page, next portrait, next set of names: Clement Allen Lambwell Arrow and Margery Ilys Tamor Yancy. His heart sank. The more pages he flipped through, the more terrible he felt. His muscles became tense and his throat was dry. The room seemed to be cooler and dimmer than before. Pages flew and all the way down, Mr. Arrow traced the names of his ancestors, including his grandparents and his parents. Then, an almost blank page jumped

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out at him. He hardly dared to look… but couldn’t resist.

and clutched it around the metal. The cloth was burnt to ashes.

The title said, ‘Clifford Arthur Lewis Arrow and Martha Irene Tilda Yates.’

Mr. Arrow turned around and was stunned by the rows of shelves consumed by flames. The fire inside the fireplace had helped spread the flames. Specimen jars fell and the flammable solutions inside spilt all over the floor. Prince Albert and the dodo bird trio were drowned in the flames.

He could form no words. Nearby, there were a few more papers, filled with tables recording the dates and causes of his ancestors’ deaths. Mr. Arrow searched for his wife’s name and found that it said ‘died giving birth’. His name was right next to hers, but the cause of death hadn’t been filled in. He was scared, very scared, but was also enraged. “So, this explains why my family all have died so young…!” His breath hitched and mind raced. He was angered by Carnell and Marigold’s selfish act. His life had ben ruined by this unnecessary curse! How unthoughtful his forefathers were! If the couple hadn’t got married, their initials wouldn’t have formed the curse!

Mr. Arrow screamed desperately for help. He kicked and punched at the unbreakable windows. He roared at the street when the fire reached him, but he seemed to be invisible to the passersby. They only noticed the blaze and smoke. Three hours later, the fire was put out. An old woman wiped away her angry tears. “Who’s the idiot that burnt my shop?” she shouted. “We are not sure, but the burnt body seems to be that of Mr. Arrow, a newcomer,” Inspector Carter replied. “He’s my tenant… How dare he!”

He slammed the book shut violently and was burnt by the metal coil around the edge. He withdrew his hand and saw a cauterised mark on it that was like the token worn by Lord Carnell – an arrow. The metal of the book frame started to glow, then burn. Bright orange heat spread along the edges to the corners, and then to the spine. The book title started to glow as tongues of fire spurted out –

“Well… if it’s him, we don’t know why he set fire to your store,” the Inspector shrugged.

The Book of C.A.L.A.M.I.T.Y.

A while later, she lifted her head and inhaled deeply.

Mr. Arrow was horrified. He didn’t know how to handle supernatural things. All he knew was that his time was up if he didn’t destroy the book. Driven crazy with fear, he tried to burn the unholy book, by fighting fire with fire. When the metal frame caused the wooden bookstand to ignite, he gathered the candles and threw them in the book’s direction to fuel the flames.

“Great… all of the Arrows are dead now. No more hate... No more despair...” she whispered. Then Mrs. Young twisted her dry lips into a devious smirk.

He walked Mrs. Young to a nearby bench then returned to his post. She sat down and closed her eyes. Her chest moved up and down steadily.

Once the papers were broiling, Mr. Arrow tried to escape the now brilliantly-lit room. He sprinted over the empty cash-register and crashed into a shelf, knocking down dozens of antique plates. He got up immediately and stumbled to the front door. He seized the silver doorknob but it burnt him. He searched for a tablecloth

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The Storyteller

“Did ja just call me a coward?” Steve exclaimed, face flushed in anger. “I was the top private in my battalion! Let me tell you why I was assigned to this dump!”

By Jeff Mak (HKUGA College)

The young fella opened his mouth to tell his story but Abraham cut in to stop him, “Shaddup, you ain’t seen nothing compared to Connor.”

The sky was pitch black, with the exception of a few stars. A huge, crooked willow tree stood with its branches splayed out, creating a canopy beneath which the light shone. A campfire, flickering and twirling in a fiery dance, reflected the spirits of those who sat around it. Five figures lounged around the fire, covered in grime, blood and sweat, the result of being in an ongoing battle between the French and the Americans. One of the figures, a man with untamed hair, stood up holding a flask filled with whiskey. He had excess blubber around his waist and the most prominent moustache; one even Yosemite Sam would be proud of. “Sit down, you’re such a sorry sight,” a burly man by the name of Logan called out. “If you drink too much, y’might piss ya pants like Steve!” Charles snickered at the comment. He was the exact duplicate of Logan, except for the fact that he had a ginger mane whilst Charles had a blonde one. They were brothers, only separated by a year. Steve, a young and impulsive rookie, slapped the ground, irritated. “You all keep saying I’ll chicken out in battle, but you still haven’t mustered the courage to watch The Exorcist, you wusses,” he retorted, puffing his chest and sticking his tongue out. Logan rolled his eyes and spat, “You’ll be running home with your piss-stained pants, screaming for mummy once we go into battle. Me, on the other hand, I’ve taken more bullets than you’ve had women.” Then, exhaling the smoke from his lungs, he threw his cigarette at Steve.

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The four of them looked towards the man who had remained silent since they’d set up. He was crouched in the corner of the camp, staring intently at the fire. At the mention of his name, he raised his head, casting his gaze upon his companions. He was still impeccably muscular and radiated authority. ‘Connor the Great’ was what he had been known as, in his younger years. Connor shook his head, “It’s fine, let him continue, I ain’t gonna piss on your storytime. Go on.” Steve grinned, happy that he had everyone’s attention, “I was a young boy in the town of Boring, with the dream of becoming…” “Mwahahahaha…” Logan guffawed, “You even lived in a town named Boring, what a coincidence.” Steve crossed his arms and glared at Logan, “As I was saying… I had the dream of being a Commander of the US army.” “Stupid lil’ boys and their dreams,” sneered Charles. “How’d that work out for you, Monsieur Supreme Commander?” Logan and Abraham burst into laughter and even Connor showed a faint hint of a smile. Steve’s face turned a deeper shade of crimson and he stomped his feet on the ground, “That’s it, I ain’t gonna entertain you losers.” He turned around and plopped himself down on a rock, “Dimwits…” “Darn, now it’s gonna be boring, without a tale… Could y’tell us one o’ your war stories, Connor?” Abraham rubbed his hands together, “Please?” Connor took a swig of liquor from the canteen and looked at his men, their eyes expectant and full of respect. “I shall.”

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His men grinned and chattered amongst themselves. It took him a while to recall the events that had happened. Why couldn’t he remember the story? Was it old age?

the medic was a chubby bloke. Three of us succeeded but one wasn’t so lucky. A private got run over by the truck.” Connor looked down, searching his mind for the lost piece of the tale.

“It began during my years as a private. I’d all the qualities of a good soldier: brawn, guts and most importantly, loyalty. I was a loyal man and did whatever my commander told me to. We were on a mission, an easy one to test our skills and strengthen our bond. Or so we thought.”

“We were stubborn, and as we didn’t receive the order to retreat, we carried on with the mission. We were extremely outnumbered, three against the whole French camp!

Connor ate a spoonful of his rations, swallowing as if the food had no taste whatsoever. The men hung on to his every word, eager to hear more. As Connor downed the remnants of his meal, he started again.

The medic was shot in the head whilst he sprinted towards a shelter. The other private and I saw this and remained hidden until night fell, when we crawled out from under the truck and snooped around, separating ways to make our search hastier. I never heard from that private again.”

“It wasn’t as easy as we thought. We were expected to capture a French camp and rescue the hostages, with pistols as our only weapons. The camp was high up in the mountains, and covered in snow. The problem was, we were wearing green, brown and grey, so it wasn’t exactly the best camouflage.”

“So?” Logan asked, rubbing his hands together, “Did ya find them hostages? How’d the rest go?”

“Wait, so ya only had a pistol ’n’ nothin’ more? Not even a rifle?” Abraham asked.

It was all so blurry. After a moment, he took another swig from his canteen and continued on, “I scoured the camp, until I finally stumbled upon the cages in which they kept them, they kept pointing towards me, making these inhumane noises…”

Connor tried to recollect all the pieces of his story, and once he had done so, he answered, “Yes, only our pistols. When we arrived at our target, the guards were roaming everywhere, in a twenty mile radius around their base. A group of guards came towards us and the first private, who was not unlike Steve, made a rash decision and charged towards them, shooting. But a French sniper saw him and shot him down. The others, including me, advanced by crawling on our bellies, determined to rescue our captured comrades. But as I said, our camouflage was not exactly the best, and one by one, we were picked off.” “How’d ya survive?” Steve asked, horrified. “I wondered myself, I was shot in the left arm but still, I carried on. My blood stained the snow scarlet. The remaining men, two privates, a medic and myself, lay in the snow until a truck passed by, then we grabbed onto the bottom to try and get into the camp. The privates were brothers, just like Logan and Charles,

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Connor licked his chapped lips.

For some reason, he couldn’t remember the rest of the tale. He just… couldn’t remember. His men kept nodding repeatedly and opening and closing their mouths, but he couldn’t hear what they were saying. They looked distant. How had he come to sit here? To this battlefield? The hostages… had he rescued them? Their fate remained a mystery. The story had no ending, the mission wasn’t complete yet. Steve faded away, Abraham disappeared, Logan dissipated, Charles ceased to exist. Connor could no longer feel the warmth of the fire, the satisfaction of the meal. He was freezing, starving. Everywhere he looked, he could only see grey brick walls, stained with crimson. He was frozen in place, unable to move his limbs. His once masculine body was now a scrawny one, caked with blood, which also

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pooled at his feet. A rack of tools, torture devices, was proudly showcased in the corner of the room as the Frenchman with the glass eye and toothless smile loomed over him, brandishing a whirring, circular handsaw. He closed his eyes, knowing that he would return to his hallucinations.

Illusion in the Dark

By Lee Tsz Kiu Derek (Sing Yin Secondary School)

Maybe another campfire, with different compatriots. Maybe even a feast this time, with his family: a son or a daughter. Connor felt a searing pain as the saw-blade ate into his side, sending him back into the depths of his mind. Last night I worked late on my project at school. My friends had left early so I was alone in the classroom until midnight. “Click! Complete!” I screamed gleefully. My voice sounded loud in the spacious room. All the lights went off, and the classroom seemed gloomy and spooky. There were no sounds of chatting, no laughter. I literally felt the horror of silence. People were always trying to intimidate us by saying there were ghosts inside the school. “Come on! Do students in this school study science? Perhaps some poor guy has gone crazy and made up this ridiculous story?” I always replied, with complete contempt. I forcefully shouldered the door open and turned to the staircase. “Ouch!” A sudden slap on my shoulders. My nerves became entangled and sweat seeped out from my forehead and neck. I turned my head and looked at what was behind me. It was too dark to be seen. “It’s me.” An extremely familiar voice made all my fear and nervousness seep out from my shoulders. I recognised the voice of my best friend, Charlie. “Hey bro, why are you here? You should have left hours ago!” I said with surprise. “I am always here.” The voice murmured, as if all energy had been drained from it. “Bro, thanks for waiting for me. Hehe…” I joyfully walked downstairs. The dark and cold corridor might have been a bit

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daunting for me, but with Charlie beside me, I wasn’t afraid. “Hey Charlie… Hello?” I waited so long, but there wasn’t a response. Where was he? Where did he go? I frowned. There were countless doubts in my mind. I continued to the front gates of the school.

The fragmented scenes just came together like a puzzle in my mind. A wild impulse to jump seized me and terror held me fast. I fainted in front of Charlie and I swore that I would never work at school till midnight, again.

Stepping outside the school, I could see street lights and advertising signs. All sorts noises were combining with each other. I had walked through the darkness and I was finally back to the hustling-bustling city. A sense of comfort filled my heart. I walked into the shopping mall and to McDonald’s to have my dinner. There was a familiar person sitting in the corner, silently playing with his gadget. “Hey Charlie! Why didn’t wait for me at the school? I was so afraid that you were gone.” He stared at me suspiciously, with wide open eyes. “What? I’ve been waiting for you here, for two hours. You said you would finish your project in one hour. Look at your watch now! Where has your integrity gone?” “What are you talking about? You forcefully slapped my back near the staircase at school then ran away.” I claimed. “No idea what you are talking about. Check my snapchat status. I’ve always been here.” Then… who was the person that had talked to me on the staircase? Something occurred to me. I’d once heard a rumour about school bullying. The bullied student had hanged himself in the classroom. It was said that his heart was embedded with hatred, and that his soul, holding a grudge, had kept on wandering the campus seeking a suitable time to take revenge on a student. What was that thing which could sound like Charlie? Why did it talk to me? And why did it vanish so suddenly? Was it that student’s soul? What did it want to do to me?”

- 28 -

- 29 -


Wax

She proceeded to walk through the shadowy corridors in a trance-like state… Little did she know what was in store for her.

By Jim Man Yui (Ying Wa College)

It was a while before Evelyn stopped to notice her surroundings, and as a result, when she finally did, she was already utterly lost in the labyrinthine corridors.

She pushed the ornate, yet slightly cracked door open. The unoiled hinges protested with a series of sharp squeaks as the door slowly creaked open. The panicked scuttling inside the wax museum seemed to consist of hordes of rats running away in alarm at the sudden noise. Evelyn took a cautious step inside the building, her high heeled shoes clacking as they struck the worn stone floor, sending off eerie ricochets. At first glance, it seemed to Evelyn that the building was just an abandoned museum. The stone floor looked posh, yet it was evidently in need of a good clean, with a fine layer of dust covering most of it. The walls were covered in some sort of blood-red curtain, moth-eaten at the edges, which blocked most of the natural sunlight from entering the museum, giving the whole place a gloomy vibe. The sconces on the walls, she noticed, were not lit and covered in spiderwebs. A shadowy corridor beckoned at the far end of the room, seemingly branching out without end. Evelyn had decided to exit the building when she spotted a middle-aged security guard slumbering peacefully on a chair propped next to a booth. She shook him gently so as to wake him up. She visibly shuddered when she saw his whole face. He had a yellowish, waxy complexion, with bloodshot eyes that reminded Evelyn of a drunk and a sallow pallor that bore an uncanny resemblance to death. The guard opened his mouth to inquire politely how he could help. To her own surprise, she, without thought, asked whether the museum was still open, to which the guard replied, “yes.”

- 30 -

Instinctively, she knew that something was amiss. The floor here was not covered in dust like the other corridors she had walked through, and the scuttling of the creepy crawlies that had been present throughout her walk had also ceased, suddenly. She noticed that the wax figures, which had previously all had pronounced features and bulging, staring eyes, seemed more subdued and less menacing here. She thought, these figures reek of death. I wonder what’s wrong with them? She stepped towards the wall where the figures were housed. As she closely inspected them one by one, she saw in her peripheral vision that one of the farther statues was leaking, of all things, a reddish-brown fluid that looked like blood. Immediately interested in why a wax figure would be leaking blood, Evelyn practically pranced towards the particular statue. She stared at it for a while, simultaneously scared and hypnotised by the fact that the statue was indeed leaking blood, with the blood bubbling out almost like a fountain. What she didn’t expect, though, was for the wax statue to collapse from its position. Evelyn tried to calm herself, then crouched to inspect the damage done to the statue from the fall. What she saw, however, gave her the shock of her life. Under the fissured wax exterior of the figure, she could see a human body neatly encased in it. The blood oozing from it, seeped into the stone floor. Even more spine-chilling was the fact that the humanoid statue seemed to be trying to utter some phrases, like a broken robot. “D-d-danger. Do-do nooot…” It trailed off. Evelyn gasped and decided that it was the last straw. I’d best find a way out of this weird place – this, plus the whole environment is seriously giving me the shivers, she

- 31 -


thought. She turned her back on the broken wax figure and started to try and find a way out. Before long, she realised she was still hopelessly lost. Evelyn decided it would be better to regroup and calm her nerves before going down any other paths – so she took out a lighter and lit a cigarette from the pack she had stowed in her handbag. Bliss came upon her and it soothed her frayed nerves as she took a long drag. Oh well, back to work, I guess, she said to herself as she stubbed the cigarette out and threw it away. After that small interlude, Evelyn tried to trace her tracks back to the museum entrance by following the footprints she had made in the fine dust, but instead she was brought back to the place where she’d left the broken wax figure. A ominous voice behind her said, “Now where do you think you’re going, huh? You ain’t leaving this place, not after what you’ve seen!” Evelyn peered around, however, the person speaking was hiding in the shadows. But she saw the shimmery flash of a gold tooth and she instantly knew who he was – the ‘security guard’ of the museum. Gut instinct told Evelyn that she was in the midst of something really, really bad. Her mind raced with what illegal activities he could possibly be doing – could he be the leader of a drug cartel of some sort? She forced herself to take a deep breath, and then calmly said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m going to leave soon and that’s that.” The voice replied, “But you have witnessed far too much. I might as well turn you into one of the embryos - like the failed one in front of you, that is lying on the floor.” Now Evelyn was really confused. What illegal underground businesses involved embryos and wax figures? she wondered. As if the voice could read her mind, it said, “I can see that you’re confused. Let me explain – I harvest organs from these wax figures. How? I abduct people from the nearby town and place them into these wax figure models. The special wax in

- 32 -

these models helps regenerate human body tissue at an advanced rate and also effectively neuters all their brain cells. Therefore, organs can be harvested, which can either be sold on the black market or used to replace my own failing organs.” A sudden sense of foreboding came upon Evelyn and she stuttered out, “But what… What happened to this body, in front of us? Why did the wax model fail?” The voice said, “Sometimes the wax models reject the bodies, just like human bodies sometimes reject donated organs that are placed inside them during surgery – but you, dear Evelyn, are the perfect replacement for this failure.” At that moment, Evelyn understood everything. The dilapidated wax museum was just a façade – to help the man find a proper way to store these so-called organ donors and at the same time, not to raise any suspicion. He was clearly experiencing kidney and renal failures – the pallid, yellowish skin and bloodshot eyes were clear warning signs that she shouldn’t have missed, and the humans trapped inside the wax models were going to provide him with replacement organs so as to ensure he could live longer. “What was I thinking?” Evelyn said, “And most importantly, how can I get out of this mess?” It was then that she spotted her lighter and remembered that wax was a flammable thing. Without thinking, she pulled a sconce from the wall of the museum and promptly lit it. The flames dazzled in a orange-red hue, breathing life to the gloomy environment. She rolled the sconce on the floor. It stopped at the broken wax model, which promptly caught fire, forming a thin yet effective fire barrier between the two. The man realised what Evelyn wanted to do and tried to prevent her escape but alas, it was to no avail. The fire quickly spread everywhere, melting everything in its tracks, thus rendering any attempts of the voice to stop Evelyn from escaping useless.

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A Strange Encounter

By Ng Kai Hing (Clementi Secondary School)

I ran to the first carriage at my fastest speed. I felt someone touching my shoulder. I was not sure if I should turn around to face the person. But then he said, “Hey, girl. Are you okay?” It was the handsome man I had seen earlier. My face turned red immediately. “I am fine. Sorry about my running.” I replied. He smiled attractively. I wondered if he was just an illusion.

Dunt, dunt, dunt… The ‘door closing’ warning noise urged me to rush. “No! I’ll be late if I don’t take this train!” I yelled. Suddenly, the train door reopened. I was surprised but happy. However, when I got onto the train, there were no other people there. I was frightened. A sudden gust of wind from nowhere blew my hair away from my face. I sat down and waited for the train to set off. The train moved in a minute or so as I stared into space. When I revived, I noticed that there was a handsome man sitting opposite me, looking straight at me. I was embarrassed and at a complete loss. His blonde hair dazzled under the train lights. He was as handsome as a main character in a comic book or a fairytale. Fortunately, many passengers boarded the train at the next stop, and the handsome man was hidden in the crowd. Bothered by this extraordinarily handsome guy, I took out my cell-phone in an attempt to share this amazing encounter with my friends, through WhatsApp.

“Admiralty, end of the South Island line. Thank you for travelling on the MTR…” Everyone left the compartment and changed trains. I went onto the Island line towards Chai Wan. The handsome man followed me but there were many passengers going in the same direction, so that was not an uncommon thing. I stepped into the compartment. There were many passengers on the train. I stood next to the handrail and the man stood next to me. My cell phone was still in my hand so I secretly took a photo of the handsome man to share with my friends. When I looked at the screen, I was taken aback as the man’s image was not there. I was scared. Suddenly the man stared at me sharply. Instinctively, I pretended that nothing had happened. When he started to speak to me, I turned around to walk away. Suddenly, I felt something bite me. Then I fainted. When I woke up, I was sitting in the staff lounge of the MTR. A staff member asked kindly, “Are you all right, kid? Your face turned white suddenly and someone pressed the red button for help.”

Sadly WiFi was not available on the MTR. I wondered why my dad did not pay for internet access for me. I made a call to my mum to tell her what I had seen… But when the call connected, I did not hear my mum’s voice.

“Where is the man? The handsome man who followed me?” I cried.

Instead, a scream came from the other end of the line. I cut it off immediately. I thought I must have dialled the wrong number so I called again. But when I keyed the numbers in, I heard the scream even louder than before. I could not stay calm. My face and hands became covered in sweat. I could not figure out what was happening.

When I insisted, they allowed me to check the CCTV. But, sadly, there was no sign of the handsome man…

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“What man? No one followed you.” The staff explained to me, patiently.

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Seven Roses in Red Paint By Timothy Lam (HKUGA College)

However time had passed, and I now saw nothing but the grim grey of space: a space of dejection, a space of emptiness, a space of sorrow. As I painted the sunset, my mind just could not resist flying back to that day which seemed so long ago, when we were both joyful. I’d do anything to see her face glow the way it used to, I’ll do anything to make her happy again. How great would it be, to dazzle her with the same roses I once gave her?

It was already dusk, and the sky was deadly dark with a slight hint of crimson. Even the sun seemed to be hiding itself from me. “Poor me,” I sighed, as I trod the solitary path leading to my lonely cabin. Flinging open the door, I entered the room, expecting to find my wife waiting for me. Instead, I found nothing. Nothing but the white walls surrounding me, myself and I. The room was stunningly empty – not a piece of furniture sat in the abandoned dorm - except for the few isolated boxes standing on their own in a shabby corner. The space surrounding me was huge, but the emptiness it presented engulfed me with bizarre confinement. I stared at the blank canvas around me. After decades of repetitive painting, it suddenly occurred to me that I had run out of fresh new ideas. I had lost my inspiration, the strength which motivated me to move on. I was a lone wolf, howling in the midst of a desert nobody went to, desperately seeking a reply, but hearing none. This feeling had actually occurred to me quite a while ago, when my wife had started to distance herself from me. She’d suddenly become peculiarly suspicious that I had cheated on her. She’d caught me going out with other women on several occasions and I’d assured her that they were my cousins, but she hadn’t been convinced. No matter what she thought, I wouldn’t have dreamt of inflicting such pain on anyone, not to mention her.

That was why the picture had to be painted. There was obviously no other way to capture the beauty of that perfect evening, and what other way would be better than that, to show how much I loved her? Retrieving my tools, I sat down in front of the canvas, as I had for the past six days. Reaching for a paintbrush, I dipped it into the mason jar. I let the excessive crimson red drip out of the brush and back into the jar. I watched as a tiny drop began to collect itself, marvelling at the beauty of its colour. The brush slowly coated the last spot on the canvas waiting to be filled with red paint. It glided around the outside of the bulb, and slowly the empty spot turned into a bright red rose. For others, the piece may have seemed complete, but I was not satisfied. I got hold of the knife on my right and made a deep cut into my left palm. No red looks richer than that of blood, and no love was more passionate than my feelings for my wife. I allowed blood to stream from my hand to the palette, and signed my name using what I called ‘the purest red ink’. My painting was complete, it was spectacular, one of a kind.

Merely thinking about my wife made my mind wander off to the night I’d asked her to marry me. That night, I’d brought her seven roses, with the rather childish conception that the number seven symbolised eternity. The rose petals had worn different shades of red, barely visible in the summer sunset that shone through the glass-panes of our old country cottage. She’d loved the roses, and she’d loved me. Her eyes had gleamed with the brightest rays of love, the only rays of sunshine in my life.

I looked to my left. The floor was stained with that red paint. It was all wrong. The colours had mingled to the same dark red. I looked back at my canvas and stood up, overwhelmed with joy. I then instantly realised… How could I have been so ignorant and foolish? I could never have done this alone. I looked to my right and flashed a grateful smile. “Thank you,” I said. Behind those few isolated boxes standing in the shabby corner, their eyes stared up at me, expressionless. Lopsided on the floor, they leaned against each other for support. Faces pale, they had lost their vibrant glow. Much like my wife, my wonderful wife, who looked as if she

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- 37 -


Past Memories

had just entered the room. As my nose flooded with a strong aroma of Old Scotch Whisky, I felt the woman’s heart palpitating. From those once glowing eyes, I saw the same old blankness. What annoyed me most was that tiny stirring of disgust. How could someone I loved so much possibly reject my affection? I turned my focus back to the canvas. Standing out from a deadly dark background, was the crimson red paint of seven women, as well as my own. A sign to my dear wife that she was and would always be the only woman for me, the only one I would kill for. As I took one last glance at my currently lifeless wife lying on the floor, I laughed, then walked out of the cabin door. I was finally a free man, and as a husband, I had displayed the meaning of true love to my loving wife.

By Susie Kwong Shuk Sze (Leung Shek Chee College)

Once upon a time, there was a girl called Janice. She was just an ordinary girl. One day, she woke up and went to school as usual. On the way to school, she got on a bus. She was sleepy, so she took a nap. She did not get off from the bus. Suddenly, she was woken up by a strong wind and she discovered that there was nobody inside the bus, so she decided to get off to see what had happened. She discovered that she had come to a strange place. It was very quiet all around. Suddenly, the sky got darker and darker, and it started to rain. She could hear her breath, and the wind blowing made her feel exhausted and afraid. There was a church nearby. The church was old and many weeds were growing outside. Janice decided to go inside the church to find out what was going on. When Janice stepped into the church, she heard a voice saying something to her. “Can you hear me? I am your past.” At first, Janice did not want to listen. However, the creepy voice kept following her, so Janice stopped and asked, “How do you know me? Can you tell me about my past?” The voice then answered, “You do not have to know how I know you. You used to be a daughter of a rich family, and you got lots of love from your parents. However, you died in a car accident.” Janice was very curious and surprised to hear this about her past. She wanted to ask more questions, but the voice just said, “Your past is over. You should live out a wonderful life from now on.”

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Then, the voice faded and finally disappeared. Janice was disappointed about this and she left the church. When she stepped outside, she discovered that everything had changed. The sky had become bright and sunny again and the church had disappeared too.

None Can Hide

By Grace Maxwell (St. Francis’ Canossian College)

Janice stared around, and then she smiled.

I’m sweating profusely and my heart is pounding rapidly, the temperature seems to have increased. It’s so real that I can’t separate my nightmare from reality. It takes me some time to realise where I am. After I’ve calmed down, I want to go back to sleep, but when I close my eyes, I hear soft voices whispering in the dark, saying, “Run, run as fast as you can… But none can hide from us.” I open my eyes again and try to pacify myself with a glass of cold water but I’m trembling and I can’t move. The raindrops fall on my windows, and obscure the view. When will this rain stop? Since I’d come to Shadowfort Town, I’d only seen a few days of sun. The strange feeling is even stronger on rainy days, I always feel like something inside the forest is looking at me, but when I point that out, I find no one else has noticed it... “Raven, you’ll be late for school if you don’t get down now!” Mum shouts. “Wait, I’m coming.” I get out of bed and walk to the washroom. I look at myself in the mirror. I see the tiredness under my eyes. I tie my black hair higher than usual to lessen my tired look. “You can do it, Raven. There’s nothing to worry about...” I tell myself. I’m walking to school, when I pass by the alley and see a pale man standing there, holding a black umbrella. He seems to feel me there, as he looks up and smiles at me, creepily. I want to leave but my legs won’t move. He slowly walks to me. The only thing I can do is to look at the man with fear in my eyes. He walks by and says near my ear, “It’s dangerous to be alone, little girl.” He strokes my hair,

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- 41 -


“Purple eyes are quite rare, they attract uncanny things.” He laughs loudly and leaves. I fall to the ground after the man leaves. My leg won’t listen to orders, and I can’t move. I can only sit on the wet road, panting. I’m all wet. My umbrella falls to the ground – I can’t hold it, as my arms are shoring me up. “Raven? Are you okay?” asks Hestia as she comes over and helps me to stand up. “Hestia, did you...did you see a man holding a black umbrella?” I ask eagerly. “Umm, no, I don’t think so. I didn’t see anyone just now,” she answers. “Let’s go to school to change. You’re all wet, I hope you won’t catch a cold.” “Okay...” Although I answer her, I don’t move. I stare in the direction the man had gone.

Hestia comes over and says, “What an idiot. Here are your clothes, go and change,” putting my clothes in my hands. “You need to be quick, the bell is ringing in three minutes,” she reminds me. “Okay... Hey, I heard that there are new transfer students coming today, is that true?” I ask. “Yeah, the transfer students are twins but I don’t know their name yet... Raven hurry, we need to go!” Hestia shouts. A few minutes later, Hestia smiles at me.“Great, we made it!” “Listen up, we have two new students. Please introduce yourselves,” says Mr. Bondar. An energetic girl with a charming face and a boy with fine bone structure and perfectly symmetrical features enter. The girl goes first, with the introductions.

“RAVEN!!!” Hestia shouts.

“Hello everybody, my name is Lisha and his name is Zander. We are twins and we hope to get to know you all,” Lisha smiles brightly.

“Oh, sorry. I’m coming”

“Nice to meet you all,” Zander smiles, gentleness and softness in his eyes.

After we arrive at school, Hestia goes to get the spare clothes in my locker. On my way to the toilet, I pray that no one sees me, but the prayer is useless. Eris, the leader of a gang, and his hoodlum friends appear beside me. I am hoping he hasn’t noticed me, when I am suddenly pushed against the wall.

Hestia whispers, “Wow Raven, he is so handsome!”

“Oh, look who is here, the doomed queen. Did you swim with your clothes on?” Eris and his friends laugh. “Let me pass, Eris, please,” I beg. “Let you pass? Are you joking? Why would I…” “Eris, Teacher is coming!” someone suddenly says. “Ugh, seems you’re quite lucky today,” says Eris, leaving with his friends.

