Write On! Magazine Issue 6

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Issue 6 Apr 2015

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Write On! Magazine Welcome to Write On! Magazine Having worked with Writing West Midlands and their Write On! groups before, I knew to expect a very high standard of writing within the submissions for this magazine, and yet I was still amazed to see such a fantastic display of imagination from these writers, some as young as eight years old. You will notice a few familiar names here. These are the writers who have had the talent and discipline to submit to, and be featured in, every issue of the Write On! Magazine so far. With each issue, their writing becomes more sophisticated and it’s clear that they are dedicated to this craft. I’m also delighted to feature so many new names in this edition. These fresh voices demonstrate the plethora of talented youngsters out there, and by contributing they are helping the magazine to progress and grow. Fitting for the spring edition of the magazine, there is a sense of new beginnings within these pages. This is reflected in Claire Howland’s Approaching Day Haikus, Shrish Madhan’s Welcome and Lucy Donaghey’s Summer Nights. If you’re looking for a chill down your spine, our writers will not disappoint. Through poetry and prose, they evoke feelings of gothic terror and intrigue; who dwells in The House Next Door, and what fate will befall those who anger The Wolf Women? Pieces like Nur-al-Ayn Nisar’s The Image of Beauty and Nabila Irshad’s Open Your Third Eye invite us to question our perceptions of others and how readily we obey authority. In the final piece of the magazine, aptly titled, Choosing the End, Katie Gayton gives us a fresh perspective on the experience of being a school pupil who must make life-changing decisions. Each entry in this edition will elicit a response from the reader, whether that is curiosity, a sense of the macabre or a new outlook on something you thought you understood. To me, that is great writing. I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I enjoyed selecting them. I am already looking forward to what the wealth of submissions will bring to the next issue! Rosanne Rivers- Write On! Magazine Guest Editor Write On! Magazine is a publication of Writing West Midlands. We support creative writers and creative writing across the region. More information about us can be found on our website: www.writingwestmidlands.org This magazine features writing from children and young people aged 8 - 20 who live in the West Midlands. It is also available to read online at www.writeonmagazine.org. Guest Editor: Rosanne Rivers Copyright of all pieces featured in this magazine remains with the contributors. Writing West Midlands - Company Registration Number: 6264124. We are a Charity - Registered Charity Number: 1147710.


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Approaching Day Haikus Claire Howland

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The Game Imogen Agnew

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The London Blitz Sonora Hills

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The House of Next Door Jude Parker

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Weather Warrior Joe Pickles

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The Ghost of Bretforton Jessica Barnett

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The Hospital Similoluwa Osunsami

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What’s Under the Stream John Tidmarsh

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Welcome Shirsh Madhan

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War Plane Nayantika Chaudary

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The Image of Beauty Nur-al-Ayn Nisar

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Terror in the Tower Clodagh Delahunty-Forrest

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Escaping the Mayans Carys Jones

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Ten Little Corpses Kay Flower

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In the Deep Nayantika Chaudary

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The Perfect Cat Joe Pickles

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The Wolf Women George Bastow

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Scarlett Isabella Edstrom

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Open Your Third Eye Nabila Irshad

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Late Night Wanderers Claire Howland

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Solitude of the Guilty Sophie Turbutt

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The Fear and the Fury Sophie Horton

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The Life of a Toothbrush Kaleia Hills

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Summer Nights Lucy Donaghey

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Dusty Summer Musings Isabella Edstrom

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Choosing the End Katie Gayton

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Go to Sleep Sinead Mooney

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Outcast Maryam Alatmane

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Approaching Day Haikus Claire Howland Evening disappears Night fades into morning light And birds’ laughter rings. River greets the morn Rushing over field and hill Off to meet the sea. Sun wakes animals They rush around wild meadows Beginning their day.

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The London Blitz Sonora Hills Everything was still when the bombs fell. The German planes glided over the empty fields and the country houses with their engines off. There was no moon in the sky. The dark, crooked streets of London approached. A sweaty hand gripped the release lever. Plane wires hummed in the wind like a hive of angry bees. Emily Banks did not hear them over the turning of her book’s pages. The rest of her family did not wake up. The only movement was a homeless collie sniffing around the base of a tree in the park. A patch of air was ripped apart like tissue paper. Bombs struck the earth like the handful of pebbles tossed into the fountain only hours before by five year-old Tommy Shaw. Windows in the tailor’s shop shattered instantly as the whole street caved in on itself. A throttle was opened and an engine roared as it pulled itself out of a steep dive. Sirens screamed. But they were too late to save the people living next to The George and Dragon. Ellie Birdswell was ripped apart mid-sigh as she slept by herself in the lonely double bed. The baker gagged on the dust-filled air. His daughter heard screaming without realising it was her own lungs making the sound. A pair of searchlights swept the sky like glowing eyes. Flames crackled as the library caught fire. Another plane emptied its bellyful of bombs over a row of houses. William Kenson’s eyes were filled with the flames of the fire while he turned his blind gaze towards the smoke-filled sky. He breathed in as the bomb pasted him against the pavement. Lizzy Jane, who was betrothed to a soldier in France, stumbled when she tried to run away. Her own house crashed into the street, burying her. The last bomb landed on Angel Street. It harmed nothing, ticking slowly to itself as it lay half-buried in the dirt. The German planes turned towards home. Pockets of flames riddled the city behind them. The proud buildings of London were gone. Only the spires of St Paul’s watched on, unmarred, as the streets glowed red around them.

