He Came Back To Cornwall

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He came back to Cornwall.

He came back from the war with a bloody arm, a bandaged leg and a few scars on his face. He came back from the war to find his dear family in their little village. He came back from the war, but he wasn’t expecting this.

The year was 1919. After spending a few more months in London, he finally decided to travel back to his hometown. He needed to feel warmth again, he needed to feel love and happiness, and his lovely little Cornwall was just the place for that.

Lugging his rucksack on his back, he walked into St Mawes, not knowing what to expect when he knocked on the door of his house. Maybe shouts of his name or crying or laughing and hugging. He walked through the streets filled with desolate but running shops, and many grey houses. They were tilted and uneven, like buildings from a fairy tale.

He walked further into the village, people eyeing him strangely as they passed him. Then he found it. Right in front of him was his childhood home, still standing as it had been 27 years ago.

Shuffling nervously up to the wooden door, he gave it a slow tap, creating a deep, hollow sound. There was a sudden scrambling inside, and then the lock clicked. The door creaked open, and the face of a middle-aged woman, wet with tears, met him. It was his mother, and as he looked over her shoulder, he spotted his father, sister and brother.

Hastily, his mother wiped her tears away. “Oh, hello,” she sniffled, “Um, who are you?”

He was puzzled. Why wouldn’t his own mother remember him? “It’s me, Mum. Your son!”

“Son?” she repeated, “My dear boy, you must be mistaken!”

“Who is it?” his father coughed.

“It’s a young man. He’s come back from the war. He says he’s our son!”

“Son? Poor thing, you can’t be! It’s all that war business getting to your head! Old Matthew, he…he, um, he died.”

Surely this was a dream, or some kind of practical joke! How would his own family forget him, and, what’s more, say that he was deceased? He simply couldn’t believe it.

“But…” he whispered, “But I’m Matthew!”

“Matthew was killed at the start of the war by a bomb in London.” his mother said firmly but not unkindly. “Do come in though, dear. You must be worn out!”

Silently, he stepped through the doorway, shutting the door behind him. “Thank you.” he murmured.

“This is Sarah and John.” his mother said, gesturing to his sullen-faced brother and sister. He did not respond.

Later on, they all sat down at the table in the kitchen, which was very familiar to Matthew. They had a dinner of corned beef and morsels of bread, and then they all retired to their bedrooms.

He had some trouble dozing off, and it seemed like a few seconds when he woke up again, realising that something was shaking his side. He widened his eyes and turned his head, only to find his ginger cat, Oliver. It was early dawn, and it would need feeding. He got up and walked into the kitchen, the floor making the occasional creak. Then he remembered. Oliver had died before the war.

He dropped the bowl he was holding onto the floor. It made a loud crash, sure to wake someone up. He turned around. The cat was not there. Frantically, he ran up the hallway to the other bedrooms, not finding anyone. He ran outside, meeting with cold, icy air biting into his cheeks. The village looked deserted. Then he saw something coming up the street. Oliver. He was dazed, confused, not understanding what was happening. He turned back to return to the house, only to be pushed to the floor by another man. It was his father, and he was armed with a gun.

“Heil Hitler.” he whispered. The family followed: “Heil Hitler!”

Then the father pulled the trigger, and then it was the end. If only he hadn’t felt the urge to come back home. If only he was ordered to stay in London. But he still arrived. He came back to Cornwall.

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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…

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’.

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