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I close my eyes. I’m so tired due to the nightmare. When I open my eyes, I see Zander and Lisha both looking at me strangely. Lisha walks over to me quickly and holds me. “Purple eyes, that’s interesting...” she says to herself, staring at my eyes. I’m shocked by that, and when I see her blue eyes, I feel fear. It reminds me of the nightmare that bothers me every night, and the soft voice I heard this morning. I fall on the floor as I can’t escape from her. “Aww, sorry. Here, take my hand,” she says, extending her hand to me. “Kids, go find a seat, let us start the lesson,” Mr. Bondar says. Lisha gives me a warm smile and sits behind me. Zander walks by and whispers in my ears, “Beauty fades. That is why it is beautiful.” I look back and want to ask what that means, but he shakes his head,

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The Girl Who Could Not Tell the Truth

signalling not to ask now. School ends. I feel sick and weak so I rest at my table, trying to feel better. Hestia comes by and puts her hand on my forehead. “Oh gosh, Raven you have a fever,” she says.

By Yiu Chi Yuet (Queen Elizabeth School)

“Can you help me get back home, Hestia?” I ask. “I think not... I have club activities later. Let me find someone who lives near you to take you back home. Wait here.” “Okay, thank you, Hestia. Sorry for bothering you.” I say. “It’s nothing. We are friends, so I should do this. Rest a while.” she comforts me, and leaves. Sometime later, I feel someone beside me. I open my eyes and see Zander and Lisha. They look at me and say, “Let’s go home, Raven.” I feel weird but I cannot refuse as I can’t even move a finger. I’m tired and feel weak, so Zander carries me on his back and Lisha takes my school bag. On the way, Zander asks Lisha to tell him a story. Lisha starts. “There was once a pale man with dark hair who was very lonely. Everyone who met this man shunned him. He did not chase them. Instead, he took an axe and split himself in two right down the middle, so he would always have a friend.” What a terrible story, I think. Why would someone split himself into two? The more I think, the more weird it gets. I notice that they aren’t going in the direction of my home, so I ask, “Did you go the wrong way?” They answer, “No, dear Raven, we are going back to our home.” I’m terrified, because Lisha’s hair has turned white and her eyes shine blue, as we step into the forest... The three of us slowly disappear into the forest and drift gently into oblivion.

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“She’s cursed,” people said. I walked down the corridor pretending that I could hear none of that. There has always been a tale in our huge family. One that hurts me quite a lot, because the elders say, “It’s her. It’s obviously her. She looks just like… her.” I didn’t believe it, until I was sixteen, which was the age… she died, and I had a dream. In my dream I saw a girl in a white dress, perhaps a wedding gown, who looked almost identical to me. Staring at me with empty eyes, she told me that I could never tell the truth to anyone again. All I could do was lie. From that day on, I was probably the loneliest soul on Earth, because whenever people asked me anything, all I could tell them was a fib. I could say nothing real, because… I just couldn’t. I didn’t understand why. If I attempted to be honest with somebody, the words got stuck in my throat and I would be speechless until I changed my words into a lie. My life, surprisingly, went on smoothly. I had mastered lying. It was okay to lie to people I didn’t know. It was okay to lie to my friends, even. I thought I could keep it up my whole life. Until I met him. I just looked up one day, from my diary (how funny that the only ‘place’ I could be honest in the whole world – was in a tiny notebook), to see this boy. Have you ever met someone who you felt had a sun of their own?

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There he was, looking around, and then he was looking at me – catching me staring. There he was, asking me, if I wanted something. My breath stopped. He looked away, beaming, as if he was used to girls getting wonderstruck by his stunning charisma. I loved him. I thought life was fair, after all, because not being able to be honest didn’t prevent me from being close to him. I accompanied him at lunch, telling him false opinions about political issues. He would disagree with me and we would argue, although I was completely on his side. It was just that I couldn’t tell him the truth. I asked my best friend, who I get along with by (surprise!) lying (saying things like “Hey, your hair looks gorgeous today” and “I love your new bag”), how to catch his attention. She just turned around and told me, “Lie to him.” Huh? I have lived my life wanting to not lie. And now when I asked my best friend about dating issues, her opinion was to… lie? “Tell him you like his everything, tell him he’s perfect,” my best friend said, looking up at the sky cheerfully as if the clouds really were cotton candy. “Men love being admired.” I shrugged it off. I didn’t want to lie to him. I didn’t realise, at that point, that I was lying to him all along. A few years later when I was interviewing for university. I asked my mother how I should catch the interviewer’s attention. She just turned around and told me, “Lie to them.”

about catching my crush’s attention. So I asked curiously, “Why?” “Because they love lies. They love perfect students, they want their students to be all-rounded and smart and kind, although they know that kind of student doesn’t exist,” my mother said, cutting the withered leaves off the plant on the windowsill. “Lying is a way of life, these days.” I frowned, “But what if it’s a person you love? Do you still lie to them?” My mother laughed, probably at my innocence, “Darling, you can’t always tell the truth to people, it would hurt them. White lies don’t matter.” I left, saying, “Thanks for your opinion, it really helps”, even though it didn’t. Lying to me is definitely not a way of life. I would do anything to be able to tell the truth again. But I couldn’t. Everyday, I went to school, and I was close to that person who had taken my breath away from the very start. I could say good morning to him – that was, fortunately, allowed under the curse. But whenever he asked my opinion of something, all I could do was lie. And that hurt me. I think when you meet someone you love, all you want to do is show your soul to him. You want him to understand you, because that’s all we crave after all. You want him to be able to predict what you’ll order in a restaurant on a date. You want him to say the same words with you whilst you’re chatting so you can say “jinx” or “double jinx” or even “triple jinx” until it becomes an inside joke. You want to think the same way as he does, and you want him to think the same way you do. And that cannot be accomplished when you’re both lying. He asked me if I loved him the other day, and I told him I didn’t when I did… But, the truth was, I can’t really love him, because who can really love somebody they cannot tell the truth to? He doesn’t even know me.

Again? Those were the exact words my best friend had told me when I’d asked her

I went to sleep that night, trying to forget the tears that were in my eyes when I told him I didn’t love him. After all, I know I do. Just because I can’t, doesn’t mean I don’t. For the first time since I was sixteen, I saw that girl again, in my dreams.

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When I’d first seen her, when I was sixteen, I’d thought I’d simply had a dream. Now that I knew it wasn’t a dream, I begged her with all my might, “Please, can I tell the truth again?”

Little Zombies in a Fireplace By Yum Yi Man (Toi Shan Association College)

She laughed and she said, “Why not?” “Do you mean it? Please, I didn’t do anything wrong, did I? Why can’t I live like everybody else?” I asked. She said, “You can tell the truth, on condition that… You can never lie again.” When I woke up the next morning, I had forgotten a lot of things from the dream. I only remembered, that in the end, I’d said yes. I could never lie again. When I saw him again that morning, I said good morning to him as usual. He didn’t look at me, but I could still feel the summer breeze in him, when he walked past me. I knew he would never belong to me. I stepped on a chair in the empty classroom. A rope hung from the ceiling. I wanted to end this. I stepped forward… and then I heard the door open, and someone walk in. I turned around. Tears filled my eyes…

The Glen family lived downtown. John Glen, the head of the family, was a doctor; his wife, Carry Glen, was a designer. They had a ten-year-old son, William Glen. William was very naughty and curious about everything. Both his parents worked a lot, even in the weekends, but they wanted him to be independent, so they let him stay home alone except for the school days. No one cared for this little boy. He played all by himself. One day, William secretly went to his father’s sanctum to find some books to read because he was bored with his toys. The door was unlocked. It was the first time that William had gone in there. Everything for him was new. He touched each book gently with his fingers. He found an exquisite, small box on the bookshelf. William took down the box and opened it. Some small, black pompoms came out and crept to him. William was shocked. He did not know what they were. He picked up one of them and had a look. The small, black pompom had two eyes and a mouth. “Oops!” William yelled as the little creature bit his finger. He was bleeding. William heard a ‘click’. His father was coming. He closed the box and ran to his bedroom. But he forgot one thing. He did not put the box back on the bookshelf. “William!” John Glen shouted. “Dad?” said William, coming back in. “You know you can’t go into my study. Why did you come here?” John was drunk again, and just like he had every night since William was two, he threw an empty glass bottle at William.

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“Go back to your room and never come here again!” William had learnt his lesson. After dinner, William lay in bed, thinking of the small black pompom things. What were they? Why were they in the box? Why did one bite him? William really wanted to go to the study one more time, but he was afraid of his father. He hated his parents. They just focused on work and they didn’t take care of him. Every single day, his father abused him after he was drunk, throwing a wine bottle at him or loudly scolding him, even when he had done nothing wrong. His mother was a workaholic. She did not care about William, even though her husband mistreated him. William thought his parents did not love him. At school, most of the students ignored William; a few made fun of him when they saw the wounds on his body. They knew why he got such wounds. “It’s time for your school!” said Carry. William sat on a chair and looked at the window. “I don’t want to go to school,” he murmured. But no one responded. It was raining outside. The raindrops hit the window, making an irritating sound. His parents left the house. William looked at the door of his father’s study. Driven by curiosity, he wanted to open the box again. He stole the box from the shelf, and hoped that his father would not find out. He opened the box again in the room. Just like last time, many small black pompom creatures ran out of the box. But this time, all the pompoms ran to the same spot – the fireplace. William was confused but he got up to follow them. Just then, he suddenly became really small – just the same size as the pompoms. He followed them into the fireplace. He saw a dark alley and walked behind them for about fifteen minutes.

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He came out into a horrible world. There were many different kinds of little zombies wandering around. They were all looking for food. “Hello! Welcome!” a little zombie said to William, who was terrified. He screamed and ran back to the fireplace. As he left the fireplace, he changed back to his original size. He went back to his bedroom, closed the door and threw himself on his bed. William was confused, thinking of the horrific world he had just seen. What was that world all about? Later, William put the box back on the bookshelf and locked the door there. He thought that no one would know what he had done. But, he was wrong. At midnight, the little zombies from the horrific world came to William’s home. They wandered around the front yard of his house. Then they broke into the house, ransacking boxes and chests, and making the home very messy. They even took out all the food from the refrigerator and turned everything upside down. “William! See what you have done!” John yelled. William woke up and walked to the dining room. He was shocked. Everything was in confusion. What was going on? He couldn’t figure it out. The same things happened for three more days. Every morning, the dining room was in a mess. William thought it might have been done by the zombies from the other world. He decided that he would not sleep that night. He wanted to find out what was really happening. “Squeak!” A little zombie got started. William opened his door a little bit, watching the little zombies and vampires through a slit. He held his racquet and wished he could hit the little monsters. He opened the door and lifted his racquet. BOOM! He killed a zombie, but the zombie came back to life. He killed him several more times, but the results were the same. What can I do?! William asked himself.

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Other little zombies walked up to William. They bit and ripped William’s limbs. William struggled but he couldn’t fight back. William was bleeding. He cried out.

walked into the fireplace, slowly. He could not see the end of the path. When he felt tired, he fell asleep. When he woke up, he went on walking.

To William’s surprise, all the little zombies disappeared all of a sudden. They all went back to their own world. William lay on a blanket soaked in his blood.

Back in the real world, William’s parents came back home and discovered that they could not find him. When they were sure their son was missing, they called the police and searched everywhere for many days. No matter what they did, they still could not find him. One thing was certain – they had lost their son.

“Argh...!” William’s mother screamed.

The fireplace was still there, though, looking like nothing special.

“What happened?” William’s father yelled.

William never came back.

They called the police. By the time the paramedics arrived, William had fainted. Eventually, William resumed to consciousness. After a week, William’s parents took him home from the hospital, but at night, William couldn’t sleep. When he closed his eyes, all he could think of, were the little zombies. He could not forget the zombies ripping into and biting him. When he fell asleep, he had nightmares of zombies and scenes of that horrible world. So William crouched in the corner, immersing himself in his real world. After that incident, William didn’t talk or go out. He didn’t eat or drink. He didn’t do anything, except crouch in the corner. His parents didn’t know what had really happened to him. They did not know how to help him get away from that world of horror, but they took him to a psychologist. The psychologist tried to enlighten him and talk with him, but William was still unwilling to talk. He just sank even deeper into the couch and stared blankly at a spot above his head. A few days later, William‘s parents went out to work, leaving William at home alone, as usual. William walked to the sanctum, and the bookshelf, took down the box and opened it. He did not know why he did that. Unlike before, this time, there were no pompoms. It was just a small box with nothing inside. William put down the box, walked to the fireplace, where he became tiny and

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Black Mail Street

By Wu Hoi Kwong (Sing Yin Secondary School)

after, the Class Association had decided to have the party, which they’d all longed for, that night. “So let’s set off for our journey, shall we?” said Susan. It was 10pm, and the class gathering was over. They were standing by the front door of school. “How should we get there?” asked Lucy.

Have you been trapped inside a haunted castle or stuck in a cursed place in the past? If your answer is YES but you managed to escape and are reading this, you must be specially blessed. We welcome all you blessed people to join our Adventure Team… “Adventure Team? That must be fun! Hey, come and see this,” Susan yelled from the corner of the classroom. “What’s up?” George ran through the classroom, trying to guess what interesting ideas Susan had got. “Are you thinking of what to do after the party tonight?” Lucy asked. She leant next to the whiteboard, looking for Susan’s favourable answer. “Look here,” Susan said, “we can go there tonight.” “Really? Black Mail Street! That’s full of scary buildings which have been empty for decades!” Lucy said doubtfully, looking at Susan’s laptop, and the post in a Facebook group. “Midnight adventure? I love it! Why do you always get such naughty ideas, haha?!” added George. “But have you asked your mum? I mean… to stay out so late,” Lucy wondered. “Don’t worry! My parents won’t be home, tonight,” Susan smiled. They continued looking at the pictures and making plans. It was late in April. Because there was a five-day holiday starting from the day

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“Let me see… Black Mail Street has been abandoned for so long that now only the 468 minibus goes there…” said George, searching the internet. Lucy interrupted him, saying, “Is that the minibus over there?” Susan nodded and they rushed over the footbridge to catch the vehicle. It was dark and silent. Night had fallen, and the strange feeling was particularly strong as the minibus went up the mountain. “Where are we going? Is it not somewhere in an urban district?” Lucy said, frustrated. “I thought it was in an old district, like Jack’s Landing,” commented George. In no time, the minibus stopped. There was a completely calm and silent atmosphere. Susan moved forward, but the driver was gone. The door of the bus then slammed opened. Glancing at each other’s faces, they decided to get out of the vehicle. In front of them, there was an enormous building. Yes, a building, like those that most of us live in. But this one was a bit different. Although it was late at night, under the light of the street lamps they could still see the reflections on the ivory wall of the building. They didn’t feel a sense of horror, instead, a steadily increasing atmosphere of pressure. Next to the front gate, there was an old, wooden mailbox, marked ‘Ivory Mail Street’. George wondered, “Is this where we were heading to?” “Anyway, let’s just go inside to have a look,” Susan suggested. By then the gate had

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moved slightly, leaving a small gap – enough for them to go in. Walking up the stairs, they soon arrived on the concourse. “See? There is a counter,” Susan said. But soon, they realised there wasn’t anyone present. There was an empty chair which was reserved for the guard. On the chair there was a note, saying: Get out of here, black… The words ended there. After noticing there was no source of help anywhere, the three decided to take the lift to the higher levels.

“What happens if we’ve choose the wrong one?” Lucy worried. “Who knows? Follow me,” replied Susan. After turning many times, they finally got to the end of the path, to find there was a door which had a ‘NO ENTRY’ sign. As their curiosity had grown, they opened the door without hesitation.

The lift opened on the second floor. Outside was a red brick path connecting the lift door to the other end. At first, the corridor was so narrow that only one person could pass through each time. But as they got closer to the roundabout at the other end of the corridor, it became wider.

On the other side there was a gentleman standing in a lift. They entered. “From third floor to… seventh floor, all right then let’s try the top,” Susan clicked the number seven button in the lift. The nice guy smiled at them, probably as a sort of greeting.

“Hey! There is an old man over there,” yelled Susan. Urgently wanting clues about this mystery place, they rushed to the man as fast as they could.

The door closed slowly, and the digits on the display moved up.

“Poor kids, you shouldn’t be here!” the old man sighed. “If you would like to get out of here, I could help you, but it may be a bit painful.”

“4… 5… 6…” They predicted what would be behind the mystery door. Would it be boxes of jewels? Another adventure path? They used their imagination, waiting for the digits to move up to seven.

“Why don’t you want us to pass this way? Is there treasure hidden behind you?” asked George, refusing to leave. The old man sighed again. By then a wall had grown from two sides and blocked their way to the old man. Stairs going upwards were being created on the left as they watched. They were truly amazed by the technology the building was using, and they continued their journey.

Finally, the display showed ‘7’.

‘3/F’, was on the sign on the wall. When the metallic door opened, the three were attracted by the shiny golden and silvery walls of a tunnel. “See? There must be treasure behind this!” said George proudly. Walking through the tunnel, George and Lucy talked about how happy they were to get rich soon. However, Susan was frustrated. “It shouldn’t be that easy… And it is not terrifying at all, don’t you guys think?” she asked.

“What is waiting for us behind the door?” Lucy asked.

“Ready?” Susan asked her peers. “Let’s go!” George answered.

But the lift did not stop. Their their facial expressions became tense again. Everything was different from their expectations.

“Oh you mean our midnight adventure? Haha, that’s not a problem. We were lucky to find it, weren’t we?” replied George confidently.

“Where are we going? Where are we?” Lucy spoke her words anxiously. But the gentleman still stood in the corner, smiling to them. Yet the smile no longer appeared to be friendly, but more horrifying and evil. It seemed like something was hidden behind his strange smile.

Soon, they got to a fork in the tunnel. “Things are getting more interesting now,” commented George. Susan randomly picked the left route.

“9… 10… 11… 12…” The lift was now going up faster. Susan, George and Lucy all felt a force pulling them down and their feelings of horror also increased

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exponentially to the speed of the lift. “68… 69… 70…” There seemed to be no way to stop the lift, it was just like a train out of control. “94… 95…” The elevator finally decided to slow itself down, but its speed was so high that it required some more floors before it came to a complete rest. “98… 99.” It stopped. Peacefully. All of them were relieved to be free from the dreadful experience, except the man, the one who was still standing calmly in the corner. He moved a step forward and faced the three teenagers. “Ladies and gentleman, see you on next floor,” he said. Stepping out of the door, he kept his smile, and released the knife in his hand. “You can pay me your souls, as the entry fee.”

“Ivory Mail Street Tower, anyone?” Susan woke up, once again, on the minibus. “Yes please,” she replied to the driver, “Just wait a minute, I will come back to the bus very soon.” She stepped out and walked to the grand building. Seeing the mailbox nearby, she wrote a message. “Blackmail. No entry.” Then she got back on the minibus and left, with her two partners besides her, sleeping peacefully.

The door closed again. Before any of the three friends realised what was happening, the lift started to move up, but more slowly this time. “What should we do now? Why… Do we really have to die here?” cried Lucy. “Who chose to go on such a dreadful midnight adventure?” “There should be a way out! There should be! I can’t accept a maze without solution!” George yelled in panic, clicking all the buttons in the elevator. “Black Mail,” Susan sighed, “what an interesting name.” “99… 100.” “Everything is over,” sighed George, hopelessly. Suddenly, all the lights went out. The lift started falling down, but they were not able to see the digits anymore. They all fainted. Probably, not long before their last breath… xxxx

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A Deal With the Devil

By Cheung Tsun Wai (Wah Yan College, Hong Kong)

Suddenly he felt his head ache. The pain became stronger and stronger. “You owe me! You’re going to pay me back!” The creepy voice kept repeating, getting louder and louder. “Stop! Please stop! I’m so sorry!” David whimpered. After a while, everything went back to normal. David was scared as he felt like something was affecting his brain and destroying his mind.

“Give me back my soul! Give me back my soul!” David jumped out of the bed, sweating. His wife, Emily immediately asked him, “What happened? Nightmare again? This has happened for five days. Are you all right?” “It’s Sally…” David murmured. “Who’s Sally?” she asked. “She was one of my patients. Five years ago, when I was still working at the asylum, I released five patients and sold their souls to the devil. I got ten million dollars from him. I don’t know why I am dreaming of her after five years.” “What!? You made a deal with the devil? My grandma said nothing ends well when people make a deal with the devil. Are you kidding me?” Emily shouted. “Calm down, honey. Don’t forget, this thing is over and I am so rich. See, nothing has happened to me, and I am the luckiest man in the world.” David kissed his wife and walked out of the room. David went back to his company for a meeting at 9am. After the meeting, he went back to his office. He had been dealing with the devil for five years. He’d just made another deal with the devil, same offer as the time before. Last time, he had asked for the profit of his company to grow by fifty per cent. The next day, his company had earned lots of money. David had sat laughing as his company had become the best in Britain, or maybe in the world.

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He consulted different psychologists, but they couldn’t help. The clock struck midnight. David was awake. He didn’t want to sleep because he didn’t want to have such frightening dreams anymore. However, he felt very tired. So he slept in the end anyway. David was sleeping peacefully, when all of a sudden he found he was in the asylum. The room was dark, full of blood and flesh. He saw Sally crawling towards him. Her face was pale, sad and angry. Her whole body was covered with fresh blood, but her heart was empty, with no soul inside. David was shocked and tried to move backward, but he couldn’t. Sally got closer and closer and held his leg. “How could you do this to me?” she whispered. David wanted to leave, but he couldn’t. He kept struggling, but he couldn’t escape. Sally pulled out a knife, saying, “It’s time for payback!” Just before the knife was stabbed into his heart, he woke up, out of breath, choking and sweating. He didn’t know what to do to stop this horrific nightmare, it was tearing him apart! So he decided to find the devil again. “Hello David, Nice to see you again. How can I help you?” The devil spoke with a fake smile. He was wearing a long, black coat, and was dressed like a gentleman. Although he looked like a normal person, you could see his evilness deep inside him. “I keep dreaming about Sally. How can I get rid of this annoying thing?” David asked.

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“You mean scary,” the devil grinned. “However, I’m afraid I can’t help you” “How many souls do you want this time?” David said. “No, no. It is not a matter of souls. I just can’t help you.” The devil replied. David felt worried and impatient. He said, “Why? You are the only one who can help me!”

“Welcome to Hell. I hope you will like this place, because you’re going to stay here for a billion years!” said the devil, smiling evilly. David was confused. He didn’t understand why he was being tortured in Hell. So he asked the devil, “Why are these things happening to me?” The devil laughed and said, “I made a deal with Sally’s parents…”

The devil just ignored him, and snapping his fingers, he disappeared. Things got worse and worse. Every dream was more frightening and realistic. David couldn’t even sleep. Every time he went to sleep, Sally would appear. He became very odd as he seldom talked to anyone. He even stayed in his room for two weeks. It was midnight. Of course he had bad dreams again. In his dream, he was being chased by the patients in the asylum. Their fangs were sharper than knives. They were filled with anger, wanting to break him apart. Every time when he found an exit, it would become a wall. He could never leave this smelly, violent battleground. Everyone were fighting, killing and eating human bodies. They had lost their souls, their humanity. What was the point of life if people had no kindness and humanity? The next day, David was having breakfast with Emily. Suddenly, Emily’s face turned into Sally’s face. David went mad. He picked up a knife and stabbed Sally. But then, everything went back to normal and he realised that what he had just seen was an illusion, and that he had just stabbed his wife. He was stunned and shocked. He couldn’t believe he had murdered his love. He burst into tears, unable to bear the pain and fainted. When he opened his eyes again, he saw that he and Emily were having breakfast again. He felt excited, and happy because he thought that he’d imagined the murder. After a while, though, his hand picked up the knife again. He couldn’t control himself. Then, he stabbed Emily through the heart. This happened again and again, and his heart broke, again and again. He tried to stop himself, but it never worked. David cried and asked, “Where am I! Please make me stop!”

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The End of the Trip

By Wong Chin Hoi (Wah Yan College, Hong Kong)

They kept crawling and chasing after me. I turned my head and glanced into the dark corridor. I saw some shadows of dome-shaped objects that were a couple of feet wide and eight feet long, with slender legs reaching out from each of their bodies. They seemed to clearly be spiders but abnormally huge. I kept running along the corridor in the hotel where we lived, hoping to find a place to hide. Fortunately, I found my room and rushed into it. I locked all the windows and doors; the best that I could to prevent anything from entering my room. As there was nothing left for me to do, I just sat there and thought about how this had happened. It had all started a day ago. Mum, Dad, my five-year-old brother, Tom, and I had travelled to London. We’d gone to many different tourist spots like the London Eye, the Tower of London and most importantly, the British Museum. We’d gone straight to the British Museum to see the vast collection of world art and artefacts, especially the mummy from Ancient Egypt, which was famous around the globe and one of the main purposes of our trip. Since birth, I’d been able to see supernatural beings. When I was small, I’d always become freaked out by their appearance, but Mum had taught me that they were just the remains of people who had died, which were strong enough to stay in our world. A curse inherited from our ancestors had given Mum and me the ability to see, hear and feel their existence. For some reason, when I got old enough to not be frightened by these supernatural beings, I had become interested in how they interacted with us and

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fascinated by the beauty of these spirits. I’d started to communicate and interact with the ones near to us. However, I never realised what a big effect this had on our future… When we got to the British Museum, the family split up and we all went our own way. We three were too enthusiastic to be aware of Tom acting strangely, walking around like he was seeking something. When Tom and I met at the Egyptian exhibit, he stepped past the barrier surrounding the mummy. He reached out his hand and touched the mummy. I immediately pulled him back and stopped him. “What are you doing?” I asked, staring at him. His pupils were dilated, his face showed no expression and he just stood. He did not answer me. It was as if he had turned into a complete stranger. After some time, he returned to normal and we continued the journey. Then, we went to the London Eye – the next tourist spot. Since the incident at the museum, I kept getting a feeling that someone or something was following us, but I didn’t worry too much about it. When we were in the queue for the giant Ferris wheel, Mum and Dad went to the bathroom for a very long time. When they came back, they appeared to be behaving similarly to the way Tom had been at the museum – their faces had no expression and their eyes were empty. Realising things were not going well, I asked the others to quickly go back to the hotel as soon as we’d finished the ride, but it was too late to fix things. I heard a knock on the hotel door, and the voices of Mum, Dad and Tom. I cautiously went to the door and looked through the keyhole, but no one was there. At that instant, monsters broke in from the window. They approached me, and on hearing the sound of them getting louder and louder, my heart pounded and sweat dripped off my forehead as if it was raining. They pounced on me, one by one, and surrounded me, showing their true faces whilst tearing me apart with their hairy, brown claws and mouths, and staring at me with their red, glaring eyes. No matter how loudly I screamed and cried for help, the only thing I could hear were the voices of Mum, Dad and Tom saying, “We are coming for you!”

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I knew that death, and the end of the trip, was coming soon as they wrapped me in their cobwebs.

Where Are They?

By Huang Yuyi (Toi Shan Association College)

“We shouldn’t have come here,” Skye said with an involuntary shudder. She was standing behind Chloe, scared. “Then you shouldn’t have chosen dare!” snapped Chloe. Last Friday, Skye had lost a game and she had chosen DARE as the punishment, in a fit of pique. Jake had dared her to go to the haunted, abandoned mansion on Black Hill. Skye had asked Chloe to go with her since she was not courageous enough to go alone. So that was why they were there, on their adventure. They went into the deserted house on the top of the hill. Not a soul was to be seen. Without any light, the old mansion was dim and creepy. It was quiet enough to hear every little sound. They crept stealthily, taking some blurry photos. Suddenly, just as they decided to leave, there was noise from downstairs – knock, knock. Someone was knocking on the door! Out of curiosity, they went downstairs to see what was going on. They found a door. It was nothing special… It was just a door with someone on the other side, who kept knocking. Skye grabbed Chloe’s hand nervously, her heart beating fast. The house stood in silence, quiet enough to hear her heartbeat. Chloe twisted the handle in a cold sweat. Creak – the door opened. They shone their torch into the room. It was a storage room. Boxes were stacked

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up neatly, everything looked as if someone had just tidied things up. There was something wrong. Chloe was skeptical about the set up so she pushed and kicked the boxes away. It was then they found a long, dark corridor. They could feel the wind blowing on their face, chilly and frightful. “Can we just go home?” asked Skye. She was terrified of that spooky feeling. “Not until we go deeper,” Chloe insisted, “There must be something incredible! Don’t worry,” she said to comfort Skye, “You know I’m always by your side.” “All right,” Skye said with reluctance. She was just a big softie. So, they went along the sepulchral corridor… They didn’t notice that the door silently shut behind them. The farther they went, the more they could feel the chilly wind and hear a creepy sound. To cap it off, at the end of the corridor was a vast, gloomy and weird graveyard surrounded by a whimsical forest! All the gravestones had wedding decorations and flowers on top. It was like a circle for a wedding ceremony, with a path covered by a white carpet towards the centre. It was weird but quite beautiful. Chloe took out her camera to shoot that inconceivable scene. Just at the moment the camera flashed, a skeleton hand crawled out of the soil. “Chloe,” Skye cried out, pointing, as the whole skeleton body came out, “Look at that!” To make matters worse, there were now more and more skeletons crawling out. Within thirty seconds, a crowd of skeletons had begun to chase them. “RUN!” They turned and rushed, like a bat out of hell, to the corridor. If Skye had timed herself, she would have found that she had broken the girls’ four-hundredmeter record of her school!

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Before she reached the door, she turned back to find that Chloe was missing. Where was she? There was no time to think because the skeletons were about to catch up. As soon as Skye had closed the door and hidden herself behind it, she sat and began to cry. Her heart was filled with despair and horror. She began to reproach herself, “It’s all my fault! I shouldn’t have chosen DARE. I shouldn’t have brought Chloe here. I should’ve held her hand whilst running. I should have had the courage to go back to find her.” It was too late. After a while, some unsteady lights got Skye’s attention. They seemed to be telling her it was time to stand up. She straightened up to look around, and stood dumbfounded. Fear chilled her spine. SHE WAS NOT IN THE ABANDONED HOUSE! Skye turned back immediately and jiggled the doorknob vigorously, but the door was locked. There may be no way to escape from the horrible nightmare. “No, that can’t be,” Skye told herself not to give up. This time, she summoned sufficient courage to explore the place, to find Chloe and the way out. Lights were twinkling from the lamps suspended from the ceiling. The machines were old and all shut down. The rooms were just empty and full of broken facilities and beds. During ten minutes of exploration, she discovered that she was now in a hospital. She saw a faint lamp glimmering at the end of the passage which led to an operating theatre. Moreover, she found some brown hair in front of the door – it was definitely Chloe’s hair! She hurried to get in. There were many operating tables but only the one in the centre was covered with a piece of black cloth. It looked like someone was lying there. She was walking towards the table, when a pale hand patted her shoulder. The pat was followed by a hoarse voice saying, “Get out!”