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Weather Warrior Joe Pickles He stands majestic, towers above all The warrior of weather Relentless and cruel His stormy eye The only centre of peace A figure of grey As destructive as a tank Leaving chaos in his wake His malice is unbearable A hammer of rain Pounding the land The sword of a flood Slashing a path through the ground Arrows of hail Stinging those below Spears of lightning, smiting He tears away sails, Boats become wrecks His rage is a hurricane Scooping up objects Then casting them aside In a blizzard of fury A path of destruction Storming across the land Onward he marches Stamping trees flat Then hauling them up And hurling them on Stalking his prey Wild as a rabid dog Small town in view He marches undeterred towards it They board up windows They wield umbrellas Which are snatched from their hands They dash for shelter Scurry away The wind tugs at their coats Howling a warning Fight or flee

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With a mighty roar The warrior unleashes his fury Whips at buildings Rips doors open Flips cars over Forcing them down Like helpless beetles To feel the worst of his wrath Then bright cracks splinter his armour They gather strength and grow He emits a moan of defeat Before the sun’s sword tears through him And a wave of white clouds rolls across a blue canvas The sun smiles, Grateful his obscuring enemy is banished ...for a while at least

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The Hospital Similoluwa Osunsami We were taken to a bleak, white building full of windows. My eyes settled upon the lettering above the sliding doors. ‘Farmfield Hospital,’ it spelled out. I had been here many times before but now, it seemed like a different building altogether. We went through the doors. There was a lifeless feeling about this place that matched the colour. I breathed in the smell of iodoform. I strongly hated it. We walked upstairs to the children’s unit. It was not as cheery as I remembered. There was a colossal board on the wall writing someone’s name. ‘Amirah Azabyjhan,’ it spelled out. Thank goodness. A large wave of relief swept over me. This was for many different reasons I can’t explain. I soon realised that my sister’s name could appear on the screen at any moment. I sighed sadly. I stayed quiet for a few minutes. It might have even been hours but things like this seem to occur incredibly quickly. At long last, it was spelling somebody’s name: Esmee Sanders. My heart sank to the bottom of my stomach and became stony cold. Tears of fear kept rolling down my pale cheeks. I felt sick. I walked very slowly and very lightly down the hallway to the operation room. We got to the doctor’s room. My mother rapped on the door. Silence. Then a deep call of, ‘Come in.’ We stepped into the room. I looked at my little sister. She looked at me. We both looked at Mum. She was just as scared as us. The doctor peered at us over his glasses. ‘Esmee, come with me whilst your sister and your mother go out and wait,’ he grunted. I was terrified but my brain seemed to wander from the subject. I soon wondered what he was going to do to my younger sibling. I listened. I heard nothing. I closed my eyes and tried to rest, but something inside didn’t agree with me. I gave a tearful glance at my mother. She looked at me, but very sadly, her head turning slowly. Mum buried her head in my shoulder. I soon heard sobbing. My mother’s eyes were red from crying; my shoulder was damp and soggy. I started sniffing. Soon, I was crying buckets and buckets and my knuckles became white; my skin became pale and I was trembling. I listened some more and hoped for the best. I heard some low mumblings and some stout answers. I could hear some more questions being asked in a low monotone. The patient still answered very shortly. I heard scuffling of feet, tapping of a shoe and a rustle. I made out that she was getting on the hospital bed. Now there was a loud, chugging noise. A loud yelp followed it. I didn’t listen anymore. I looked up at the blank roof, praying that this would soon be over. I began listening again. I heard, ‘Almost done!’ Soon after, there was a deafening scream! Then silence. What would happen to my sister?

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Welcome Shrish Madhan Welcome! Welcome! We’re glad to see you, We’ve gone mad waiting for you! Welcome! Welcome! Welcome to United Kingdom. We’re glad to have you here, We would love thatha also here! Welcome! Welcome! Welcome to our home. Our home has room, Come let me show you your room. Welcome! Welcome! We always love your incoming flight, We hate your outgoing flight! Welcome Seetha avva!

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The Image of Beauty Nur-al-Ayn Nisar She stares back at me so confidently. I want to avert my eyes but I can’t. Her eyes, so similar to mine, hold a challenge. As if to look away is to fail; to prove I’m just like the rest. I touch my nose subconsciously as if to make sure it hasn’t been snatched away by another’s anger-induced violence. Mine’s still there but hers is a void in the middle of her face. We’re so alike and I can’t help but place myself in her scene. What if Fate broke the rules and it was me in the photo and her writing this poem? Would I shy away from the truth like a mouse retreating to its hole? Let other people dictate how I feel about myself because I’ve been made into the black sheep in a field filled with meticulously-sculpted white sheep that follow the shepherd: ‘Society’. Could I stare at millions of young girls to pass on the crucial message that the world is not the cushy bubble we’ve built around us? The longer I meet her gaze in this silent conversation, Filled with so many words, The more it dawns on me that beauty is something that requires strength. Some may place her in the past tense: ‘she was beautiful,’ or in the future: ‘she could have been beautiful,’ but none put her in the present: ‘She is beautiful’. Maybe not in the generic way we have been brainwashed into thinking, But in the way that she accepts what has happened to her and she does not hide from the camera. She has the strength to accept herself. There are many, who like myself, are as guilty as criminals because we are still not happy with ourselves. No matter how beautiful you are, someone will put you down, but it’s the strength to ignore them that helps us retain our beauty. Just like she has. Beauty is not weakness; it’s the image of it that makes us weak.

