Mind Games

I have roamed these empty, dark stone walls for weeks, months, maybe even years. I am the only living soul inside this dreary underworld, yet I hear disembodied, taunting voices calling out to me. They are everywhere, but nowhere. Every day, I follow those strangely familiar voices, hoping to escape, but alas, it is always the same: a dead end. But I don’t give up. I hear a noise. Whispers? Yes, there they are. They are begging me to follow. Instinctively, I walk once again through the maze.

It is almost impossible to see in the labyrinth; whether by darkness or excess of light, I’m not sure. As I feel my way through, my hands slide against the cold surface of the grey stone walls. They are smooth, but the cold is sharp. The ground juts out in the most unexpected places, the abnormal rises only revealing themselves at the last moment. I look up to the sky, but there isn’t one. Just infinite, inky blackness. Infinite, just like this death-trap of a maze.

It gets even darker as I venture on, but those whispers do not fade. I fear that I will trip in this darkness, and end up lying on the ground, concussed, bleeding, alone. I now crawl on the dirty, gritty floor like a hound out of fear. I am so wrapped up in my thoughts that I completely forget about the voices. I have not been paying attention to where I have been going. Am I lost? I feel for a wall, but there are none. I look behind me. It is brighter, only slightly, but just enough for me to make out the outline of a long, high wall far behind me. I stop in my tracks: am I out of the labyrinth?

I feel like jumping for joy, but I stop myself. So I’ve escaped the twists and turns of that maze, but now I’ve got to figure out where I am. I look ahead of me. Nothing. Just perpetual darkness. One side of me wants to go forth and explore, but the other side is not so sure. Pushing my doubts aside, I reluctantly put one foot forward, expecting to touch solid ground, but instead, I fall.

The wind is bitterly cold and the noise makes my eardrums sore. I am falling through some kind of tunnel of light and colour. The voices are still there, calling my name. Some are happy, some angry, some sad, some just a mere whisper. Ahead of me, I see that I am approaching ground. As I get closer, I brace myself for a landing…

“…Attention, passengers, this is our last stop. Please exit…”

I’ve finally landed. I’m sitting in some kind of bus. Somehow. I glance out of the window. There’s a city with lots of tall skyscrapers and all sorts of vehicles in the streets. It all seems very familiar.

My attention is turned to a great looming shadow that emerges from the dusty grey clouds in the sky. It’s an airship of some sort. A hatch in its underside opens up and a huge flaming ball descends upon the city. It sends people screaming as the buildings are engulfed by the flames.

My surroundings fade into darkness and yet again, I am travelling through the tunnel of light. The strong wind makes my eyes water. And there it is again, an opening before me, brighter than ever. Streaks of light whizz past me like bullets. My surroundings morph into another world, and it gets brighter still..

The mud in the trench makes my feet damp and numb. Rats and lice are virtually everywhere. The little devils lurk in every dark corner, scared by the exploding shells surrounding us. Bullets are whizzing overhead. I then notice the other men around me. They’re all soldiers in khaki uniforms, barking orders at each other and shooting at the enemy. But who is the enemy? I get up and I notice I am also wearing a uniform. Strange. Peering over the wall of the trench, I can make out the outline of some people. Germans? No, that can’t be it. Judging by their clunky shape, they look more like…robots? I scramble down. My eyes must be playing tricks on me.

Boom! There’s a huge explosion right behind me. Our gunfire ceases. But the enemy’s carries on. We are losing the battle. All the soldiers are retreating into their dark little holes in the trench, just like the rats. All of them, except one. A lone soldier stands in front of me, shooting his limited supply of bullets at the enemy until he runs out. Now, he can do nothing but cower behind the trench wall. Panting, he looks at me. I sense his friendly warmth, but I can see the despair in his eyes. I study his face closely. I know him, but from where?

Bang! Before I can think any further, a shot is fired. The bullet hits the soldier squarely in the chest. I cry out, but nothing can be done. He lies on the ground, slowly bleeding to death. I whip around and see two menacing humanoid figures standing in front of me, rifles in hands. An airship flies behind them, the very same one that destroyed the city. And once again, the great fiery weapon is released, this time heading towards me.

Soon, roaring flames surround me, and their tongues of fire leap out to me, wanting to singe my skin. The voices are louder than ever, screaming for help. Then, all at once, the fire disappears. The voices stop. I’m back in the labyrinth. How? Was it all a dream? A stupid hallucination? My head is spinning. There’s a loud ringing in my ears. I grow dizzier, until I collapse on the floor.

I wake up. It’s bright and warm, and I’m in some kind of incubator, with multicoloured wires snaking out of it. I try to turn my head to see where I am. The room I’m in has all sorts of devices lying around. There’s a man sitting a few metres away from me. He’s noticed that I’m stirring. He seems surprised.

“Hey! He’s moving! He’s out of limbo!”

