Last half term, students produced some excellent pieces of writing. We’ve put together this anthology of work to coincide with World Book Day and celebrate our talented students. Sadly, there are more pieces of superb writing than we can feature here, and some that are too long to be included. We are working on developing a library of student work so that we can celebrate and record praiseworthy work.
The judge’s gavel met the mallet as it plummeted down. Contrary to its purpose, it disturbed the stony silence and was causing uncivilised cheers and celebration after hearing a fateful conclusion. The courtroom was filled with noise and the atmosphere was positive in the gallery, however among the relieved sighs and hearty handshakes was a patch of darkness. The convicted criminal dropped to his knees, his naturally tall stature folded up, weak at the thought of life in prison, especially during his adolescent years. Head in hands, and tears streaming down uncontrollably, the guards – one on each side – brought him back to his feet, however reluctant to adhere, he was dragged out of the courtroom as abuse was being hurled at him from the press and members of the public. “You dirty murderer,” they yelled at him “you got what you deserved”.
* * * * *
“Hi, mum. How’s everything at home? How are the kids? I miss them” stated Reggie with a sigh. His mother was on the other side of the glass and had her ear to the telephone connection them together, “They’re good, we’re fine, I just want to know about you. How are they treating you?” she asked attentively. “All right I guess” he lied as his black eye and bruised knuckles contradicted him. She stared deeply into his eyes, so full of happiness and joy once, but now all she saw was despair and depression. Her eyes welled up at the thought of him, all alone, in there for life. Quickly, she wiped away her tears and pulled herself together, straightening her back and leaning in. “So, any word from the team you’re working with?” Reggie asked desperately, but to his dismay was met with a silenced headshake. “Don’t worry, honey. I promise you I will find a way, I know you’re innocent and I’m sure there’s a way we can prove it. God is on our side.” He nodded his head and forced a smile. Although her words were inspiring, he craved the embrace of his mother.
As the days, months and even years passed by, Reggie slowly lost hope. His mental health was deteriorating and he had lost any faith in everyone. There was no light to walk towards and he was gradually coming to the sad reality that he would die in this place. One day, when he was on the verge of ending it all, he received a phone call from home, confused at the surprise call he picked it up. “Hello?” he questioned. He could hear restrained sobs on the other end. “Mum is that you? Is everything all right?” His heart started racing and the fear of bad news grew inside him. “Has something bad happened?” he continued. “No, no, no! Everything is alright, I am just happy, Reggie.” she inhaled deeply “There’s a witness” she exhaled. “Wait, what, so what does this mean?” he asked. “You’re coming home, baby. She’s prepared to testify and has solid evidence. The lawyers are working on it now.” Like he had done once before, he dropped to his knees, relief swept over him like a river and tears of joy and happiness fell, as he held his hands in renouncement, looking up and thanking God.
Ara was long since gone, I knew that, so why did she constantly plague my thoughts? Not that it was a bad thing, she deserved to be remembered and just her presence in my mind was enough to brighten even the worst of days. Maybe she was watching out for me from up in heaven where she undoubtably was residing. But who was I kidding? She wouldn’t want to spend time with me if that was where she was. No, this was more like a punishment sent from the devil himself, even he knew that my actions were despicable. Her wobbling precariously on the slope and then her hand slipping from mine, was the sight that each thought of her name left me with, a constant reminder of my terrible deed.
I dragged my feet along the pathway as I walked in the calm summer’s night, allowing muscle memory to control my actions as I scrolled through my phone, hoping for a distraction from the painful memories. You see, it had been five years today since the ‘accident.’ That’s what the adults liked to call it anyway, but I hated that word; it made her death seem unimportant.
The sharp cold is what made me look up in shock, realising myself to be nowhere I had intended when I first left the house for some fresh air. My hand was resting on a metal ring attached to the trunk of a large oak, one of many leading up to a small wooden hut within its branches. The leaves were green and my eyes roamed around to the square of grass across the road, then to the old rope swing that was rocking gently in the breeze and the wide river that stood before it. I knew this place like the back of my hand, despite it being five years since I had last visited. This used to be my safe space, a place to be happy but it wasn’t anymore.