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Escaping the Mayans Carys Jones Trembling, shaking nerves are nearly getting the better of me but I need to stay away, hidden. I need to stay still. I don’t want to be the sacrifice. No, not at all! It was early morning. At the edge of the motionless jungle, I peered in at the lush green foliage. Where was I? Had the time machine really worked? Could I possibly be in 600 AD? Vines choked the endless amount of branches as snakes slithered amongst them. The burning sun forced its way through the towering trees. In the distance I heard parrots squawk a rhythmic noise, soaring high with the clouds. Clambering over the logs, leaves and bamboo obstacles, I spotted vibrant fruits, ripe and ready to be picked. Slowly reaching out for the delicious treats, I tasted them. A sweet but somehow sour taste lingered in my mouth. Dodging the prickly thorns and spiked leaves, I finally made out a clearing. Ahead, stood a small pyramid flooded by crowds of people. Jaguar patterns spread across the festival. Looking onwards, I spotted a man dressed in ferocious clothing dancing on top of the pyramid, making more noise than almost possible. Towards him climbed four people and a young boy, marching steadily. Leaning forwards, longing to join in but feeling unwelcome, I watched as they lifted the small child into the air. Screams pierced the sky whilst pure, red blood coated the stone table. The priest tore open the boy’s chest as another cascading waterfall began. High into the sky, he held the boy’s heart. In complete disgust, I stood watching. Silenced. Stunned. Shaken. Did I really want to be here if that’s how they treated each other? Lurking in the shadows, I remembered reading a book. It was all about the Mayan civilization and how they performed sacrifices to the gods, mostly killing children and foreigners. Then it occurred to me. I was a foreigner... Turning around, I noticed people were beginning to stare at me, an uncertain look in their eyes. The priest stopped dancing. People stopped talking, and everyone was looking at me! That was my signal to hide, but where? It wasn’t like there were any Egyptian sarcophagi to hide in! It was my book that saved me again; if only I could run away far enough, I could be a Mayan statue. The Mayans did used to build lots of intricate statues, so hopefully no one would notice I’m new! Leg after leg, faster and faster, running in the shadows, I had to get away. As soon as I came to an empty clearing, I stood to the side as an intricate statue. Now the Maya are coming towards me. I’ve no escape. In a second, they’ll sacrifice me to the gods and I definitely don’t want my heart ripped out but I guess that’s it now. Goodbye!

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In the Deep Nayantika Chaudary A small wave rolls upon shore, This is not a dream anymore, I sail across the blue tablecloth with creases, As the fading coast slowly ceases… I join in with the wind’s whistle, As I comb my hair with a brush’s bristle… Suddenly there is a sight, And my ship is lifted to a massive height, A coat of white comes crashing against me, I am suddenly uneasy of the sea… The seagulls’ cries are more like screeches, As children play along the beaches, Suddenly the sapphire waves come crashing down, I am pulled underwater, Anxiously, I wonder would I drown? Will I survive? Will I survive? Flashing images show me my short life, The sky is grey, the mood is black, Will I ever get back?

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The Wolf Women George Bastow In a country village where animals scampered through the trees and birds flew happily above the land, a tale flowed across the countryside like smoke on the wind. A legend which spread from mouth to mouth as the local housewives went about their drab days. A whisper as bread was bought; a snipe as tea was drank. They told it in their homes and shared it in their gardens, adding and subtracting as it went from ear to ear. All across the land it went, as wild and organic as when it was first told. A prophecy of nightmares, thought true by those who heard it. A story that terrified the frail and made the young cower in their beds. Everyone feared the story of blood, guts, gore and death. The two beasts who walked the night as they ripped flesh and tore muscle, lapping metallic blood and savouring the beautiful taste of human throats. The tale grew with each embellished telling. The wise, eccentric women who concocted their brews and fed their cats, only leaving their dusty house to go around the village, preaching their dark practices and sprinkling their bizarre leaves. The pair, so they say, transformed in the dark, their teeth becoming sharp and cruel; flesh swiftly covering itself with thick black fur; arms and legs replaced with those of an untamed beast. The people of the village were sure that the pair ran through the forest at nightfall, bounding with their long, hairy legs and bloodthirsty teeth, ready to consume the bodies of the locals. The story of wild, wolf women running across the village in the black night, littering the landscape with corpses, was only enhanced by the cruel murders which had taken place of late. Everybody was convinced that it was the creatures, except the so-called Wolf Women themselves. They just smiled and went about their normal days and gave no thought to the stories. As the murders continued, the locals fuelled the tale of the Wolf Women, whilst the true killer chuckled and slaughtered more young girls. His axe was covered with crusted blood and his shirt was stained a dark brown. His face was carved with glee as he went into the night. As another pretty young girl walked into the dark, he struck. The unfortunate maid screamed and as the murderer rose he grinned, his face lined with sweat. He was pleased with his latest work and began to walk. He went on with dark delight as he dreamed of his next victim. The sweat on his face dried suddenly and his checks flushed red with terror as he heard a deep and menacing growl at his heel...

