The Others – Part 1

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March 20th, 1998. 3:15pm in Oppicretum, the only city known to be inhabited on planet Griseoculum. There was a Blemiyeh sat to Jake’s left, a Cockatrice to his right, a dwarf sat in his lap, a Brownie on his arm and a gargoyle perched on his head. Outside the bus stop he was sitting in was a sphinx, one of the few creatures in Oppicretum that spoke English and Grisian, babbling away with riddles and puzzles.

“Ooh, what about this one? What can you catch, but never throw? Hmm? A cold! Hahaha! Come on, try this! What binds two people together yet touches only one? A wedding ring! Oh, my Anubis, you’re worse than you look, you little toad!”

Jake was a 28-year-old man transferred to Griseoculum from Planet 56-B. He lived alone, and had no family that he knew of. He was the only human there – that is to say, part-human. Jake was also half-Kappa, because of the depression on the top of his head. A Kappa, as you might know, is a creature that resides in rivers, originating in Japan, Earth, around 3 million light years or so away from Griseoculum. Jake never needed to pour water into the depression, as he was able to perform magical feats without it. He was, however, able to breathe underwater.

Jake wasn’t planning to get on the hoverbus that afternoon. He had no idea why he was sat there. He was one of those people who did things for no reason at all. One minute had passed, and the Blemiyeh, Cockatrice, dwarf, Brownie and gargoyle, with the sphinx following behind the bus, had all boarded, leaving Jack on his own. He sat there for a few moments more, and snapped his fingers, conjuring a Snackable Delicator – a type of chocolate biscuit with food crystals eaten in Oppicretum. As he devoured the Delicator, he looked back towards the plaza behind him. There, he noticed a figure in the distance, a figure with a suitcase, a figure wearing a brown trilby hat, a figure in a tweed suit, a figure that slowly became clearer and clearer until Jake could see that it was not just a figure, but a man, a human.

Jake jumped up, which was also for no particular reason, and threw the Snackable Delicator aside, shortly glimpsing it disappearing with a pop. As he and the man drew closer, Jake shuddered slightly, which was another action with no reason (I told you Jake was one of those people who do irrational things), then stopped beside the clanktern, which was not really making any noise apart from the occasional tick, waiting for the man to arrive at the same point. When he did, the man dropped his suitcase, looking as if he was going to collapse. “Hello,” he said feebly, stretching out his hand so as to shake Jake’s, “My name’s Stephen, I’m 27 and-oh! I forgot! You, um, you do speak English, don’t you? Everything else I’ve come across talks some newfangled language, something like-”

“What, like ‘Bookoo zabar brakay zeebee’? I’m Jack, 28, the only part-human here – well, one of them.”

Stephen seemed to squeal with delight for a moment. “Oh, great! Could you support me for a few days? I don’t have any money, I don’t know the language and I only have two outfits, including my pyjamas!”

“Of course.” Jake picked up his suitcase, doing it reluctantly, which was yet something else without a reason, and asked, “Want a drink?”

Stephen, who was now sweating heavily, nodded, and Jake rubbed his fingers together, making a bottle of a type of fluid appear, handing it to Stephen.

“Asphod-Aqua.” Jake said, “Enriched with aloe vera, Purgatio minerals and Recuntills. Very healthy.”

“Oh, thank you.” Stephen said whilst taking a swig, then suddenly started babbling about anything that came to his mind.

“This planet is amazing! All these different creatures, they’re really cool. The sphinx caught my eye, all those clever riddles, and then you’ve got the hinkypunks, and Arabian agreets too! I must say, those Brownies are fascinating too, they’re purely brilliant…”

And as he rambled on, Jake decided that he would have some fun just this once, and with a short clap, there was a squelch, and Stephen was covered in custard. He spluttered out from behind the thick layer:

“Then, of course, we’ve got you.”

To be continued…

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Under The Lake

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Every day is just about the same for me. Wake up, brush my teeth, wash my face, grab an apple and walk straight into that 300-foot deep lake outside.