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“Ahhhhhh!” The sudden shock made her scream out and she fell into a faint.

‘that Chloe’! Skye didn’t dare look at ‘this person’ anymore. Who was she?

A few hours passed, and Skye awoke, only to find herself lying in bed in a dark room lit by flashing lights. An old man with a hand lamp was standing beside her.

“I have to go to the toilet, please wait here, Chloe,” Skye said in a wobbly voice.

“Who are you?” the old man asked harshly, “Don’t you know the rules? How dare you!” “I…” Skye was afraid and speechless. “She’s new and quite silly, but I’ll take care of her,” Chloe who had been lost for days, appeared out of the blue, “I’m terribly sorry to bother you, sir.” “So don’t break the rules again!” snapped the old man and left. Chloe was back! Skye threw herself into Chloe’s arms and asked, “What happened? I thought you were dead.” “I couldn’t run that fast so they caught me. Then I woke up and found myself lying comfortably in bed. A doctor had saved me. He told me all about this hospital. There are only a few people, but everyone here has a job: doctor, nurse, patients and so on. It’s like an ordinary hospital with lots of rules. Two things are most important: First, be respectful to the staff. Second, only the doctor can enter the operating theatre,” Chloe sat down and continued. “Now we must pretend to be patients, and look for the key to open the door so we can get back to our lives.” They made great effort to find the key. The ward, toilet, storage room… They looked everywhere. It was like salvaging a needle in the ocean. They took a break as they were both exhausted, their breath coming in short gasps. Skye stood there staring at Chloe – her messy checked shirt, her black jeans worn at the knees and her bare feet. Skye then looked at herself. Her clothes were even dirtier and messier. WAIT! Skye looked at Chloe carefully, again. Strangely, she could not see the shadow of

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She didn’t see that Chloe stared at her with an evil smile. Skye began to run. She rushed into the operating theatre and threw back the cover of the table in the centre. Her gaze was rigid. Chloe’s body was laid on the table. It was already rotten, the pungent smell of death lingered in the air. All of a sudden, the surrogate Chloe covered Skye’s mouth from behind. Although Skye struggled to get free, the surrogate held her tight, gave her a satanic smile and whispered, “You’ll be safe, just like your friend.” Skye was motionless with horror. There was absolute dead silence. Two days later, back at school, everything was as usual. After the freezing rain, the cold December air had chilled everyone to the bone. Skye and Chloe had been absent for two days. No one seemed to be very concerned about them – only Jake was confused and worried. “Have you seen Chloe and Skye?” Jake asked Edward, “I wonder if they’re absent because they’re freaking out.” “What are you talking about? Who are Chloe and Skye?” Edward retorted, “You aren’t drunk, are you?” Jake could not figure out why, but nobody seemed to have ever heard the names ‘Chloe’ and ‘Skye’. When Jake kept asking questions about the two girls, they thought he was insane. “Sky Lodge, 33 Sunshine Avenue, Westmont,” Jake muttered. He had gone to the girls’ apartments to see them. The two were neighbours, Chloe lived in apartment

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The Music Box Dancer

1307 and Skye in 1308. Jake lingered for some time, wandering aimlessly around. The reality of what he had found gave him goosebumps and he shuddered all over.

By Jason Bootwala (HKUGA College)

Apparently, there was no 1307 or 1308. “I distinctly remember them from before!” he said, convinced. “But… Then where were they?” Jake wondered…

I was fast asleep in the comfort of my lover’s presence, when a tiny music box cranked out an eerie and clunky tune, its shrill timbre cutting through the air and pulling me straight out of my trance. Alarmed by the intruding music, I immediately came to my senses, only to be disappointed that her pale arm wasn’t wrapped around me. I was slightly put off; you would’ve thought after all this time, she would be smart enough to know that having her arm over me whilst we rest is the only way to earn a hearty breakfast the next morning. Without looking, I lashed out to the right side of my bed, seeking her, but to my great surprise, that yielded nothing but bedsheets. With a grunt, I scrambled out of bed and was made aware of excruciating pain in my feet. What used to be my floor-to-ceiling windows were now nothing but tiny fragments of broken glass scattered across the carpet. I stepped through the glass towards the table. Due to its impact with the glass, the bent metal dancer failed to make its laps around the odd-looking music box, but instead jerked and jolted in situ. A memo beside it read, ‘We’ll never be apart again’. “Oh god…” I muttered, enraged. The clumsy, greedy trespasser thought he could fondle my personal trophy with his filthy, sinful hands. I wanted to sweep the music box, along with the entire table, across the room, but with great willpower, I decided against it. It served no purpose but to spoil the party. What was that girl up to, bringing guests here? Four months of training, and she still fails to grasp the basic rule of me being the master around the house. Why, oh why, are you pushing me, girl? Turmoil. I fumed from deep within, as my trembling body walked past the bed, seeing the blood-soaked shackles chained to the headboard. I retrieved the

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bloodied hatchet lying next to it, gave it a few twirls on my right hand, tossed it to my left, then smashed the music box onto the ground, before following the trail of red into the hallway.

doors left ajar showed the silhouettes of a pair of dancers speeding across the spacious yet unlit room, bobbing up and down to the inviting rhythm of the music. Perfect dance music.

I remembered how she’d caught my eye when she’d flaunted her brand-new hand-woven dress for her friends in the park. Fresh from the end of my previous relationship, I’d had all the time in the world, and her glowing, joyful radiance had intrigued me. I guess, it was also the distinctively seductive, maroon nails that stood out from her white skin and the way she’d bathed her pale, long legs in the king-sized tub by the third-floor window of her mansion that had captured my attention. Watching from my usual spot in the bushes, I had decided that she would be mine. And mine she did become, her tiny frame giving no resistance as I took her in. But she was taking far longer to succumb to my orders than usual. Very simple orders. Demanding orders, yes… But rewarding. I’ve treated you well, my dear, why are you making me do this?

I entered the hall and there she was. A dripping twist of fabric drenched in blood hanging in place of her ankle. Though she must have been in agonising pain, she continued to dance, both hands in that of the male intruder. Her body was rendered pale from the loss of blood, but a keen look of interest still shimmered in her tearful gaze, which was fixed on her counterpart. She was smiling, despite everything.

The unbearable, aggravating chimes from the music box had stopped, but rich waltz music still boomed faintly somewhere. I jaunted through the gloomy, velvetdraped hallway with steady strides, the dimly-lit oil lamps on either side rendering the glistening blotches of crimson on the carpet just visible. It was strange. I felt disappointment and exasperation at her rebellious behaviour. It was so unnecessary… So many failed attempts and still she persevered. But on the other hand, I was consumed by excitement and compulsion, as if from drugs, or as a vampire is at the sight of human blood. Got some nerve, this trespasser, waltzing into my territory. Scenes of my uninvited guest’s succulent flesh being torn apart by my bare hands flashed across my mind. Adrenaline pumped through my pulsating veins. I flexed my biceps as I curbed the sudden surge of energy through my body. And all through this, I stayed perfectly sane. Perfectly sane. The waltz blasting from my record player poured louder and louder into my ears as my footsteps brought me closer towards the ballroom at the end. The double-

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I need to do this. You made me do this. It is you who set me on this path of no return. I paced towards the pair. She saw me and her eyes widened in terror. The trespasser too was startled by my forceful approach, but tried to seem unfazed. He stammered uncertainly, “Don’t worry, at least now we’ll never be apart.” I went up close, and staring straight into his eyes, screamed, “SO YOU LOVE HER, DO YOU?” I brought the hatchet above my head. As I felt the energy and blood-lust slowly swarm over my senses, the bitter anger consumed my thoughts, bringing me into a whole new realm. I buried the hatchet into the top of her head, splitting her pretty face in half. He staggered and fell backwards in immense dread, but I was far from done. “DON’T EVER WANT TO BE APART, DO YOU?” With some effort I detached the hatchet and with both hands sent it clean through his right shoulder blade, then delivered another devastating blow to his left, separating his arms from his torso. “OH, I’M GONNA GIVE YOU JUST THAT, DON’T YOU WORRY!” I brought the hatchet over my head once again and smashed it into the joint between his thigh and his torso, one after another, until I finally hacked through the bones. He was still alive, but would much prefer not to be. xxxx

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I sipped my champagne by the table and admired my work. Silver screws were drilled into different joints, holding the separated limbs to his body. Metal struts held him in an upright dancing position, as was she, arms fixed in a dancing pose, clasping his hand. Beautiful engineering. Her unprocessed head, cracked open down the middle, was in place, a ghastly sight for him, still barely alive – as I intended – to witness. Overcome with hopelessness and desperation, he sobbed hard, very hard, unwilling to look. The dancing figures stood in the middle of the hall, gracefully atop a rotating platform with strips of mahogany running down the side. It was what he had wanted, what he begged for, after all. To be with her. Her death was just a simple punishment, but this elaborate construction I’d erected was designed to spite him and his outrageous disrespect. He had thought, so naively, that a simple music box would suffice to entrap the soul of my personal property. Yet, it was his greedy behaviour – such an unreasonably stubborn challenge to my authority – that got him trapped in this lifesize music box. At, undoubtedly, my personal pleasure. The chill moonlight shone through the multi-coloured stained glass, casting twisted shadows of a greyish tone onto the giant murals on the ballroom walls. Once every rotation, the narrow beam illuminated the gruesome remnants of her face, allowing him a perfect glimpse into their short-lived moment of happiness, and the tortured pain of being separated, for eternity. I retired to my sleeping quarters. Jerking the severed foot, now riddled with patches of purple, loose from the shackles on the side of the bed, I cleaned out the room for the forthcoming stay of my next partner, who would arrive soon. I disposed of the foot, along with the limbs and organs, but saved some souvenirs – a pair of bronze rings engraved with the word ‘married’, taken from the life-sized music box dancers.

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V.agans

By Owen Li (Ying Wa College)

“Testing, testing. This is BBC Special Correspondent Ethan. I’m here, in a secretive country. We’ve been investigating a case of endangered animals being dissected and eaten, all reliable sources point to it happening in this clandestine location. Not more than a hundred meters in front of me is the suspected slaughterhouse. I’ll be trespassing in it for more information.” It was the middle of the night and the icy breeze chilled him straight to his bones. Of course he couldn’t help trembling, but there was nothing he could do besides gritting his teeth and puffing out his chest like a peacock displaying its plumage to give himself courage. Valour was very much needed. It was literally desolation. An hour-long road trip and two hours of map reading and walking had taken him from safe boulevards to this alienated exclave. No local was willing to come here, not even once. He was no rookie: searching locations, spying overnight and eavesdropping to dig out controversial news was his job – it was almost routine. But now, he was receiving this ominous compulsion – fear was urging him to turn back, or at least have a second thought before carrying on. No way. That was just not him. He liked to imagine himself as a silver fox. Sneaky, clever, audacious and experienced. He lurked behind people’s backs, set up ambushes, waited for the right moment and captured the perfect shot. Snap! Another acclaimed exclusive, another trophy. Right now though, he was wobbling side to side approaching the building – no one wants to ruin a mission by stepping on a stupid branch. Thirty meters. Twenty meters. Ten meters. Foom! The lights were on, but then the next second they were all off. Shush! He ducked behind the bushes. A line of people left swiftly from the front door. He was unable to determine exactly what they were

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wearing since his vision was heavily reliant on the faint rays of moonlight that penetrated through the packed canopy. “Okay, let’s finish the job and get the heck out of here,” he whispered to himself, with a mental note to cut that bit of audio from the video. Palpitations crescendoed drastically as he tiptoed inside. Without the kind assistance of moonlight, it was much more strenuous; he couldn’t see anything more than five steps ahead of him. “Shhh, darn it!” The emotional jumble of terror, anxiety, plus wrath struck him simultaneously, and the sweet, sweet temptation to screech almost got him…almost. Since he was still standing, he decided to use the phone’s flashlight, for his heart couldn’t afford any more shocks. Even though there was light, his eyes needed a couple seconds to adapt and see the whole picture clearly. He kicked something accidentally. The slender, bright reflections revealed what they were. Scalpels. Distress crawled from the lowest part of his spine up to the scruff of his neck. He shivered as he put them back carefully, the way they were. Finally, he looked around. “What the… Plants?” For a moment he thought he had mistaken a greenhouse for the slaughterhouse. Grotesque vegetation and thick vines claimed the whole place, the vast mass inhabiting the entire area including the space above his head. He was trying to figure out what was going on when, all of a sudden, his foot felt a slight tickle. He turned and he noticed the ground was filled with greenery too. Soon enough he returned to his professional mode. After all, what peculiar things hadn’t he seen before? He was proceeding to the staircase when something snagged his sweater. He simply jerked forward. Crack! Without looking back, he continued venturing upstairs. “Another reason why I hate branches,” he muttered, shaking his head. If he had described the smell of the lower floor as fresh mountain dew, then the second floor was probably a passionate, tropical rainforest. To be precise, there was the scent of tropical fruits. Despite the fact that it was currently December, which was winter, the humidity and stuffiness of the room were no different to that of a summer’s day. Despite the temperature, what really captured his eyeballs were the colossal fruits hanging from the ceiling. Succulent and juicy, he was positive that the aroma producers were really sweet! You didn’t need a bite to tell, just a sniff. Eventually, he extracted himself from voraciously savouring the addictive fragrance and focused on the subject matter. He was gradually getting

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more and more confused. He murmured to the camera, “I wonder what this place is growing? Underground tobacco, drugs or expensive fruits? So far I haven’t observed any rare animals.” He sauntered around making unexciting discoveries: chains, lots of chains swaying slightly from the wind; bulging, entangled and twisted plant stems… Considering the possibility of this only being a fruit farm, he was starting to think that those unusually large pitayas and plants were normal. He was about to announce on film that the investigation was a fiasco, when out of the corner of his eye, he saw that the group were heading back to the den, dragging something big. Tactically, he swished behind a central pillar. The fact that those people were using candles and had not turned on the lights gave him an advantage, although technically he was beleaguered. He dared not peep – God knows what was on their minds. So he held out the camera to record the scene, as well as to check what they were doing, on the tiny monitor. In spite of the screen size, he was very certain of what he saw. It was beyond gory. Something with an animal’s silhouette had been pulled taut, body chained vertically above the floor. He didn’t realise that it was a person until his eardrums vibrated violently from a horrendous scream, a curt one that died out soon enough, leaving him not knowing how to respond. The people, dressed in capes with long beak masks, ruthlessly drew lines with their scalpels on the victim’s torso. The victim only had the breath to utter a final protest before his, or her, intestines gracefully slipped out to create a crimson waterfall. This gruesome picture didn’t seem to bother the people in the slightest, whereas the compelling stench almost drove him to throw up. They were now hand-in-hand forming a circle around the body. They articulated some sort of incantations in synchronicity, ending with a grateful exclamation, “For Demeter.” A serpent-like tree branch slithered towards the body, and with unexplainable elasticity, coiled up the leg, impudently invading the cut in the belly. “One more. One more sacrifice until the resurrection of our all-powerful Demeter…” “Will that be the final procedure?” “Yes, yes. Now all we need is to find a…”

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The Friendship Goal

He retched.

By Rachael Leung (St Francis’ Canossian College)

They noticed him. He was cornered. They grabbed him. He fought for his life.

The sky was dull and even the snow looked tired. It was two weeks before Christmas and it was very cold. Rosa’s BFF Britney had gone out with Ryder, so Rosa had to go home alone. She walked by the side of the empty road, which was windy and hilly. She viciously kicked offending clumps of snow out of her way. The air was icy and Rosa’s cheeks turned red. Then, something caught her attention.

He bit a hand. He was knocked out. He was manhandled to an altar. The pagans performed a v.agan ritual. Lightning bolts hit the slaughterhouse. “…Ethan is still missing after three days. Witnesses last saw him walking into the wilderness. Up next: scientists gather to investigate an uncanny phenomena, possibly the biggest enigma of the century, about how a once dead forest featuring all kinds of rare plant species and vegetation, came back to life overnight…”

She saw a little squirrel jump down from a tall pine tree. It sniffed and joyously hopped away. There were matted brown pine needles sticking out of the powdery white carpet. Rosa followed the tiny footprints left by the squirrel in the snow. She could feel the cold seeping into her feet but the snow wasn’t so deep once she got into the woods. She gazed up into the snowy air and noticed that all the trees were covered in blankets of snow. Every second another snowflake joined the collection. It gave her an eerie sense of isolation, as if she was in the wilderness. It was so quiet. She was so impressed by the scenery that she nearly forgot about the squirrel. In the corner of her eye, she saw the little thing hopping into the woods. She followed it. It led her to a creek…and there, their eyes finally met. “I have to leave now. Bye,” it said. Did it just talk to me? Rosa wondered, blinking. She was so confused. The squirrel climbed up a pine tree and disappeared. The creek was covered in very thick ice. It showed reflections as clearly as a mirror. There was no one around. She moved and stepped a branch. The loud noise it

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made was just like the crack of a whip. A shaft of golden light hit her emerald eyes. She squinted and tried to figure out what had happened. All of a sudden there was a unicorn, right next to the tallest pine tree. Wait… A what? Rosa rubbed her eyes and tried to see clearer. But it disappeared. A camper walked up to Rosa. “What are you doing here, kid?” “I… I just… Did you see that too?” Rosa stuttered.

“Uh... So, what’s your name? And what do you do?” “I’m Javien. I grant wishes. You want to be the most popular girl in your class? You got it.” “Are you allowed to read someone’s mind without asking for permission?” “I know you better than you know yourself, kid,” he said, then with a whoosh, he turned into smoke and vanished.

“What do you mean? The pine tree? Well, it’s very nice,” the camper answered.

The rambunctious blaring of the alarm clock jarred Rosa out of her peaceful sleep the next day. She jolted up, and smashed the button. She headed to her closet and got dressed for school.

“Forget about that… Can you show me the way out?”

That leather jacket would look great on you. Don’t forget to put on some lipstick too.

“Yeah, sure.”

Javien had started giving advice to Rosa through telepathic messages. He also taught her how to speak wisely.

Rosa went straight home. She was exhausted. “Everything okay?” Mum yelled from the kitchen. “Everything’s fine.” Rosa answered and walked to her room. She went straight to bed, thinking about what she had seen. It’s not possible. How old are you, huh? Do you still believe in unicorns? That was just a horse! You’ve got it wrong! Rosa said to herself.

Rosa did whatever Javien suggested and she started getting popular in class. She looked more mature and stylish. Boys invited her to parties and asked for dates, even Ryder offered her a ride. He was Rosa’s crush. Rosa was so happy with all these changes. She had not been a popular girl before she’d met Javien. “New look? It looks great on you.” Britney said sarcastically, with a ‘hands off my boyfriend look’.

“Why are you questioning my existence? We’ve met in the forest, right?”

“Yeah… I’m just tired of my old style.” Rosa answered awkwardly.

A young man with blonde hair and porcelain skin had appeared. Rosa’s gaze halted when she got to his bright lavender eyes and roman nose. His feet did not touch the ground; he was floating, but he seemed harmless.

Kid, your friend is not okay. She is haunted by something. You can see from her eyes, she looks pale and drawn. And her neck, look at those blue veins, said Javien in Rosa’s mind.

“What the… Who are you? Um, I mean… What are you?” Rosa stuttered.

What? Then help her to get rid of it! Rosa replied, silently.

“As you have said, I am a unicorn. This is my true form. Didn’t you know unicorns can shape-shift, Rosa?” he asked, in his warm and comforting voice.

I’ll do it later. We have to fix another issue first.

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Another issue?

“It’s over!” Britney said wickedly, approaching with the box cutter in her hand.

Just say what I say.

Rosa couldn’t breathe. It was as if someone was choking her. Her heart was racing and she could feel the pulse beating in her ears. Britney lifted the cutter near Rosa’s rosy cheek ready to slash it without mercy.

“I saw you and Jeffrey together, at Benedict’s party. How can you do that to Ryder?” Rosa said to Britney, repeating Javien’s words. She tried to hide her own surprise at what she was saying. What? I thought being like Britney and Ryder was a relationship goal! “You did? Don’t you dare to say anything to Ryder.” Britney roared, her eyes growing wider. “So, there is something you’re hiding from me?” Ryder said. He had been behind the door, listening to their whole conversation. He was pissed off and he left.

“Help! Javien!” Rosa yelled. A shaft of golden ray hit Britney. She dropped the cutter to the ground. Her knees buckled and she fainted. “Britney! Wake up!” Rosa held Britney in her arms. She will be all right. The dead thing inside her has gone. Javien said telepathically.

“No, listen to me! Ryder!” Britney yelled. Ryder didn’t even turn his head.

How do you know? I can’t lose her!

“You made me lose everything!” Britney yelled in anger, her voice strangely deep.

She is fine. Take her to the medical room.

“No, I didn’t! We are friends, right? I didn’t mean to hurt you!”

Britney woke up the next day and she was all right. She didn’t remember what had happened the day before.

“You took everything from me! Friends don’t steal from friends!” Britney shouted, her neck veins bulging. She scrunched her face and cried out loud. “Have you absolutely lost your mind?” Rosa yelled. This was not the Britney she knew. Britney picked up a box cutter and waved it in the air. Her eyes swelled and turned red. “Everyone loves your pretty face, huh?” she whispered, staring wide-eyed at Rosa.

“Honestly, I love the way you used to dress.” Britney smiled. “Me too. That is the real me.” Rosa grinned. They chuckled and walked into the classroom arm in arm. “Be yourself - not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.” - Henry David Thoreau

Rosa ran as fast as she could. The sound of her heartbeat filled her ears, adrenaline pumped like ice in her veins. Beads of sweat rolled down her forehead and her heart nearly burst out of her chest. She rushed out of the art room and ran down the corridor. There was no way out. It was a dead end.

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The Wardrobe

By Phoebe Lai (Leung Shek Chee College)

The sun was concealed by a dreary expanse of grey cloud that covered the wintry sky. It looked likely to rain. A car drove along the sinuous mountain road on the way to the castle. Jasper frowned and looked at the castle through the car window. “Mum, do we really have to stay in this castle for a week? It looks so weird!” The castle lay like an old man, on the hill, a ray of the sunlight shining onto his tumble-down face. Moss clung in the shade to the ancient walls. It told people that no one had lived there for a long time. However, Jasmine, who was two years older than Jasper, was quite satisfied with where they were going. “Why? It looks so cool! I’m going to take lots of photos and post them on my blog!” she said. Jasmine was a blogger and loved to share all the weird, mysterious things she saw on her blog. She would explore horrible places where many people were too scared to go, then post the photos she had taken and write about what she had experienced.

writing a horror story, so she wanted to stay there to find inspiration. The castle had originally been owned by a distant relative who they’d called Uncle John, but he’d passed away one year ago. As Uncle John hadn’t had any close relatives, the castle had been given to Mum. Jasper and Jasmine stood in front of the castle. It looked much bigger than when they had seen it from the car. As Mum was calling them, they quickly took their luggage and went inside the castle. The floor was covered in dust and they could see spiderwebs in the corners. “Jasper, Jasmine, choose your own rooms and then tidy up together,” said Mum. As the castle was quite big, they just cleaned a few rooms and the facilities they would use that week. Whilst cleaning around the castle, Jasmine saw a black cat run into a room that hadn’t been cleaned. Jasmine’s keen sense of mysterious things drove her to chase after the black cat. After pushing the door of the room open, she saw a big wardrobe. It was an old wardrobe made of wood. There were some ancient totem symbols carved on it. Jasmine felt like the totems were a bit familiar. “Jasmine, what are you doing? It’s time to have dinner.” Jasper suddenly appeared in the room, too. He was confused about why his sister was looking at a weird wardrobe for a long time. Jasmine quickly looked at the window. The sunset tinted the sky red. “Nothing, let’s go to have dinner,” she said, and went to the dining room with Jasper.

Jasper sighed. He had subconsciously avoided everything that looked dangerous since their parents’ divorce three years ago.

She didn’t see the wardrobe had started to shake and that there was blood flowing from it after she left the room...

“Hey guys, we have arrived. Jasper, I know you don’t want to live here. But it’s just for one week, just treat it as a holiday, okay?” Mum looked at Jasper, and he finally nodded.

In the dining room, Mum had already served a big meal. They began to have dinner. It was a quiet dinner but they were accustomed to those.

Mum had taken them there because of her job. Mum was a writer. She was

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The sun had set whilst they had dinner. It started to rain. The castle became more terrible when it rained.

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After dinner, Mum went to the study to plan a broad outline of the story she was going to write. Jasper was asked by Jasmine to go with her to her bedroom. “Listen Jasper, I found an ancient totem on the wardrobe that we saw today. Let’s research what that is.” Jasmine had a premonition that something terrible was going to happen. Jasper agreed, seeing the solemn expression her sister had. They quickly searched online. At first they couldn’t find any information about the totem, but then suddenly Jasper found a blog that mentioned them! The blogger had written: “Be careful of the things carved on the totem. All of the things are ominous. Some of them have demons living in them. Those demons sometimes come out to catch people for their oblation. Then no one would ever see those people again”. The blogger also included information about two people who had disappeared suddenly. They had both lived in that gloomy, weird castle!

Jasmine and Jasper gave up and decided to find another way to save themselves. Both of them were in a hurry because it was the night of the full moon! Jasmine went inside the room where the wardrobe was, to check if there were any hints on how they could defeat the demon. Whilst probing around the room, Jasmine suddenly found a notebook. She quickly opened the notebook and found that someone had recorded details of the wardrobe. It had been written by Uncle John! The notebook mentioned that the demon was actually sealed in the wardrobe. If the wardrobe was destroyed, then the demon would also be destroyed too. Whilst they had searched, the sun had set. The sky turned black and a rainstorm began. The atmosphere became even more tense and horrible than before…

“Look! Wasn’t he our distant relative and the original owner of this castle?” Jasmine pointed to the screen. “Yes, he was!” said Jasper, feeling surprised at this news. He remembered the face of the relative from a photo Mum had shown to them. “Then what should we do now?” Jasmine considered and finally said, “We need to tell Mum and leave here together!” However, things didn’t happen as they wished. “Mum! Why can’t you just listen to us? This castle is dangerous and we have to leave quickly!” Jasper and Jasmine both were quite angry about their mum’s disbelief. “I know you guys don’t like this castle. But we’re just staying for one week! How difficult is that? What made you guys tell such a big lie?” said Mum, with total distrust about what Jasmine and Jasper had told her. She added, “We will stay here for a week and I won’t change my decision.”

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DEATH RETURNS

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Beep

By Wan Kit Hak Jack (Sing Yin Secondary School)

There was nobody but me in the lift. A slightly foul stench, which I could smell, was being emitted from something rotting, far away. “Does that smell come from a dead body? No! All the bodies in our hospital are well looked after. Why am I scaring myself?” I thought. It was actually not my fault, as the lift was somehow creepy.

Beep. Beep. Beep… Under the blinding light, the haggard patient on the operation bed struggled, near the edge of death. It was midnight. My hand was shaking after many hours of operation, but I had to continue, as any mistake would make his family very sad. It was a crucial moment, so I calmed myself and held the scalpel tightly.

I stared at the digital screen in the lift, which showed which floor I was on. Nine. Eight. Seven. It stopped. The door opened and a nurse came in. What surprised me was that the foul smell was much, much stronger than before. I asked why but she did not answer. Anyway, it was much better than suffering from loneliness in this creepy lift. Another stop was on the forth floor, where the morgue was located. The foul stench was so strong that I could barely stand it. Even breathing was tough. However, it seemed like nothing to the weird nurse.

Ten more minutes of the operation passed, but things were not getting any better. His breath was getting weaker and weaker. “We can’t help! It’s absolutely a mission impossible,” my assistant, Jacob, moaned.

A tall, pale-faced man came in then. He was wearing casual clothing and his frighteningly bloodshot eyes were not focused on anything. There should not be anyone in casual clothing in the morgue at midnight, so I became curious and took a few more glances at him.

“Yeah…” I sighed with tears in my eyes. I couldn’t disagree with Jacob’s words. The beeping sound eventually stopped. Tears mixed with sweat on my face and dropped from my cheeks.

Suddenly, my body froze. I could see something on his wrist! A yellow ribbon! I was completely shocked and did not know what to do. I leaned closed the nurse and whispered, “Can you see his yellow ribbon? Don’t we use that for the dead?”

Although sadness filled my heart, I really needed some rest, or I might faint. Therefore, I ordered Jacob to finish the rest of the procedure.

She did not reply, instead, she rolled up her sleeve with her pale, skinny hand and asked, “a ribbon like this?”

“Don’t forget to tie a yellow ribbon on the wrist of the dead body,” I reminded him. Yellow ribbons were used to label dead bodies in hospitals. I had wanted to remind him again before I left as he had once forgotten to do so, which had caused so many troubles. I did not want to deal with those problems again!

My blood turned to ice. After learning such a horrifying fact, I decided that I had to pretend that I wasn’t upset. That was the only thing I could do.

I walked into the hospital lift, which was wide and dimly lit. I found that one of the lights was out of order, which was why the lift was not as bright as normal.

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In the beginning, it did seem that it was going to be fine, as neither of them moved at all. However, the zombie nurse suddenly opened her bloody mouth and tried to bite me.

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Fortunately, just then, the doors opened. As soon as they opened, my legs started to run and kept running until I had no more energy to do so. I will definitely never stay in the hospital after midnight again!

On Pendle Hill

By Max Wong (Wah Yan College, Hong Kong)

Five hundred years ago, an ancient castle sat on the side of Pendle Hill, covered with stained glass windows and topped with tall, sharp spikes on the roof. In the castle lived a witch named Annie. She looked like nothing other than an ordinary woman with shimmering black hair and eyes like emeralds. However, she had an evil idea – she wanted to create an army and rule the world by capturing people and possessing their bodies with spells and by ordering her army to destroy everything, living or not. One day, she attempted to capture someone in Barley Village near her castle, but was witnessed by an old woman who was passing by. The old woman informed Andrew Parker, one of the most powerful wizards at that time, about Annie. Parker immediately teamed up with two other wizards Ronald Williams and James Thompson. But by the time the team of three tracked the witch to her castle, it was already too late. She had built an army of her own. With glowing green eyes and black shimmering armour, the army looked terrifying and fearless…and they were, in fact, just that. They killed and destroyed everything in their way and caused massive destruction. The three wizards used all their might to fight off the army and defeated the witch. They severed her right arm because she could never be restored to full power without it and buried her alive under the castle to prevent her spirit from coming out to cause more damage. They then swore an oath to never tell anybody about the witch. They hid her arm so that no one would ever find it. Five hundred years later, the site where the castle used to be was being turned

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into a construction site where a shopping mall was being built. It was a normal day at the construction site and architect John Allen was sitting at his desk with the construction manager, Ben Davis. Allen frowned. For the past few weeks, the ground where the mall was being built had become increasingly hard to dig. They hadn’t even managed to dig an inch into the ground that entire week. “What are we going to do?” Allen whined. “We are seriously behind schedule.” “I guess we’ll have to wait and see,” said Davis. Suddenly, the door was flung open and a worker screamed, “Boss, you’ve got to see this!” Then green smoke appeared and he collapsed. Allen looked out of the window and saw a coffin. The cover had somehow been removed. A woman rose from the coffin. All the workers around it were lying on the ground unconscious. After a minute or so of holding their breath, Allen and Davis peeked out of the window again and saw the unconscious workers getting up. At first, they were relieved, but the workers all seemed a bit odd. They looked soulless and had green glowing eyes. Their uniforms had also somehow turned into black metallic suits and they had swords in their hands. In the middle of them stood a woman with one arm missing. Allen and Davis ran for their lives as soon as the creatures who used to be construction workers started dashing towards them. They ran and ran until they reached the bottom of the hill. When they looked back at the construction site, they saw that right in the middle of it now stood an ancient castle. Allen and Davis soon arrived at Barley village. They immediately went into the police station to report the incident, but no one seemed to believe what they said, so they decided they had to solve the problem themselves. They went back and ventured into the castle. During the reconnaissance, they overheard a conversation. “For all this time I have been buried in darkness,” said an evil sounding voice, “I have longed for my chance to rule this filthy world and this time I will not be stopped by cowards like those who buried me last time. Dig up the grave of Andrew Parker to find my lost arm and restore me to my full power,” she ordered.

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Allen recalled that he knew a person who was called Michael Parker. He was a historian in the British Museum and had a great-great-grandfather who had been a wizard. So, after they left the castle, they immediately headed to the British Museum to find Parker. Allen and Davis soon arrived at the museum and met with Michael Parker. They told him the story and Parker told them that his great-great-grandfather had indeed been called Andrew Parker. “I heard that one of his friends Ronald Williams buried a mysterious box with him, when he died,” he said. “Ronald told my ancestors to never open it, so no one knew what was in it.” When they heard that, the men realised that the severed arm of the witch must have been buried with Andrew Parker and that the only way to stop the witch from doing more damage was to hide it. So Allen, Davis and Parker headed out to Andrew Parker’s grave. When they arrived at the grave, they saw that it was too late. Andrew Parker’s coffin had already been dug up and beside it was an open box. Inside the box was nothing except a piece of paper. On the paper had been written the following: Whoever’s reading this letter, I am Andrew Parker, a wizard. If you are reading this letter, that means the box which holds the arm has been opened. The arm belonged to a witch named Annie and she almost brought the world to an end. I teamed up with two other wizards and defeated her. If there is an arm in this box, please, please hide it and bury it as soon as possible, because this arm can restore Annie to full power and this may bring massive destruction. However, if you don’t see an arm, it may mean that this day may very well be your last, as Annie will soon be back to full power. She is pure evil and aims to destroy this world and create her own. The only way to stop her is to carve her heart out of her body and burn it. She has a castle in Pendle Hill and there, you will be able to find her. You will need some powerful help. By this time, she would have already built an army of her own. You must hurry. Andrew Parker Wizard

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After reading the letter, the three of them felt terrified and immediately notified the Ministry of Defence. They were discouraged when they found that no military forces were able to help them as they were busy fighting somewhere else. So the three of them decided to fight alone. Allen, Davis and Parker quickly gathered weapons and headed to the castle on Pendle Hill.

The only thing that was different, was the castle right in the middle of it. “What shall we do with it?” said Davis. “We have an ancient castle that we need to deal with.” Allen got an idea. “Why don’t we build the shopping mall in the castle?” That was what they decided to do. Shortly afterward, the mall was finished. It soon became one of the most popular malls in the world due to the long and unique history of the castle.

Thunder rumbled and lightning struck the spikes of the castle as the team of three slowly climbed up the hill. At the top, the three decided to split up. Allen went in through the north entrance of the castle and Davis and Parker went in through the south entrance. As soon as Davis and Parker went into the castle, they found they were in a small room with steel bars. The doors suddenly closed and couldn’t be opened. When they turned, a woman appeared. They were terrified as they knew that the woman was Annie and that she was not going to treat them well. “Welcome to my castle,” she said. “I was just in need of two warm, pumping hearts for my potion to enhance my powers…and your hearts seem to be the perfect fit for that.” She led them out of the room, forcefully lay them on two stone tables and strapped them on with leather straps. Then, she grabbed two ceremonial knives and prepared to carve out their hearts. Davis and Parker screamed and screamed. But just as Annie was about to stab them, a knife pierced her body and her heart was carved out. She collapsed. In front of them stood Allen. The witch, with her last breath, gasped, “How dare you! You ruined my plan. The world would have been a better place with me ruling it…” and then she died. Davis threw Annie’s heart into the fireplace nearby. Suddenly the screaming from the cities stopped, the clouds in the sky disappeared and a bright colourful rainbow appeared. The next day at the construction site, all was normal again, the same workers were working hard.

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A Village Under a Curse

By Chen Xiao Ran (Toi Shan Association College)

“We’re so fortunate we found this beautiful village. Now each family can have a house of their own. I am sure we’ll have a better life in this peaceful village,” James said loudly, making sure that everyone could hear him clearly. “Now go and find yourselves a home!” All the people got up. Everybody was excited to pick a big house. Just then, someone came into the village.

“Hello, is anybody here?” James asked. In the deserted village, there was no answer but the wind. James walked around the houses but he saw no one there. He was delighted to find this village was deserted. Due to the war, their group of twenty families had had a long journey in search of somewhere secure to settle down, far away from the killing fields. James was eager to share the good news with everyone. As soon as he got back to the group, he shouted, “It’s an empty village! Let’s go!” Everyone began to applaud.

“Hazel, how did you find us? Get out of here!” Alice shouted. “Don’t let her stay in our village. She’s jinxed. She always gives us trouble!” Seven said. Alice and the crowd stood opposite Hazel. “Please don’t drive me away. I won’t go into the village, just let me live in a small house nearby. I would not disturb you. I don’t want to die in the war,” Hazel begged.

“Thank god! We have a peaceful place to settle!” Alice covered her face and cried.

“Poor her. Just let her stay in the village, Alice,” someone said. “I know that you took the death of Jacob to heart, but Jacob is gone and he would not be happy if we drove Hazel away.”

“Don’t cry, Alice. Things will be better,” Seven held Alice’s hand and they walked into the village together.

So Hazel stayed in the village alone. Just as she promised, she never disturbed the others in the village.

“These houses are so fine. It must have been a wealthy village,” Hannah said with surprise.

As they wished, the villagers started their new life. Four months later, the war came to an end. The villagers had worked hard for a living all though the months, and they were happy.

“No more war here! We can have a big house and be safe. And we won’t die in the war, right?” Little Amber asked her mother, Hannah.

But then, some strange things happened.

“Yes, we will start a new life in this village,” Hannah said, looking at her kindly.

Alice died.

James led all of the villagers to a square. There was a big, black spot on the ground in the middle of the square. But they could clean it and make the village alive again.

Nobody knew the cause of Alice’s death. It was a mystery.

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Three months later, Seven died. The cause of his death was also unknown. The

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villagers became afraid. They thought that Hazel had killed Alice and Seven for revenge, because they hadn’t wanted her to stay in the village. The villagers got together and squeezed into Hazel’s house. Hannah yelled, “You killed Alice and Seven, didn’t you? You killed them like you killed Jacob. How could you be so cruel?” “What’re you talking about? What’s wrong with Alice and Seven?” Hazel asked. It seemed as though she knew nothing about their deaths. “Why are you pretending that you did nothing! Admit it! You killed them!” Hannah said angrily.

“It’s Hazel! She is back!” Hannah shouted, “Stop knocking! Leave us alone!” The sound continued until dawn. The next day, everybody gathered at the square to talk about the strange thing. “Was it Hazel? Did she come back to get revenge?” someone asked. “Maybe we misunderstood her and she didn’t kill Alice and Seven,” a villager said. “There is no doubt Hazel killed them. Don’t be afraid of the dead,” Hannah said. “Tonight she won’t come back,” another villager said.

“Burn her to death! Or we will all be killed by this jinx!” someone shouted, “Burn her to death! Burn her to death!”

That night, everything was peaceful, just as they wished. Life in the village went back to normal.

“No! I haven’t done anything wrong!” Hazel shouted.

Then a month later, there was a plague outbreak and many villagers became infected. It was an unusual type of plague. Anyone who got it became old quickly and died within a week. The spread of the plague was fast. Half of the villagers died of this illness, including Hannah. No one knew what had caused it.

“Tie her up with the rope! She’s a murderer!” said another villager. Hazel was tied to a stake. They lit torches around the stake. She looked at the sky in despair and said, “You will regret killing me! You will have to pay for it! All of you will die!”

People died one after another.

That day her curse reverberated in the sky.

James and some other villagers decided to run away from the village one night, to avoid getting the disease. As they passed the house that had belonged to Hazel, they saw some light. Curiosity drove them to open the door. They saw a woman with long black hair standing in front of the window.

After some days, normal life resumed in the village.

The woman turned around and said, “I have been waiting for you for a long time.”

Then a few weeks after the death of Hazel, there was a fierce storm. At midnight, all the villagers heard someone knock at their doors but no one answered.

Shocked, James said, “Ha…Hazel?”

Hazel was burnt to ashes.

Knock, knock, knock… “Mum, I’m so scared,” Little Amber cried.

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“Yes, the ‘murderer’ Hazel is back. All of you have to pay for my death. You burnt me and destroyed my home. I just wanted to live in a small house. I promised I wouldn’t disturb you. But you burnt me to death.

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So I cursed the village. No one will survive!” Hazel disappeared after saying these words.

Becoming Their Genuine Selves

By Kimberley Li Tsz Ha (CSBS Mrs. Aw Boon Haw Secondary School)

“No!” James shouted. Just then his hair turned white. So did the hair of everyone in the village… The village went silent, everyone felt hopeless. Within a week, there were no survivors.

Something bizarre happened last August. Everything originated from a quarrel between my mother and me about her boyfriend. We had a big fight then I ran away from our vacation villa. The villa was in a forest I was not familiar with and I was too angry to remember the way I walked, so I lost my way quickly. Nothing was worse than getting lost in the forest, especially as it was getting dark. I kept walking for a long time, but still couldn’t see the way out. I was only wearing a tracksuit and hadn’t brought anything. Nighttime in the forest was creepy. The wind blew over the branches, making a strange sound like countless mouths laughing at me. I tightened my clothes and kept walking in the dim moonlight. I was regretful, hungry and scared. I didn’t see any animals or people whilst I was walking. I wanted to meet a person, but the paradox was that I was scared of meeting anyone who would be there at this time. Suddenly, a dark cloud covered the moon. l had lost the little light l’d had. I could see nothing around me. When people lose their vision, their other senses become very sensitive. l thought that must be right because l could hear every little sound. l was very tense and l felt like there was something approaching me. All of a sudden, a soft, wet, hairy body touched my neck. l didn’t know what it was, but it shredded my nerves and l couldn’t stop myself frantically running. By the time l felt myself falling, it was too late. I fell into a narrow and long hole. Lots of dirt and rotted leaves stuck to my face, hair and body. It was terrible, but I carried on walking! Much later, l stopped in front of a huge sign. I struggled to see the words on the sign but it was too blurry to read. l walked slowly and found that there was a small village. Maybe someone could help me! I was worried but excited. Every

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door and window was closed. Just as l was getting worried that no one lived there, all the doors and windows suddenly opened and the people in the houses looked at me. Goosebumps covered all my skin because of their eyes. There was no light in their eyes, they looked just like dead people. l was so frightened that I couldn’t even move or talk. Someone touched my shoulder at this moment and l yelled and jumped.

to escape from there at once! l didn’t know how much time had passed, when l climbed out from the hole. In the red moonlight, l could see clearly, so l discovered that the hole l had climbed out of was a grave! This was a huge cemetery! l couldn’t be scared any more. l kept running and running. Luckily, l found my villa soon and met my mother looking for me. She looked at me in surprise.

l turned around and there was a young girl with blond hair and purple eyes, wearing a delicate black skirt and holding a teddy bear. “Hey! Don’t be scared. My name is Luna. Who are you?” she smiled. The girl was only about thirteen years old, but she seemed like a central figure in this village. I told her that l was lost and asked her about the way out, but Luna just smiled and said that she was planning to leave the village soon to buy something outside and that l could go with her. Although l was worried whether my mother could find me, it was a chance for me to make Mum realise my importance, so l agreed.

“Why and how did you make yourself so dirty?”

The next few days, we played happily but Luna never mentioned going out. After another few days, amazingly, a full and red moon appeared in the sky. It made this repressed village more horrible. Luna still didn’t mention when we could go and l doubted if she really wanted to help me, but she was so enthusiastic to entertain me that l couldn’t tell her I didn’t believe her. One day, Luna seemed uncomfortable. She awoke very late and her face was abnormally pale. l persuaded her to have a rest at home and l planned to cook a meal for her. All the villagers were strange that day, they walked aimlessly, like zombies.

There was a normal moon in the sky.

“Sorry Mum… I shouldn’t have quarrelled with you and left home for so many days… It’s too dangerous here, we should…” “Many days? What are you talking about? You’ve been gone just a few hours!” “What?” l looked up.

l cooked a pot of vegetable soup for Luna. By the time l’d finished my work, the red moon had risen to the highest point in the sky. When the red moonlight illuminated the village, strange things happened. The villagers became zombies! And the clean streets, the houses and buildings became old and broken too. l looked at the soup l’d cooked – it had become a mixture of rotten leaves and bugs. All the things l saw scared every nerve of mine. All things became their genuine selves in the red moonlight. There was no more room for Hell, the dead walked on Earth. I ran away immediately. l couldn’t imagine what l had eaten and who l had lived with for the last few days. l found the hole l had fallen down from and tried my best to climb back up. l became dirty and stinky but l didn’t care too much. l just wanted

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Living Amongst the Dead

By Stephanie Cheng (St Francis’ Canossian College)

up Mary’s sleeves and she felt chilly as her clothes were all wet after running in the rain. In the dark she stumbled, suddenly missed her step and fell to a hole. At this moment, panic struck her like lightning. She cried for help, but fleeing crows were the only response. This made Mary’s heart pump loudly and her skin crawl.

It was just a regular night. The icy grey sky was restlessly grumbling. Thick clouds were dragged down by the tears from heaven. The droplets fell on a city full of discrimination. A voice from the old house made the girl shudder. “How can you mess things up every single time? Such an importunate and half-witted girl! There will be no dinner for you tonight!” The door was locked once more. With her sharp teeth, pointed ears and her single white eye, Mary was often regarded as a monster. She was never treated normally by her parents, yet she never thought of running away. Her arduous life continued. Then, another night, when she was told off by her parents again, she chose to end her pain. “Why must they treat me like a beast?” she asked, as she rushed out of the door and finally left her frightful home. She keep running in the rain to prevent her parents catching up and bringing her back to her nightmare home. She ran into a forest. It was nearly dark and bone-chilling. She walked deeper into it and when it was all dark and she had confirmed there was no one shadowing her, she finally slowed down, sat on a rock and started to sob. “Why am I different from everyone? My life was hard and I couldn’t even ask for any help!” Calming down after a while, Mary started to try and find the way out of this foggy forest. As it was damp and dark, she lost her way. The howling wind blew

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“Oh my god! Help!” Accompanied only by the sound of her loud voice, Mary tumbled down the hole for ages, until she arrived at a door, on which was written: ‘Welcome to the World of the Dead’. She opened the door due to curiosity. When it creaked wide, she saw a pub with skeletons dancing happily and merrymaking like there was no tomorrow. They were drinking various kinds of drinks made from bones. Obviously, she was frightened when she saw these beings! The dead felt the same. There was a pin-drop silence. “Who are you? Why are you here?” asked the skeletons with astonishment. “I accidentally fell here. I will leave now,” Mary replied to the skeletons in a trembling voice. “You can’t leave unless you ask the fabulous Wizard Matthew how to.” So, Mary went to find the Wizard Matthew. Unfortunately, the sorcerer’s abilities were not sufficient, and as a result Mary had to stay there until he’d found the spell to help her. Mary stayed in a female skeleton’s home. “Don’t be shy, make yourself at home,” Stephanie said, pouring her a cup of bone tea. “I will try…” said Mary in a frightened voice. Previously, Mary had been afraid of skeletons. But after living with the skeletons for a period of time, Mary changed her views about them. She found them quite hospitable. Their life was simple and they were friendly. They didn’t discriminate against her just because she was a human being and ugly. What’s more, during her time there, she befriended many of them and hung out with them. Mary found

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that the life in the Death World wasn’t as bad as she thought. During one occasion, the skeletons found out that Mary had a beautiful singing voice. Therefore, she was asked by the skeletons to become a singer in the pub in order to bring happiness to them and to entertain them. She even fell in love with one of the fallen.

Revenge

By Tiffany Lee Hoi Lam (Leung Shek Chee College)

Sadly, happy periods are always short, and Mary’s time there passed quickly. Matthew soon found a solution that could help Mary go back to the human world, but her joyful times and friendships held her back. Mary enjoyed living there not being blamed by her parents every day, but free to sing in the pub with her beautiful voice. What’s more, she didn’t want to leave her boyfriend. But Matthew told Mary that she had to return to the human world or she would turn into ash.

“No,” Emma whispered in her dream. It was 3am. It was that dream again – a girl without eyeballs, tearing her face into two, full of pain and blood. It was the fifth time she’d dreamt that since she and her husband, Brian, had moved to that house, last month. “It’s just a dream.” Brian comforted Emma, stroking her face and her brown, curly hair.

As a result, Mary went to ask Matthew again how she could stay forever in the Death World. The requirement to stay was to sacrifice one thing that was important to her. Mary chose to sacrifice her voice.

Brian went downstairs to get Emma a cup of water. He took a candle with him for light, as he could barely see the stairs.

Finally, she was able to stay in the realm of the dead, marry her lover and live a happy life. She therefore became the only human being living in the World of the Dead. She could live a life without discrimination and blame. She could hang out with her friends and enjoy her life. Although she’d lost her marvellous singing voice, she found that she had the ability and innate skill to compose songs and play the piano. She became a pianist in the pub and created interesting and sweet-sounding music. She even created a new style of music called “The Skeleton Music” and it was popular amongst the skeletons!

Whilst he was walking down, he felt like something was following him. When he walked faster, the footsteps walked faster too; when he walked slower, the footsteps slowed down. But when he turned back, no one was there. He felt like he had walked a thousand steps, but he still wasn’t downstairs. So he went back to the bedroom, without telling Emma about it. They kept on living in that house although they were scared, because nothing had actually happened. A month later, when Emma was picking her clothes from the wardrobe, she found that there was an unlocked door behind the wardrobe. She heard a sound, the voice of a young girl, saying, “Emma Baker…” Emma quickly closed the door of the wardrobe before the girl finished her sentence. She suddenly remembered the dream and, as she was afraid of making the girl mad, she kept silent and tried to leave the room. The room door was shut. Emma tried to twist the door handle, but the door had locked itself. “What your mum did to me at high school, I’ll do back to you. But, I won’t do anything to you now, because your pain should be shared with your husband, right?” the voice said.

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That night, Emma told Brian, “We have to move.” Brian said, “Let’s pack our things now.”

The Marriage of Blair Mallory By Vivian Wong (St Francis’ Canossian College)

Brian had no doubt that he had met the weird thing that Emma told him about, on the stairs before. They packed all their clothes and walked to the door of the house. They couldn’t open the door. Again, the girl came. “You want to leave? No way. You have to pay back what your mum did.” The house started shaking and all the candles blew out. Emma and Brian couldn’t even make a sound. Their bodies felt like they were being burnt. “Yes, that’s how I felt. Your mum did that to me!” the voice yelled. Brian took a cup of water and threw it at the door. He’d remembered that the last time the girl had blocked his way, was when he’d gone to get water for Emma. Luckily, he was right – the girl was afraid of water and she left. The house went back to normal but they moved to another place to live, as they never wanted to hear that voice, ever again.

The Mallory family had a tradition of incest – they did it to preserve the purest bloodline in noble society. Blair was to have an arranged marriage to her elder brother, Archibald, on her fourteenth birthday. She loved her brother and her brother loved her too, but with normal sibling love. Blair thought that an incestuous love could never be blessed. The best example were her parents: love had existed between them, however, they’d had several children who had passed away and her mother had died whilst giving birth. Blair knew she couldn’t let this ridiculous situation determine her life, so she decided to escape. Under a starry night, whilst everyone else was having sweet dreams or terrible headaches from drinking many bottles of wine, Blair sneaked into the study to try to find some way to escape from the manor. Suddenly, she saw something sparkle. The sparks came from a box… THE box, that Archibald treasured the most. After her father’s death, Archibald had become the master of the manor. He banned most people from entering the study and NO ONE was allowed to touch the things on his desk, especially that box. That night, however, Blair couldn’t resist the temptation and she opened the Pandora’s box. It had a bottle inside, with small bunch of raven-black hair inside. Her emerald eyes shone and she pulled the plug. When she opened the bottle, a mist – and a girl slightly older than her, came out. “Who are you?” shouted Blair. The misty girl immediately covered Blair’s mouth. Blair was so frightened, but she tried to calm herself down. When the misty girl saw Blair had calmed down, she released Blair, who stared at her. “Who are you?

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Why are you in my brother’s study?” asked Blair.

“Pardon me?” asked Blair.

“Obviously, I am not human and I’m here because you called me for help,” said the misty girl. “You want to escape from this family, don’t you? I can help you.”

“Nothing, walk faster so that they cannot find you,” the misty girl replied.

Blair stared at her. She found her very familiar but couldn’t figure out who she was. Seeing Blair’s hesitation, the misty girl said, “Find me tomorrow night, if you want my help,” then she disappeared. Should I believe her? thought Blair, standing in the study. Hearing a noise outside, she quickly packed everything and sneaked back to her bedroom. The next day, Archibald was enraged and he fired some servants, all because they had asked him about his wedding arrangements. Blair felt so sorry for them but she knew at the same time, that she had to leave that day. That night, she carefully sneaked into the study room again and opened the bottle. “I need your help.” she said. The misty girl smirked and led the way. They entered a secret entrance behind the book shelf. As they left the manor, Blair could hear her brother sitting in his chair, sighing. The way out was through a secret road. Blair had many things she wanted to ask the girl, like: How do you know the way out? What should I do after getting out? Hundreds and hundreds of questions wandered in her head, but she had no chance to ask. The road was made of bricks. Some of them were cracked but were still in good shape. Alongside the road, there were lots of chests, documents and tables. When the road came to an end, there was a heavy stone door. Blair tried to push it open but she failed. The misty girl saw Blair struggling with the door, so she helped her push it open, just by a soft touch. As the door opened, vines and dust fell down. There was the graveyard which wasn’t far away from the manor. The moonlight shone on Blair’s beautiful blonde hair and her ceramic pale face. “You look like mother,” whispered the misty girl to herself.

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When Blair tried to walk out of the graveyard, the stone sculptures suddenly moved and blocked her way. From under the ground, spirits, big and small, broken and not, all rushed out. “No…no one can ever leave here. Gl...Glory to the Ma…Mallory Family,” the spirits and the stone sculpture monster all stuttered. “That’s not good! All the spirits have woken to protect the family honour,” uttered the misty girl. “What should we do?” cried Blair. “Run with all your might, don’t ever turn back, I will hold them.” “But…” ”Just GO!” Blair just ran. She rushed into the scary forest. She was lost, but just ran non-stop. Finally, she stopped, asking herself, “What am I doing, abandoning the one who tried to help me? I have to help her.” At about the same time, Archibald, who was in the study, had been woken up by a huge cracking sound. He stood from his chair and found that the bottle was open and that the bookshelf seemed to have been moved. “Gosh not again, please don’t let it be my sister.” He woke up his servants and ordered them to search all over the manor. “Artemis, you are traitor to the family. You don’t deserve to come to this glorious resting place,” said a dignified old man spirit who was casting a spell.

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“Grandfather, this is wrong. How can you force a girl to marry a man she does not love?” The misty girl, who was called Artemis, champed with rage. “Artemis, bring your sister back, then you can come to this honoured place. We will lose the purest blood if Blair goes,” the old man tried to convince Artemis. ”No way!” Artemis fought back. When Blair ran back into the graveyard, she was shocked to see the fight between Artemis and the old man.

“Again?” asked Blair. Archibald sighed, introducing Artemis. “This is Artemis, my twins sister, your elder sister. She tried to escape from our wedding just like you did. She was caught by our servants and was locked up till our wedding. However, she committed suicide in her room, leaving me alone in life. When you were born, I tried to stop everything happening again, but it seems I failed.” Tears dripped from his moody blue eyes and wet his raven hair.

“Blair, step back!” shouted Archibald.

Artemis’s blue eyes filled with sorrow too. It was the first time Blair had noticed how they looked very similar. “I think I would love to learn more, here in our home, before I go,” smiled Blair.

“Brother?” Blair was nearly hurt by a spell cast by the old man.

Ten years passed.

“Why did you come back? You should have just gone,” Artemis said, protecting Blair.

“Come here baby… Say hi to your Uncle Archibald. Brother, this is your niece. How are you? I hope you are comfortable in here with Artemis beside you. I have tried my best to govern our family business. I miss you brother.” Blair kneeled and sobbed in front of her siblings’ grave. The grave remained silent.

“I couldn’t just leave you here, alone,” cried Blair. The sun was rising as the fight continued. The sunlight shone on the spirits and they started disappearing, including Artemis. “Artemis, come back to the bottle!” shouted Archibald. Artemis hurriedly flew back to the bottle whilst the spirit of the grandfather was grabbing the chance to go back underground. Blair, Archibald and Artemis went back to the study room safely. “Blair, you can’t just leave without any notice!” scolded Archibald. “I am sorry brother, I will do everything you say,” sobbed Blair.

“Time flies. Our cute sister has turned into a pretty woman already. Archibald, why don’t you talk to her? Being a ghost who can communicate with the living is the only benefit of being born in a family which loves incest,” Artemis said to Archibald. “Artemis, why should I disturb her wonderful life? A cute son, a sweet husband, she has all that we both longed for. In addition, she knows I am here when she dies.” “You are so wicked!” ”As always!” Archibald and Artemis smirked at each other.

“I understand, if you want to go. Just listen to me. I will try my best to assist you, just don’t risk your life. I don’t want to lose my sister again.” Archibald said softly.

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A Ghost Human

By Aigbekaen Godmercy Godblessings (Cheung Chau Government Secondary School)

SOMEWHERE: He floated to a stone that was bright and attractive. It looked like it was full of magical power. When the man touched the stone, he disappeared. ON EARTH: The man fell from a high place. All of the people around him ran away. “Where am I? How did I come to this place?” the man shouted, looking around,“Wait! Is this Earth? Oh my gosh, is it really Earth? Can everyone see me now? Unbelievable!!!” The people nearby looked at him and muttered, “He’s weird…” The man stopped screaming and stood up. He asked the people how humans treated others, because he wanted to know more about this generation of people, who were on Earth more than five hundred years after his. This man was called Victor Watson. He had been a ghost for more than five hundred years. He had been betrayed by his best friends and had died on his eighteenth birthday. Although he knew that his human friends had betrayed him, he had not taken revenge, but had forgiven them because he had been taught to forgive all sinful people. He knew that they would need to pay a heavy price for killing someone, when they died. Victor hadn’t had any friends in the ghost world and he’d felt so lonely.

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Now he was on Earth, Victor found he had the power to get money without working to become transparent and to control people’s minds to make them do anything. In fact, Victor still had one more power that he didn’t even know about. Victor was very confused because he didn’t know where to go and because he did not know how people lived nowadays. He entered a high class hotel and used the computer to search for information about the world. Luckily, his fast learning skills helped and he learned all about modern culture in just an hour. Then, Victor decided to go and eat some food. He found a restaurant that was quite old and dirty, but the restaurant owner was so nice to him, that Victor’s heart was warmed. Afterwards, Victor went back to the hotel to start his life there. THREE MONTHS LATER: Through his three months on Earth, Victor had met a lot of people. Most of them were nice to him, but he didn’t make friends with any of them because he was very afraid he would experience the taste of betrayal again. One day, Victor went to the restaurant where he always went for lunch. It was his birthday, so Victor had booked a private room because he wanted to eat in a quieter place. Victor ordered food, then he went to the toilet. As he was about to leave, he heard a person outside say, “Are you sure he’s dead?” Another person answered, “Yes, of course, I just killed him with my own hands. I have already called the cops and everything is set up. Don’t worry, everything will be fine.” After a few minutes both of them went away and Victor left the toilet with lots of questions in his mind. How could they be so calm after they just killed someone? Why are people still killing other people so easily and how can they act like nothing just happened when they just killed somebody just a few minutes ago? How can they live so freely? When Victor got back to the room that he had booked, he found the police and the restaurant manager were there. On the ground was a dead body covered in blood. The manager immediately pointed to Victor and said, “It’s him, this is the person who booked this room. He must have murdered this man.” Victor was

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shocked because the voice of the manager was the same as the person that he had heard talking outside the toilet! This must mean that the manager wanted the police to arrest Victor so that no-one would know that the real murderer was himself! The police found a knife on the dead man’s body. It had Victor’s fingerprints on it. Victor was arrested. He went quietly, as if he were just taking a car to somewhere with a lot of police, but as they drove, Victor was thinking about a lot of things. He didn’t have any friends and there was no one willing to help him, so he would have to stay in prison and hope the police could find other evidence to prove Victor was not the killer.