Hesitantly, I brushed some dirt off of the wooden seat of the hand-made swing, before lightly perching on it, but refrained from kicking off the ground and swinging it as I had done so many times before. I thought of Ara and how we used to take turns pushing each other with as much force as our ten-year-old selves could muster and my breath hitched. There she was again, toppling precariously on the slippery slope, her fingers slipping from my own smaller ones as she fell backwards to the mercy of the strong currents, drawn up by the hammering winter rain. But this time, I didn’t just watch it happen, I couldn’t. I jumped from the seat and rushed to grab onto her, wading further and deeper into the river as I followed her bright red dress.
Last night, I dreamt I went to Charlotte Palace again. The walled gates stood proud and tall as always – although this time, the previously white stone was enveloped in mother nature’s arms. Long, winding, curling fingers clawed at the marble, each inch further recalling the stone back to the earth.
However, the centrepiece of this wall would have to be the once breath-taking gateway to the grounds of the property. The gold-plated gate would often shimmer in the sunlight, smiling in a warm and welcoming way but now, the gold seemed to be chipping in places, and the left gate was hanging pitifully from a single hinge. It was not smiling anymore, quite the opposite actually. It was mourning.
Beyond the gate would most definitely be the palace, but its state could not yet be commented on. Naturally, curiosity was building – I couldn’t help but move forward. The spirit body glided carefully over the fallen gate and safely into the vast enclosure. The path had all but vanished, nonetheless, I still pushed on. It was impossible to forget the way into Charlotte Palace. I had spent hours roaming the land that the palace lay on, looking over the walls, eyeing them, talking to them, looking for a way out.
The further I drifted, the cooler my surroundings became. Trees stretched on and on for miles, all of them towering fir trees, needles swooping low like traps set out to catch people off-guard. Even the roots were a death sentence, each root was folding into one another, twisting and curving with the movements of the earth. Just one wrong step and you’d be face first in the serpentine roots. Thankfully, gliding doesn’t exactly call for the use of legs. The deeper I journeyed, the more the roots began to change and morph into shapes, looking eerily like the features of a human face. Just gazing at them for more than a few seconds sent shivers through my whole body. After what seemed like an eternity, the trees finally began to break. Not long now until Charlotte Palace would be before me once again.
I arrived at the centre. I wasn’t sure why I was here or what I was supposed to do but I think I was sent here by a government-issued letter. As I drearily approached the mysterious dark building, I realised maybe it wasn’t the government that sent me here. Instant regret flooded into my head but for some reason my feet kept walking. I was drawn towards it like a moth to light. Glass doors, bigger than I had ever seen, swung open at the sight of me. I took my first step into the rest of my life. There was only five of us and we all congregated into the middle of the open plan hall in which we were all directed. No one said a word. Why are we here? What have we done? The repetitive questions were flooding my vision. I was so focussed on the possible answers to the questions, I hadn’t even noticed that a dark figure had entered the room.
He was eyeing us up like we were prey and he was the all-powerful predator. Instead of killing us, he called us over. “I’m sure you’re all now confused to why you are here. We have invented a machine, a machine I think you would all be interested in.” he stated. “You have all been through a great loss in the last 12 months. Imagine if you could go back to a time that they were around.” He began to walk out the room and cautiously we all followed. We entered a room, much greater than the hall in which we had been stored beforehand but this room unlike the other wasn’t empty. There was a black, metal pod in the middle with wires and gadgets coming out from the sides. It was terrifying. I wanted to run. I needed to get away. Whatever this is, it can’t be good. But I stood still, firm on the spot and listened. It felt like hours of explaining the science, all stuff none of us in here understood but the last phrase he said stuck with me, “Basically, you can time travel”
Time travel. I knew instantly where I wanted to go and where I needed to go. In the last month, I have never been so isolated and alone. Darkness had been inside my head for so long but this this was a little bit of light starting to break through. Maybe I would be able to change what happened. It shouldn’t have happened. They shouldn’t have suffered. But now it’s all okay because I can go and change what shouldn’t have been. The mysterious man began handing out papers, loads of them. The second page in was the rules behind this and the rest were consent forms.
You cannot talk to yourself.
You can’t change anything that happened.
You can only see what happened and talk to people you that you have never spoken to before.
No eating in the time capsule.
Don’t take any liquids.