Limbo? What is that supposed to mean? So the labyrinth was really just inside my head? Suddenly, I am surrounded by many men and women. They’re all whispering things like, “By God, he’s really alive…” and “This can’t be happening!” The crowd parts to give way to a bald old man in a pristine lab coat. He looks down at me, squinting. Finally, he speaks: “Hello there, Sergeant.”

Sergeant? Am I a sergeant? Does that have anything to do with the trench vision? Or was it really a memory? Were they all memories, the ‘visions’ and the ghostly voices I chased after? I’m confused. “Where am I?” I ask. “And who are you?”

He replies in his croaky voice, “You are in the London Institute of Biological Research, and I,” he says, his lip curling into a smile, one that seemed to betray innocence, “I am the scientist who just brought you back to life.”

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ROOM

Room

It is dark. It is cold. I am scared.

I can’t remember anything but it all seems familiar. The grey stone walls, the weird mossy smell, the chains. The chains on my stomach. Why are they there? I can’t get out. There are no windows. The only light comes from the few cracks in the wall. There is a rectangular outline in the wall. A door? Yes, a door! I get up and walk towards it. I grab the handle. It’s locked. I shake and pull, but still it doesn’t budge. I huff and stomp my feet in frustration.

Clank! There is a noise behind me. I whip around. Nothing is there except for the chains. The chains. They’ve moved. They’re right at my feet. I kick them away and turn back to the door. I am about to drive my foot into it when something drags me from behind into the darkness of the corner of the room.

I wake up. It is dark. It is cold. I am scared.

The chains are there in front of me. I get up and go to the door. I try the handle again. Still nothing. I push and pull. Then I have an idea. I grab the chains of the floor. They are cold. And heavy. Very heavy. I whip them against the door. The sound of the metal against the wood is eerie, like fingernails on a chalkboard.

Cracks are starting to appear in the door. I raise my hands above my head for one last effort. I throw the chains against the door. I miss. Somehow. The chains wrap around me and knock me off my feet. I fall through the stone floor into the darkness.

I wake up. It is dark. It is cold. But I am not scared. I am angry. Angry at the chains. Angry at the door. Angry at myself. I’m going crazy. The chains are not there anymore. But the door is. I stand up and make my way towards it. Then I punch it. I punch and punch until my fists go red and my knuckles bleed. Then I scream. My throat is raw, but I keep on screaming. Then I drop to the floor, out of breath. If the door won’t give way, then I shall start on the wall. I’ll claw my way out through the cracks.

No. That won’t work. Wow. I am going crazy. I laugh. I laugh at how stupid I am. Soon the laughter turns into crying. Crying into screaming. Screaming into anger. Anger into one final push.

I grit my teeth and press my hands up against the door. The cracks in the wood grow, until at last, it shatters, like glass. I lose my balance and fall into the nothingness beyond.

Thud! I land on my feet. There is a slight pain in my legs. I can’t see anything. Everything is pitch black. The only sound that can be heard is my heavy breathing. But then there’s a thump. It comes from behind me. What is it? Whatever it is, I’m not going to wait for it to come get me. I start to edge away, trying my best to be silent. But that thing in the darkness pushes me to the floor. I have no other choice. I run. I run as fast as my legs can carry me. But I’m not fast enough. I feel it dragging me back by the collar. My strain to get away. But my efforts don’t work. It picks me up then throws me to the floor. My whole body throbs with pain. Quietly sobbing, I drag myself across the ground. I am desperate to get away.

The thing hisses threateningly behind me. It sounds demonic, deathly. I just know it wants to kill me. But why? No time to find out.

Crawling, crawling, crawling. Like a worthless little bug. I have never had to crawl for my life before, but I had never imagined it could be so terrifying. Gradually, I slow down. I am running out of breath. This is hopeless. I might as well die. I lie on the floor, waiting for the beast to take me and kill me. But then I see a glint of light. Daylight. A doorway. Hope.

Groaning, I pull myself onto my knees and drag myself closer to the heavenly light. I want to escape, but at the same time, I want to die from the pain. It’s just too much. But no. I can’t give up. Crawl, crawl, crawl. Crawl to safety, I hope. I hope. Just hope.

I am nearly there. Just a little more. But I don’t make it. My legs buckle. I drop to the floor and lie there, sobbing. It hurts so, so much. Soon, the deathly hissing surrounds me. It’s so loud it’s like it’s like is coming from my own mouth. The light fades. My limbs go numb. The hissing grows quieter. Then, emptiness.

I wake up. It is bright. It is warm. I’m in bed.

I look around. Everything seems normal. Just a bad dream. But where am I? How did I get here? I look down at my legs. They’re in thick layers of bandages. Did I have an accident? Am I in some kind of nursing home?

I get out of bed to investigate, but I can’t even walk to the door. My hands are chained to the bed. Those chains look familiar. I know them. I’ve seen them. But where? Then I remember, and a pang of fear hits me. These are the chains that I used to escape that dreary grey room. These are the chains that hunted me down. These are the chains that I dreamed of, but was it even a dream?

It is no longer bright, but grey and insipid. I take a look around the room. My eyes rest on the wooden desk in front of me. Piles upon piles of documents are stacked on top of each other. I read through them. I see my name at the top of one. They’re about me. I read on.

PATIENT SHOWS SIGNS OF SLIGHT DISORIENTATION. UNFOCUSSED, FREQUENTLY FORGETS CURRENT SITUATION. SCHEDULED FOR MORE APPOINTMENTS, WILL RECORD PROGRESS THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF THE WEEKS.

Strange. I look to the other pieces of paper.

DAY 1:

PATIENT IS STILL DISORIENTED, DOES NOT RESPOND WHEN CALLED. EXPRESSIONLESS. MINIMAL SPEECH.

DAY 2:

PATIENT CANNOT RECALL BASIC FACTS ABOUT SELF, DOES NOT KNOW CURRENT SITUATION HE IS IN. SEEMS WARY OF OTHER PEOPLE. RECLUSIVE.

DAY 5:

DELUSIONAL. CALLS OTHERS BY MADE-UP NAMES. IS UNSURE OF OWN IDENTITY. HALLUCINATIONS OF INTRUDERS. PILLS PRESCRIBED.

DAY 10:

PATIENT HAS REFUSED TO TAKE PILLS. FREQUENT MOOD SWINGS. CLAIMS THAT HE IS BEING HUNTED DOWN BY “IT”, AN IMAGINARY BEING WITH CHAINS. ENJOYS VIOLENT ACTIVITY. TALKS ABOUT SUICIDE.

DAY 25:

PATIENT MUMBLES INCOHERENT WORDS. REACTS VIOLENTLY WHEN INTERRUPTED. ATTEMPTED ESCAPE. INJURED SEVERAL PEOPLE. HE MUST BE RESTRAINED.

DIAGNOSIS: PATIENT IS SCHIZOPHRENIC – LEVEL: DANGEROUS

I pull away from the desk. My head is spinning. I’m confused. Can I even trust myself? My inner voices become real, and they taunt me, tell me to get out. I’m not the person I know anymore. I don’t think I ever really knew myself before. I look at the chains and think, I’ve done this to myself. I look up to the mirror hanging on the wall, and my heart nearly stops. My reflection doesn’t look like the me I know. It hisses back at me, but this time in despair. The story is clear. I am my own victim. I am the beast.

Written by O. Mukhtar O. Mukhlis

26th October 2018

The Three Not-So-Little Porkers – A Twisted Fairy Tale!

showcase bookcase

Note: This is my piece of writing that won a place on the Showcase Bookcase in my school – enjoy!

Let’s have a little chat about ‘The Three Little Pigs’. Classic fairy tale: trio of porkers, big bad wolf, he blows to houses down, third pig gets revenge and everyone lives happily ever after. Almost everyone seems to believe this sugar-coated porky pie and nobody has heard me speak up before. I’m the wolf: Wolfy dé Wolfa alá Carté Costa Ice Cream Martinéz Belle Pepper Rodriguez Gogo Pasha délá I-Have-Very-Nice-Fur Growl Wolf. You can call me Wolf. My friends (yes, I have friends) call me that, but my nickname is Mozart (Wolfgang Amedeus Mozart…you get the idea). People hate wolves. It could be because of our appearance – hey, I’m not the one who decides we’re born big and ugly. You’ve just got to learn to love us! The fairytale you’ve heard is totally wrong – yes, your parents have been telling you fibbies! I’m going to present to you the TRUE story, which is all about an asthmatic wolf and a missing inhaler…

Way back yonder, in a time when fairy tales were the bee’s knees, I used to live in Far Far Away – you know, the place where a little ogre named ‘Shrek’ lived. Now, back in the day, I had a terrible case of asthma, and on this particular day, my inhaler was missing! I checked my house:

  • Top to bottom
  • Left to right
  • Back to front

I scoured every nook and cranny, but my inhaler was nowhere to be seen.

Then, it hit me! I could just trot along to my neighbour’s house and inquire there – genius! So I sauntered down Fairy Avenue until I reached my neighbour. Now, you see, pigs are probably the dumbest animals in the universe (after humans – no offence) and my neighbour was, sadly, a pig. God couldn’t be that cruel to him! This pig must have lost his marbles, though: his house was made completely out of cotton wool – it ruins the quality of the pig juices, you know. So it’s no mystery why I accidentally ripped out the door when I tried to knock on it. The cotton wool got stuck to my fur and there were several clouds of the stringy white stuff floating in the air. What a shock to the ecosystem. It’s bad manners to barge into somebody else’s house demanding a missing inhaler, and I didn’t want to make a downright rude first impression by doing that, so I gave him a little yodel:

“Little Pig, have you gone to market and are you still at home?”

To my disappointment, he didn’t yodel back. I had nearly agreed on the decision of wasting my money on another stupid inhaler when a tingling sensation took hold of my chest: my asthma was kicking in. I spluttered; I coughed; I ‘poofed’ down the house – unbelievable, huh? My asthma must have been stronger than I thought! Then do you know what happened next? When the dust cleared, I caught sight of the first little porker: lifeless as a hamburger. He hadn’t gone to market after all! Now, I knew that when somebody dies, they bury the body, but I couldn’t let them do it to this perfect meal, so I did the only thing I could to help him: I ate him up.  Imagine it was the question ‘Do you want to eat me?’ and the options were ‘yes’ and ‘yes’. No choice, right?

My asthma had calmed down, but that didn’t mean it wouldn’t come back! So, I set off to the next closest house in search of my pesky inhaler. This next house was the abode of the first little pig’s brother: Pigsby The Second. Yeah, he was a pig, but he was even more crazy than normal: he suffered from a mental condition. He would just change personalities this way and that. You would never know what he was going to say next! This was a genuine mental pig on the loose! Poor Pigsby’s condition also affected his common sense – his house was constructed of sticks. When I knocked on the door, I heard a slight cracking noise, but it remained stable. I decided to call out, “Little Pig, have you gone to market or are you still at home?”

And guess what he said? “Take a hike, Wolf, you’re trespassing; leave me to rest and stop fussing!”

Then he said, “Oh wait, you can.”

“But he can’t!”

“Maybe he can.”

“He’s a wolf!”

“And?”

“He’ll eat us!”

“So? I like being eaten!”

“You total ninny! You’ve gone nuts!”

“No, you’re nuts!”

“Wait, we’re both nuts! Hahaha!”

As the lunatic waffled on, I felt yet another weird sensation rising inside of me: I spluttered; I coughed; I ‘poofed’ down the house! You’ll never guess what happened next – that whole stick house fell flat to the ground! In the sea of debris was the second hog: ready for basting. He’d have done better to go to market. Now, the authorities would bury this guy too, so obviously, I had to help him: I ate him up. Think of it as a double deed for a good cause.

My stomach was now terribly full (there went my diet) and still, I hadn’t uncovered the secret location of my inhaler! So, the only choice I had was to walk up to the house right in front of me: the home of Pigsby Sr. I gave this pig just a little ounce of respect because of his brains: his house was made completely out of brick-hard bricks – well, the point was that it was bricks. I rang the doorbell (modern!) but nobody responded. I called, “Little Pig, have you gone to market, or are you still at home?”

And you won’t believe what he jabbered back:

“Get outta here, Wolf – don’t you dare touch my house ever again!”

I was just going to give him a piece of my mind when I felt another asthmatic reaction coming on: I spluttered; I wheezed; I ‘poofed’ down…a flower. Then old Senior yelled, “Missing inhaler, my foot!” Now that set me off, and at the perfect time, too. The police drove up just when I was making a scene, pounding on his door. I was locked up and shut up…until now…

Into The Forest, But Never Out…

spooky forest background

The sun was high in the sky, but did not illuminate the dismal forest much, as its shine was filtered through the foliage of the dense forest canopy, leaving only a few rays of light touching the ground. Even so, there were many things to keep me relaxed while walking through such a place. The psithurism, for instance, was very calming as it travelled into my ears. The sweet scent of flowers and wild berries was quite soothing too. Other than the fact that the rest of the forest was not quite pleasant, one could agree that it was quite an enjoyable walk.

But, there is always a chance of an unexpected event ( a abad one, too, that is) happening at a time like this. And so that was the case for me. I realised that the air wasn’t quite as warm as it was before. I pulled my coat tighter around my body. The lovely aroma which had so wonderfully tantalised my nose whilst wafting through the air no longer lingered near me. It seemed unearthly for everything to change so suddenly. But then, I was walking through the forest in the middle of nowhere; anything could happen, what with the lack of light and vast air space. I told myself that I was just imagining things. I shook the thought off.

I continued on my journey for about 10 minutes, maybe 20, and just when I thought everything was going fine, I came face to face with another obstruction, the biggest one of all.

CRUNCH! The leaves behind me rustled. A few bushes shook. Somewhere in the forest, I heard the unmistakeable cry of a human. Now I was worried. My rapid breathing filled the air: it seemed to encourage the trees to whisper back. SNAP! A twig broke. Another scream. All my surroundings seemed to revolved around me, and just as I was about to turn and run, I met the worst thing I could have ever imagined: Him…

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.

The Others – Part 1

the others doodle.jpg

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

under the lake photo

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