Creative Writing Competition

Creative Writing Competition Winners

Spring 2017 Winners

First prize – Aleisha Morgan, Level 3 Certificate in Childhood and Education

Exploitation

My skin hasn’t yet cooled.

Goosebumps prickle over my skin as the covers are thrown back.

If I don’t turn and look, I don’t have to see them leave. I can keep my eyes on the window and watch the light change as the sun rises.

There’s a jingle of coins. The door clicks closed.

The sun isn’t up yet.

The door clicks again, footsteps cross the floor and the bed dips as someone sits down.

“Sweetheart,” a gentle brush of lips against my cheek draws a smile from  me, arms circle protectively around my waist and chest, “I’m so proud of you.”

I barely have time to speak before he turns me to face him and kisses me. I love when he shows  he loves me.

I wince as his fingertips play over my skin and his eyes darken. I need to hide my pain from him better; it’s not his fault, he can’t make his friends be gentle.

“Are you ok? Did he hurt you?”

“Not badly. The money’s on the drawers.”

“Thanks,” he lies back down.

I want him to talk to me, to tell me what he’s thinking, or ask where I hurt or tell me if we’re close to our goal.

We want to buy a home together.

I didn’t know how I would be able to help, but he arranged everything. Now every night is one more step in the right direction.

And every morning he tells me he’s proud of me.

He’s not talking though, instead, his fingers drift lazily over the violet smudges circling my neck. He says they’re pretty, like flowers, but  they hurt too.

His hand closes slowly on my throat.

“Sweetheart?”

Breathe in, breathe out.

“Yes?”

“Do you love me?”

Breathe in, breathe out. Was his hand that tight before?

“Of course I do.”

“Do you still want to be here?”

I’ve never thought about it.

Tighter.

Do you?”

“Yes, I do! Yes.”

I want to take a breath.

“Because I wouldn’t make you stay if you didn’t,” his hand doesn’t loosen, “We could drive a hundred miles in any direction. Then you’d never have to see me again.”

My throat is burning.

“But, then, I would feel awful leaving you alone. Who would love you if not me? You would be right back where I found you…”

I can’t pull his fingers free.

“Tell me what you want.”

Air rushes into my lungs too quickly, I try to steady the painful gasps into even breaths. He rubs my back carefully.

“Tell me what you want.”

He’s right. This is the only place I’m loved in the world.

“I want to stay.”

Goosebumps prickle over my skin as he lifts my hand to his lips.

“Whatever you want, sweetheart.”

The door clicks closed.

The sun is up.

 

Second prize – Simran Rhoad, Level 1 Word Processing

Expolited – her words

Her exploitation…

She didn’t have a name, but he did Mr. X. She had a name once but lost it. She had a voice once but lost it. She used to be someone, but he was everything.

It all began the year prior to her marriage when she met him and they both decided to get married. She of course was delighted; her dreams were coming true. A year had passed from their first meeting and the engagement party had arrived. Nine months of not seeing or speaking to Mr. X she was nervous and happy on the day. She glowed like candlelight and her beauty radiated.

A month later the wedding day had arrived. The preparation towards the wedding had been utter hell. She’d been in hospital two days before her big day with severe sinusitis and exhaustion. However, she got through the day and what a spectacular day it was. She had believed this was what dreams are made of.

After a week as a newlywed she had arrived at her marital home. She was positively glowing with joy, love and happiness. However, Mr. X showed her his poker face. She wondered what he was thinking or feeling. Mr. X had communicated with her over a week before she arrived to her marital home and shown a side of himself she wasn’t too sure about. However, she remained positive it was an arranged marriage after all.

In the first week of marriage she was put to the test mentally, physically and emotionally. Mr. X started questioning her about her life before marriage, as if she was under police investigation. Mr. X wanted to believe his own his own views about her. No matter what she said he wouldn’t believe her. She felt under pressure because of his claims and abuse towards her. She remained strong as she hoped things would get better.