I knew what I was going to do – break most of the rules. I needed to as I couldn’t live with the fact that I didn’t try. I signed the consent forms quicker than anyone I know and put myself first in line. The risks had been listed but they barely crossed my mind. I knew where I wanted to go and nothing was going to stop me. I was going to save them. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I couldn’t ruin this opportunity for everyone else but maybe I should be selfish for once and take the risk. The opportunity to save my family was at my fingertips.
I entered the capsule ready, adrenaline was coursing through my veins. I had never felt more excited. I was like a little girl at Disney. The dread finally hit as the countdown began… “5” What if it didn’t work? “4” Would I make it out of this? “3” I didn’t read the papers properly. This is a death sentence. “2” I’m so stupid for trusting this. “1” I close my eyes. I didn’t know what was to come. Pure fear came over me, I didn’t even know how I was going to get back. Until then, I was stood in the field across the street with the summers breeze brushing by and the pungent smell of raspberry’s crawling up my nose. In that second all the darkness and all the fear had gone. I felt at peace like I was home. I wanted to run in and kiss her and pick up my children but I couldn’t. I needed to be smart. I needed to stop what caused horrific tragedy on that day.
My stomach turned. I was on edge. I needed to look different. I couldn’t be me if I was going to do this successfully. I went to closest clothes shop and picked out a jumper and some shorts, completely abnormal to wear…well, for me. I stumbled out of the shop ready to find this man. The man who had murdered my wife and kids. I went on a walk to clear my head; everything was slightly different from how I remember it. I don’t think I ever appreciated where I lived before this though. The trees looked full and the flowers were thriving. The park was swarming with kids and the air was filled with their laughter and joy. I wish this happiness was with me recently.
When I returned to my house, I sat around the side listening to the joyful sound of my children singing Taylor Swift and my wife giggling whilst making them lunch. They always managed to cheer me up. The awful events that occurred on this day didn’t happen till later on. I sat and appreciated my family. I sat and appreciated the grass. I watched all the families playing and walking their dogs and I felt truly happy. I watched the sunset and at that moment I believe I had reached true peace. I crawled under the porch and waited for the monster to arrive.
A man, no taller than 5’10, began circling the house and street. He was wearing black pants and a red t-shirt. His floppy, brown hair dangled over his eyes as he picked out his target, I knew who he was going to pick. I allowed the first few events of the night to continue as they would because I knew breaking the rules was wrong. I wanted them to trust I wasn’t going to do anything wrong. I was under the porch when he came creaking up above me. I could hear him attempting to open doors and windows. Then, as if he was a spider, he jumped right though the bathroom window. I slowly approached out from beneath the porch and went to go inside. I knew it was risky but I couldn’t lose them.
I heard the cries and screams of fear that I hadn’t heard the last time once my family realised he was there. I tried to get inside as quickly as possible. I heard the final cry from my youngest daughter, Daisy and I knew that I had failed them once again.
The pasta she was cooking was still boiling on the side and the smell of garlic bread filled the room. It was deathly silent. Who knew where the man had gone. I crawled upstairs, the overwhelming feeling of guilt came over me and drained all the energy form me. There he was, stood there in front of me. I stood up and ran towards him, all I could see was red. Anger. Anger like I have never known before. I needed to know who was to blame. I jumped on top of him, with tears streaming down my hot, red face, screaming. Screaming in pain, screaming of guilt. And there he was, the one person I trusted, the person wo comforted me, the person who was there and told me it was going to be okay. My brother. I was overcome with emotion. “Why?” I yelled, I needed to know. I got no response.
I found myself in a dark place. I placed my shaking hands out to figure out where I was. I was back in the capsule. “I WASN’T DONE!” I screamed. I didn’t think this was how it worked but there I was in the capsule. I fell to the floor screaming and crying once they had opened the door. I was paralysed in pain. The dark place I thought I could get out of, was back bigger and stronger than ever.
The others who were yet to go stared at me in fear. I wanted to warn them but I couldn’t tell them the horrors I had faced.
A few hours after they had managed to calm me down, they brought the police in. It turned out that I couldn’t do anything. They didn’t want to tell me that in case I would not go. The police had asked for me to be sent so I could do their case for them. I didn’t want to speak to them after they put me through that. I wasn’t even sure I could speak. I couldn’t snitch my own brother in, could I?
