Stories to Stay Alive To: The World Heals segment

Teaser segment of my collection of short stores.

When I was young, these hills didn’t look how they do now: round, soft, tie-dye greens and yellows splattered with wild flowers, the smooth scissor cut of a stream in the shallow valley. They were bare, jagged, and dry.

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Short Story – Red Blade

A short story I wrote for my second year creative writing portfolio.

Red Blade

The ceremonial hall was filled with students, all draped in silk robes and hair pulled neat and tightly from their faces, kneeled in straight lines on the floor with their heads bowed. The walls were decorated with ancient tapestries featuring samurai in battle, ancient scrolls telling of great battles and feats of bravery. Burning oils filled the room with a delicate flowery smell, wafting small trails of smoke around the room. On the far wall, between two stoic figures in armour, hung a vast number of weapons – mostly swords- of all sizes and colours. Each of them to be awarded.

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Short Story – Valkyrie

A short story for children I wrote for my Writing for Young People class

The Valkyrie

I woke in a cold sweat, stuck to the bed sheets and my heart thumping so fast and my throat closed so tightly I thought I might be having a heart attack. I took long, slow breaths in a desperate attempt to calm my racing pulse. I squeezed my eyes shut to stop the colours swirling around my vision. It took nearly five minutes for my heart to settle down. Tears prickled by eyes and I swallowed hard. It was over. I’d be okay.

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The Rail Line

An old story I wrote a while back about a character of mine. I’ll be putting up some micro fiction about him in future.

The train line was the only sign of industry out on the wastes. It ran by the town, over the brown dusty mud and off towards the mountains. Trains would rush by about twice a day, shaking and breaking up the dry ground. The edge of the tracks was lined with yellow, sparse clumps of grass that soaked up whatever dripped off the machine.

The village was not far away, nor was it very large. A young girl had made her way way onto the tracks, her bare feet stood on one of the boards. She could not have been older than five, and was waving at a small huddle of very young children who were watching her in awe. She took a long step onto the next board, then the one after. She poked her tongue out as she focused on keeping on the boards, so absorbed in keeping her balance that she didn’t pick up on the slight shake of the ground that was trying to throw her off.

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Short Story – What We Do Together

At this point, all things considered, I should probably care a lot more about the situation at hand than I actually do. Aisha is hyperventilating by the wall and Jeni won’t stop crying. The copper pipe is still in my hand and most of the blood has cooled by now. Like, maybe it’s just me, but the situation could be way worse than it is. You know, still taking into account the dead body on the floor.

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Short Story – Promises

I wrote a short story for my Creative Writing course inspired by ‘Holes’ by Louis Sachar.

Promises

Rain punched down like a thousand fists on the withered and crumbling roof of Sunshine Manor. Maddie’s heels sank into the squelching mud as she ran up the pathway, shoulders hunched against the wind. A barricade of rain blinded her as she stumbled to the front door. She threw out a hand, fist clenched in preparation to bang against the wood. Instead, the rickety door jumped out of its frame and flew open. She stumbled in, catching herself before she hit the ground.

“Hello?” She squeaked.

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Short Story – Honest Work

I wrote this for my Creative Writing course in response to a sci-fi brief.

Honest Work

Light shone over the city of London, the great council-regulated bushes and flowers basking in the sun where they’d been placed over every available flat surface. It glittered off the Thames and created dancing shadows where fish darted about in the clear water and the anemone stirred, creating long waving shadows across the riverbed. A large plaque announcing the installation date of the eco-friendly sewage filter system shone with a recently polished gleam.

The day-crowd of people wandered the streets, either on aviation bikes (avibikes) or hoverboard or even just walking happily, browsing the indie businesses that lined the edges of the streets or were dotted about the place in little market stands. The smell of freshly cooked pastries and sizzling food on open grills filled the air, steam puffing into the sky as stall-owners flipped burgers and shook pans in front of queues of hungry onlookers. Some people sat on benches set in shadow beneath large walkways going between buildings a few stories above, just as busy as those beneath them. Street cameras with bat boxes and birdhouses were positioned high on the roofs, looking down over the crowd with their huge gaze and up-to-date disturbance-identifying zoom technology.

The gentle hubub of the city was muffled between the walls of buildings, almost impossible to see down sometimes where light didn’t reach, or stalls were set up in the way. Not even tenants of the huge geothermal flats would have known what was happening down by the compost skips.

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