As time went on she became lost and confused. She thought, if her marriage was a book. It should be named just that “lost and confused”. Mr. X was abusing his wife mentally, emotionally and physically. She hadn’t suffered abuse before and so she didn’t understand what was happening to her at first. She came from a place of love and warmth neither of which he offered. Mr. X treated her like a prisoner, taking her human rights away from her, cutting her communication with her family and taking full control of her mind, body and emotions. She became nothing, a nobody.

Her life became so dark and miserable she prayed to God for help. She couldn’t see she was being exploited by her husband in a domestically violent marriage.

Her family…

Her mother was her role model in life. As a child, she would sit on the bed and watch her mother beautify herself with her favorite pink lipstick. They both had a beautiful relationship. so, you can imagine mother and daughter on a special journey together in preparation for marriage

On the wedding day, her mother radiated happiness along with her younger sister. they couldn’t stop smiling as they watched her first dance with her husband smiling brightly. All her family were so proud of her.

that all changed very suddenly as she never told her family what her Marriage or life was like now. She left her family to live with in-laws. Her mother called frequently but found it difficult to speak to her. She felt her daughter couldn’t see how in love her husband was with her. Her mother said she was blind, but she wasn’t everyone else was.

Her mother started noticing her daughter’s behavior. How could she tell her mother and family she was being abused by her husband? so many thoughts running through her mind like the cost of her wedding, shame, what would people think? how was her life going to turn out? was this her marriage? and of course both families would be hurt. she wanted to please everyone even if is this meant hiding the truth. she was aware she was becoming unhappy and lifeless.

As the abusive marriage got worse and she became lost, her mother phone calls kept her strength up and will alive. Soon suspicion grew with her family and they become concerned with her wellbeing even though she’d lie about it to her family to stop them worrying. But then her life was in her husband’s hands for the second time and as he was strangling her to death with both his bare hands. Her vision blurred and hazy vision of her mother’s face came to her view. That’s when she realized her mother was her angel.

Her…

So here she is now, separated from her husband of eight months, penniless and broken, having suffered from an abusive marriage and being betrayed by her in-laws, she now must be stronger than ever.

Before marriage she was a different person. She had a “life” a happy one at that. She loved her family and was always willing to help anyone that needed her help.

She was always a genuine, kind, sincere and soft hearted. She liked to believe in the good of others and herself.

Now in her mid-twenties she looks back at her marriage and is now finally “living” again. She is becoming stronger and positive every day.

Her now…

A new year a new her, she has shed old skin like a phoenix rising from the ashes. She feels optimistic about her life and believes good fortune is upon her with a loving family and her journey is beginning she almost feels like Dorothy following the yellow brick road.

She must continue the journey as that’s what it’s really about the journey not the destination. With her mother by her side she feels brave and courageous.

She is making the steps to a better future. She realized she can make herself happy as she is just where she needs to be.

She is no longer she or her.

She is …

 

Third prize – GCSE English student  

Exploitation: it’s been with us for years and it affects everybody’s lives

but it doesn’t have to be this way!

Exploitation is the action of using another selfishly or unfairly to gain personal advantage from them especially without consideration for their feelings. This could apply to anyone or anything (e.g. an individual with severe learning difficulties or a scenic environment in the forest/ woods).  Exploitation comes from humans who may want to gain benefit from any situation: bosses exploiting their employees during working hours by not paying them a good enough wage for the job they’re doing or even people treating each other maliciously because of prejudiced opinions they may have against each other. However, in some ways, exploitation can be used in certain situations because a person starts to realise the possible solutions to minimally change it to a better outcome. This essay will explain how and why exploitation happens and what we can do about it.

There can be quite severe examples of exploitation which definitely applies to objects like computer technology devices.  Computers are meant to help our lives but they can be a source of exploitation. Think about how computers can be used to track and monitor people. This makes people potentially vulnerable, so it creates opportunities for businesses to exploit them. Let’s just stay with the idea of technology being a source of exploitation. How are mobile phones made?  At every stage in the production process we see exploitation.