NINE MONTHS LATER: Victor had killed a lot of people. He wanted to continue. But, what he didn’t know, was that the time for him to go back to the ghost world had arrived. The magic stone’s power had run out in the year he had stayed on Earth. So, one day, when Victor decided to kill someone, he just disappeared. The connection between this world and his world had been broken. No one remembered him.

In his mind two voices spoke to him: Evil Victor: “Hey guy, what are you doing? It’s a misunderstanding. They just arrested you because of the knife. That’s ridiculous! You should just kill that manager, he is not fit to stay in this world at all. So kill him! Kill him!” Good Victor: “No, don’t kill him, don’t forget what you were taught to do. You must forgive all sinful people, because they must pay their price later. Also don’t forget why you are here, you were finding out if people have mercy, you didn’t stay here to kill people.” Evil Victor: “Just kill them! See how cool-headed they were just after they killed someone. They are so selfish and useless. They should pay the price immediately. Why should they survive? They are just destroying this world. Let’s kill all of them to make a better world.” Victor thought about it, then said ‘yes’ to the Evil Victor. At once, he was taken over by the Evil Victor. He found out that he had the power to kill people using his thoughts and he started to kill all the people that he thought were bad. Victor became a serial murderer, but because he killed with his mind, the police couldn’t find any evidence that he was the killer.

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The Unreachable Prince Charming By Wong Lai Yi (Clementi Secondary School)

it. She went home and had a nice dream. For the next few days, Kitty did not see the man. She missed him, so she went to his house to pay him a visit. She stood outside and pressed his doorbell, but no one answered. She met an elderly man from the house next to Prince Charming’s. “Excuse me, do you know Jack? He lives in this house,” she said.

On the last day of October last year, Halloween decorations were everywhere. On a quiet, dark street, a girl called Kitty was walking home. When she walked through a dark narrow alley, a cold wind blew against her. Meanwhile, a rat ran out from a box. “Argh!” Kitty screamed and ran out of the alley. She bumped into a man and because she was frightened, she left without saying sorry to him. This Halloween, Kitty dressed up as a vampire and joined a party with her colleagues. Many of them had dressed up as different characters and they danced all night long. Kitty was scared by a man who wore a white robe with blood stains – his make-up looked very real. “Wow! Your make-up looks awesome!” “Yours is not bad, either,” the man replied. “Do you remember last Halloween, we met in the alley, but you didn’t look at me,” he continued. “You were the man who I bumped into! I’m sorry, I was a bit scared. Too scared to say anything.”

“This one?” the elderly man was shocked. “His whole family died during the outbreak of SARS.” “What?” Kitty trembled. “The husband was a doctor and his wife a nurse. They fought hard against the deadly disease. Unfortunately, they got infected, and even worse, spread the virus to their tenyear-old son. The whole family died about twenty years ago.” After listening to his story, Kitty felt lightheaded and weak. So who was the man that had chatted with her the whole night? “It’s impossible!” she muttered.

“Never mind,” said the man, smiling at her. After the party, the man, who was called Jack, took Kitty home. On the way, they chatted. Kitty felt like she was talking with an old friend, not a stranger. When they reached Moon Street, the Prince Charming said, “Oh! We live in the same road. We are neighbours!” Kitty was surprised. They took a selfie before they parted. “Thank you! See you!” she said. Kitty turned and looked back after they bid farewell to each other. The thirtyyear-old man had disappeared in no time. But Kitty didn’t think too much about

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Last Wish

By Bee Lin Haofeng (CSBS Mrs. Aw Boon Haw Secondary School)

“Hello, you poor boy, are you okay? ” A wonderful voice became the wake-up call for Berry. She had beautiful blue wavy hair and she was sitting near him, wearing a blue dress. “Thank you for saving me. What should I call you, my lady? ” Berry wiped his wet face and asked.

Have you ever thought about what you would do if you lost a person you love? Berry’s younger sister had fallen into the Marie River and died, ten years ago. Since then, he’d been craving a way to save his sister and to get away from his nightmare. Today was his last day in the city. He went to sit by the river. “Viola, take good care of yourself and don’t forget to make some new friends.” Berry said to the river, gazing at the tall, young man in the reflection. Suddenly, his reflection became blurry and murky and changed into a skinny shadow. Berry could not believe what he saw now! “Come and find me, Berry. It’s chilly and full of darkness, I need you!” a strange voice said. Berry was certain that he’d last heard the voice ten years ago. “Viola is there, waiting for me!” Berry thought to himself. This incredible thought touched Berry’s nerves and his mind hooked up old memories. He quickly made a decision to try to catch Viola in the water. He pulled up his black pants, rolled up his striped sleeves and got ready to jump. Splash! Berry dropped into the dark and chilly world. The cold water trampled his slim body and made him dizzy. Luckily, the shadows gradually became clearer and he saw a wrinkled face with long white hair. She was an old woman with a hoarse voice! She didn’t look like his sister anymore... He felt exhausted, he wanted to go back to the surface but his body wouldn’t move. He stared at the woman then closed his eyes slowly.

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“Marie, and you are welcome!” She took his left hand, and stood up. “Were you looking for someone?” Berry didn’t answer because his left arm had suddenly become extremely cold. “We are the same... I need to…go back…to the sea…” She said to herself, gasping. Berry felt his left hand fill with what felt like cold sweat. He looked at the lady’s hand in his. She was melting! “Oh god!” Berry exclaimed and moved away, quickly. A few seconds later, there was only a blue dress and a pair of high heels on the ground. Berry ran all the way home as fast as he could! He wanted someone to tell him what had happened but he couldn’t see anyone. There was silence in the street. Finally, he saw an old man sitting in front of his neighbour’s door. Berry recognised him. He was called Leo and he’d had a lovely grandson called Peter. But…how could it be Leo? He had died two years ago! “Peter! My baby. Come here, I will never let you go!” the old man shouted, giving Berry a big hug. “No, you’ve got it wrong! I am Peter’s classmate, Berry,” Berry explained to him. When he heard that, Leo’s kindly face turned evil and full of anger. “Where are you hiding him? Tell me or I will kill you!” Leo threatened. Keeping a space between Leo and himself, Berry spoke, “After you passed away, Peter worked really hard and got very high marks in every exam. He told me that the reason he worked hard was because he didn’t want you to worry. He wanted you to feel proud of him!” “Poor Peter! You didn’t need to force yourself, I just wanted you to be yourself…” Leo uttered a terrible cry, then his body became bright, transparent and finally disappeared.

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Berry couldn’t think of what to do. He turned away from his home and walked along the street. He was aware he was in another world. A world he should have never gone to! He sat by the road, alone in the sunshine. Although Berry wanted to escape this unreal world, he also wanted to meet Viola and apologise to her. “Did...you kill Leo?” The hoarse voice scared Berry. He turned and the now familiar face shocked him again. It was the old lady he had seen in the dark, cold water. “Who are you? And why did you bring me to this world?” Berry shouted.

“No! No! I’ve just got you back, why do you have to go?” Berry screamed, but his sister had disappeared. Berry was all alone again, but he understood this world now, and his duty. Everyone who died with an unfulfilled dream got stuck in this world until their last wish came true. He had to carry on with what his sister had been doing and help the poor souls get away. Berry knew what he needed to do.

“I didn’t. You are the invader! You killed Leo and you are going to destroy my world!” As the old lady screamed, the sky became cloudy and smoggy. The ground started shaking and rumbling. She was like a witch! She waved a skinny arm and a fierce wind pushed him down to the ground. Instantly, a vine grew from the ground and tied him up tightly so Berry couldn’t move. The witch moved slowly towards him, her evil power making her hand glow white. She pointed her finger at Berry’s head, getting ready to destroy him. There wasn’t any time for him to run away! “I’m sorry I disturbed your world… For my last request could you please tell a little girl called Viola, that her brother still loves her and will love her forever?” begged Berry. “Did you say… Vi…Viola? Who are you? I have been waiting for my brother for thousands of years!” the witch said, as she fell down on the road, all her power gone. “Viola is that you?” Berry gave the witch a big hug. “I finally found you! I’m never going to let you slip out of my hands again.” At that, the old witch turned into a little girl who Berry had lost a long time ago – his sister, Viola! “I always dreamt I’d see you again,” Viola replied. And then, she became bright, transparent like Leo…and vanished.

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The Terrible Toilet

By Cindy Cheung (Cheung Chau Government Secondary School)

It is a silent, wet night. Strange, cold weather. The awful, creepy toilet is empty. The walls are full of moss, cobwebs and black bloodstain. No one wants to go in, no one dares to go in. A woman screams. Tonight, the same tragedy will happen again. In her room, a girl is listening to music, talking with her friends on her mobile phone and laughing loudly. No one can hear the voice in the toilet, no one notices what’s happening. They laugh, they play, they enjoy. The woman in the toilet cries. She screams. She is scared. Nobody comes to save her, nobody wants to help her.

She needs to go to the disgusting toilet. The man has cleaned the blood on the ground and put the dead body into a sack. He has thrown the sack through the window and climbed out. The girl walks into the toilet. She looks around and sniffs. She feels something is strange here, but she throws away these messy thoughts and starts to sing a song to make herself feel more comfortable. “Tanto quiero llorar, basta ya, basta ya...” she sings and whistles. The doleful lyrics and the piteous sound, in this place where the woman died, makes everything different. Suddenly, a wind starts to blow and there is another sound. The sound of a woman crying and screaming. The girl is so scared, and she walks quickly away from the toilet. Immediately, the sound changes to someone singing and sobbing. The girl is afraid, but she is attracted by this amazing sound. She stops walking away and goes back into the toilet. A thin woman with a red dress and black hair suddenly appears in front of her. The girl knows that it is a ghost, as it is without feet.

In the toilet, the uninvited man with a crazy smile is holding his knife. The woman standing in front of him wants to ask him, “why?”, but her mouth is plugged with a towel. Wearing black clothes and a malicious smile, the man walks towards to her slowly and says, ’’good girl, good girl…’’

Horror-struck and frightened, the girl wants to cry. She starts to mumble to herself, “Please, please…please don’t...’’ The ghost moves towards her. The girl howls desperately, runs quickly to the door and tries to get out of the toilet. But she cannot open the door. Hopeless and crazy thoughts come into her brain and she trembles hard.

Then, he takes the knife and pierces her abdomen. The young woman opens her mouth with a gasp. Her face is hopeless. No words run out of her mouth. She falls down on the ground slowly, so slowly, and her blood goes cold.

No one can hear what the girl howls as the ghost moves to her quickly. “Please, please…” the girl begs the ghost. She thinks she will be killed by the ghost. But nothing happens. The ghost disappears.

No one has heard the poignant voice from toilet. No one has realised what’s happened.

Even after many years pass, no one comes to this toilet, no one knows what has happened.

After her phone call ends, the girl walks out from her room. She wants to go to the toilet. Unfortunately, the toilet nearest to her is broken and she needs to go to another toilet.

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Soulmates

By Lam Lok Hei (Sing Yin Secondary School)

he still entered the stairwell. I was unable to do anything, all I could do was to witness his death. Then, I could not sense the world anymore and all was darkness. xxxx SOMETIME BEFORE:

I stepped into the stairwell, which stretched upwards. The floor was stained with sewage and drops of water dripped down from the ceiling. There were windows on the walls, but the panes were blurred so I could not see through them. The only thing I knew was that it was dark outside and I could barely see the stairs in the dim light glowing from the old, greasy filament lamp hanging down. The floor was wet and slippery and there was a hint of a metallic smell, floating in the air. I slipped and fell on the floor. The crimson liquid leaking out of the bin flowed its way towards me. As I went to stand up and leave this damned place immediately, I heard footsteps approaching from the upper floors. I thought that I must have found some secret that I was not supposed to know. I quickly turned around and ran down the stairs to get back to the ground floor. I ran and I kept on running, but every time I passed the floor sign, it always said “Third Floor” no matter how many floors I had descended. The footsteps from above never disappeared. I tripped over myself, falling adjacent to the bin, again. The crimson liquid now appeared more purplish and even more spread out. I cannot escape this loop, I thought… And I was right. Being exhausted, I was absurdly calm and I quietly awaited my impending doom. The footsteps sounded closer now and louder. I saw a man in a suit like a businessman, but I was lifted by something other than that man. I lost consciousness. The next thing I remembered was seeing myself dismembered and chunks of me being put inside a bin. I was pretty dead, but I could still sense my surroundings. Then, I saw my father walking towards the stairwell because of the out-of-service lift. I was petrified and I accelerated towards him, screaming. He seemed unable to hear me, as he made no response. I screamed and screamed with terror, but

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Wilson was supposed to be sleeping, but was not quite able to, as Emily and Elizabeth had died a few weeks before. His wife and his daughter, the two women he loved the most in his life, had passed away in a single day. Emily had been caring, considerate, decisive, gorgeous and smart. There were not enough adjectives for her. Maybe God had envied her beauty and her intelligence? Her life had been taken by a car crushing the bus that she, along with their daughter, Elizabeth, had been on. “Listen, Wilson.” A voice so familiar echoed around his bedroom. He thought he was missing her too much and had started hearing voices. “Wilson, wake up!” The voice was firmer, but still gentle. All the sleepiness gone, he looked around his room but there was nobody. “I am dead, don’t you remember? There’s no way you can see me!” the voice giggled. “Emily? Is that you, Emily?” his voice was thrilled. He reached for Emily’s face and touched it gently. “Wilson, was that you? How can you touch me? I’m a ghost!” Emily was shocked by the warmth she’d felt on her face. “I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you. I was born a Soulshaper – a person with the ability to touch and modify the shape of souls.” Wilson explained, revealing a part of his identity that his wife did not know of. “It’s good to see you again, Emily.” As Wilson whispered the words, teardrops fell on his bed. Emily’s expression suddenly turned serious, “You didn’t tell me anything about that. We could have stopped him; we could have set Elizabeth’s soul free!” “What? Why, where’s her soul? How did she die? Weren’t you two crushed in the

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car accident?” Wilson was utterly frustrated. “Yes, we were killed in an accident… But nobody knew what HE did afterwards. HE wanted to feast on spiritual energy, so HE took Elizabeth away.” Emily was shaking, spitting out one word at a time. “HE? Who is HE?” “My father. I was trained to call him ‘HE’ because nobody dares to say his name out loud.” “So, your father was not a doctor? What about your mother, was she a nurse?” Wilson asked Emily the questions angrily. “Don’t be angry with me, honey. You didn’t tell me about yourself either, so please don’t blame me. I was born in an ancient family called the Ethereas. My father, Rone, broke our family rule. He married an ordinary woman, my mother, Kate. Staying in our mansion in the countryside, my mother was affected by the spiritual energy and became very weak. She caught a disease and she almost died before giving birth to me. My father used almost all of his energy to save her and me. After he exhausted this huge amount of energy, he changed. He turned into a beast, only longing for spiritual “food”. Our daughter’s spirit is the best type of cuisine for him. She possessed an unimaginably strong spiritual energy, which is perfect for Rone’s gluttony.” Emily tried her best to explain the situation. She blamed Wilson for not telling her that he had spiritual talents. “Emily, what are we going to do? Can we save Elizabeth?’” “My father consumed her spirit when she died, but the situation is not over yet. We must find five hundred other soul fragments to trade for Elizabeth.” “And how exactly do we get those?” “The Soulshaper is asking me how to get souls? Don’t be silly.” “Maybe we can get them from dead people?”

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“Yes, but the hard part is, we have to make them dead. For Elizabeth, sacrifices must be made.” Emily’s voice was firm, and at the same time, cold-blooded. xxxx “This is the five hundredth soul.” Wilson stared at the bin, looking at the dead father and son, without any emotions. He stepped on the scarlet liquid on his way out of the stairwell, tainting his boots and the floor. After killing all these people, his soul was already tainted. “Emily, what do we do with this amalgamation?” Wilson said, looking at the glass jar he carried in his pocket. The souls were glowing and moving in the jar, like a beating heart trying to escape. “We must now go back to the Ethereas, the place I once called home.” When they arrived at the mansion, there were vines strangling the front gate and moss on the cobblestones. Wilson opened the door and saw an old man sitting in the middle of the enormous hallway. “Rone, these are the souls that you need, now give me back my daughter.” Emily said to the man she had once called her father. “Where is it then, where is my delicious food?” Rone laughed hysterically, but his body did not move one bit. “Throw me the jar, Emily. Give it to me!” He could not wait any longer. Wilson threw the jar onto the floor in front of Rone, who, upon witnessing the spirits spouting out of the jar, opened his mouth and engulfed all of them. Wilson had the chance to see Rone’s face with the hollow eyes. It made him feel sad. Rone pushed Elizabeth’s soul out of his body with the new soul fragments. The more he gained energy from the fragments, the more Elizabeth’s soul was restored. Then Rone screamed with agony and fury, “You two liars! These fragments taste of vengeance and devastation. These are not the seasonings I asked for!” He seemed to suffer from those impurities.

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One of the souls took over Rone’s body, and said to Wilson and Emily, “You wanted your daughter back, so you have destroyed hundreds of families!”

Ghost in the Opera Bell

By Zeng Qingchu (Toi Shan Association College)

Another voice appeared, saying, “You thought we would not fight back? Yes, if each of us were alone, we could not have done anything, but hundreds of thoughts together can generate the worst out of the worst.” With that, the spirits took over Rone’s body, and sucked Elizabeth back in. The energy overwhelmed Rone and he could not handle the shock. He lay on the floor, his eyes were once more Emily’s father’s eyes. “Emily, your mother made the people you and Wilson killed live a little longer, so they could see what their deaths did to their families. She planted the seed of revenge in their souls.” Rone said to his daughter, almost at his last breath. “But, how could Mum do anything like that, when she is just an ordinary human?” “No, she did have abilities, she just hated to use it against people, to help herself.”

Under the thick, dark cloud, in a creepy, old opera house covered with moss, the big bronze bell that was supposed to be hanging in the dome lay on the shabby stage. Pieces of wood were messily scattered around the floor and the seats were wrapped with cobwebs and spiders. It was a cursed opera house, where its most famous soprano had died, right inside the bell. It had happened during a show, the last show for the soprano. Her little girl had been waiting backstage, for the gorgeous voice of her mum. The stage staff had pressed the wrong button and that had led directly to her death. The audience had run out in a panic, screaming, leaving the little girl standing beside the bell, tears falling unstoppably and desperately. The little girl had disappeared, and it was the departure of the great soprano, too. “Father, please save him!” A woman sobbed beside her son who was showing the whites of his eyes and lying stiffly in bed. “Sorry but I can’t… The ghost is too ferocious and I can’t.” Another life cut short, due to the curse of the opera house. Ever since the opera house had been shut down, hardly anyone had dared to go in. But some brave boys had broken in and had heard some beautiful songs, from an unknown source, floating around the air. Then, they died all of a sudden, at the same time of day that the soprano had died. Since then, breaking into the opera house had been forbidden in the town. Everyone who had ever touched the opera house had to be cleansed with holy fire to help that person escape from the curse. Graceffa was living in the town with Aunt Linda. She was not related to Aunt

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Linda but the family had really poured all of their love on her. She had always felt blazing curiosity about her own life and had tried hard to get details from Aunt Linda about it. Aunt Linda changed into a different person every time Graceffa talked about it. This time, she showed abnormal impatience with Grace. “You know what, Grace? So many of us have died because of you…” Aunt Linda suddenly realised her fatal mistake and stopped. All the people in the house went silent, deadly silent. “Aunt Linda, what did you say?” “My dear, I was too impulsive, I…” “What did you mean when you said people’s deaths were related to me?” Grace glowered at Aunt Linda. Her large, crystal eyes filled with tears at the knowledge that her family considered her the black sheep of the town. “Am I the girl from the opera house story?” Grace asked. Deadly silence again flooded all spaces in the house, pushing all the air out. When the thunder and lightning started, it rained cats and dogs. Graceffa struggled out from her aunt’s hug at full tilt and ran like the water spilling out of the cloud, ignoring how much Aunt Linda cried and wailed. When she stopped running, she found herself standing on a pile of branches, which had not been soaked by the rain. It was strange that the rain had never fallen on that area. Fog suffused the air around Grace so that she could see nothing. She sat down and leaned on a purple brick wall beside her. Out of the blue, a gigantic gap appeared and swallowed her in a split second.

It was a dark room, with the dried blood adhering on the ground. The atmosphere was strange, it felt like there were ghosts and phantoms around. She decided to walk around, to see if she could find the way to escape. Then, something suddenly flashed out of the door. She clearly saw a white woman with black hair, long dress and red eyes gazing at her. Grace’s shocked scream filled the empty dark house with an atmosphere of horror. She closed her eyes and screamed like most girls did. After a long time shrieking, she felt nothing except embarrassment. Right in front of her was a big bell, the giant bronze bell. The dainty features and details were still there, revealing its great history. Aunt Linda was a great storyteller. Her description of the cursed opera house was absolutely the same as what was in front of Grace. Some unchained melody and lyrics flowed out from somewhere – it must have come from the opera house: “Using my talent, using my voice, I created my world which could not be destroyed. I lived with my daughter in a world of joy We sing our song and no one annoys. “But when the dark comes, when the bell falls It ruins my life once and for all. But my little baby girl was too small

Graceffa kept falling, falling into the infinite abyss, just like the endless falling dreams she’d had, that godfather had told her to be careful of. After seeing a redlight-shining human heart hanging on the wall, beating like a torch, she was too scared and fell in a faint.

“My girl, I missed her for all my life

Graceffa opened her feeble eyes and discovered that she was lying inside a room.

Even after I died.

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At night she could only sleep with her doll.

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Everyone who came in didn’t free me

“If you are free but you don’t mean to stay with me, and you’re just getting your liberty at the cost of someone’s life, then why should I set you free?” Graceffa cried, “You’re not my mum, you’re an evil thing!”

Their destiny serves them right.” Numb with the terror, Graceffa stared at the bell. She hoped that she was not the little girl in that weird song, but if she wasn’t, she might die with the horrible curse, the song had mentioned. “Mum…is that you?” After the shock, she felt unprecedentedly clear-headed and calm, slowly moving towards the bell, which was caged in the moonlight shining through the broken dome. She walked barefoot through the broken pieces of wood, like a hunter going near a beast, grabbing a bit of wood as she went. The antiquated wooden floor squeaked like a dog crying, underneath Grace’s feet. It was the first time ever that Graceffa had felt fearlessness and strong curiosity. She was intent in trying to find out who was in the bell, determined to protect her townsfolk. “My daughter, set me free!” “Mum…” Suddenly, scenes of death, appeared one by one in her mind - those ‘elder brothers’ who had loved her, their families crying so hard. Everything pricked at her heart. “But Mum, why have you been so vicious, killing those innocents?”

xxxx Suddenly, Grace was running through the forest again. She looked at her watch. It was the same time that she’d run here before, but that felt like it had been a million years ago. This time she was not running aimlessly, but dashing forward towards the holy fire. A strong power from behind pulled her back to the opera house with all its might, but Graceffa was still running, she was never going back. She was so focused that the power wasn’t strong enough to pull her back. Finally, she reached the holy fire outside the church. Graceffa put her hand on the holy fire, the divine one which never went out, even in the rain. The fire burnt every inch of skin on Graceffa. She could not stand it, but didn’t try to extinguish it – she wanted it for the opera house, to burn it – even if she lost her life. That night, fire came out from the middle of the forest. A great fire swallowed the whole opera house, the bell and Graceffa. She was the Prometheus of the town, but giving fire to bring safety to the townspeople, using her body to carry the fire, instead of a branch. No one knew where Graceffa had gone, but there was no more fear in the town she had loved.

“I love you so much that I eagerly wanted to see you again.” “But that’s not an excuse for killing all those people!” Graceffa hit the bell hard with the big piece of wood, like she was hoping to wreck it. “If you don’t set me free, you will also die!” said her mum.

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The Diary of Gabrielle Anima – Soul Collector By Yeung Angelina Lenka (Queen Elizabeth School)

was holding. I panicked and ran back to the woods. I was exhausted and I passed out. When I woke up, I was lying on a bed in a room full of pictures and fancy paintings. I got up and found a mirror, I saw a familiar face, that of Emma Woods. My soul, the soul of Gabrielle Anima, was in the body of Emma Woods.

My name is Gabrielle Anima, born 12 February 1869, and I am a soul collector. I am a very average girl with hazel hair and grey eyes which I get a lot of compliments for. I can say I’m a freak. I only have two friends, who are: Hailey Conner who has the most captivating blue eyes; and Owen Edward who has gorgeous brown eyes. It’s been nine years since I found out that I had the power to remove people’s souls from their bodies. I discovered this after witnessing the death of my parents, Peter Anima and Anastasia Anima. In the last nine years, I have taken a hundred and one souls. I was ten when my mum was murdered. All I can remember is seeing her lying on the floor of our home. I will never forget seeing her cold, grey eyes, eyes that were once the warmest and most beautiful. I ran out of the house and straight into the woods, burning with ire, determined to find a clue about my parents’ death. However the brume in the woods completely swallowed me up and I got lost. The next morning I walked out of the woods and went back to school. Emma Woods, who I hated, teased me when I returned. It made me blow my fuse. I have a habit of snapping my fingers whenever I feel nervous or angry, but that day when I snapped my fingers, Emma Woods collapsed in front of me. I didn’t know what to do, so I brought out a bottle of water and tried to wake her up with some water. Instead, some white smoke came out of Emma’s body and went into the bottle I

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In all my years, I had never worn such elegant dresses and slept on such comfortable beds and a snap of a fingers had given me all of them. I had discovered my special ability and I called myself the soul collector. The souls being collected didn’t vanish. I kept them in a bottle, and close to me. I don’t really know what happened inside the bottle… There’s probably a party going on right now in it, but I don’t know. Through all these years, I still hadn’t managed to solve the mystery of my mother’s death. Meanwhile I had been practicing how to collect, store and manage souls. I also learned how to put my soul into another’s body. Using my ability, I transferred my soul into the body of one of the professors in Newcastle University to get him to accept me. As I didn’t have enough money, nor enough ability, to be accepted as a student, cheating by transferring my soul, was the only way I could study medicine, just like my dad, and studying medicine was the only way I could connect with him. 15 September 1889 Dear Diary, it is the first day of my second year here in Newcastle University. Hailey was not around so I went to her place on Cherrywood Road to look for her. I saw her, together with Owen, there. I don’t know why, but I felt angry and jealous but I kept it to myself and walked up to her with a smile, although I was holding a grudge inside of me. I asked her why wasn’t she at school and she answered, “I have been accepted by King’s Hospital because of my outstanding essay on the study of infectious diseases, unlike you, who clearly copied my work and got an F.” I felt like my soul had left my body (which was pretty ironic). I felt betrayed and furious. I tried to ask Owen for help but all he did was stand behind Hailey and

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smirk. From what I recalled, I had been the only one studying infectious diseases in the whole class, so how did Hailey manage to write the same essay as me? “Owen!” I screamed. Owen interrupted and said, “Yes I told Hailey about your study so that she would get accepted by King’s. Losers like you don’t deserve the chance. You really think wealthy people like us want to hang out with poor peasants like you? You, Gabrielle Anima, are nothing but a loser. The only thing useful about you is your brain.” I didn’t snap my fingers but I ran away immediately, my tears dripping on the grass. That night, I went into Hailey’s room and transferred my soul into her body. Not only did I torture her soul by mixing it with hallucinogenic Jimson weed, my ultimate goal was to ruin her life. 16 September 1889 I went back to the university in the body of Hailey Conner. I took out a knife and stabbed three professors. But that wasn’t enough for me, so I set the laboratory and library on fire, because why not? It was Hailey Conner’s reputation being ruined, her family being embarrassed and her body feeling the pain. Also, it would be her soul which would be punished and heart-broken after I put it back into her body. 17 September 1889 I thought I could remove my soul from Hailey’s body but I couldn’t before I was caught by several officers and locked up in the dungeon… Which is where I’m writing my diary now. One of the officers walking by told another officer, “Did you read the newspaper today? Officer Edward’s son Owen Edward died in a fire at Newcastle University yesterday.” My heart sank. I snapped my fingers, collected the souls of the two officers and left the dungeon. I ran to the hospital and found Owen, covered by a white blanket. I immediately

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snapped my fingers and gently moved his soul into the body of a young man lying next to him, in order to let his soul live on. He was the one hundred and first soul I had collected. What I didn’t know then, was that my power had been used up. I could no longer collect or transfer souls. I was stuck in the body of Hailey Conner forever. 23 December 1939 I have been in prison for fifty years because of an act of revenge I took when I was twenty years old. Yes, it was Hailey Conner’s reputation, family and body which had been affected, but it was my soul… The soul of Gabrielle Anima being tortured and exhausted. I suddenly became so powerless, that my vision turned white and my body – which was not actually my body – felt light. It felt like my soul had flown away and that I had lost consciousness. I opened my eyes and saw a field of spider lilies. I saw the real Hailey Conner, the professors I had killed and the many other souls that I’d collected. I guess the souls clearly weren’t having a party inside of the bottle. They were trapped inside the field of spider lilies, forever, because of a snap of my fingers. I saw my mum. She had been a soul collector as well. She told me that the whole family were soul collectors and that they didn’t die, but that their souls had been removed from their bodies. The ones that don’t collect more than a hundred and one souls, got to live in any body they liked for their next lives, but the collectors, like us, who had recklessly collected a hundred and one souls were sent here forever, to the field of spider lilies, together with the souls we had collected. The night she had died had been the night she had collected her one hundred and first soul. It had been the soul of my father. He had been about to die from heart disease but my mother had transferred his soul to another body in order to let his soul live on, which was what I had done to Owen. She’d transferred his soul to Owen Edward’s body! All these years, I had been hanging out with my dad, in the

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A Dead Voice

body of Owen Edward! But there had been a fire at King’s Hospital three years ago which no one had survived. My dad, as Owen Edward, had saved me from the fire by stopping me from getting into King’s. But my reckless decisions had stopped me from living my life to the full and had wasted what he did. I am Gabrielle Anima, a reckless soul collector, writing this diary in a field of spider lilies.