I work under the surface – well, when I say under, I mean on the other side. There’s plenty of other people that come too, it’s part of life for us. We work for Death, writing reports on certain people that are assigned to us, then calculating their life expectancy. Death has less on his plate because of us, so all he needs to do is fix his schedule.

Everything we do, think and feel is written on our bodies as soon as we pass through the portal. When we resurface, the writing disappears. Death pays us quite a fair salary each week, so life is sweet. There’s just one catch: whenever I start work, my skin is empty.

Death doesn’t favour me as much as the others, even though my wages are the same. There was another one like me, but she died sometime before I started. They call us Outsiders, which is pretty rude, but I don’t care.

I was always empty-skinned until that one day when my life seemed to change forever. I went through the same morning routine: brush teeth, wash face, eat apple, walk into lake. I just didn’t know that under the lake, it would be different.

The first few steps in are through the water barrier, then we should arrive on the other side. This time around, though, the journey seemed longer, and as I delved deeper and deeper, I could make out the distinctive shape of a person in the distance, a man, tall and skinny. He gradually came closer and closer, until I could see his face. It was Death himself, and he had grabbed hold of my hand. Before he pushed me up to the surface, he uttered four words: “You, master of me.”

And suddenly I was floating back up, and I flew out of the lake, landing on my feet. I wasn’t the slightest bit wet, as always. There was a piece of paper in my hand, reading:

Take my place under the lake.

Yours,

D.

And on my hand was a single word, as if written in black ink. ‘No need to ask for wages anymore.’ I thought to myself as I walked back to my cosy little home, smiling at my own hand, reading over and over again ‘Death’.

You Cannot Tell

you cannot tell ph2

I first saw him in the window of my living room. He was wearing a worn out, black bowler hat and a brown leather coat. His eyes were illuminated on his dark, shadowy face. He was carrying what seemed to be a blade. Other people would have been terrified but I just stood there, sort of transfixed by his appearance. He came the next night, this time looking into the kitchen. A red rose replaced the knife in his hand. I wondered why he was coming to my house. Perhaps he was homeless. It was 7 days later when I started to become worried, though. He had been coming to my house and looking through the windows for a whole week and on Monday he had come with a knife again – it had blood stains on the tip. I thought about calling the police, but would that make me his next victim? I shuddered. I decided to stay put in my bedroom, lock all the doors and shut all the curtains. I soon dozed off.

you cannot tell ph3

The next morning, I was no longer in my bedroom. I was on the floor of my living room. A chalk outline surrounded me. Nobody else was there. I was very confused. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something come out of the wall. It was shadowy, scruffy, a tall figure looming like a tower. I turned around and saw that it was the man that I had seen in the window, pale-faced and untidy. He was holding the same blood-stained knife; it glinted faintly in the dim light. He gave me an icy stare, then leapt at me. His knife jutted out and he cried out in rage. I screamed and rolled over to dodge him, the knife swishing past and narrowly missing my head. He dived through the floor, like it was some kind of eerie wooden swimming pool. I crawled backwards to the sofa, bewildered as to where he was. Suddenly, he sprang out, shouting in anger. His face was nearly scarlet, his scruffy eyebrows highly slanted. I flinched as he flew through the air towards me. His coat was splattered with flecks of blood. I wanted to move but it seemed like I was glued to where I was. He brushed my shoulder, but as soon as he laid his hand on me, a bright white light lit up the room. The man howled as his hand glowed red. It must have burned, seared, split his palm open. Slowly, he started to disappear, like smoke wafting away from its chimney. Oh, how he shrieked! The sound echoed around the room. It rang inside my ears, it slowly mauled my brain. I closed my eyes tightly, nearly gluing them shut. When I reopened them, I was alone in the room. Everything was silent. No blood. No knife. No hat. No man. Just me, in the room of the house. I could hear police sirens wailing outside. They reminded me of banshees, sobbing in mourning. Apparently, my neighbour had heard the screaming and shouting.

you cannot tell ph4

From then on, I was alone in my house. No one came to visit, no one stood outside the windows. But one day, the doorbell rang, and outside was a black bowler hat, a rose, a knife and a note:

‘You cannot tell.’