Mobile phones are made up of components. One critical mineral needed to make it called tantalum which is only found in the Congo. In 2009, miners were exploited by digging for and carrying out the important element and sending it off to countries like China or Japan and then… The Chinese are exploited, the japanese are exploited because they’re required to reform the tantalum to create the mobile phone’s circuit boards and include other vitalities like: the battery, the camera, the SIM card. Even though the phone is fully constructed, the exploitation doesn’t end there because of the many people wishing to own a mobile phone are obliged to purchase a contract for unlimited data which ultimately costs you masses of money also, mobile phone contracts can exploit people into paying over their budget. In 2015, thousands of British consumers were exploited by the phone contract itself into paying over the mark for getting back their contracts and an additional handset instead of switching when their contracts ran out.

Exploitation also has some positive points about it regarding to making use of a bad situation or pushing one’s limits. This could be when exercising or trying again after a failure until a possible success is achieved for example, attempting to execute a perfect wheelie on a bicycle after a certain amount of tries or working out on a regular basis.

From this article, we have learnt that exploitation although contains negative points (linking back to the mining for tantalum paragraph) but positive even though it seems like it’s negative because it is for a good purpose such as exploiting oneself for a good reason (to become healthy or fit). All around the world, there is exploitation happening right now whether it may be people working at a workplace or people exercising in their spare time.

 

Winter 2016 Winners

First prize – Sam Davies, Level 2 Extended Certificate in ICT

Beach, Normandy Beach

I guess I’d better introduce myself before I start my story.  I go by the name of Jim.  Well, when I’m at work I’m Mr Davies.  When I’m in trouble I’m James.  When I met the Priest on the day of my marriage I was James Davies.  Well, you, the reader, you can just call me plain Jim.

“Come here”, I signal to Adela, as she gathers her toys up from the beach.

“Yes daddy”, replied my dear little daughter.  Yes, well, I forgot to say.  Someone in my life calls me “daddy”.  That’s my daughter. My 11-month young daughter. Not even a year old yet. I wouldn’t say she walks, she stumbles.

We’re on the sunny beach. It’s a perfect day. The tide is out and the beach has only a few resting people. We don’t live far away from the paradise. We go to get ice cream regularly from the nearby shop, “always vanilla”, she says in her high pitch voice. She does make me smile.

“Go go go!” screams the sergeant. I sprint for my life, carrying the heavy bags, ammo, and of course the heavy inaccurate gun. I’m running through the densely crowded people sunbathing and playing with their dogs. I run towards the shop. I can imagine her saying, “always vanilla”. I’m crying and running. Running for the chance to see her again. To get ice cream and go to the beach…

This is the beach I used to go to, to relax and play with…her. Adela. I hope she’s ok. I sent her to Switzerland, a safe haven from war, a neutral country. I want to be with her. She’s all I’ve got after her mother…. a big cloud of sand smacked me in the face. I come back to reality of running through the dark, shrapnel horror. So many bodies scattered everywhere, consuming all of the red soaked sand. I can see a lonely hand in every direction. I’ve got an individual hand for every time someone asks me for a hand. I shouldn’t joke about the tragedies happening around me but I’m trying to stay light hearted about it.

I’m getting chased by dogs, hammered by rain. I walk up the beach to spread her ashes. The sky is black like my heart today. I’m reliving that dreadful horrible day. Getting chased by dogs and getting hammered by the rain, which is quickly getting heavier and heavier. More painful with each hit. I miss her. She was the best. I’m going to be with her soon. As I think about her, I begin to see her. I see them, Adela and my wife. I’m on my way to them. Climbing the stairway, heading towards the light. Ice cream on the endlessly sunny beach with both of the girls special to me. I’m confused when i meet them both to why Adela is here. My darling wife says the plane she was on crashed. It hit a mountain going through France. At least we are together now forever and we can never be apart again.