By Justin Lee (Ying Wa College)

Elliot was twelve years old and desperate. A group of bullies was closing in on him. Having no other choice, he pulled open the doors to the now deserted hospital and ducked inside, bolting the doors shut. He panted, exhausted by the effort it had taken him to run an entire kilometre. Trying to get his bearings, he realised that he needed light. He groped around in the dark, trying to find something that could help him. His fingers closed around a switch and he flicked it on to illuminate the hallway. The fluorescent lights blinked to life overhead. Some had maintained their brightness after so many years of disuse, others failed to light up properly, the two ends of the tube flickering with a fiery glow. Some shorted out, their blown plugs sparking uncontrollably, occasionally giving out harsh bursts of light. The plastic floor, once sterile and disinfected, was now littered with medical equipment. Out of curiosity, he made his way along the corridor, careful not to step on the scalpels, needles and syringes, which were all over the floor. Down the hallway were the consultation rooms. Elliot stood on tiptoes and peered through the frosted glass. He saw documents strewn all over the floor. He wondered if a patient had gone insane here, smashing everything in a fit of incandescent rage. Past those rooms, the lighting failed completely and the rest of the hallway was dark so the end could not be seen. With every step further into the darkness, Elliot’s confidence shrank, and by the time he reached complete darkness in the hallway, he was ready to turn back and run. Mid-turn, he stepped on a syringe. A voice called out, just a mere moment too late, “Look out!” It was not his voice.

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Then, his head hit the floor and everything went black. When Elliot came to, he was still lying on the floor. Ignoring the burning pain in the back of his head, he racked his brain, trying to remember the voice he’d heard. He had only heard it before in recordings and videos, but there, in the hospital, it had sounded so real. It had definitely come from the room to the left. Powered again by curiosity, he took a deep breath, grasped the doorknob and turned it. Locked.Well, no one was there to stop him. He counted to three and rammed his shoulder into the door. The entire door came off its hinges and he tumbled into the room. The familiar voice called out again and it said his name. “Elliot!” The voice sent shivers down his spine, jolting him from his dazed state. He felt as if he had lost his voice.

“But whenever you smiled, laughed or jumped around, I would be there, laughing with joy, so hard that my heart would ache. Seeing you grow up, even if you couldn’t see me, was the greatest gift I had. I could have been with you too in person, if not for that blasted caesarean section.” Her soft green eyes hardened for a second, turning from misty jade to emerald green. But it faded quickly. She brushed Elliot’s face with her hand, and Elliot felt a breeze against his cheeks. She blinked away the tears in her eyes. Then, she was gone.

The voice started again, “Oh sweetie, why are you always injuring yourself?” But this time, the voice was accompanied by a… Words flew through Elliot’s mind. A ghost? A spirit? The dead? Mother. She looked exactly how he remembered her from her photos. A dark haired woman with pristine skin. She was dressed in a simple white gown, but the abdominal area was stained with blood. She noticed Elliot staring and sighed. “I’m so sorry that I couldn’t be with you when you were growing up. “I was not powerful enough to manifest myself in the living world as a remnant. But my spirit, my consciousness was there, beside you. Whenever I was around you I felt an extra burst of energy and that helped me resist the constant pull, the force, that was trying to draw me back to the land of the dead. “The desire to see you was greater and I mustered every last bit of my strength to return to the land of the living. I would stand by your bed when you were younger, defending you from spirits in the dead of the night. I would tell you bedtime stories when you dreamt of me, recounting my days when I was pregnant with you, how I threw up all the time, how I made you listen to classical music. But of course, being no more than a wisp of smoke, you couldn’t see me.

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STRANGE CREATURES


Rats

The neighbours just sped past in their Mazda. Fools. They’re just going to get stuck in traffic and end up abandoning the car anyways. You can see who the sheeple are – none of them prepared. They’re panicking, it’s pathetic.

By Michael Lin (HKUGA College)

The blonde across the street just rode past on a bike. What a shame. Not that I care, of course. They never go for guys like me, just care about ‘roided-up T-rexes who inhale protein shakes like it’s water. Doesn’t matter – there are plenty of fish in the sea. The following is a transcript of a recording found in an abandoned fallout shelter located in Zone NA-11-5-AAE during the North American Reclamation Campaign. It was discovered by PFC Jonathan Fitzgerald Goodman of Mobile Task Force Psi-14 (‘City Slickers’). The recordings, in the form of ten (10) cassette tapes, were scattered across the shelter. Dashed lines (---) indicate the end of each tape. Background noises, interference and where the audio was corrupted, are not represented in this document. Personnel of sufficient clearance (Level 2 or above) may request a copy of the cassette tapes from Dr. Callista Espina de la Cruz. xxxx On the 28th of October, something happened. There were these portal things. From what the people are saying on the web, they appeared at the same time in several cities in the world. Things came out of them. Weird things. Looking at them too long made your head hurt. The government gave them designations. We call them ‘Bugs’. Civilization collapsed in a matter of days. Rome fell first, then Moscow.There was a resistance forming in Berlin, but something really big came out of the portal. Satellite images show that it was larger than Europe. I was prepared, though. I was barely affected. It took me only half an hour to take everything I needed down to the bomb shelter. I stacked the canned food and the MREs up into a wall. It looks like a fort, built with bricks of mashed potatoes and beef jerky. Heh. Hooking the dynamo up to the stationary bike took a bit longer than expected, but that was an important step. Electricity is crucial in situations like this. The power lines will probably go down soon.

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The clock reads 11.20. It’s time to sleep, I guess. Not much to do here. I couldn’t sleep. There are people up there screaming. Whilst I do feel sorry – kind of – for them, you can’t deny that they brought this upon themselves. If they had properly prepared, like me, they wouldn’t be dying up there, being dissolved…by whatever. They’d be holed up in a bunker, sleeping. It’s their own fault, honestly. Serves them right. I just opened up a can of beef. There was a rat hiding behind the can. That gave me a scare. Never liked them. Reynir Rolfson and his sister, Sigurrós, used to own a pair of white mice. I wonder where Sigurrós is now. Probably burning in Hell with her thrice-damned womanizing pig of a husband. I hated those mice. They wriggled in your palm, like oversized, hyperactive slugs. Disgusting. Reynir stopped talking to me after I almost killed one of them. He saw me holding the knife over the cage and that was what did it for him, I think. I don’t think he liked that. I hate rats, but it’s something I’ll have to deal with. I’m going to need to get used to them. After all, rats are very common in shelters like this. The bike broke. The pedals snapped when I put my weight on them. Guess I shouldn’t have bought the cheapest model after all. Or maybe – it couldn’t be helped.

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It was The Man’s fault. Even in an actual end-of-the-world situation, The Man is still looking to profit. Cutting production costs, producing cheap hollow plastic handles. I should have expected this, to be frank. This was a mistake on my part. Even after the fall of civilization, The Man will find a way to screw us over. The internet is down. Either the transmission towers fell or they pulled the plug, most likely the latter. Information control and all that. The radio is old, but at least it works. Sadly, there’s nothing noteworthy broadcasting, just static. Once in a while, there are snatches of a sentence, a laugh or a scream. I looked up through the hatch. There was no one up there, but I could see the Sheraton burning. Helicopters flew off from the roof and soon after, the fire surrounding the hotel spread upwards. The sign fell a few minutes later. Today the light bulb burnt out. I got my flashlight and hung it by the handle, facing the floor. A thin cone of light shines under it. I was spinning the pedals. The light bulb sparked and flashed, then dimmed. When I moved the pedals, it glowed brightly for a second and fizzled out, leaving me in darkness until I did the thing with the flashlight. It’s really dark in here. I always thought ‘pitch black’ was a cliche. It must have been The Man, selling cut-production trash like this. This couldn’t have been my fault. There’s something in the shelter with me. It’s smallish, coming from my food stockpile. It’s probably – definitely – the rat from earlier, which is to be expected. I can see its shadow behind the cans. It has a very distinct rat shape, with whiskers, and…and a snout and a tail. Undoubtedly a rat. But a big one, judging by the size of the shadow. Or maybe… it’s a Bug. No. It’s most likely a rat. --All I’ve got left is this stupid recorder. Along with the flashlight, of course. I haven’t eaten in days, or maybe it’s weeks – it’s hard to tell in the dark. I can’t

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move away from the food wall, it’s too dark. Whenever I turn my back, I hear the…the rat crawling behind me. It might get me then. It is getting bolder. It moves even when I’m shining the torch at it. It’s eating my food, which is what a rat should do. There’s nothing to be scared about in here, the only other thing that’s eating my food other than me, is one rat. --There must be more rats than I first thought, heh. Judging from the shadow, there may actually be two. Or maybe three…four…five or maybe six rats. There seems to be a lot of rats in here. There’s no way it can be anything other than a rat. The hatch has been closed since day one. Therefore, it can only be a rat. --It’s dark. The torch is getting dimmer. I can’t see the rat - rats - but I know he’s, no, it’s here. There’s nothing to be scared of, though. --The torch broke. I hear the rats in the corner. It’s definitely a pack of rats, a rat pack, rat colony, rat city. A lot of rats. I can’t see their shadows. There must be a lot of rats then, the shelter must be teeming with rats, must be a lot of rats for it to sound like this. It’s not a surprise, though, since rats are so common in shelters like this. Just a rat, maybe a bunch of rats, a really big rat, just a rat, just a rat, just a rat, just a rat. ---

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My Monster Father

It hurts. xxxx Preliminary exploration undertaken by MTF Psi-14 (‘City Slickers’) revealed the skeleton of an unidentified human male huddled near the western wall of the shelter, with seventy eight (78) cans of food and eighty two (82) military rations lining the eastern wall. A broken torch was tied to the ceiling using an electrical wire, with a burnt out one hundred (100) watt light bulb at the end. Various electrical devices, including a laptop, a fan and a water purifier was connected to a dynamo powered by a stationary bicycle. The skeleton showed signs consistent with being bitten or gnawed by organisms of undetermined size. Despite the subject of the recordings claiming otherwise, no traces of rats have been discovered by MTF Psi-14 or the subsequently sent forensic investigation crew.

By Lucida Wang (St Francis’ Canossian College)

My father was a monster – this was our family secret. My father had a monster’s appearance but a human heart. Unlike the Hulk or any other cartoon character, he didn’t have any superpowers. He did not step out of his room, but kept drinking alcohol all day long. Since my mother was the only breadwinner of our family, we were very poor and could only live in the old mansion next to the graveyard. Our house was very small and old. Neither me nor my sister liked our house, we always heard whispers all day and night. Also, we always saw the shadow of a long-haired girl rushing out of the window. The curtains were always blowing about and we kept hearing the creaking sound of someone stepping on the squeaky floor, even when no one else was home. It was so scary! Since birth, I’d been afraid of my father. My sister told me that every time I saw him as a baby I cried a lot. We were very curious about why our father looked like a monster, but when we asked our mother for the answer, she refused to answer us. Therefore, my sister and I planned to find out, by ourselves. One day, my mother went out to work as usual, but then, she didn’t come home for weeks. We were worried that there had been a problem and went to try to find a clue in our mother’s room. We sneaked into her room and found a photo album near her bed, which contained photos taken of our parents when they were young. Both of them look beautiful.

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After that, we looked in my mother’s bookshelf. When we took out a book called Beauty and the Beast, we found we were in a dark room which we had not seen before.

Lunacy

By Luk Sze Ho (Sing Yin Secondary School)

Outside the room, there was a long corridor and a staircase with a dim light. We walked down the staircase and found another book at the end of the corridor. When we opened the book, a dazzling light shone into our eyes. Then, we heard approaching footsteps. “I’ve been waiting for you for a long time. Today, I will tell you your parents’ secret,” a voice said. “Your parents are nobles from the Gothic Empire. Their real names are John Hennessy and Catherine Kassy. They come from two opposing families. One family supports the King and the other strongly opposes him. They got to know each other during a ball held by their schools. They quickly fell in love with one another. However, there was a rule that people have to follow their family’s wishes, about who to marry. People who break the rule were cursed by an unknown spell. Your parents didn’t listen, so your father was cursed.” My sister asked, “Then, how can he break the curse?” The voice said, “There’s only one method. He has to leave your mother. Then they can go back to the Gothic...” “Stop! I still love him and I love my family. Even if he looks like a monster. I won’t leave him, so, stop saying that.” We turned and found that my mother was standing behind us. “Now, do both of you understand why your father has a monster’s face?” “But does Father agree with what you say?” we asked. “Of course!” said Father, coming to us. “We love each other, and if the cost of becoming a human is losing your mother, then I would rather keep this monster face.” So, we finally understood what the curse was, and although my father cannot get back his human appearance, our life was full of happiness ever after.

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Moonlight cascaded down into the woods, casting shadows on the dirt. It leaked through the leaves and painted Luna’s flushed face. Placing her palm on her chest, Luna felt her heart beating through her ribs, sound and strong. She intentionally stepped on the sticks and stones, striding with her slender legs, hoping to get noticed by ‘it’. Crack, crack, crack. Luna heard footsteps from behind, the sound went through to her bones, chilling her inside out. Her breathing intensified, her palms, her feet and even her back became wet. She prayed to the moon, for her plan to go well. As the footsteps approached, she knew the time had come. She started to run, luring it to the destination. She just wanted to get it over with, so that she could finally escape from the danger and from her long-lasting misery. xxxx “Get your hands moving! Or I will beat the life out of you!” the coarse man shouted, lifting his hand into the air. Luna’s crystal clear eyes were surrounded with bruises. She crouched and trembled and lowered her head. She didn’t have the courage to look into the devil’s eyes, yet she naively hoped that he would stop beating her. Luna had been working all day long, but she didn’t dare to stop for even one second. Withstanding the pain, she cleaned the table even more devotedly as if she could make this relentless tempest eventually come to an end if she worked hard enough. “After you are done cleaning the darn tables, get yourself over here and massage my shoulders, I am exhausted!” Luna finished cleaning the remaining tables and

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rushed to the man’s side, massaging his shoulders from behind. “Work your darn hands, or are you bored of food?” he shouted. “I’d rather throw the food outdoors than give it to you.”

it.” Chen spoke of his plan with a creepy smile.

Luna apologised repeatedly and softly.

Luna kept on running but the footsteps behind her accelerated instead of slowing down. Luna was out of breath, and for the first time in her life she felt the fear of her impending death. She could not outrun the monster. She would be caught, definitely. The more trees she passed, the closer she was to the destination. Only by running and running could she keep herself alive, could she find a way out of her destiny.

“Lee, don’t shout at the little girl.” The hoarse voice from the door was Chen. Chen always came to Lee’s bar at night, to drink alcohol and chat all night. “Stop your useless massage, you idiot, and go get two drinks for us. Make yourself useful,” Lee ordered. Luna poured beer into the cups. “If I owned a pretty little girl like Luna, I would give her the best care in the world instead of treating her like a slave, like you.” Chen stared at Luna whilst saying these words. He fondled her hands and gave them a ‘massage’. Luna was dead silent under Lee’s eyes. She frowned a bit, and hoped the night would end soon. “This idiot is basically like a paper vase: beautiful and delicate to look at, but a useless piece of trash when it comes to actually working,” said Lee. Luna handed them the beer and stood waiting. “Go do the dishes instead of standing here like a fool.” Lee said, waving at Luna to go away. Turning to the kitchen, Luna felt Chen’s eyes staring at her, holding their gaze as stubbornly as the reek of alcohol clung to him. Luna fetched some water from the well using a wooden bucket and started washing the dishes. She occasionally overheard their conversation. “Have you heard of the monster in the forest?” Chen whispered the words into Lee’s ears, as if he did not want anyone to know. “The fleshing-eating monster?” Lee kept his volume down whilst asking. “Yes! I have a plan, are you in? If we nail it, we could swim in the gold we get for

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xxxx

Splat. Luna tripped on the vines on the ground. Her knees smashed into the gravel, staining it red. Trying to ignore the pain coming from her knees, she tried to stand up and continue running. But, when she saw the shadow on the ground that didn’t belong to her little body, she knew she could not make it. She collapsed onto the ground and blacked out. xxxx Luna had been taken to the forest by Chen and Lee. Blue violets and green leaves made the forest the most beautiful place she’d ever seen. Walking step by step, she smelled the scent from the flowers and the grass, refreshing and magical. Sunlight peeking through the leaves cast shadows on the dirt. Nature was mesmerising and gorgeous, but Luna was not able to appreciate it. Like a fish that couldn’t rest well in a swirling lake, Luna couldn’t settle, due to the underlying threat she was facing due to the two men talking in front of her. “Chen, are you serious? This bear trap seems weaker than Luna.” “Don’t worry, Lee. The bear trap is just temporary, the two of us will hide behind the bushes and attack it when it gets stuck in the trap. The only problem is, how do we get it over here?” “There’s a bakery right in front of your face and you worry about where to find bread?” Lee pointed to Luna with a sly look on his face.

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“But… Luna is just sixteen years old. She could never outrun that monster. She might get hurt, she might even die!” said Chen, worried. “Why do you care? Don’t underestimate this girl. The only thing she is good at is escaping.” Lee assured Chen. “All right then…” said Chen, agreeing to Lee’s plan. “We should leave her here for now, let her get used to this forest. Don’t you dare to escape. If you do something that could ruin our plan, this forest will the only place you have, to sleep in.” Lee and Chen went to set the bear trap, leaving Luna behind. She peered around the trees that surrounded her. She didn’t know where she was. She was lost in the forest, much like she was lost in her unforeseeable future. The reality was, that even if she didn’t want to obey Lee, she had no choice. After her parents had abandoned her, Lee had been like a shell on a snail to her. Even though the shell was a burden, it was still a shelter to protect her from the storm outside. When a snail loses its shell, it becomes so vulnerable that falling raindrops can hurt it. The ‘snail’ stood up, looking to familiarise herself to the new environment, looking forward to holding onto its precious shell. xxxx Hiding in the bush, Chen and Lee saw Luna collapse not far away from the bear trap. “That useless piece of trash couldn’t even finish such a simple task.” Lee complained. “I will do it myself then.” said Chen. “Wait here and use the knife I gave you. We will get all the gold in the world after we kill this monster and get its fur.” Chen walked out of the bush, and stepped on the dried sticks, trying to catch the monster’s attention. Moonlight cascaded down into the woods and reflected off its fur. Its grey fur glistened under the yellow moonlight and swung in the breeze. Its sea blue eyes

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shining in the moonlight, were penetrating. Chen could not take his eyes off it, its fur was so elegant and breathtaking, yet its eyes were threatening. It did not walk towards Chen, instead, it moved to Luna’s side, gently picked her up and rested her on its broad shoulders. Then it moved in the opposite direction to the trap. Chen was worried about the plan being ruined. Imagining a sea made out of gold running in the opposite direction, Chen panicked. He and Lee started picking up stones from the ground and throwing them at it. At first, when the stones hit its grey fur, it did not care to turn its head and it kept moving. As the two of them got further away, Lee and Chen threw more and more stones. A few of them hit Luna and left red marks on her head. The creature stopped and put Luna down. His eyes were no longer just threatening, they were burning with fury. It ran towards the two men with lighting speed, knocking the two of them out. The two men tried to fight back using their knives, but were too weak. Luna felt a bolt of pain coming from her head. She slowly opened her eyes and woke up. She saw the two men lying on the ground, motionless and a huge, grey figure moving towards her. Her pupils dilated, her breath intensified and her limbs went numb. She tried to get up, but the headache made her unable to. As the figure approached, it opened its mouth. Its sharp canines were like blades that were going to slice through her. She thought that she would soon be a corpse covered in blood lying in this silent forest. Her body no longer belonged to her, as the fright overwhelmed her. She was like a prisoner sitting next to a guillotine, waiting to be executed, waiting for her death. The only difference was that she had done nothing wrong. She even stopped moaning and closed her eyes, hopelessly waiting for the inevitable. The pain she was expecting did not come. Instead, she felt something wet and tickly on her knees so she opened her eyes. It was licking her wound, trying to clean it. She was shocked that someone, no, something in this world was treating her well. The tears falling from her eyes blurred her sight. She had not wept for almost ten years, yet she wept now because of this creature, this monster.

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The Monster in My Family

“Why?” she whispered. It did not say a word. Instead, it pulled up Luna with one arm, and carried her out of the dark forest. Maybe, he was trying to get this poor, lost little girl out of this cold-hearted forest, out of her misery. Luna lay on its back. Its fur was so comfortable, way better than the hay bale she had been sleeping on. She felt warmth, both coming from outside and inside. She did not know much about this monster, but, after this night, she was not a snail who could not live without the shell anymore.

By Ona Keung Chi Yin (St Francis’ Canossian College)

There is a saying that every family has a secret. There is a secret in my family which makes me feel worried. The secret is that my younger brother, who is studying in the same secondary school as me, is a vampire. He always tries to be normal like any other child. He hides his fangs by not smiling and he tries to eat food at school so that he looks normal. However, he reveals his real face at home. Although he tries his best to be a normal person at school, I can still see there’s something strange about him. Therefore, I always feel worried if my friends ask me about my brother or if suddenly they come to visit me. I have to think twice before answering them, as I am afraid that I may let the cat out of the bag. My brother has to drink blood every day, especially when he is sick. For convenience, my mother keeps a chicken farm in the garden. When he was about two, he started to drink fresh blood, but only from poultry. As he grew older, he seemed to become more cold-blooded. My mum once told me that it is dangerous to live with an adult vampire as they feel the need to drink human blood at full moon, so she warned me to study in a boarding school so that I could keep away from my brother. I ignored her. I did not even notice the potential danger until I saw it. It was a rainy evening when the bats started to fly around. I had just got home after school, wet from my hair to my toes, when I saw my brother putting on a black raincoat and climbing out of the house from the window. I wondered what was he doing, so I stood and watched. He suddenly freaked out, grabbed a live chicken and sucked its blood. The chicken, of course, crowed loudly and resisted, but my brother ignored it. I could see how hard he was holding the chicken.

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My brain went blank and I could not stop myself from imagining the scene when he was sucking my blood. I was stepping backward when I accidentally tripped over a rock. “Oops!” I whispered. I hoped he wouldn’t notice but he slowly turned around, his bloody hands visible.

stop in time. I didn’t want to be the person he was, a person who killed others. Just when I was hoping that my brother would stop killing people and apologise, I felt something hot running out from my neck. I turned my head and saw my brother was doing the same thing to me. However, I felt nothing. Was I dead?

I tried to keep myself calm, but my shaking body betrayed me. I tried to explain, “I just came back and I have seen nothing.” He didn’t reply but gave me a gloomy smile. As I stepped back into the house, my brother hit me on my forehead and warned me not to tell Mummy.

Yes, and soon I was in heaven, with my mum standing at my side. I felt angry that my brother had cheated us, the ones who loved him the most, of life.

Mummy had never thought that my brother would become that cold-blooded. She still took good care of him and helped him to keep his secret. I, however, was getting more and more panicked whenever the full moon came.

We did not want to forgive such a ruthless killer and we would never meet him again.

But this was already the past.

My brother got stronger and stronger day by day. I observed his daily behaviour and saw that he almost bit my mum a few times but luckily he controlled himself. I could not imagine how a son could do such thing to his mother. It was cloudy and raining cats and dogs when the first full moon of the year came. My brother seemed to be exhausted, so I did not pay full attention to him. All of a sudden, the lights went off, I could hardly see but I heard my mum screaming. Vampires can see clearly even in the dark as they are active at night. I felt helpless and did not know how to react or what to do. I tried to search for my mother but failed. I was desperate to help my mother but I could only hear weak breathing. I hollered, “Mummy, where are you? Don’t be afraid, I will be at your side.” There was no response. I could not accept this ending. “They are just playing a prank on me.” I told myself. Then, I turned on my torch and saw my dead mother and my brother with a bloody mouth. I knew that my brother had taken away the life of my mother. He looked shocked too, maybe he’d never thought that he would hurt the person who loved him so much, had sacrificed for him and had helped to keep his secret. At that time my emotions were controlling my behaviour. I wanted to kill him for revenge. I grabbed a knife and got close to stabbing his heart but I managed to

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The Struggle of Atticus Hohenzollern By Cheung Tin Yin Laura (Queen Elizabeth School)

“Please, Atticus, I don’t want to consume any more human flesh. I don’t want to live my life as a ghoul, hiding in the shadows, and having to mask my identity.” Atticus’ sister pleaded as she continued to cough up mouthfuls of blood, her face paling by the second. Her sentence broke off as she went into a coughing fit. “Please…” Her raised hand went slack and her head lolled backwards. Atticus roared in pain as his baby sister’s heart stopped beating, mourning the death of his only family… “Wake up Doc, a new patient has been rushed into the A&E,” A nurse burst into the office, waking up Atticus from the nightmare he’d been having repeatedly for the past ten years. He nodded groggily as he stretched out his long, slender body and rubbed his royal-blue eyes. Ruffling out his honey-brown hair, he followed the nurse into the operation room. The sudden smell of the metallic blood invaded his senses and he had to fight to control his urge to rip out the windpipe of his patient and indulge himself in a feast fit for a ghoul. After sanitising his hands and putting on protective clothing, he approached the operation table, waiting to assess the mangled body on the cool, metal table. “Tell the Warden that this patient is done for, he wouldn’t survive the operation, even if he manages to make it through the next five minutes.” Atticus’ cold voice echoed in the room as he gazed at the patient, his eyes glinting with a predatory air.

The nurse scurried out of the room. Atticus chuckled darkly as he stalked towards the patient. Taking off his surgical mask, he took a scalpel and traced it lightly along his prey’s abdomen. The bloodied mess on the table almost shuddered as he positioned his weapon right where the heart would be. “I’m so sorry for this, but this is what happens if you meet a ghoul,” he murmured. “Bon appétit!” The scalpel went down, piercing the artery of his meal. He had sliced off a piece of flesh and raised it to his mouth, when he heard a voice in his mind. His sister’s voice. “Don’t… Don’t…!” Her chanting grew louder until it was unbearable. His scalpel fell to the floor with a clank as he cradled his head in pain. His primitive side was urging him to finish off his victim, but his conscience was telling him that his sister wouldn’t want him to do this. “STOP IT!” he screamed, as the wailing of his sister and the voices in his head wove a net of pain, like thunder exploding in his mind. He collapsed on the cold, hard floor, sobbing and pleading. “Stop it…please… I don’t want to eat anymore…” His body twitched and red dots covered his vision. “No… No… I don’t…” Atticus was helpless as his consciousness was forced to the back of his head and his primitive side took over. His body shuddered as it heaved itself off the floor and stalked towards his unfinished meal. He could only watch as his vision slowly darkened, the only hint of what would happen as his body loomed over the mangled, dissected body. After what seemed like an eternity, Atticus woke up from his blackout. Squinting at the bright light above him, he sat up in a daze, a metallic taste in his mouth. He grimaced. A shadow in the corner spoke, “My Lord, I can’t help you every time, you know.” Atticus immediately knew who it was.

“But…”

“I know, Alex. But you know that I’m not human, and that I cannot control myself,” he muttered.

“Just go.”

“I have news from the Montague family. They seem to be getting anxious. I have

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caught wind that they are trying to invade our area.” Alex said calmly. “Is that so? I’ll rid myself of all this blood first, then we will go have a ‘chit-chat’ with them.” “Yes, my Lord.” With a bow, Alex exited the room silently, shutting the door as he left. Atticus stayed silent for a while, as he thought about the feud his family had with the Montagues. The relationship had started to thaw when his sister had married the head of the Montague family, but then things had taken a turn for the worse. The Montagues had planned a surprise attack on his castle. His sister had been killed by accident during the attack, when she’d taken a bullet to the heart whilst shielding a servant’s child. The only weakness a ghoul has is the heart, so unfortunately, that had led to her passing. His hatred had grown with each passing day since his sister’s untimely death. The hatred was so immense that he wanted to rip out the Montagues’ bones and muscles bit by bit, strand by strand. He wanted to hear their pleas for mercy and their wails of agony. But now, this would all end tonight. Being well fed and at the peak of his power, tonight would be the perfect opportunity to destroy the Montagues once and for all. Then, he could join his sister, and be happy ever after. “Alex, time to go.” Beckoning to his subject to follow him, Atticus burst out of the lounge. Hopping in a cab, they sped to where the Montagues lived. Within two hours, they’d arrived at the destination. Stepping out of the car, they scanned the surroundings. It was a vast clearing, with tall, thick vegetation surrounding it. There was a mansion in the distance. That was probably where their base of operation would be. It was dark and hard to see through the thick bushes and towering trees. As Atticus listened for possible dangers, he picked up something. Apart from the rustling of the wind, there was something else, something dangerous. Something… sinister. There was a quick movement, and someone emerged from the shadows.

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“My, my, I didn’t expect the head of the Hohenzollern clan to face me,” The person said, his face finally visible to the duo in the clearing. A long scar that looked like claw marks masked his otherwise sharp and defined features. His long black hair was tied into a low ponytail with a navy-blue ribbon and he stood at a height of six foot one, which was nearly as tall as Atticus’ six-foot-two frame. It was Landon, the head of the Montague family. Atticus gritted his teeth at the sight of Landon smiling devilishly. “Yeah, I’m here. You think I would let you off the hook after you betrayed the Hohenzollern family and failed to protect your own wife from being killed by your clan? Remember, The Hohenzollerns do not forgive and do not forget.” Landon clenched his jaw and his face paled at the mention of his wife’s death. Like two jaguars, they charged at each other without warning. The fight was short, and ended in a blink of an eye, but the result was evident. Both Atticus and Landon were in bad shape. Atticus had a slash in his abdomen and his left arm had been chopped clean off. He had lost so much blood that it had stained his white dress shirt completely crimson. He fell to his knees, panting heavily and grunted in pain. Landon was no better, his right foot was gone. Sticky red blood had surged out and soaked his trousers a deep red. He had also taken a bullet to the heart and the wound blossomed on his shirt like a rose. Lying on the ground, Landon stared up at the starry sky and sighed in contentment. “Atticus, did you know that I fell in love with your sister at first sight? She was like an angel amongst the monsters like us and I wanted to protect her with my life. When I had her in my arms, I felt like I was on cloud nine. I wanted to tell the world, she was mine and mine only. But all of that doesn’t matter any more, right?” He paused, and a trace of blood trickled down his chin as he started to cough violently. “When I go and meet her, I’ll tell her that I love her. I’ll give her my eternity to make it up to her… I’ll promise her…” His voice trailed off, and silence returned.