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Open Your Third Eye Nabila Irshad We are the faceless masses. Spread the hatred through Our craniums like a terminal disease. Blind us through your subliminal messages, Make us quarrel amongst ourselves. Oh why don’t you sit and view the spectacle, Whilst you sip your earl grey, Good Sir! Reduce our minds to ashes, And clamp our retinas shut. Let us enter the age of Paranoia, Tension, Hysteria. Let us decline into invisibility, Let us be mindless wanderers, Let us be your live entertainment.

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Solitude of the Guilty Sophie Turbutt Void. Blank space drained of light, since I pulled the trigger. Who is left to hear me? Not you. You who tore tomorrow’s fortune from today when you saw it. I was plummeting innocent, blind, towards it but you remained silent. Trust smashed like an hourglass against the locked door you left behind in the blackness. And I hear you whisper, wretched words, weeping through the keyhole but I cannot see you, and I shout and pound my fists on the impenetrable wood But you cannot hear me. In the void.

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The Life of a Toothbrush Kaleia Hills I stood there and waited, hanging on that shelf – my pink rubber body shining and my bristles straight. I watched them pass behind the plastic glass. Some of them were small and cried, others were big and solemn. My love stood there watching with me, as handsome as could be. He was purple – a most charming colour. My love for him was quite more than I could love any other toothbrush. I stood there for days on end, behind that plastic glass with him, content as could be. Then a them came and plucked us off the shelf, placing us in a metal basket on wheels. But I was content. After all, I was still with my love. The them placed us on a moving rubber ramp. We were beeped and then put into a plastic enclosure stuck between green, leafy things and a bag with a soft, brown thing trapped inside. It was cozy but cramped. We were bonked around in the enclosure, but soon enough it was over and we were placed on a shelf. The them came back later. Them picked me up, but not my love. He stayed behind. Them let water run over my perfectly lovely bristles, and then Them put something sticky on me. Them placed me in Them’s mouth, and then I saw Them’s shiny smile. When Them took me out I was dirty. Them washed me but that was no good. Then Them set me on a different shelf. I was disgusting and ugly now, and I missed my love. I pictured him in my mind, all that handsome colour purple. Them continued to use me when it was light and when it was dark. I didn’t see my love, not in the days to come. Then I went into a basket filled with crumpled paper that was gooey on the inside and sticks covered in yellow goo. In other words, it was a world of Them’s goo. Soon, I couldn’t see the world. Then I was somewhere else, being carried away on a ramp, with more disgusting things. I thought I saw my love, but it was a pale green one. Then I was dying, being killed, and I couldn’t do anything about it. As a large metal machine munched me up, my last thoughts were: because of that them, I will never see my love again. Then I was gone – dead in a million pieces – my beautiful self, ruined, never to shine or to live again.

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Dusty Summer Musings Isabella Edstrom Hunched over her doodled paper A strand of wispy hair escapes from its restraints It trails across the page thoughtlessly Rays of mellow sunlight seep in between gaps The blinds must be broken again Air sits too heavily with too much stress Crumpled paper snowballs roll across dusty floors Catch, read, deliver The long hand of the clock flicks across one more minute She sighs The tired exhalation is barely audible Pens scratch harshly across many pages More lifeless strands fall across her face They await the same fate as everyone Soon to be impatiently brushed aside

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Go to Sleep Sinead Mooney He glanced down at his phone and his face immediately turned a ghastly pale white. All the blood had quickly drained from his face at the photo he just received – it made him sick to his stomach. Within seconds, the phone had slipped from his fingers – almost as if it was butter – and hit the ground with a soft thud. But he wasn’t looking at the phone anymore. He was looking at the girl staring at him through his window. She was smiling. She was smiling knowingly. He wasn’t sure if he should back away slowly and break out into a run or just shut the curtains, as if to erase the horrible, creepy smile from his mind. Was it her who had been tormenting him for these past few weeks? His form began to tremble as he stared at her with fear. However, once the girl saw this she pressed a hand against the glass and murmured, ‘No no, Vincent, please don’t cry…I don’t want my dear love to cry…’ She was definitely crazy. Vincent turned around to avoid looking at her and bit into his fist to stop himself from crying. He was so very terrified of the fair-haired girl standing outside his window. His face contorted into one of pain as he drew blood from biting his hand too hard. ‘Vincent…?’ He heard a soft muffled voice through the glass. ‘Oh please my love, please don’t cry…’ He swung around quickly to face her as tears streaked down his face. ‘Why? Why are you doing this to me?’ The girl looked taken aback. Vincent had never lashed out on her before. Her love had never… ‘Vincent…’ she whimpered as her eyes began to glaze over with tears. ‘I just wanted you to love me again… We are perfect together… Oh please dea-’ ‘No! No we aren’t,’ he told her as he furiously wiped away his tears with his sleeve before balling his hands into fists. ‘You… You’re crazy,’ he muttered as he flung one arm out and pointed at her accusingly. ‘…You k-killed.’ He paused, unable to finish his sentence as his throat began to close up

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and throb with pain. He heaved loudly as the image came to mind that she had sent him. It was Ciara, his girlfriend. Or she was his girlfriend… Annie had killed her. Immediately, he gasped as he choked on his tears. Ciara… ‘C-Ciara… Why… Why would you do this, you crazy lunatic?’ he suddenly yelled at Annie who was staring at Vincent with sadness and disbelief. ‘I could never love you! There might have been a time where my affection grew for you but you destroyed that when you became possessive… And now… Now you’ve-’ Again, he struggled to finish his sentence; his lips just couldn’t form those horrid words.

You killed Ciara. ‘Go to sleep Vincent…’ Annie whispered, her voice still muffled by the glass that separated the two. ‘What…?’ His eyes suddenly felt heavy and everything around him became a blur… ‘Sleep now, my love…’

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Outcast Maryam Alatmane I was a loner, hanging out in the midst of the cool crowd I didn’t belong; I was an outcast I walked past the girls In their bubble-gum pink Who whispered too loudly About my clothes from the trash can I was a loner, hanging out in the midst of the cool crowd I didn’t belong; I was an outcast The way they smiled at me All dazzling white teeth and no meaning The way they shot me sympathetic looks But looks can be deceiving I was a loner, hanging out in the midst of the cool crowd I didn’t belong; I was an outcast I was subtly ignored As I tried to talk to them Left there; broken Listening to the sound of their shrill laughter Perfect; in unison To their mocking cries of ‘Did you hear anything? No? Me neither.’ I was a loner, hanging out in the midst of the cool crowd I didn’t belong; I was an outcast I sit in my seat Trying to ignore their whispers The teacher’s back is turned I’m in no-man’s land Mercilessly Poking me, prodding me An aeroplane crash-lands in the back of my head I was a loner, hanging out in the midst of the cool crowd I didn’t belong; I was an outcast I walk through the corridor Head bowed; eyes haunted

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Suddenly I’m falling My books fan out across the floor I look up ‘Sor-ry!’ she says, and laughs The tears flow down my cheeks Wiping them away furiously I pick up my books Stuff them in my bag I stumble to my feet; I am on uncharted territory But I walk away anyway Head held high

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The Game Imogen Agnew In the forest, the leaves were so dense that whatever light managed to make it to the ground was tinted green. However, on this day there was even less light than usual as dark clouds had obscured the sun from view. Water fell from the sky, and each drop bounced from leaf to leaf. If it was lucky, it might even touch the ground, but that was rare. Often, they would get stuck. Lying on leaves, or even giving away the occasional spider web. The animals looked for shelter. Everything hid form the rain. Except for one. She ran with such panic and such distress that one would think death Himself was chasing her, and perhaps He was. All that could be heard, apart from her quick footsteps and startled breaths, were the irritably calm steps of someone with a purpose. She wondered what that purpose was. But then again, she decided, she didn’t want to know. It seemed that no matter how fast nor how far she ran, the steps never got any further away. But they were definitely walking. Suddenly, she slipped, splashing into a small patch of mud, groaning as she struggled to stand. Then the footsteps stopped right behind her. As she turned, her whole being shaking, she was met with the sight of a man who had dull, black eyes and dull, brown hair. It was matted to his forehead due to the rain, and his lips were curved into a serene smile as he looked down at her, a great contrast to the rigidness of his stance. After a moment of tense silence, his smile faded and a crease formed between his eyebrows. He clucked his tongue. ‘Silly girl,’ he scolded, as if she were a child; as if she were a pet. ‘You’ve ruined the game.’

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The House Next Door Jude Parker The house next door where everyone knows The house next door where nobody goes Its white bricks are cracked and old Keep well away from it, I’ve been told Its windows are black and look like a face The person who lived there vanished without trace To go round there would be bold They say the garden’s unsettling and cold No smoke rises from the chimney To knock on the door would be considered as silly But the most scary thing about the house next door Much more scary than the windows and doors Is that every night when I’m asleep I hear voices and noises that make me weep And what do these noises and voices say? ‘Let me out, I want to play.’

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The Ghost of Bretforton Woods Jessica Barnett Hastily, Alex spread the butter on the wholemeal bread. ‘Right Mum, that’s all the food sorted out for the picnic, the forks and knives,’ he explained. ‘And plastic bags for the conkers... if there are any,’ he swiftly added. Alex was a cool kid, always wearing the latest fashion. On the other hand, Liam was the exact opposite. ‘Are you sure we should go into the deep, dark woods?’ he asked uncertainly. ‘Yes we should!’ replied James, who was in the middle of peeling the last orange. James was the bravest of the three best friends; they were all 12 years old. ‘We’ll be fine, Mum. Bye,’ Alex reassured her. ‘Bye, Mrs Brown,’ said Liam and James in unison. They wandered to the wood, talking over their plan again. ‘We will split up once we’ve found the first conker tree, then we’ll find a tree each, collect one bag full of conkers and then head back to the first one. If you can’t find that tree, go home and we’ll meet there... although you will miss out on all the food!’ Alex joked. The boys had just entered the wood when a sudden gust of wind blew James’ hat off and into a bush. He bent down and ventured into the bush, grabbed the hat and brushed the leaves off himself. It was then that they all heard the mysterious sound of leaves crackling. All three boys froze to the spot. But if it wasn’t their footsteps, then whose was it? The sky turned grey and the wind began to howl. All the birds in the nearby trees above squawked and flew off in a flurry. Suddenly, a giant gust of wind knocked the boys over and threw them to the ground. They heard a high-pitched whistling sound coming from the far side of the wood. It was ear piercing! It appeared to be coming closer. All three boys sat up and stared around, puzzled. A dark figure loomed in the shadows. The wind slowed and the boys climbed to their feet. ‘Ooooh, I’m the ghost of Bretforton Woods. Soon you will become one too!’ it cackled. Alex fainted from fear. ‘What do you want?’ James screeched. How were they going to get out of this mess? ‘What do we do? What do we do?’ questioned James. ‘Alex has fainted, there’s somebody after us and I don’t know what to do!’ he went on. ‘We’re stuck!’ he screamed out loud. ‘No we’re not,’ whispered Liam. ‘Grab that knife, throw it at the so-called ghost. We’ll see if it’s real.’ So he did. Liam threw the glinting knife straight at the ghost. It somersaulted through the air towards the inky blackness. The handle of the knife hit the ghost and bounced off it just like a ball.

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‘Ow, that hurt! I-I-I.... mean, ooooh!’ it stuttered. ‘Yes,’ the boys whispered in triumph. It was NOT a ghost after all! ‘Oh no!’ said the obviously-not-a ghost. ‘I’ve been caught! Hi Liam. Hello Alex. You okay, James?’ It was Jacob, the class clown. Two giggling girls also came out of the bushes with a camera and sprinted off laughing. They had seen the boys scared on camera; soon the whole school would know, or even the whole world! They had played a trick on the boys just for the sake of it. They had played a trick on the boys to scare them and show them up. ‘Ha ha,’ laughed Jacob, running off to catch up with the girls. ‘W-what happened?’ asked a voice. It was Alex, who had woken up. ‘It is a long, long story,’ exclaimed the boys, laughing themselves now. But the gust of wind and the grey sky was not Jacob. Something weird had happened that day, something unnatural. Would it happen again, and if so, why...?

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What’s Under the Stream John Tidmarsh As I shut the back door to the house and breathed in the fresh, cold air of the morning, I realised that I could see some stars still shining brightly. I set off through the field, dew leaking into my boots as I walked. I soon arrived at the cold metal cattle grid. I carefully stepped over the foot wide gaps. My parents always say you can break your leg in them. As I walked down the drive, scuffing my toes as I went, I heard a kind of rhythm beneath my feet. I ignored it and carried on walking down the drive. I climbed over the new fence to the lane, noticing that the rhythmical beat seemed to be following me. But, again, I ignored it and carried on walking. I climbed over an older fence, then walked past the dung pile, hearing a clanking noise, the kind they always have in ghost stories. But again, I ignored the noise; it was a metal gate after all. I carried on walking and suddenly tripped over a furrow that wasn’t there the second before. At the bottom of the hill, I climbed over yet another fence and noticed a peculiar series of scratches and dents in the woodwork, as if a careless army had scrambled over just minutes before. That’s when I fell off the bridge. Plunging into the icy cold water, I hit my head on an odd-shaped knot on the root of a tree and I fell into a pit. Firelight danced on the damp walls of a cave, but my eyesight was soon blocked with a gaspingly cold cloth that smelled like brackish river water. I was bound to a trunk with rough hands and the cloth was ripped off my face. Blinded by the light, it took a moment to realise what was in front of me: a group, shorter than men. It couldn’t be goblins could it? I moved my gaze to the other side of the cave and saw a strange collection of short people around my height, but their stern and weathered faces told me that they weren’t children. As I realised that they were actually a set of goblins and dwarves, I was thrust into a dugout. A solid oak door was locked behind me and the last occupant didn’t look like he or she had enjoyed their time here. All that remained was an unpleasant stain on the floor. Guttural cheers and grunts echoed through the door. It seemed to me that the goblins had won some kind of event and I was the winning move. Soon, the door was unlocked and I was pulled out. As the celebratory scene was unveiled before me, I was shocked as I was handed a suit of armour. Looking down in amazement, I saw that it was wonderfully hammered together and made from Pepsi cans, old bicycle parts and strips of rusty iron fencing. I had become the king of the Rustwater Goblin Tribe.