The warm wind swept against her face, the sand seeped through her loose, broken shoes and irritated her toes as she walked further and further through the hot, heavy desert air. She was lost, confused and no matter how far she walked, there was nowhere to go. She didn’t mean to step into the time machine, she didn’t even know what it was until she saw the date on her ticking watch. That noise was the only thing keeping her sane. The quiet, almost pathetic ticks were ringing in her ears as she walked and walked, making sure she didn’t stop. There was nothing. According to a half-burnt map she found on the floor, she was in New York but where was everyone?
She couldn’t smell much, but the scents of smoke and fire still lingered delicately in the air, as if one sniff would make them all disappear and there would be nothing but her and the desert. She sat down and looked at the map, it was unusual. There was a dainty little arrow that followed her footsteps and told her whereabouts she was. But of course, there was never anything there. Her feet were starting to hurt and blister so she took off her shoes. The sand swum about in them like water which she poured onto her dry, shaking hand. It stung a few cuts that she didn’t realise she had. The pale sand was shining like gold dust as it fell through her fingers, large pieces of salt were left in her small hands that she cupped together. The sound of her watch was now disturbing her, she looked down at small bony wrist and couldn’t take her eyes off the watch. It was a beautiful old thing. It had a thick, chipped, brown leather band with little holes that were starting to fray and became wider, the rim of the face was silver but it had started to rust slowly over time. The once shiny silver was now dim and a very small patch of rust was slowly breaking its way through. The face was always her favourite though. It was pure gold and never seemed to age like the rest of it. There was a little spot that you would have to look closely to see but it had the date written on it in cursive. Little golden cogs were in the background for decoration, but she was sure she had seen them move before. The hands were thin and delicate compared to the rest of the watch. They moved gracefully and the second hand made a very small ticking sound as if it was counting down to something.
She looked at her grandfather’s watch on her blistered, red arms. It burnt too much to touch them so she was careful and she took off the ancient beauty. She spun it around her fingers, tears forming in her eyes. This was it, the end of the world and she didn’t know how to get back. She didn’t even know how she got here, she didn’t know the box wasn’t meant to be touched. All she knew was that this was it, this is how the world ended. Anger and sadness waved through her body, she just wanted to go home, she then stood up quickly, the small slope of sand she was sitting on collapsed under her feet. It was up to her ankles but either she didn’t seem to notice or she just didn’t care. She threw the watch and screamed into the pits of nothing. It was out of sight in the desert somewhere. Her screams rang through the ocean of dry sand. She inhaled some of it which made her cough. No one could hear her because there was no one left on Earth but her and her watch which she wouldn’t be able to find again. She stumbled back onto the ground and the sand from beneath her feet flew up into the air as a large orange flash lit everything up, hurting her pale blue eyes but she didn’t look away, she couldn’t. It was fire, maybe there is someone else on the planet still. It gave her one last bit of hope so she walked towards it but it was the biggest mistake of her life.
By Chelsea – Year 10
“Not again, you stupid piece of tech!” Kai grumbled, as he kicked the side of the printer for what seemed like the 50th time that day. All he wanted to do was print his paperwork out and get his job done but no even that had to go wrong. He had felt like recently everything in his life was going to hell, ever since he got divorced from his wife, Karen. Already angry, he harshly kicked the printer again, hoping and dreaming for his work to print so he could go home. It was already 8pm and his shift was supposed to end at 7:30pm. Yes, he had been standing there, waiting for his work to print for 30 minutes, as if his life couldn’t get any better. As if the gods had heard his prayers, he finally saw some sort of paper being dispensed, He took it out and looked at it, to his disappointment, the page only had a black hole in the centre of it. Kai huffed madly, hoping he could go home, Not wanting to stay at work another night. It was like the hole was staring into his soul. He accidentally knocked over his cup and it fell into the hole. He looked at the hole in confusion and went to grab the cup. He was shocked when his hand went through the paper. He grabbed his cup and smiled. He smirked.
He needed money fast and he knew just how he was going to get it, not aware of the consequences to come. The more he thought, the more he smiled and the more he was close to losing his sanity. He slowly walked over to the only room he had never been in, the storage room. Next to the handle, he placed the paper. Eyes wide like a crazy blood thirsty lion. He reached his hand inside the hole and smiled inhumanly wider when he heard a ‘click’ from the other side of the door.