you cannot tell ph1

National Writing Day – This Is My Story…

Writing. A wonderful form of art. I discovered it when I was very young and I have loved it ever since. I used to enjoy reading fiction books and tried my hand at writing one myself. That’s when I discovered that there was more behind writing. In fact, there was a whole world of writing! I could turn anything, absolutely anything, into a story written down on paper! Cockroach-shark cross breeds and magical pixies could be real, with a little help of pen and paper. Writing was a way of expressing my thoughts and feelings. I kept on writing and writing whenever I found the time, during break times, at home, on the way to school and made great improvement. I enjoyed the writing time thoroughly. Many years passed and I grew up. And here I am now, writing this story. I’m going to tell it to you.

It all started on the 12th of September, a fine autumn day. The leaves on the trees were a brilliant shade of orangey-red, swaying in the gentle breeze like flames in a fireplace. I was at school for afternoon lessons when I asked to be excused. I stepped out into the empty corridor and closed the door behind me. That’s when I looked to my left and saw Mr Thorpington, the school caretaker, coming towards me. Instead of his usual grey jumper and black trousers, he was wearing some sort of dark purple cloak and oddly shaped brown leather boots.

“Oh, hello, Mr Thorpington. What are you doing here?” I asked him.

“Mr What? My name’s Morpmagagus!” he replied, a surprised look on his face.

“Mor..Morph…Mop..Mo…What?”

“Morpmagagus. But do stop being silly. We must get going!”

“Going where?” I questioned him.

“You’ll find out soon enough, Jack Dillion. Come on!”

“I want – Wait a second. How do you know my full name?” I said.

“Oh, I know more than that, Jack.” he told me, an air of mystery wafting around in his voice. Then he walked down the corridor. I followed.

At last we stopped in front of a large wooden door I had never seen before. It had a copper-coloured handle and shiny hinges.

“What’s this?” I asked the so-called Morpmagagus.

“The door to the space between the past, the present and the future.” he informed me. “Beyond that is a strange alternate universe where spirits roam free and creatures you would not have even imagined to have existed reside. These beings are kind, but I must warn that there is also evil and danger there. So long as you listen to me, no harm will come to you.”

He opened the door to reveal a swirl of bright colours shining in my face.

“Wait, you don’t mean-wha-?”

I didn’t have time to finish speaking as I was pushed through the doorway. After that, there was black.

When I came to, I was lying on the ground facing a bright blue sky. Slowly, I rose up and examined my surroundings. Morpmagagus was standing beside me.

“Well, don’t just stand there!” he cried. “There’s no time to mess about!” And he hurried off, with me trying to catch up behind him.

“Mr…um…Mr Morpy. May I just ask, where are we?” I asked him.

“Arator” he replied calmly. “The alternate universe.”

“Looks the same as Earth to me.” I said.

Morpmagagus (or rather Mr Morpy now) sighed and said “My dear Jack, just because this is an alternate universe doesn’t mean that the grass has to be blue and the sun has to be made of purple spinach! In Arator, only the animals are strange.”

This statement was soon proved true. Later on in the walk, we encountered shark-headed humans, a singing dog, a tweeting crocodile and at one point, I think I even spotted a two-hoofed camel riding on a screaming beetle who appeared to be wearing a party hat. After what seemed like 1 and a half hours (which, in actual fact, was only 20 minutes – evidence that time does not fly, unless you are referring to the clock-winged birds that I also sighted), I asked Mr Morpy something.

“Mr Morpy, why are we even here?”

“We are here because of you and the evil of Horatio Thymebundle.”

“Who’s he?”

“Horatio is a man that lives on the edge of Arator, residing in the shadows. There used to be good in him but now he’s turned evil. He plans to extract the happiness from Earth.”

“But why?” I said.

“Well, you see, Horatio had his happiness drained out of him from a very young age. His parents died and he had no one else to look after him. From then on, he spent a life of misery and sadness. But then he found Arator and was given great power that only the first human in Arator could possess. He wants to use this power to get revenge on the humans. He thinks it wasn’t fair that he couldn’t be happy. Only you can stop him.”