 

Second prize – Isabelle Asbury, A Level English Language, English Literature, Sociology

Death’s Dance

Icy rain was cascading through the dense trees of the dark, gloomy forest. Lightening illuminated the hand-like branches that spread out from the tree trunks. Ivy climbs up the trees, suffocating what life they have left in them. An owl hoots and perches itself on the rusty, gothic gate that leads to the nearby cemetery. The gate creeks and shuts behind the tiny figure of a girl that enters the cemetery. Quivering and shivering the figure walks on, then stops dead in her tracks. Petrified. Too scared to move. The sound of footsteps reverberates around the cemetery. A restless sole, trapped in neither here nor there, just another trophy in death’s collection of graves. A blood curdling scream irrupts from the forest and pollutes the surrounding area. The ear-splitting sound echoes in the girl’s ear.

Heart pounding the girl begins to run. Faster; faster than she has ever run before through the never ending grave yard. Her breath quickening and blood boiling with fear. Voices follow close behind, telling her of the certain doom she is entering. The hand-like branches pull at the hair and scratch at her flesh leaving fresh cuts on her pale skin. Rivers of blood bubble to the surface of the skin and trickle down her arms and face. The malevolent roots from the trees rise above the earth tripping her. She crashes to the floor. Shadows swarm above her, shrieking and demanding her soul. She covers her blood stained face with her hands. The sounds stop. Silence. The girl lifts herself off the floor, shaking, alone, terrified.

The grave yard is empty; she stands and looks around warily. Has this nightmare ended?  The cold wind whips at her hair and face, stinging the cuts on her face. The trees whisper as the wind disturbs them and dead summer plants nod their bowed heads up and down as drops of rain bounce off them. Thick, icy fog begins to crawl through the grave yard. Anxiety fills the girl’s body as she realises that it isn’t over, her sadistic nightmare continues and she’s trapped in an unforgiving grave yard where death is her only friend. Her heart rate begins to plummet again as she attempts the flee the grave yard of terror; past the aging head stones she’s sure she’s already past time and time again.

A hooded figure appears in front of the girl and blocks her path. She stops running and stands, hardly daring to breathe. The hooded figure extends its ancient, gnarled arm and reveals a skeletal hand. The girl steps back, staring in horror and disbelief. The ghostly figure stares back, its blood red eyes visible through the shadow of the hood. Gradually the black hood slips off its head and slithers its way to the floor. A gaunt, pale face is revealed.  The girl stares in horror as she recognises herself in the lifeless demonic, face. The ghostly figure slowly envelops the girl’s soul.  She tries with no avail to scream as she sinks inevitably into death’s cold abyss…

Third prize – Marquita Markland, Level 5 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling

What Do You See?

I look at a pound note: I see food on my table, clothes on my back. I see my children comfortable, a roof over our heads – a means to an end.

You look at a pound note: You see insufficient funds. You see poverty, depression. You see wants and you’re angered by this delusion.

I look at a gold bullion: I see greed, I see pain, tears, strife, dishonest scams. I see friends against friends, family against family and I sigh.

You look at gold bullion: You see riches and land, empires. You see glittering jewels all in excess, and you smile – wondering how you can get another.

I look at woman: I see hidden scars. I see silent tears and a wounded heart. Yet a string disposition and a steadfast gaze ahead.

You look at woman: You see an instrument suited for your pleasure, an object made to supply your needs. An object upon whom your every anger and self destructive behaviour can be taken out on.

I look at man: I see the impression of strength and the hidden weakness. I see vain glory, and I see plainly the deep darkness they try so hard to keep from showing.

You look at man: You see a form of Godliness and beauty. You see power and unshakeable strength, You see with a blindness only you can see.

I look at life: I see corruption. I see unspeakable terrors and evils.  A deep dark hole with no ending, its circumference being widened every day.

You look at life: What do you see?

 

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