Go in, stay out, lock the door again- he didn’t know what to do. He let out a small chuckle, Opening the door, not caring if he got caught later on. Whoever had been there before him, whenever they had, it seemed that they hadn’t cleaned the place properly. He moved some boxes around frantically, as if he was predator looking for their pray. Maniacally, insanely and carefree, Kai kicked over some boxes, not caring about the worth of the condense in them.
Kai’s eyes widened and his smile grew even wider as he saw a big safe. His first thought was that there was money inside this safe so he knelt down and placed the paper onto the safe door and sellotaped it to the safe as he reached in and felt his hand come across a rectangular stack of somewhat small paper. He smiled again as his hand closed on the object and he pulled it out. To his surprise, it was in fact money. He sighed softly and took a deep breath, as he was about to be the richest man at his job.
“Jackpot!” Kai cooed softly as he gazed upon the money with a sort of lust -that lust was for power. As if he was a surgeon operating on a patient, he delved into the vault, only to pull out more money. After a while, when he had about 50k on the floor next to him, he decided to put his head through the hole to see if there was more money to be found, He saw some right at the corner of his eye and shuffled his body so that his upper body was in the vault. That’s when he discovered more money. He then moved so he could get his first leg in the vault. He then saw how wide this vault was. There was at least an few extra thousand pounds that he had missed. Unbeknown to him his moving around has loosened the paper. He then pulled in his last leg into the vault, not knowing that now the paper was on the floor and not on the vault. He had finished grabbing the money as he turned around to exit the vault and saw a blank metal wall. He didn’t know how to get out but he did know one thing, despite whoever was going to discover him, whenever that would be, he would be dead.
By Mya – Year 10
The walls are suffocating me as I look up, staring at the ceiling. Everything feels zenosyne – the world moves by so fast, but I am a constant burden of solitary, trapped in my own kuebiko. Those flashes of blood and the shell of my soul cracking finally – I am so weak. I sit in the bathroom – razor in hand – pulling at the razor’s edges, trying to break it to release a blade (or two) that I would later replace so it looked like its original self. Nothing was out of the ordinary at first glance, they think I am sleeping. Its 3:27 and I need an escape; anything to get away from the thoughts…. anything. I am imprisoned in thorns and vines, suffocated from the inside but I still function – they must not know. I have told some and they try to help, they do help – they prove as a method of distraction but when they go, so does the distraction. It attacks me: self-inflicted.
‘Stand up’ and the adrenaline makes my stomach swell and my head sways like waves on the ocean, but I pull through. From being a cripple of fear inside my own mind, I need an escape and run from it all. Downstairs, the keys are hung up, but I take them down. My breathing is shallow. ….in…out…in…out…in…. I hold it there as I slowly turn the key in the door, ‘click’ – I step outside. My breathe fogs up my sight in a cloudy mist. The icy chill stings my legs and arms as the night breeze enters me. It is a feeling other than numbness. It is reassuring. ‘Why did I not get changed?’
I begin to stumble into the neighbouring woods. My beige slippers increasingly filling with mud from the swamp puddle that I gravely stumble through. The derealisation fogs my perception– I am lost. Help! My eyes tear up with tears and everything goes blurry. I can see light from a nearby road but it’s all refracted into deformed star shapes. It is 5:41am and I need an escape. I keep walking. The road is enclosed by woods and is filled with cars, headlights on, speeding down the concrete carpet. I hear the tyres turn and churn and I feel my heart twist and pull. My reality is a dream. The consequences of my actions are faded. I know what they are, but I do not care.
I reach the road and march onwards. My feet try to ground me like a deer in headlights, but all emotions are chemical reactions. It is a figment of my imagination and I need to escape the fake world. I see a car approaching me and I brace for impact: rib-shattering. I see its bright lights focus on its target – me. I wait for the pain.
It does not come…… I see police sirens and I hear a man.
‘Do not worry, love. You are safe. You are okay.’ I smile and look up. Saved at last. It is 6:03am and I can feel again. The road to recovery is long but I am looking for an escape and I just found one. I will see the light at the end of the tunnel.
In Year 8, we study William Blake’s poetry of Innocence and Experience. Here are some examples of Year 8’s pastiches of these poems: