Under 16 Winners
Joint 2nd Place
‘Moths are My Butterflies’ by Angelina Morosan
SAINT SAVA NATIONAL COLLEGE, BUCHAREST
Crystals of teardrops rolled on my glistening cheeks, veiled in a scruffy, moth-eaten scarf. I could feel the fabric’s bristly texture rubbing on my soft skin, striving to help me pass inconspicuously. Soft, shimmering dust coated the festering, raw edges of the holes pierced in my muffler – probably the last stage of metamorphosis the velvety night butterflies experienced. The thought of the dead, skeletal creatures tugged at my heart-strings, while the idea of being noticed by someone sent shivers running down my spine – a metal claw shoved down my throat. Sasha squeezed my hand, giving me a reassuring nod. I’d put faith in my brother, hoping that he would protect me for the vicious world that would want to hurt me, should they ever discover what I was.
Holding our luggage in the other hand, he nudged me towards a towering barn on the verge of collapsing, crumpling like a sandcastle washed over by the glittering azure waves – columns of magic smoke rising from the depths of the underworld – their pearly foam scattering seashells on the burning tong of sand, brought all the way from the clouds by the merchant of dreams. I forced my feet to walk down the dirt alley, staggering at every step. Vexed, I indulged myself the smallest act of rebellion, jumping in a puddle. Ripples crossed the shallow water, my reflection staring right back in my kaleidoscope eyes. Just above the torn scarf, I could make out the gossamer web of fine, dark lines that painted my face, turning it in an intricating mosaic. Lacerations of threads enveloped my porcelain skin, their repetitive pattern hallucinating anyone who dared look closer. I was a monster.
The only one who would support me was Sasha. Thanks to him, now, we were about to find our new home…
Joint 2nd Place
‘Forlorn Hopes… Revived’ by Javier Yung
Chung Cheng High School (Main), Singapore.
The air was cold… forbidding. An attempt to escape seemed forlorn as time ticked away. War was imminent. We had to leave. Post-haste. The seventh train bound for Britain was departing soon. There, I would get a new lease of life – no fear, no suffering – but without Mama.
The hands that once reassured me that my world was safe had withered to little more than skin and bone. The once smooth black skin was wrinkled and thin. Mama could no more hold my hand than feed herself, but I clutched at her weary fingers anyway, letting the warmth and softness of my own hands let her know I was there.
Until I wasn’t.
Rooted before my new house, the wooden framed sash windows were propped open with sticks and the brick work, perhaps once a jaunty yellow, looked dirty with over a hundred years of London grime.
Perhaps this could finally put an end to our years of suffering. A dozen years of living was enough for me to distinguish the polarities between first world and third world, in which I have been through the latter for the past 12 years.
It was not long before word spread like wildfire – no; the reverberating tremors of the bombings were enough to send shivers down our spines, albeit the fact that we were nearly 2000 kilometres away.
Perhaps I should have stayed behind and accompanied mother. Now, the survivability of the lives of millions remained in the dark, including Mama’s. But I wasn’t abandoned or of any sort; Mama implored for me to leave on the train. The seventh bound for Britain.
Perhaps, death is what gives life meaning. Maybe this was the pathway Mama yearned for me to have in exchange for hers.
Word Count (including title): 295
‘Evacuation’ by Paddy Duggan
Cólaste Treasa, Kanturk