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With much effort, Atticus propped himself up and peered over at Landon. Landon was gazing up at the sky, his eyes glassy and dead. The corner of his eye held a single tear, but his lips were tugged up into a contented smile, one with pure serenity. Atticus sighed. At the rate he was losing blood, he surely wouldn’t survive the night. He turned to look at Alex, who was standing by the clearing with his head down. “Alex, just let me be. I don’t want to continue eating human flesh. The metallic taste in my mouth constantly reminds me that I have yet again, consumed another soul. I want to be free of these chains that constrain me from doing what I want, even if it means death dawning upon me. I don’t want to die like my sister, full of regrets, knowing that someone that loved her dearly was waiting for her.” Gathering his strength, Atticus gave his last order, “Leave me.” Alex nodded solemnly, his stoic expression cracking. Staring up at the sky that was starting to turn orange, Atticus thought, Father, Mother, I’m sorry for not protecting the family. I let you down and I let my sister down. But this will all end today. He continued to stare as the sun began to rise on the horizon. He felt woozy and his eyelids started to droop. The last thing he ever saw was a blinding light, and a figure extending a hand to him.

Love Kills

By Luk Hon Man (Wah Yan College, Hong Kong)

It was a dark night. Sarah started on her journey to the hospital. She knew that this was not a good choice, but it was her only choice. His husband, Johnson, had been suffering from a disease and this might be her last chance to see him. They had been a couple for nearly ten years. She left the castle, which had not been repaired in hundreds of years, and hurried on her way, trying to get to the hospital as soon as possible. A sudden shadow swept across the moon, momentarily blocking out its light. Sarah stumbled against a gravestone that was leaning over the path like a cracked and crooked tooth. She hurt her ankle and her face showed great suffering. She wondered why there was a random gravestone in the ground. Something wasn’t right. But, as time was running out, she decided to leave as soon as possible. Just then, something on the gravestone caught her attention. The words carved on the gravestone were: ‘Johnson Williamson, 1720-1752’. She thought, wait, why does it say Johnson’s name? He wasn’t dead, how come his name was carved on the gravestone? She was anxious, but she thought that it must be a coincidence and she just kept on struggling to get up. She tried to walk, but she couldn’t. It felt like a hand, or a rope was tied to her feet, making her unable to move forward. The night was extremely dark and clouds blocked the moon so Sarah was not able to see what was stopping her from moving. She was frustrated and scared. Sweat dripped from her forehead. She touched her ankles. Nothing. Nothing was stopping her from moving forward. She swallowed a mouthful of saliva. Anxious and not knowing what to do, she tried to struggle away from the resisting force. Suddenly, a voice came out from nowhere. The voice, stuttering but loud, said, “No

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Sarah! Don’t go any further! The whole thing is a scam! Believe me!” The voice, coming from the tomb, soon faded. Fear conquered her. She tried to respond, tried to figure out what was going on, but by then she couldn’t hear anything, except the whispering wind and the cries of ravens.

He tried to stop me. He tried to slow me down. He’d made me hurt my ankle, just to slow me down, she thought, hopelessly. Desperation filled her. Johnson came near her and kissed her cheeks, with his mouth covered in blood. Sarah’s eyes filled with tears. She had no choice at all.

She decided to continue on her journey, without listening to the advice. She went on a bicycle, to save time. The wind was piercing on her face. The weather got colder, and the night was even darker than normal. She rode and rode and finally at 1am, through darkness she saw a glimpse of hope: the hospital.

Her tears dripped on the ground, combining with the blood. Johnson took a deep breath, and bit her on the neck. Sarah collapsed, exhausted, and gave up struggling. Her tears dried on her face, as her blood was sucked away, bit by bit. Soon, she blacked out and Johnson stood up, leaving a gentle kiss on her lips.

As soon as she went in, she sprinted upstairs to the third floor to visit Johnson. But when she arrived, the hallway was empty and messy. The light was dim and the light bulbs were broken. “This isn’t what I’m used to seeing,” Sarah said to herself, with horror. She limped into the hallway, step by step, trying to control her fear. Suddenly, her shoes became soaked with liquid. In the dim light, she could see red. Blood.

The next day, the sun came out. When the doctors and nurses came back to work, there was blood everywhere and two people lay on the floor in the middle of the room: a young lady, dressed in a white dress with two red dots on her neck; and a young gentleman, with a pistol on his hand. There was a hole in his chest, as well as an empty shell of a silver bullet nearby. After their bodies were removed, the police officer who came to investigate this horrible crime reported that he had found a quote at the scene, written in blood. It said: “Love kills”.

She was so frightened she nearly blacked out. There was blood all over the place, on the walls, on the ground, literally everywhere. Fear was all over her at the moment. Suddenly, she saw Johnson, his mouth full of fresh blood. Sarah nearly collapsed when she saw his fangs – he had become a vampire. “Hello, Sarah my love, what are you doing here so late?” he said. Sarah was at a loss for words, she didn’t know what to do. “Let me show you around. You know, sometimes we have no choice in what we do,” he said, entering another room. When he opened the door Sarah could see dead bodies, all over the room. “It’s coming to an end anyway so I’m going to tell you about it. What you see is the truth. My dad and my grandfather were both vampires. My dad married my mum, who was human, and gave birth to me. Thus, I am a combination of angel and devil.” Sarah was shocked and completely surprised. She just wanted to leave, to escape. But the doors were locked and the hallways were blocked with dead bodies. “My angel side seems to have been gone for the past few hours,” said Johnson, an evil smile on his face. Sarah remembered what had happened that night. The resisting force at the gravestone must have been from the angel side of Johnson.

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A Lost Girl

By Kwan Yuan Xi (Leung Shek Chee College)

There once was a girl called Clarice. The sky was nearly dark as Clarice walked alone on the path. The path led to her grandpa’s house which was located deep in a forest. She looked at the sunset. It’s round, yellow and ah, so mysterious! she thought.

After she left Grandpa’s house, she went to the town and back to her university, because she wanted to find out some information about the vampire family. According to the books about that time, a man had taken the baby girl and ran away. The man had hidden somewhere in the world… What a sad story, she thought. If l’d been alive at that time, I would have used my knowledge to change their old mindset! The story has ended, finally. I thought it was quite good…and whoa, the sunset looks so beautiful. Round, yellow and ah, so mysterious!

“Grandpa, Grandpa! It’s Clarice.” An old, short, kind man walked out and opened the gate. “Clarice, my darling. Please come in!” the old man said. Clarice smiled and gave the basket of flowers to him. They sat down in front of the desserts which grandpa had prepared. “Wow! This is chocolate cake! I’m gonna eat it!” said Clarice. “Grandpa, I want to ask you something about the story that you told me a few months ago. You said that hundreds of years ago, there was an enormous family of vampires. They were killed by the Government because the normal people were afraid of them. People thought vampires would eat them and destroy their world and it wouldn’t be peaceful anymore. You said you thought their mindset was old and…” “I will tell you more about the story now,” said Grandpa. “Yes, the vampire family were killed by the government in only one night. That night was cold, and scary too. The vampires were sleeping, when they smelled some smoke and someone shouted, ‘The houses are on fire!’ Nobody survived except one baby girl. They don’t know who brought up the baby girl but the people had finally put their weapons down. No one knew what happened to the baby girl. Did she grow up healthy? No one could answer.” “That’s a sad story grandpa.” Clarice lay down on the chair. Why do l feel so sorry for the girl? Clarice thought to herself.

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A Mystery Boy

By Mary Tam (Leung Shek Chee College)

A weird blue flame spread in the huge, old castle. The boy clenched his fists without saying anything. The light of the flame was reflected in his grey, mysterious eyes. “Get out out of here! Go back to where you belong. You are not our son, you are a monster… A monster! Stay away from us!” said the man with anger. He pointed at Jacob, the boy who had just been called a monster by his father. “You are a ruthless person, I will never forgive what you have done to your mother!” Jacob’s mother wept, for her son and husband were arguing about how she had been hurt in a strange fire that couldn’t be stopped. Jacob ran deep into the dark, dangerous forest. The unfair treatment and judgement of his father brought tears to his eyes. For a young boy, leaving his parents and going to a place he had never been to before was scary. He was helpless and it was hard to survive in a wild place. Jacob was broken-hearted. He couldn’t believe that his father would leave him alone in the forest, just because he couldn’t control the unknown and enormous power in his body. He had destroyed houses in the places he had been before. But in the past, his father, though surprised to see his super power, had not hated it. However, when Jacob lost control of his powers and hurt his mother, his father no longer wanted to him to stay and pushed him out of their home. After entering the forest, Jacob lived on his own for a few years. Sometimes a few trees were hit by a flash and fell. Animals were shocked by the sound of the crash

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and ran away quickly. Even though he had tried many times, Jacob was still failing to control his powers. The animals in the forest knew of him and were all scared of his unusual powers. Jacob was angry that he couldn’t control it. One silent midnight, the full moon was bright in the sky. No animals were out because they were terrified of midnight. Cold wind blew on his skin gently. On the other side of the forest, a girl was being chased by something that was strong and powerful. “Help!” the girl screamed, running nonstop as fast as she could. However, the creature didn’t slow down but ran faster than before. Hershey was frightened of the creature and she had almost used up all of her energy to escape. She had not expected to be chased by a creature in this ‘normal’ place. Hershey was a girl who loved adventure. She had decided to have an adventure in this forest, because she thought that the sights here were really good and fantastic in the daytime. But it was totally different at night. Crash! Hershey tripped over a stone and fell down. She couldn’t stand up quickly and run away. The footsteps were getting closer rapidly and Hershey was nervous and frightened as she thought nobody would save her and that she would be killed by this horrible creature. Just as Hershey was about to be killed, a boy wearing a big black cloak appeared and used a strange but powerful magic to hit the creature. That creature fell and the girl saw that it was a wolf, but not a usual one. This one had extra strength and speed. It had black fur, bright red eyes and ferocious canine teeth. The shadow of the wolf was enormous under the moonlight. It stood up quickly – it hadn’t been hurt even though Jacob’s magic was strong. It attacked Hershey again and Jacob attacked it again and again to stop it. The two superpowers fought against each other and the power of the fight knocked down the trees and destroyed the area near them. However, they still couldn’t find out who the victor and the defeated was in this conflict. Hershey was shocked by this fight. She had never seen anything like it before. The wolf knew that Jacob wanted to protect Hershey, so it attacked Hershey again. This time Jacob used his body to block the powerful attack of the wolf. Jacob was hurt. His wounded leg bled and Jacob felt pain.

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The conflict didn’t end, but the wolf became more and more weak as the moonlight weakened. Jacob realised that the wolf was formidable because of the moonlight. The full moon had the power to strengthen the creature. Jacob attacked the wolf again and the wolf was finally knocked down and died. Hershey was grateful to Jacob, the one who had saved her life. She fell in love with him because she thought he could protect her when she faced any difficulties. Jacob was surprised to find that he could control his power after this conflict. He discovered that Hershey’s presence allowed him to control his power. He was pleased to know that his power was not useless and that it could save many lives when he could control it well. After this night, Hershey stayed and lived with Jacob in the forest.

The Red Forest

By Adrian Siu (Sing Yin Secondary School)

He was walking back to his house at midnight, talking on his phone, when he took a wrong turn on the street because he wasn’t paying attention. When his phone finally lost the signal and ended the conversation in a bunch of static noises, he finally realised where he was. By the forest. He took a few steps forward and looked around. Strangely, the more he looked at the forest, the more macabre it got. All the trees were red. The branches were dried human fingers with thousands of cyan eyeballs hanging from them. The mud was crimson, with a foul stench of dead animals, as were the ‘raindrops’ that fell on him and stained his black tuxedo. A huge contrast in colour was seen as bright-blue lightning rumbled and flashed in the sky. Green carcasses crawled out from tombstones and began dragging themselves towards him, and small pieces of nearly-invisible purple cloth flew all over the place. The coffins broke as mummies wrapped with indigo cloths got out and started walking to him. In the shadows, thousands of yellow-eyed werewolves were staring at him and growling. Vampires with orange fangs and talons also crept towards him from behind. The man was helpless. There was nothing he could do. So, in fact, he just stood there and did nothing.

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In a twisted turn of events, the approaching monsters took a clearer look at him, then started to run away with horrified looks on their faces.

The Gothenburg Treasure

By Salmon Su Chenggang (CSBS Mrs. Aw Boon Haw Secondary School)

The whole forest dissipated into thin air. The man smiled. It was an evil grin.

In a pub in Gothenburg one evening, a burly Chinese swordsman called Master So was chatting happily with the bartender when a man entered the pub. He was wearing a black cape and seemed very tall and strong, but he was disabled: he had only one eye and one arm. Master So could not see his face because he wore a black mask. He ordered a ‘black forest’ then he approached Master So to chat. The man introduced himself as someone from a distant island who was studying alchemy. He gave Master So a map and explained that the map was marked with treasure, but that he could not get to the place because of his physical disability, and then he left. Master So was very excited because he was adventurous. The location of the treasure was on the boundary of Gothenburg city. He’d heard that there’d been a lot of paranormal events around there, so he called his friends from when they were mercenaries to help find the treasure. His friends Nelson, Peter and James agreed. Walcott Forest was under heavy rain, but the rain could not stop Master So and his teammates. Their flashlights were very weak and the land was muddy, but they didn’t care because they had reached the placed marked on the map. The mouth of the cave was covered with vines and mosses, like evil hands guarding the cave. There was complete darkness. When they first tried to enter the cave, hundreds of bats flew out and all of them fell to the ground except James. He was bitten by a bat but was still able to walk, so they went into the cave together. The faint light from the entrance illuminated old murals on the wall. Suddenly, Nelson fell down and shouted, “James is attacking me!” Everyone

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quickly turned around and saw that James’s mouth was covered in blood. He had become strong and furious and full of murderous rage. Nelson lost consciousness. James went to attack Master So, who quickly drew his sword and chopped off James’s head.

Master So knew that this was his last day, so he took out the sword and got ready for the final struggle, but it was too late. The man dashed to him and grabbed his neck. Master So heard a movement behind – it was James and Nelson covered in blood and...half of Peter’s body. They all looked grimly at Master So.

”Oh my god, they’re monsters! What’s going on?” Master So was very afraid. He had just killed his good friend, and now Nelson was infected too. He thought for a moment, then killed Nelson. He walked to Peter and told him to move forward. Peter was worried. Master So had killed their two friends instead of trying to treat them. He began to doubt Master So.

Then the man broke his neck. As that happened, he heard his three friends say, “You are our friend again.’’ Then the cave was silent once more...

As Peter struggled with his thoughts, he became so angry that he decided to kill Master So and get out of this place. Finally, he drew out a sword and decided to attack Master So sneakily, but Master So had heard Peter swallowing saliva many times and knew that he was very nervous. When Peter went to kill Master So, Master So used his fist to stun Peter. He thought that Peter had attacked him because he wanted to take all the treasure. He became angry and he sliced Peter’s body in half. Master So carried on. Now he was thinking only of the treasure, and about leaving this absurd place. He moved on, walking past many spider webs. Then, on one spider web, there seemed to be an eye looking at him. When Master So tried to look at it carefully, the eye disappeared. He suddenly thought of the man in the pub who had been missing an eye. He was fearful to the extreme. Was it a conspiracy? He was turning back to leave when a strange thing suddenly appeared, grabbed his neck, then dragged him deep into a hole. He was stunned and shocked. Was it magic? Where was he? His head was in pain but he didn’t have the chance to pull out his sword because they were moving too fast. After a while, he came to a place. He opened his mini flashlight. In front of him was a medieval cathedral with sharp eaves, red brick and colourful windows. Half of the cross on the roof was broken. How spectacular it was! A man walked out of the church. Master So saw that it was the man from the pub. The “thing” returned to its owner. It was his hand! Master So also saw that the man had two eyes!

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The Killer Bear

By Nicholas Chan Hei Yat (Wah Yan College, Hong Kong)

I only brought a torch for light and a pistol in order to protect myself when needed. The factory wasn’t far away from the residential area, but people rarely went there. It had been a flourishing toy factory, and one of the powerhouses of the economy of this place in the 1900s until the war started, but it had been abandoned for almost a century now. The horror stories and the mysterious tales of ghosts that people had told about the empty factory kept the locals away from it. Nothing was stopping me though. I was not afraid of anything and I was going to discover the truth. The truth about the Killer Bear. The Killer Bear story is one of the classic myths around here. It is said that a bear had come to town just after the war, from the forest nearby, and had stayed in the factory since. Apparently, it had superpowers. As the locals returned home after the war, they were shocked by that ten-foot-tall creature, but the bear lived with them peacefully until a greedy and cruel killer tried to kill the bear to get its feet to sell. The bear was having none of that and had eaten the killer. Unfortunately, it had also eaten the poison that the killer had been holding. The poison went into its body and it became unable to move far, but its hatred for humans grew and it killed everyone who had entered the factory since.

The barbed wire fences had holes that had already been cut by others. As I squashed my body into a hole, I heard my leather jacket being torn and scratched by the spiky wires. After a bit of struggle, I got into the so-called ‘Restricted Area’ and walked through the tall, thick grass. It hadn’t been taken care of for so long that it was growing out of control. There was no light and I could barely see a thing, so I turned on my torch. It didn’t help much, apart from helping me locate the dull-grey, concrete, four-storey building. My palms were sweating, not knowing what to expect. There could be a serial killer…or a witch…or a monster. There could be ANYTHING. As I walked closer, a wave of sinister wind blew against my face. Something felt weird and wrong but I just didn’t know what it was. The whole place was spooky. It was dark and it felt like something was hiding in the bush right next to the wall, but I couldn’t see a thing. The icy wind of spring was like sharp spikes of ice, stabbing my body through to my bones. I approached the building step by step. There was rust everywhere and pieces of broken glass lay on the floor. In the light of my Maglite torch, I could see graffiti on the walls around the reception area, which was full of spider webs. In fact, the inside of the whole building was covered in graffiti. On the ceiling, on the floor, on the walls… EVERYWHERE. I walked onto the narrow stairs that led to the upper floors. The low ceiling made me nervous, as did the stairs, which squeaked – making tiny noises like a mouse – each time I went up a step. It gave me the shivers but I just kept going and hoped that the noise of the wind would cover up the annoying squeaks. I decided to search from the top so I ran up and up the stairs, in the freezing cold. But, the stairs didn’t have an end.

No one I knew had ever proven this myth, but the locals said that they often heard a bear growling, when they went close to the factory. Some had gone to try to find evidence of the bear, but they had never returned.

It just kept going. How come? It was supposed to be four stories and that’s it. I ran for a while, but I found I was still on the first floor. I stopped and stood next to the rotten wooden door of the first floor, breathless and confused. Suddenly, there were short and heavy footsteps from the main entrance.

Now it was my turn to investigate.

Was it the thing that I had been looking for?

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Most importantly, was that the Killer Bear? My whole body was shaking. What should I do? I pulled out the 9mm Glock from the holder on my belt. My unsteady hands were letting me down as I loaded several bullets into the gun. I held it with both of my skinny hands, shaking and sweating. My finger was on the trigger. I was ready. I tried to convince myself that I wasn’t afraid, but I could hear my heart and my brain warning me of the deepest pain that I’ve experienced. Then I saw a shadow around the corner. It was dark and I could barely see it. The shadow was big – no, it was massive. I tried to hide, by moving backward against the wall.

grass and panicked. Which way was out? I’d lost my sense of direction in the darkness. Every breath was so heavy that it hurt my body. I ran around like a headless chicken until I had used up all my energy. It was still chasing me. I tripped up in the slippery grass, and my heart dropped. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to run anymore. I was finished. As I fell down, I froze. I had no idea what I was doing. I stared at the bear dashing towards me. I saw its eyes. Determined, full of hate and hunger. I was ready to be trampled. I was ready to be the next victim. There was nothing I could do.

It moved closer, and closer, to me.

I closed my eyes and said goodbye to the world. It was there, next to me.

I waited…and then, disaster struck.

My last memory was of my intestines being ripped open. The pain was too much for me, I howled with the last bit of air in my body, then everything was gone.

All of a sudden, a huge force like a tornado pulled me onto the monster and the whole place lit up with a pure white light. I flew and immediately crashed my head against the wall. It was so painful I thought my brain had disintegrated into small pieces in my brain fluid. I couldn’t stop moving and rubbed my skin against the rough wall. It was like a piece of sandpaper polishing a piece of natural wood. Small bits of my skin went flying. I didn’t see it, but I heard it and felt it in the most painful and brutal way ever. Finally, the ‘tornado’ stopped, and I dropped onto the cold hard floor, with the big shadow in front of me. Then, I lost consciousness. The last thing I remembered was the pistol falling from my hand. I thought I’d died, but I hadn’t. I woke, but after how long? God knows. I could sense pain everywhere on my body. In my brain, my spine, my arms. My forehead was bleeding. I looked around with agony in my neck. I had been thrown out of the factory and was lying on the grass outside. I struggled to stand up but I had to, because I heard it moving, with big, hard footsteps, towards me. It seemed as though I had unleashed the bear. I looked back. A giant, black thing was moving in my direction. It was petrifying. I started running, feeling the torn muscles in my leg. I swung my already broken arm as hard as I could in order to run faster. I was sweating. I threw my jacket onto the

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The Nightmare

By O Ki Hang (Clementi Secondary School)

He seldom speaks and is a strange man. He is rich but still comes to work. You can try to befriend him.” Guinevere went up to Arthur and said, “Hi, Arthur, I’m your new partner, Guinevere. Hope we can be friends.” Arthur gave no response.

“Guinevere, can you be my wife again if I beat Modred?” “Of course, King Arthur, please stay safe. I’ll wait for you until I die.” Guinevere suddenly woke up. Why do I always have the same nightmare? This is the tenth day that I have had this nightmare, Guinevere thought, baffled by the strange nightmare and by the fact that her eyes were now different colours. Her left eye was red and her right one was orange. It was 3am in the morning. Guinevere forced herself to go back to sleep so she wouldn’t be late for work. “Your name is Guinevere, the new police officer on duty?” asked an old veteran called Ray. “Yes,” Guinevere said. “Today is my first day in uniform. This is my dream come true. I will become the most hard-working police officer here!”

At 11am, on a slope in the countryside near London, Guinevere and Arthur conducted a blanket search along with many police officers. Their mission was to discover what had happened, so they were walking slowly. “There are many bats,” said Guinevere. “According to a colleague of ours, Gawain, who is still in hospital, there may be a vampire here,” answered Arthur. He had just said that, when they saw a castle. The Inspector took the lead into the castle. Once inside the castle, all the officers were divided into eight teams and walked around to try to find out what had happened. “Team 8, have you found anything? Team 8, please answer!” “Guinevere, what’s happened?” “Inspector Ma, all the Team 8 members are dead.” All the police officers left the castle. Everyone was sad because they discovered that not just Team 8 members had died, members of Teams 1 to 4 had also died. Some of the dead bodies were intact but some had been injured by some unknown beasts.

“Having a dream is good, but I should tell you something serious. This week, there have been many monsters in the countryside, attacking the police. Fifty officers are in hospital now. I don’t know anything about them. You should be careful when you patrol.”

“I’m sure that there are vampires, werewolves and many monsters here. We can’t leave until morning so just get some sleep here,” said Inspector Ma.

“No problem.”

“Guinevere, can you be my wife again if I beat Modred?”

“Oh, and one more question… Why do you always close one eye?”

“Of course, King Arthur, please stay safe. I’ll wait for you until I die.”

An inspector came into the room and said, “Guinevere, this is your partner Arthur.

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Guinevere woke up. She knew her dream was from the legend of King Arthur

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and she also knew the end of the story – Arthur died in Avalon and he did not find his queen. This dream made Guinevere understand something. Then, as Guinevere was getting up, Inspector Ma suddenly shouted, “Run! Run! The werewolf has found us.” Every police officer shot at the werewolf but the beast remained unharmed, so they all ran. The beast gave chase and many police officers were killed leaving Arthur and Guinevere alive.

Then just as the vampire was about to kill Arthur, the sun rose and the day broke. The vampire died as a beam of sunshine hit him. Violence came to an end. Although many police officers had died, they had saved the lives of many residents. Guinevere and Arthur faced the sun, hand in hand, basking in the warmth of the sunshine.

They ran away and found a lake. There was a sword in the lake and some words on a tablet next to the sword which said: This Excalibur belongs to the King of England. This sword can kill every evil thing. When Guinevere and Arthur touched the sword, they remembered everything – that they were King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. In fact, when King Arthur had died in Avalon, Queen Guinevere had been very sad and had promised that she would go with King Arthur everywhere. Just then, an old man came out from the mist. No one could see him except for Guinevere. When she pulled her closed eye open, she saw an old wizard. She remembered that the wizard was Merlin, the great wizard who had helped King Arthur in the legend. Merlin told Guinevere and Arthur that he had protected the sword for a thousand years because he had promised King Arthur that he would do this. Although he, Merlin, had died already, his spirit had stayed there to look after the sword. Before Merlin disappeared, he walked to Arthur and Guinevere and told them that they were his friends and he would stand by them forever. He also told Guinevere that her mismatched eyes were a present from him to keep her safe, and that the dream had helped her to stay away from danger. After Merlin disappeared, many bats appeared and a vampire came with the werewolves. The lead wolf started to attack Arthur, who ran immediately to the table and took out Excalibur. The sword shone after sleeping for a thousand years. In just ten seconds, the wolves were killed by the sword. After that, the vampire continued to attack. After three hours, the lake was red because of Arthur’s blood.

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Inconceivable Mirror

By Peggy Kwok (Leung Shek Chee College)

“So you need my company...?” I asked. “Yes. I can’t get in the mirror by myself. I’m not strong enough since I lost my soul.” The girl answered. For safety reasons, and also to ensure the girl wouldn’t kill me, I agreed to her request.

Everybody had left, including the security guard. The school was full of silence. All the lights were broken, including the light near the emergency exit. Actually, I just wanted to take my assignments back to the classroom. I grabbed the flashlight and entered my classroom. Wind blew in every direction even though the windows were closed. Desks and chairs were covered in dust. Some words were written on the blackboard but they were so obscured that I couldn’t figure out what they meant. My heart was heavy so I tried to get out as soon as possible. Sinister moaning and shrieking sounds reached my ears. I looked at the floor that I was stepping on, and found some footsteps leaving a trail of blood. I followed the spoor and found a secret chamber. I walked downstairs to that secret chamber without any hesitation. The chamber was full of cobwebs and bones... All kinds of disgusting things that you might imagine were in this place. And also, there was a nauseating smell which made me want to vomit. It was murky and I couldn’t see anything clearly. Whilst I was observing the surrounding environment, I heard sounds in the corridor behind me. So I turned slowly to see if there was something near me. I saw a young girl who wore a red dress and had no pupils in her eyes. She was staring at me. The girl caught my shaking hand and said, “Help me... Help me... HELP ME!” I attempted to resist but failed. “Please...” the girl entreated. I calmed myself down and asked haltingly if I could do something to help her and also save myself. “Mirror... Get into the mirror with me, please... A black shadow stole my soul and he entered the world in the mirror,” the young girl said.

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The girl brought me to the middle of the chamber to a mirror. The mirror was splendid and shiny, and made of bronze. Near the mirror there was a book which looked like the Bible. It was titled The Miracle of the Mirror. “Can you turn the book to the page that has the spell at the top, please,” the girl said. I followed the girl’s instruction and read the incantation in the book. A dazzling light came out and the girl and I were pulled into the world of the mirror. We were in a forest. The forest was dark. The trees were all withered and the vegetation was sparse. “Do you know where the black shadow is?” I wondered. “I am not so sure about that. But I guess he is in the cave which is far away from here.” The girl answered. We had no choice so I started our ‘wonderful’ journey with the girl beside me. There were many strange sounds around us, which made us really feel insecure. Branches creaked and the wind whispered through the leaves. We were so wiped out as we had to walk a thousand miles from the forest to the mountain. Our stomachs were grumbling when we eventually arrived at the cave. “My soul... My soul is here,” the girl murmured. We entered the cave. It was chilly and dingy. Cold air filled every corner. There was no light and unfortunately, my phone had insufficient battery for the flashlight to work. We moved slowly and turned a corner with lots of spiders and corpses on the ground. “Is there anybody here?” the girl said, causing an echo.

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At that moment, a black shadow appeared in front of us, abruptly. We stepped back and I looked around to see if there were any weapons that I could use. I found a sceptre and pointed it at the black shadow. “Misahrisa!” the girl shouted and the sceptre I was holding produced a light which was shot into the black shadow. The black shadow engulfed the girl. The girl screamed and I attempted to repeat the spell that the girl had said before. But nothing happened. I tried very hard to separate the girl from the black shadow but I failed. It was hopeless and I didn’t know what I should do. “AHHH!!!!!” The girl yelled and she fell down. Blood flooded the ground. I knelt down and held her hands. “Hey, are you okay..?” I sobbed. “Don’t worry. It’s okay. I was a student at your school many years ago. Same as you, I found that secret chamber and that black shadow stole my soul. I was trapped in there for a long long time. I was delighted that you were willing to help me.” “Not at all. You’re welcome.” I wept. “Nice to meet you. I’m Alicia.” She wiped away the tears on my face. “I’m Sophia. Rest in peace, Alicia...” I answered.

The Dolls

By Ricky Zhou Weijie (CSBS Mrs. Aw Boon Haw Secondary School)

A long time ago, in a small town in the United States, the number of missing children soared. Nine children disappeared overnight. In the days that followed, parents calling and crying for their lost children could be heard everywhere. Lots of people came to comfort the parents, but they found it difficult to calm their feelings. Losing a child was like being stabbed in the heart with a sharp knife. The scar would be there forever in the deepest part of their hearts. Day by day, these unsolved cases gradually accumulated, and sat in the bottom cabinet. By 11 April 2018, a decade had passed. Nobody brought up these mysterious cases, anymore… But in the police station, a young policeman was still carefully double checking the information in the ‘nine missing children case’. “Charlie, how can you be bothered to research for such a long time? You have been reading for more than two weeks, you haven’t had any rest!” said Ford. Charlie did not respond to his colleague. “Charlie, look at me! These missing children cases happened a long time ago. Even if you keep searching for a month, you still won’t find clues. All the children may already have died, why are you so dedicated to them?” Charlie stopped working, turned to Ford, and angrily said to him, “Although they may have died, as policemen, we should never give up investigating all the cases until we find the guilty person. Moreover, they were my friends!” Ford looked stunned at Charlie’s angry eyes. “Oh, I am sorry! I didn’t know they were actually your friends. I also feel very sad about them. Calm down, and I will help you with the search.”

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The next morning, Charlie and Ford decided to work together to trace all the clues in the missing children cases by visiting the town, but there was still not a single clue. Charlie did not want to give up, so he and Ford decided to stay in the town overnight and continue the investigation the next morning.

owner, who was so lonely that he kidnapped some children every five years from the town to keep him company and play games with him. Only the winners could leave. If they lost, their souls would be extracted and stored in the dolls to stay with him forever.”