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Issue 6


War Plane Nayantika Chaudary Free! I was free once more. I soared high up in the baby-blue sky, basking in the summer sun’s cheerful rays. The cool breeze rushed past my newly-polished wings as I meandered through the fluffy swan-white clouds. I enjoyed every second of these beautiful and tranquil moments when I was taken out in the sky. Gently, I tilted towards the grubby concrete, ready to land. As soon as I got ushered into the silver warehouse, I had my wings polished until they gleamed. I looked around at the rusty, dirty planes in a dingy corner who never got used. Knowing that I was lucky, I closed my eyes to rest as it began to rain outside… I woke up to get the biggest shock of my entire life. I wasn’t at home. I wasn’t in the sky. I was in a grubby, filthy old shed. Panic surged through me as every instinct told me to WAKE UP and fly away from this horrible nightmare. Big, strong men came towards me as two climbed on top of me. I tried to tell myself it was alright but I just knew it wasn’t. My new pilot drove me forwards and my propellers spun round and round as the rough air crashed on top of me like a tsunami. As soon as my eyes gazed at the dark grey clouds, I knew I wasn’t going to be a tranquil bird in these skies… My eyes glazed with terror, I took off into the misty fog. I clumsily went side to side in the harsh winds as one of my riders dropped peculiar dark objects into the murky patches of ground below us. A few seconds later a deafening BOOM! would issue from where the funny objects had been dropped. Abruptly, as if out of nowhere, a dark plane appeared above us. I saw my riders exchange worried glances as they flew me at full speed. Before I knew it, my wing was ablaze with fire. I was soon plummeting to the earth with one last hope: that I would survive. I hit the ground with a deafening thud as a blanket of darkness swept over me. I closed my eyes…

Issue 6

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Terror in the Tower Clodagh Delahunty-Forrest I follow a cobbled path and the screams to the dilapidated tower So dark, creepy, dominating and sour The eye like windows followed my every breath A gloomy dark mist surrounds me like death Overgrown plants spiral upwards in the old dusty bricks My face scratched my twigs and sticks As terrifying gruesome trees swallow me whole Stealing my life and weary soul I tear away from the snatching branches bare To await supernatural creatures ready to scare Who lurk inside the dark corridors and walls? Who haunts any trespassers who dare to enter the castles halls? Any intruder, their life will meet a horrible end Into hell they will descend And for all eternity roam the empty rooms All that enters inside the castle death looms I felt a harsh cold breeze As it bites away at my clothes, causing me to freeze I shiver through terror and dread On the never ending path I carefully tread I wince at the sound of my feet crunching dead leaves Scared who will hear as my heart painfully grieves The wind screams in my face tormenting me Warning me of the danger ahead and wishing me to flee. In the distance I hear the savage call of a raven old His own soul to the devil was sold Out of greed for riches too great But in the end met a ghastly fate The life has gone out of its eyes As it continues its hungry cries It glares at me with rage and hate Am I to become his bait? I run out of terror to the entrance The old structure moaned at my presence I looked up at the castle; the lights were off except for one Inside I could see a silhouette that would make any mortal run I gulped I couldn’t go back now I tried to open the door but the castle wouldn’t allow Me to enter so I pushed with all my might To meet a terrible fright

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Issue 6


There surrounded by smoke, stood a figure dressed in black I stopped in my tracks Its glaring red eyes stared at me with hate It was too late Its bony claws pointed at me I was surrounded in darkness, I could not see I heard a gruesome laugh I was under its wicked spell Is this death, is this hell? That. Was. My. Last. Thought.

Issue 6

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Ten Little Corpses Kay Flower In the bronze mirror he adjusted his mask, As he prepared for the final little corpse To complete their task: Ten little corpses all gathered to dine, One choked on a cherry and then there were nine. Nine little corpses surrounded by fate, One danced badly and then there were eight. Eight little corpses, two others in heaven, One was martyred and then there were seven. Seven little corpses, one granted a wish, One got what they wanted and then there were six. Six little corpses disturbing a hive, One died impaled and then there were five. Five little corpses, one trapped in a drawer, One died to scale and then there were four. Four little corpses still trying to flee, One tripped over themselves and then there were three. Three little corpses, One died from the sun. The killer was killed, And then there was one.

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Issue 6


The Perfect Cat Joe Pickles Legs like lightning With a mind twice as quick Darting jewels of eyes Never miss a trick Sleek, swift, nimble Fearless hunter won’t stop A soft, warm purr The cherry on the top Unfortunately, lazy Monty Can be none of that As he slumps and sleeps We must make do with our imperfect cat.

Issue 6

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Scarlett Isabella Edstrom Before.

Bored beyond belief, our feet slap on the harsh grey concrete resentfully. Scarlett trudges in a slow circle on the road, a slight sheen of ice causing her to slip. She laughs, glancing expectantly at me until I join, the melodies intertwining and dancing through the frozen branches. She captivates everyone around her, me included. We’re identical, but somehow she always shines more intensely, her vivid colours glowing until I seem tarnished beside her. Sliding further away along the ice, her voice grows fainter as she moves out of sight. Suddenly, there’s a confusion of harsh, heavy sounds followed by abrupt silence. ‘Scarlett?’ I call out, my voice tense. No answer. I pick my way across the road and gasp. The perishing air rushes through my body, straight to my heart. Next to the bus, her slight frame lies at an unnatural angle, limbs misaligned and her head cracked to the side. Crimson rivulets of salty blood mingle with her bright hair. Her face is porcelain white against the unforgiving tarmac. Now. A kaleidoscope of bright normalcy bustles on without me, lively undertones sweeping past as I walk down the ward. I’m fading into monochromes; greys and blacks are filling the blank spaces within my head but my emptiness doesn’t matter right now. I reach the bed, all clinical corners and institutional crispness. The only drop of colour there is her flaming hair and dark-rimmed eyes. I look exactly like her, sleepless nights finally catching up with me. People normally don’t recover from comas like this. She sustained head trauma, possibly permanently destroying her awareness. Knowing this isn’t some fairy-tale ending though, doesn’t change the hope in every inch of my bones. We can get away from this eventually. I stay for a while. Like every day, I ramble about the mundane, as if talking about life without her will somehow bring her back to me. When it’s time to leave, I glance back once before walking out. The harsh knock of bone on wood disturbs the calm for an age. I don’t answer. The affronted air settles to blanket any lingering emotions, but my mother knocks again. ‘Hayley, we need to talk to you.’ Reluctantly, I get up and follow her downstairs. My heartbeat begins to escalate, alerting my senses to a panic I haven’t felt in months as my father begins to talk stiltedly. ‘Hayley, this is the most difficult thing we’ve ever had to do, but we have to let her go.’ We have to let her go. We have to let her go. The words ring in my ears over and over until my vision is blurred and I can barely register my parents pulling me towards them. My life before is in all the echoes that faded with Scarlett. Time has not been kind and I’m left behind trying to write my own future from the remains of our shattered reality. Something will always be missing, but maybe I won’t always feel so empty. Maybe.