“How?”

“By using this.” Mr Morpy pulled out a dazzling diamond from under his cloak. “This,” he announced, “is the Jewel of Latos. The jewel of peace! If you restore it to it’s rightful place, Horatio will be defeated. But you must be the one that does this, because of your magnificent mind, your imagination, your creativity and most importantly, your pure heart.”

“Right,” I said, after a brief silence. “But if I’m going to do it, then don’t put so much pressure on me!”

“OK.” said Mr Morpy.

After a few more minutes walking, we reached a large patch of open grass. It was much darker here.

“We have arrived.” whispered Mr Morpy. “Now, when I tell you to go, run towards the tree stump in the middle of the field and put the jewel in there. Understood?”

I nodded. Suddenly, there was a snap behind us.

“Horatio knows we are here. Get ready!” said Mr Morpy. I could sense a hint of panic in his voice. CRASH! A huge tree fell down behind us.

“Go!” Mr Morpy shouted at me. I ran and ran as fast as I could towards the tree stump. Everything was a blur after that. I remember being grabbed by what seemed like the air and I dropped the jewel and fell down. I could hardly breathe as I tried to find the jewel. Finally, my hands touched the smooth surface of the diamond. I picked it up and touched the stump with it. There was the sound of wood cracking and then I saw black.

I opened my eyes and found myself standing in the school corridor. I was right outside my classroom. Automatically, I turned left and saw Mr Thorpington walking down the corridor with Mr Swithinbanks, the headteacher. He was babbling about important repairs for the school to Mr Thorpington.

“Oh, hello there, Jack!” he said when he passed me.

“Hello, Mr Swithinbanks!” I said back to him.

They both disappeared round the corner. And, in that split-second of passing me, I could have sworn that Mr Thorpington winked at me.

Pretty crazy story, huh? Well, it’s still a story. It’s my story. All 1222 words of it. And it’s real. What about yours?

Written by Omar Mukhtar, The Pawsome Lion

10 years old blogger from Birmingham, UK

To support National Writing Day, 21st June 2017

#TellYourStory

🍰 A Piece of Cake: Noose

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The little village of Hangilton was a joyful place – or at least it used to be. Many years ago, a girl named Lucy hung herself from a tree next to her tiny wooden shop. Since then, nobody went near the tree or the shop.

Alex, a boy of 18 years of age, lived in a shack in Hangilton. He had heard such bloodcurdling stories of people who had dared to step near the tree from which Lucy hung herself. Alex was very curious about Lucy. He decided that he would go to see the tree that night. He waited until everyone was asleep then set off, armed with his blade.

The atmosphere around Lucy’s deathbed was absolutely silent. He opened the gate in the fence which bordered the territory. Alex looked behind him. There was no one in sight. He continued to walk until he reached the only tree in the patch of land. It was beside a rundown hut.

He examined the branches of the tree. They all looked normal except for one which had stains of blood and several scratches on it. The young boy gulped. Just then, the body of a girl came tumbling down and hit the floor with a loud crash. Alex jumped back and yelped.

The girl’s body lay on the ground in a crumpled heap. He approached her cautiously, his blade at the ready. He poked her with his hand…and she leapt up and grabbed hold of a nearby trunk. Her hands were horrid. The fingers were long, black and bony. They resembled the paws of a rotten crocodile’s corpse. Her face could be seen clearly. Two luminous white eyes were placed on either side of her crooked, black nose. Her lips were two paper-thin, wobbly lines on the bottom of her face, which were dark red in colour. She wore a ragged yellowing dress and no shoes, exposing her skeletal feet. She had bushy, brown hair and a thick, white noose around her neck.

This is Lucy!’ thought Alex. ‘Wait, but it can’t be. Lucy’s dead. Then this must be her spirit!’ Lucy let go of the branch and landed in front of Alex, who stepped back.

“Listen, I don’t mean any harm. Please leave me alone.” said Alex. But she took no heed. She advanced towards Alex, swiping her claw-like hands in the air and scratching his arm. Alex winced in pain as rose-red blood oozed out of his huge wounds. Suddenly, a bunch of ropes appeared out of nowhere and coiled around his arms and legs. They pulled outwards, as if trying to tear his limbs off. Another rope formed a noose around his neck and tied itself to the bloody branch. Alex struggled to breathe. Then the rope around his neck snapped and he could take in air normally again. The other ropes stopped pulling but kept themselves firmly wrapped around Alex’s limbs.

He flew over to Lucy. There was then a sharp stabbing pain in his back. There was another one in his arm and another in his leg. Soon, the pains were all over his body. The helpless boy jerked and yelped as he was tortured in mid-air. A wide hole started to form in the ground below Alex. It was completely pitch-black. Before he knew it, he was dropped down into it and was travelling at great speed. He screamed for help but no one could hear him. The wind made his eyes water. Finally, he could see a dim light at the end. He came out of the long hole and found himself back in Hangilton. He was hanging from the tree, dead.

🍰 A Piece of Cake: TOP ATHLETE! 🏆

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A boy was in his sports class, beginning to feel very bored. He was the worst out of everyone. Suddenly, his teacher shouted, “Exercise is important!”

The boy was puzzled as to why his teacher had said this. But, in order to try and impress his teacher, he left the school and ran to the McDonald’s in the next city. After travelling 30 kilometres, he reached a McDonald’s branch and asked, “Could I have 100 buckets of fries 🍟, please?”

He was given the fries for free (as he was their 1000th customer) and ran back to his sports class. When he arrived at his school, he presented the fries to his teacher. “Where have you been? You haven’t exercised!” exclaimed his teacher.

“Exercise? I thought you said extra fries!” said the boy to his teacher, who was watching a crowd of people shout “TOP ATHLETE!”

✍🏻 A Short Story & Doodle by The Pawsome Lion 🦁

🍰 A Piece of Cake: Two Bullets 🔫

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It was mild autumn morning when the case was brought up. My assistant showed me the report of the death of Mr Tom Maguire, the local grocery store owner. He then handed me what seemed to be a suicide note. It read:

‘To my family

Buy the time you have read this letter, I will have ennded my life. You have been great, and I dreat to leeve this world. I’m sory, but I have t to do tis. There is too much deepression, too mush hate and hi want too end it all. Please forgive me. Goodpye.’

“It’s strange,” said my assistant. “Mr Maguire was a stickler for correct grammar. He always hated it when people gave him shopping lists at the store with spelling mistakes all over them.”

“That’s right.” I replied. It was very unusual.

Later on, me and my team went to interview Mr Maguire’s wife, Anna, to see if she knew anything about it. However, all we managed to get out of her was her discovery of two bullet holes in Mr Maguire’s chest (‘It must have been the two-bullet killer’ I thought), a few words of sadness and a series of very loud sobs. We went round to any other members of his family who were living nearby but nobody knew anything.

We came back late in the afternoon. I entered my office and sat behind my desk, where the letter still lay. I read through it over and over again, trying to see if the mistakes were actually clues. Then, it came to me! I quickly looked at the mistakes and wrote down the letters that were supposed to be there. I wrote the letters:

UNDERTHESHOP

I called my team straight away and we set off to the grocery store. My assistant was off ill for the rest of the day. We went down to the cellar of the store. I slowly opened the door – and found my assistant sitting at a table with a huge sea of pictures in front of him. I looked closely at one picture with a red cross on it and saw that it was Tom Maguire. His revolver was in front of him, bloody stains all over it. There were two bullets loaded inside it.

My assistant was given a thirteen year prison sentence and would have a GPS tracker wrapped around his leg. I didn’t get a new assistant, I never knew if they could be a criminal. And as for Anna Maguire, well, she disappeared without a trace.