At midnight, Ford and Charlie took a rest in the hotel. Due to the Ford’s loud snoring, Charlie could not fall asleep, even though he was in the room next to Ford’s. So he sat by the window in deep thought. Suddenly, from outside the window, he heard a burst of footsteps. It was a very soft sound, but nothing could escape Charlie’s sensitive hearing.

Charlie walked to the side. “Is that the way out?”

He quickly opened a small gap in the curtains and peeped out of the window to see what was happening outside. A surprising scene met his eyes. In the bright moonlight, a tall, masked man climbed out of a house, dragging a seven or eightyear-old kid along, before going in the other direction. Charlie realised that this was not good and went to wake up Ford right away, but he couldn’t wake him, so he decided he had to handle the case alone. The masked man escaped very slowly, like he was deliberately letting Charlie follow him.

The doll did not immediately respond, then it said, “The castle is his world, no one can escape. I am the first one to bring people here. The only way you can escape is to beat him. His weakness is his mask, he has never taken it off.” Charlie continued to ask, “If I beat him, can you return to your original life?” The doll kept silent for a long time, and finally said, “We have been here for a long time. When our souls left, our flesh dilapidated. So although we cannot be born again, you can let us out of pain and set our souls free. I can’t help you any more. He is inside this room. Hope you can help us out of here!” The voice disappeared in the dark.

After a while, Charlie came to a large castle, with a cemetery in front. The surrounding dry trees and the resting crows made the place much darker.

Charlie gently opened the door. He looked inside the room. He was in complete darkness but he saw many eyes looking at him. Charlie felt that this was not good, so he moved a few steps backward and saw a large shadow appear in front of him!

Charlie went directly into the castle. As he entered, the door suddenly shut and locked behind him. Charlie was surprised. He had no other choice except to search for another way out. Suddenly, the castle was filled with baby-like laughter. It sounded creepy. Along the way, he came to a small room and opened the door to see there were many dolls. The laughter quieted down, and he saw the previously motionless dolls begin to move. They started climbing towards Charlie, saying, “Save me, save me!” Charlie was so afraid, he ran away from the room.

The masked man, used his long, thin hands to try to catch Charlie, who tried to move backward step by step, but then by accident he fell on the ground. The masked man was about to catch him, but Charlie was too tired to move anymore. Suddenly, a blue figure appeared in front of him and wrapped its arms around the masked man. Charlie heard a command, “Now! Take his mask off!” Charlie acted at once and swooped to tear off the mask. The masked man let out a bitter scream, turned into pieces of debris and disappeared.

Charlie was praying when he heard a voice. It said,“Come with me, I won’t hurt you.” Charlie had no choice but to follow the voice, even though he was afraid. He came to a church where he saw a doll, “What is going on?” Charlie said, looking around doubtfully.

With the disappearance of the masked man, all the souls of the dolls in the castle were released in the form of blue rays that shone out into the dark night. The castle also disappeared. Charlie dragged his tired body back to the hotel, quietly lay in bed and felt as if he had just escaped from a nightmare.

The doll said, “These are the dolls made by the masked man. He was the castle

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The Half-Dead

By Bernice Ng (St Francis’ Canossian College)

you can stand up to them!” Instantly, gigantic man-eating plants rose from the ground, nearly tumbling Luca over. They widened their gory mouths. “It’s not too late to change your mind.” The teenager ignored her words. His eyes sparked with an idea, despite the multiple lacerations and wounds on his body. He ignited a match making both the plant and Cheryl back off. The creature hissed and growled. Cheryl imagined her villa burning. Luca walked towards her, extinguishing the flame.

Luca woke up in his casket. He sniffed. The box no longer smelled like death and soil. Realising he wasn’t breathing, the boy thrashed, until the lid fell away. His icy blue eyes widened. Luca had expected to see his marble grave, but he found himself in a grey wasteland. There seemed to be a black cottage in the distance. In search of help, Luca approached the house. He knocked with one of his albinopale hands. A voice with a heavy French accent said, “Let me repeat once again! I am not joining your vicious scheme!” Very soon after, a pretty young lady opened the door. She stared at Luca. “Come in my poor lost soul! You need shelter.” The woman introduced herself as Cheryl Bellerose. She offered him some celery and broccoli. Luca was shivering so he lit a match to light a fire in the fireplace. The French lady stopped him, saying, “We don’t allow fire here.” Luca wanted to know the reason why, but he swallowed the question. Time flew swiftly by like an eagle, and the boy began to wonder how long he had been at Cheryl’s. He gently pulled her sleeve. “Can I go, please?” “Why not stay a little longer?” “I don’t want to be stuck here. I want to get to know this world.” “You have no idea how cruel they can get! They can, and will dismember you! I am protecting you!” The pronoun caught Luca’s attention. He asked Cheryl about it. “Clementine and… Ugh, forget about them,” she replied. That only raised more questions. The name stuck to his mind like a spider. The boy insisted on leaving. Cheryl lowered her head and said, “Then, prove to me

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“Can I go now?” Cheryl nodded, tears brimming in her eyes. Her arms embraced him. After healing his cuts, the maiden sent him on his journey. As Luca walked along, he found the path was no longer made of stone, but of milk chocolate. Eventually it led him to a mansion made of sweets. He opened the candy cane gates. The ground was coated with marshmallows. He pressed the lollipop bell. “Why, hello! You’re certainly a sweet surprise!” said Celeste. As he entered the villas, the servants immediately laid out a candy feast. Popcorn, angel food cake, strawberry treats and many other things were placed on the table. The scent was certainly mouth-watering, but Luca rejected them. “Why won’t you eat, my gracious guest?” “I don’t know. My instincts tell me you poisoned them.” Celeste backed close to the fireplace, pulling a lever hidden in it. Luca fell to the dungeons. He tried to talk, but a lance with yellow and white stripes was pointed at him. Curiously, it smelt like lemon. “I hail from the family of Lamington! Loyal knights to our lady since time began! Thou shalt perish!” said the knight. Luca grabbed a candy cane to fight the horseman. He finally tipped up the icing horse after a tedious while. “How dare you?” the knight shouted. “Sir Honoré! Bring forth your army!”

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Sir Honoré shouted commands at his soldiers. “Prime and load! Handle cartridge! Prime!”

Charlotte ordered them to give chase, but when Luca entered a graveyard, they left him alone. He slowed down and wandered in.

Luca pulled a cute expression at Sir Honoré. “Make ready! Present!” All of a sudden Luca realised Sir Honoré was serious. His pupils widened in fear. He banged on the exits.

Suddenly a spotlight hit him. “Welcome to my turf! I am Clementine!”

The military leader smirked. “Fire!” Luca dodged, trying to swipe the bullets away. His candy cane all of a sudden shot one of the soldiers. “Sacré Bleu! How dare you do such a thing!” yelled Sir Honoré. The soldiers fired rapidly. Luca lit a match. He tossed the flame at the military unit. Sir Honoré gasped. Before retreating he poured a bucket of jelly on himself. “I am ending you myself, this instant!” said Celeste, snapping her fingers. Gummy maggots wriggled towards Luca, who tried to fight the worms with fire to no avail. He hit the disgusting creatures with the candy cane. Finally able to shoot, the boy blasted the worms into smithereens. Despite their former appearances the bits looked appetising, not that anyone would eat them! Celeste hopped down holding a sword. The green and white stripes on it began swinging. Luca gripped his cane stiffly. The lass’ movements were swift, but he managed to disarm her with one hit. “I can see you are no ordinary child. You may pass,” she said. As Luca walked away from the residence, Celeste called somebody. “I think you’d better prepare for this kid. He is definitely stronger than I expected,” she said to them. Luca strolled near a swamp. Athena crawled from the decaying trees, her arms gripping the branches tightly. Cobras followed her. One of them slithered upon Luca. His screams shook the forest. At Charlotte’s signal, a bask of crocodiles blocked his way. He soon lost his way as he scurried away from the Niles, Saltwaters and Muggers. Athena and

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Luca saw a woman in her early twenties. Her electric blue eyes were almost invisible due to her bright smile. She flipped up her golden hair, which were reminiscent of barley crops. “Do I look fabulous today?” she laughed. “Who am I kidding? Of course I do! Shall we dance?” Luca sensed her maliciousness so he shook his head. “Too bad! You have to!” In the graveyard there was a disco floor. Luca saw many neon colours. He turned around to escape but the cemetery guns were aiming at him. “The rules are simple,” said Clementine, “step on the wrong tile… and you fall into a deadly trap.” For the first few tiles Luca did quite well. However, once he almost jumped on a spot before it collapsed. Shafts of fear were penetrating his beating heart. In the end, Luca successfully reached the other side. Clementine waved, leading him to a casino. Athena was playing cards with a few other gamblers. “Hey there chump. You either have to bet here, or you get blipped off,” said Athena. He found himself in a gigantic room. In front of him was the notorious Russian Roulette. Clementine held a pistol as brown as a coffin. Luca chose twelve as his number. Unfortunately, the ball landed elsewhere. “Oh my! Farewell my handsome prince! We shall meet again… Or not!” said Clementine, asking Luca to shoot himself. For obvious reasons he struggled. Athena and Charlotte restrained him. “So, someone’s not willing to pay their debt… You can tear out one of your organs instead.” Clementine evaluated his parts, and settled on Luca’s pumping heart. She nodded confidently. “If you give me this… You can gamble here forever, without any payment.”

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The Forest

“Why should I believe you?”

By Sam Tsoi Tik Sum (Clementi Secondary School)

“Due to my status as a casino owner.” Luca pinched Clementine’s face, and stared into every dusty corner of her being. “Tell me why you want my heart so badly that you hired your goons to kill me.” “I want my sister back from Hell. Can you do me a favour and help me, please?” Luca walked in circles. Surely that was something, but not being able to enter heaven was a vastly different story. After ten minutes of thought, he grabbed a knife and ripped his heart out. Crimson liquid spilt out of his body.

It was a blowy, snowy day – it was Christmas Eve! Oscar, Tom and Roy were enthusiastic about the upcoming Christmas celebrations because of the festive mood outside. But it wasn’t the gathering with friends or the presents from Santa Claus that had made them most excited, it was the adventure they were going to have in the forest!

“Take it,” he said, shutting his eyes and collapsing.

“Oscar, are you ready for the adventure?” asked Tom and Roy, waiting outside Oscar’s room.

The next day he discovered he was back in Cheryl’s house. There stood another girl who looked just like Clementine. Luca felt butterflies in his stomach. She looked like an angel.

“Yes, my dear friends… I’m getting some equipment, such as an electric flashlight and a shovel,” said Oscar. After a while, he came out and they went to the forest for the exciting adventure.

“Thank you for everything…” she said. “Here’s your reward for helping me.”

When they got to the forest, the three brave boys took a deep breath and walked inside together. As they walked, a sudden gust of strong, weird wind swept snow across their faces. However, the extreme weather didn’t dim their courage, and they chatted happily.

She kissed him. Luca gasped. “I AM IN HEAVEN!”

Many strange incidents kept befalling them in the forest. The flowers and trees sang, and the tigers and lions danced together. All the things in the forest had come alive! Feeling scared, Roy wanted to leave, but Oscar and Tom wouldn’t accept Roy’s request. “Roy, if you leave now, you’re a coward and we won’t be friends with you,” said Oscar and Tom. Roy faced a dilemma – but whatever happened, he didn’t want to lose his friends, so he decided to stay. The three little boys kept walking with courage in the forest. They still hadn’t

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realised how strange the forest was. They kept walking and walking. Suddenly, something pulled at their legs. The sound of them chatting turned into silence, then into screaming. “Oscar and Tom, do you feel something pulling us?” said Roy tremblingly.

of their body parts such as their heads and hands. The death of the three little boys was an enigma. Some curious people even went to the forest to try to discover the truth behind this odd place, but very few ever came back out.

“Ye…Yes…” answered Oscar and Tom, timidly. “It’s a hand!” said Roy. “It’s a monster! It has red eyes. It’s terrible!” said Oscar. They tried to run, but the monster pulled them back and they fell on the ground. Roy felt regret that he had chosen not to leave. “Oscar and Tom, why didn’t you guys accept my request to leave?! If I had left, I wouldn’t have been caught by the monster! I hate you guys!” said Roy angrily. “Sorry, it’s our fault, but what we need to do is escape from the monster, not blame each other!” said Oscar and Tom. Roy agreed. They kept fighting the grip of the monster and tried to escape, but failed every time. After a while, the monster became exhausted and couldn’t pull their legs. The three boys escaped. However, it was just a momentary triumph. The boys tried their best to leave the forest, but the monster followed them. They kept running and running - it felt as if there was no end to the forest. Suddenly, the monster ran faster and grabbed their legs again. The three were caught. The monster was hungry and started to eat them one by one – it was cruel! Seeing their friends being eaten, the boys were very frightened. If they hadn’t come to this place, they wouldn’t have had this consequence. In five minutes, all three little boys had been eaten. The next day, their parents realised that their kids had disappeared for the whole night. They called the police and searched for their boys. Finally, after ten months, they found some clothes that belonged to the three boys in the jungle, and some

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Remain Silent

By Watt Sheung Yin Thomas (Clementi Secondary School)

This was really creepy. Had I seen a dead boy? Was it an illusion? Chapter Two: The Meeting A month passed. Everything was fine. I had finally convinced myself that the boy was an illusion when I saw the child again. I quickly ran towards him, snatched at his arm and asked him who he was. At that moment, a strong gust of ghostly wind blew straight at me, and I lost consciousness.

Chapter One: The Beginning I am Julie Watson, a poor, fifty-four-year-old labourer in Chester, United Kingdom. I was unemployed and desperately trying to find a job so that I could afford the escalating cost of medical treatment for my husband, Sam. Every time I visited Sam, I was scolded by his mother, for I could not provide the money that his treatment required. The pressure was getting to me, slowly. 1 August is Sam’s birthday. On my way to the hospital, a masked woman gave me a leaflet advertising a job vacancy at a psychiatric hospital. I read it carefully. The employee had to work in the hospital at night, but surprisingly the job offered thirty five thousand pounds a year, which was enough to pay for medical costs for Sam, and even to buy a new apartment. The first night that I stayed in the hospital, I patrolled with my colleagues, May and Chloe, both of whom were well-experienced. Just round the corner on the fourth floor, I saw a kid standing next to a pot plant. When he walked away, I felt an urge from nowhere, to follow him. Strangely, he disappeared in a wall, not far from me. I couldn’t believe my eyes. How did that kid manage to go through the wall? I thought I was mistaken, then I moved onto another task. The next day, Chloe, May and I went inside the office of our supervisor, Ray. There was a picture hanging on the wall of the kid that I had seen. I was surprised! Whilst pointing to the picture, I told the two ladies what I had seen the previous night. The two colleagues said that the kid, the son of the hospital founder, had died a long time ago and that the reason for his death was unknown.

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When I woke up, I was sitting between two shabby old graves. I had no idea where I was. It seemed like I was somewhere near the hospital. There was a man’s voice swearing at me. I was frightened. I struggled to get out of the place, but couldn’t. I thought that I must be dreaming, but my face was covered in sweat. Then, all of a sudden, I was back at my work desk in the hospital. I kept thinking about the man’s voice for the rest of the night. I was so nervous that I fell down. Then, again, I found myself sitting between the same two graves, but this time there was no man’s voice. Instead, there was loud, cheerful orchestra music resonating in the thin air. I walked straight ahead in the dark, in the direction of the music. Out of the blue, the music stopped. The blanket of darkness shrouded my eyes and ears. There was nothing but silence. I woke up again. It was morning. Ray beckoned me to go to the front desk. “Are you feeling better? You took a short nap,” he said. I told him what had befallen me the previous night, but he just laughed and walked away. I felt like a pitiable clown. That night when I was back at work, I was in a very bad mood. Walking past the supervisor’s room, I couldn’t help but enter and kick the huge swivel armchair. On the floor lay a mask, which was of the boy’s face. I stepped back, looking at the mask aghast, unable to speak. I saw Ray from the corner of my eye and then lost consciousness again.

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The Human-Mouse

Chapter Three: The END I woke up and I found myself on a surgery table. Ray took off his surgical mask and smirked. I could feel nothing of my legs. Ray was holding a knife, and walking towards my left leg. I wanted to scream but couldn’t. I looked around and insanely, I saw May and Chloe’s heads. I wondered what was going on. It was a mystery. Ray took the towel gagging my mouth off and I instantly shouted, “What are you doing?” Ray softly asked me to shut up, but I kept screaming. Gently yet quickly, he stabbed his knife straight into my stomach. After that, I heard nothing.

By Wong Chin Yuet (Clementi Secondary School)

In the laboratory sat a scientist called David comparing the DNA of animals with that of humans. He believed that the DNA of humans and animals could be mixed together. Day and night, David carried out nonstop research, did numerous experiments and read many scientific journals. One cloudy, rainy night, David finally developed a person, who was a combination of the DNA from a mouse and a human. David started testing her. Unfortunately, he found out the mutated person’s ears were a problem. David also wanted to find out if she could communicate with humans and animals. To do so, David sent her to school, to see if her IQ was the same as that of a primary five student. He also helped the mutated girl apply for an identity card. Her name was Pet. In her school, which was located in the centre of Hong Kong, there were many students of different ethnicities. David helped the mutated girl dress like a regular primary student on her first day of school. As soon as Pet stepped into her classroom, the classmates eyed her from head to toe. Thinking Pet was odd, they shouted at her, “Get out! There was no place for you, here. Our class is only for high-quality students. Look at your face! How funny you look! You can’t be one of us. You must leave. This class is not suitable for you.” As expected, Pet could not bear the noise when her classmates shouted at her. Due to the noise, she turned into a large mouse. She moved so quickly that no one could stop her from destroying all the objects on her way. Everyone started running with frightened looks on their faces. The teacher called her parent immediately. No sooner had David picked up the call, he got into his car with a gun. He aimed at Pet and shot her with a tranquilliser dart. Pet soon collapsed

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The Weird Room

and was sent to the laboratory. A week later, David found out the problem with Pet’s DNA and fixed it. He then sent Pet to school again, continuing his experiment. When, Pet went into the same classroom, none of her classmate gave her a glance. Pet tried to be friendly and talked to the student sitting next to her, but she gave no response. Day in day out, Pet went to school and absorbed knowledge, becoming like an assistant to the teacher. She could answer all of the teacher’s questions and came first in the final exam. She was a role model to her classmates. One day, the weather was as bad as the day Pet had been born. The sky was covered with black clouds, and strong winds blew. The mist was so thick that no one could see things only three meters away. Everyone gathered behind Pet. But whilst leading them to a shelter, a thunderclap struck hard. Pet shrieked. The fog got thicker and thicker and suddenly, Pet disappeared. “This place is not for you guys. Humans always damage our environment. I hate humans. I want to kill you all!” Pet said from a hole in the ground. On hearing that, everyone dropped dead. David went to school at the end of the day but never saw Pet again. Was Pet a mouse or a human being? No one knows.

By Tam Yuen Ying Wendy (Leung Shek Chee College)

“Hurry up!” the woman shouted at the girl, loudly. “Slow down!” Hayley, who was holding heavy luggage, responded impatiently. A creepy old house appeared in front of them. They walked upstairs and saw a wrinkled-faced woman. “Oh Hayley! My dear granddaughter,” Hayley’s Grandma wore a smile. “Go choose a room.” Grandma said in her gentle voice. Hayley went to the second floor and saw a room that was locked. The door of that room was different from the other doors she could see. It was very dusty and locked with a rusty padlock. Hayley stretched out her hand to try to open it. “Stop! Don’t open it!” Grandma shouted furiously, glaring at Hayley. Hayley’s face turned white. “I am sorry, Grandma…” she stammered. “Remember, Hayley. This door can never be opened and you can never step into this room.” Hayley’s Grandma said seriously. Hayley nodded and Grandma smiled again. Hayley thought the smile was weird. Day by day, Hayley became more familiar with the town. Three months had passed when one day, she picked up a newspaper and an article caught her eye. ‘Woman Missing’ the title stated. Hayley felt strange about this, because this was the third person who had gone missing since she’d come to town. She felt that the town was weird and that there must be a secret. She always believed in her intuition.

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At midnight, a string of hasty knocks at the door woke her up. Hayley took a candle and walked along the dark corridor to try to find the source of the sound. She stopped in front of the locked door that she had wanted to open on her first day. However, the door was new and clean and looked totally different. It was also slightly open! Hayley couldn’t control her curiosity and sneaked into the room, carefully. She was shocked to find what was in the room. There were numerous dolls arranged on a shelf, and a mirror in the middle of the room. “Ha ha ha! Ha ha…” A doll suddenly made a laughing sound. Hayley was frightened and wanted to leave the room. She saw herself in the mirror, but she wasn’t alone. She saw a woman who was wearing a white dress. The woman walked closer and closer… Hayley could saw her face clearly. The woman’s eyes were bleeding. “Help me,” The woman whispered. Hayley closed her eyes. She wasn’t brave enough to move. Suddenly, Hayley heard footsteps. “What are you doing!’ Grandma shouted. Hayley ran to her Grandma. “Sorry Grandma, I will never step into this room again,” Hayley cried, holding Grandma with a shaking hand. The next day, Hayley couldn’t stop thinking about what had happened. She didn’t understand why the woman had asked for help. Why did a ghost need help? “Hayley, forget what you saw last night. That is the only thing you can do now.” Grandma said. Hayley nodded but she had decided to go back to the room that night, because she knew that she couldn’t ignore this. She loved adventure and loved the feeling of excitment and fear. She had to know what had happened. So, that night, she took a candle and walked again to that room. However, this time the lock was there and she couldn’t open it! She was disappointed, but she decided not to stop. Hayley was determined and went there every night. One night, Hayley found that the door was again open. Her heart was pumping hard. She loved that kind of feeling!

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“Hello, is anyone there?” Hayley asked in a low voice. There was only silence. Suddenly, she heard the sound of footsteps. Hayley immediately hid in the corner. She thought it must be Grandma, but a person wearing a cloak and holding a doll appeared. The doll wore the same clothes as the ghost she had seen last time! “Come out. Don’t hide. I know you are there.” The man smiled. Hayley thought he was talking to her. She was about to come out, when the man looked up. There was a woman by the ceiling. She was the ghost Hayley had seen last time. The man said an incantation and the woman was absorbed into the doll! Hayley couldn’t believe what she had seen. The man was the devil! “This is the punishment for suicide,” the devil smiled. “I own a new doll!” he smiled again. When the devil left, Hayley immediately galloped to her room. Her body was shaking and her hands were sweating. She didn’t know what to do. Finally, she decided to seek help and revealed everything to Grandma. “Hayley,” Grandma spoke softly, “Do you not think it is weird there are so many people missing in this town?” she asked. Hayley shook her head. “I’m going to tell you a story. Once upon a time, a man called Billy lived in the castle. Unfortunately, he got cancer and passed away. He had many regrets and numerous things he wanted to do. His spirit was stuck in the castle. One day, he saw a women commit suicide. He couldn’t understand why people would do that. He hated them. He became a devil. He started to collect the spirit of suicide victims. He would seal them into a doll forever to penalise them for not cherishing life,” Grandma stopped. “I want to save them. How can I do that?” Hayley asked, determined. “The only way to save them is to burn down the room. It’s a pity that I can do nothing with my old bones.” Grandma answered. When night fell, Hayley prepared a candle and walked to the room. She went in and attempted to burn it, but a hand held her.

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“What do you want to do, little girl?” said the devil. “I won’t let you continue to do this!” Hayley shouted. However, the devil was too formidable. She couldn’t even move a step! The devil took out a doll which looked exactly the same as Hayley. Hayley struggled but she failed to move. She felt hopeless. Suddenly, the devil left her side. “Grandma!” said Hayley, astonished. Grandma seized the devil. Hayley threw the candle to the floor at once and ran out of the room. “Grandma! be quick!” Hayley shouted. However, Grandma just stood inside and smiled at her. “Hayley. Sorry I didn’t tell you before, but I died many years ago.” Grandma cracked a smile, then the door suddenly shut itself and locked. Everything was suddenly back to normal. It looked like nothing had ever happened. xxxx “Mum. Can you take me to Grandma’s grave?” Hayley asked. “Sure. Let’s go,” Mum said with a smile.

Love, From Woman

By Laila Albuquerque (HKUGA College)

Dear Man, It all began when I was born into a world of colour. I was born out of a great, red passion. Out of sheer force of will, Mother Nature shook her fists into the great billowy sky and stamped her feet into the ruddy soil, until a baby was moulded out of the sharp pain shooting through her spine. The most beautiful flower in existence withers to yield my kind, and all you do is pluck them out of the ground. All you do is stand by, and watch the storm brew. Soon enough, I wake up to the pattering on our windowsills. Clear, translucent drops of water gliding along the glass; red beads of blood forming within me. I am torn inside out at a tender age, to rebuild myself in a matter of days – that is the beauty of self-controlled destruction. Yet, the thought of my blood makes yours boil and suddenly the storm becomes too strong to cope with. If only you had the guts to ride the cyclone to the end, if only you chose not to ignore the shedding of my blood and tears – I wouldn’t have to make you understand. I wouldn’t have to make you see. When the storm blows over, you don’t see the different shades of nude that I battle with just to please you; high heels that will never heal the flaws of my height, shape and form. I start off with the pastel tubs of foundation as a foundation to hide myself, buried under layers of concrete disguise. Brush over bruises, bandage over blisters, I become perfectly imperfect, pain for your pleasure. Yet if you ever gaze beyond my silhouette, I guarantee those curved lines will be rendered straight. Oh, you have never seen me, but that also shall be fixed soon enough. You will see me imitate my own mother’s heavy stomach over a heavy heart. You will pray to the heavens for the rain to stop pouring as I clutch the skies in agony.

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I roll over, roll over it, and accept labour as the job that it is. I accept the blue hope for a better(!) and brighter(!) generation. And a sorrowful legacy…blind to the ones that started it all. I accept those terms and conditions as they push, push, push me to my limit. I accept it all until you have nothing else to spite me with; until I have nothing left to give. Now, we only have our words and our colours. We only have the stark white colour ‘NO’ and your sullen face when it hears the only word it isn’t used to. As your rough hands skim past unchartered territory, lightning strikes and thunder roars; in the distance, howling wind echoes. Silly boy, haven’t you heard? It doesn’t take much to brew up a storm. We somehow escape your grasp, running in the soft grass that materialises right before our eyes, laughing at the sudden burst of fresh air and danger on the horizon. Our mouths are open wide with glee as the emerald gems of a distant canopy catch our eyes. We catch it right back, running past the green shades so quickly, we almost can’t capture them all. We are sprinting, legs pumping, sweat protesting against our foreheads. Our whole life has been leading up to this moment. Then you beat us, your hand imprinted on our flesh where it festers. We look back and trip against the foliage that founded all our ancestors, as betrayal fills us dark and deeply and the world goes black. How dare you. All we see is yellow. The colour of heat, and the courage that we need, and the sun. You are the son, we are a dysfunctional family, we are one but your eyes are forced shut. Everything is on fire until we see you approach. We see your hands reach for us like I was afraid they would, caressing our faces black and blue. Everything is the calm before a storm, until our eyes begin to bleed. Our story begins when we are born into a world of colour, an iridescent bouquet of flowers blooming. You can be blue, we’ll be pink, because that’s how they want it. But now we are smoke, and we are ash. In this classic silent film, where colourless colours of black and white suits conquer, how were we to know you’d seen everything we had to show you? In a colourful world, you still want our colours gone.

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Acknowledgements

About the Festival

Our many thanks to Dr. Brandon Chua, Dr. Otto Heim, Professor Julia Kuehn and Dr. Jessica Valdez from the School of English at the University of Hong Kong; to workshop leaders Alex Dunn, Frances Hardinge and Jordan Rivet; to editor Mio Debnam; to designer Jerey Yeung; and to the teachers and students whose interest in the programme has made all this possible.

The Hong Kong International Literary Festival, founded in 2001, is an annual event held over ten days each autumn, bringing writers and book lovers together at events that allow them to share ideas. We are proud to host writers from all over the world, in a variety of genres and at all stages in their careers, from Novel laureates to first-time authors.

“Imagining and Writing the Gothic� is a sponsored project of the English Alliance 2017/18.

The Festival is organised and co-ordinated by Hong Kong International Literary Festival Limited, a non-profit, charitable literary arts organisation that also manages the annual Hong Kong International Young Readers Festival.

Sponsored by

Supported by


Workshop leaders

Editor

Alex Dunn (Kathy Dunn)

Mio Debnam

Kathy Dunn is an English author living in Hong Kong, who has a passion for all things horror, fantasy and science fiction. She has published four Young Adult novels under the pen name Alex Dunn and plans to launch her first series in the autumn of 2018. Kathy is an active member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) and Hong Kong Women in Publishing.

Mio Debnam is a writer and editor. She was the Editor-in-Chief of two children’s newspapers for several years, as well as being the Children’s Book Editor for a local publisher. She is currently the Regional Advisor of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and divides her time working on her novel, freelance editing and running writing workshops. She has had several short stories and essays published, as well as seventeen books for young people.

Frances Hardinge Frances Hardinge spent her childhood in a huge old house that inspired her to write strange stories from an early age. She read English at Oxford University, then got a job at a software company. However, by this time a persistent friend had finally managed to bully Frances into sending a few chapters of Fly By Night, her first children’s novel, to a publisher. Macmillan made her an immediate offer. The book went on to publish to huge critical acclaim and win the Branford Boase First Novel Award. Known for her beautiful use of language, she has since written many critically acclaimed novels, including Verdigris Deep, Cuckoo Song, the Costa Award-winning The Lie Tree and most recently A Skinful of Shadows.

Jordan Rivet Jordan Rivet is an American author of young adult fantasy and science fiction. Originally from Arizona, she lives in Hong Kong with her husband. She has written eleven books, including the swashbuckling Steel and Fire fantasy series and the Seabound Chronicles, a post-apocalyptic adventure at sea. Jordan’s latest series, Empire of Talents, is a fantasy adventure about a shape-shifting girl who becomes a spy for a princess.


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Imagining and Writing the Gothic - Anthology  

An anthology of short stories from students who participated in a creative writing programme organised by Hong Kong International Literary F...

Imagining and Writing the Gothic - Anthology  

An anthology of short stories from students who participated in a creative writing programme organised by Hong Kong International Literary F...

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