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Issue 6


Late Night Wanderers Claire Howland In the red evening, Surrounded by flowers She stands; Secretive, luring. Leafy green branches Entwined around Her pale, outstretched wrist. Dressed in ebony and ivory, Eyes shining blue, She waits and wonders, Hoping for someone To appear and take her By the hand. When she wandered out Into dusky garden Away from the party, She didn’t think to tell Of where she was going. Forgot the time; Now stands alone After the party has Ended. Flowers around her head Hang limp, forlorn, Same as she feels now. Abandoned, deserted In the locked grounds. Everyone gone, Will they return? But out of a bush, Comes forgotten face Returning too from Late night walk, To meet her, greet her With outstretched hands As silk meets lace And gold meets black. In the middle of the night They roam; Hand in hand, Forgotten by family, friends. Together they go, Ghosts in the night,

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Wandering in the Deserted garden. Till morning breaks And a hand will return With key to unlock the gate. Ghosts will turn to angels As they return home, To love, light, laughter. But will not forget The sparkling magic Of a night spent together In the deserted garden.

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The Fear and the Fury Sophie Horton I write this, my last, As my life comes to an end, I know who it is to be, The man no longer my friend. My heart as it beats, I cherish every pound, The heat of my body, Soon cold in the ground. The clock strikes one, Now my last hour, No way to defend, Against him no power. The light how it flickered, While lying on my bed, A creak of the floor, And now I’m…dead. He is such a fool, Up there all alone. He deserves what he gets, The horrible old crone. I never saw Myself as a killer. I was a good man, Now I’m a sinner. My hands, they’re trembling, My knees they’re weak, I’m ashamed, I am nervous, Out here on the street. I’m stood right here, About to strike. I’ve cut the power, I’m holding the knife. hhh

Issue 6

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Summer Nights Lucy Donaghey The waves lapped in a monotonous harmony. The blur of swirling colours had long been engulfed by the blackness of the night. The sky was an inky canvas, freckled with a sea of stars that framed the shining moon. It reflected off the water and the calm sea mirrored the bright rays that spread across the rippling waves, illuminating the darkness. We sat around the bonfire. You could only just make out people’s faces aglow with dancing yellow flickers, their smiles beaming. The songs we sang echoed in my ears, disrupting the therapeutic splashes of the water against the shore. These are the nights we crave, the ones without boundaries. Where we stand on the top of the cold rock staring down at the water far below. When your best friend grabs your hand and yells, ‘1, 2, 3, JUMPPPPPP,’ yanking you into the cold blue sea below. Falling down so rapidly, so weightlessly. As you hit the water you gasp desperately for warmth in fast panting gulps, but as you bob among the calm curling waves, laughing, it all seems worth it. Lying hand in hand like a starfish on top of water, letting the tide drift us slowly back to shore. These are the best nights, where we nocturnal dwellers bask in night’s serenity. Nothing but a five pound note in our pocket and a swimsuit. Soft sand between toes and salt-tousled waves of golden hair to our waist. Locked eyes like fingers woven, and summer promises made not to be broken. Because never will we forget how we sang and laughed until our stomachs hurt, or how we jumped. Jumped too far into dreams that can only be pursued when stars shine, but even the stars must sleep sometimes, and so must we.

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Issue 6


Choosing the End Katie Gayton How are we supposed to choose our lives, When we are only 14? We don’t know right from wrong; Tea from coffee! Why, when half of us can’t even get through an exam Without shedding a tear, should our whole lives be put in Our hands? Being told to pick a card and hope it’s right. Constantly being threatened by our teachers about unemployment and homelessness When they were in our shoes and know exactly what it’s like! School life is tough as it is with GCSEs drawing near, Amongst bullies, stress and getting a good CV. Then there’s homework, tests and being told to revise for Twelve hours at a weekend whilst doing sports, music and D of E. Where’s this time meant to come from? Time doesn’t wait whilst we keep doing as we’re told, Instead, it speeds up, just to prove how quickly our lives will take off. So tell me this: How, when preparing for the next step, Are we supposed to choose its ending?

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Write On! Magazine Issue 6


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