✍🏻 A Short Story & Doodle by The Pawsome Lion 🦁

🍰 A Piece of Cake: Them

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The day my life changed was the 3rd of August 2013. I can recall it vividly. I was hanging out with my three friends at the park. It was the late evening so there was nobody else there. We were just about to leave when we heard a rustle behind us. We all looked around, but there was nothing there. Thinking that it must have been a squirrel, we turned around and carried on walking. Then it happened. It happened so quickly but it felt like an eternity. A strange aircraft appeared in front of us. A door in the side of it opened and a wide beam of light cut through the trees. My friends were suddenly whisked off their feet and sucked into the weird metal contraption. The door shut with a loud clang. The aircraft rose up and sped away into the now purpling sky. I dropped onto my knees, my mouth open. 😱 I found it hard to come back to my senses after experiencing that. I decided not to tell anybody because they wouldn’t believe me anyway. Now, I never leave the house but from my window, I can see more people becoming victims of alien abduction 👽 and I wonder why I wasn’t one of them.

✍🏻 A Short Story & Doodle by The Pawsome Lion 🦁

🍰 A Piece of Cake: The Smack of Life 👊

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My daily routine doesn’t consist of much. I hardly get any nice surprises.

When I get up in the morning, I normally have to go on a treasure hunt 🔎 around the house to find my cheetah-skin patterned slippers. They are really fast 💨and it’s hard to keep up with them. I knew I should have bought the snail ones; they look ugly but at least I wouldn’t have to crawl on the floor with a net just to get them.

After I have my breakfast (breadcrumbs with milk), I go and do some online shopping. I am often interrupted by the winged rat 🐀 that lives in the attic. It occasionally flies down into my computer room 💻 to chew away at the wires. I have tried to dispose of it but doing so has given me a scar on my arm the shape of a wing.

When I finish doing my online shopping, I have a lunch of cereal and jam. I usually unearth some scarab beetle worm cross-breeds lurking in the cereal box. I wonder how they find their way around the house when they are completely blind. If they could move anywhere, why did it have to be my cereal box? Now my cereal has been turned into box-cereal cross-breeds.

Next up after lunch is my afternoon nap. It is very rare that I am not woken up every 5 minutes by the poltergeists 👻 partying in the basement. And when I say partying, I mean throwing chairs and tables, ripping open the walls and creating several explosions. 💥 I must say, poltergeists have a very peculiar daily routine.

Since my afternoon nap doesn’t last very long (thanks to the very silly poltergeists), I usually like to watch TV 📺 before having dinner. The shows aren’t very interesting; they’re things like ‘Cures for Magical Maladies’ and ‘Tara’s Transfiguration Tricks!’. If I am overcome by the boredom of these TV shows, I resort to the newspaper. 📰 But, the newspaper likes to play up too. I will sometimes be sucked into the finance column 💰 when money is at an all-time low, or into an exceptionally hard puzzle section.  The neighbours get nicer things, like a weather forecast showing that it’s going to be sunny all week or a lifetime food discount.

I then go to bed 💤 after having dinner, which is quite the same as breakfast. I toss and turn for hours before going to sleep because of the irritating crushed Brownie sticks under my mattress, put there by Thambletick, the house Brownie. I guess he’s still angry at me for accidentally flushing one of his friends down the toilet. 🚽 I have to fish the sticks out with my hands every night. Only then can I get to sleep and dream about what I have to do tomorrow, which is always the same as today.

✍🏻 A Short Story & Doodle by The Pawsome Lion 🦁

🍰 A Piece of Cake: Dark…

dark doodle

I sit on my bed, staring at the pictures on the wall. The room is completely silent except for the constant ticking of the clock. ⏰ I glance up at it – it reads 9:15. There is a sudden thud behind me. I turn around quickly but there is nothing to be seen. ‘I’m probably imagining things’ I think. I turn around to look at the pictures again, only to find a strange dark figure standing behind the lace curtains in front of the window. My heart skips a beat. The figure advances towards me, its feet thumping with every step. I then notice that darkness starts to swallow the objects around me. I am lifted up and thrown across the room, causing me to crash into the wall. My head throbs badly, as if somebody is pounding a hammer 🔨 onto my skull. I scream in agony, but no sound seems to come out from my mouth. I realise I can no longer see my arms, legs or any other part of my body. The atmosphere around me is pitch black. I cry for help, but I know that it is no use, for I have become part of my FEAR.

✍🏻 A Short Story & Doodle by The Pawsome Lion 🦁