National Stationery Week is a celebration of the written word and all things stationery. We want to get more people putting pen to paper and writing by hand more often, and spelling stationery correctly with an ‘e’!
The truth is, technology has merely distracted us from the joy and importance of writing, it hasn’t replaced it. There is still something special about stationery and receiving a handwritten letter or card.
To celebrate National Stationery Week, The Pen Shop invited people of all ages to indulge their creative streak by writing a short story. We are pleased to announce the winner and runners up of the age 8-12 category.
Winner of the Age 8-12 Category
Aiden Layug (Age 10)
A hush fell over the room: as I stepped outside of the ruin. My headache only grew worse by the second. I stumbled through the forest. The air was dense, the towering trees were closing in on me like a Venus fly trap. My eyes were stinging, my body trembled. I noticed a swift figure moving across the swamped grassland; I drew my sword in caution.
Suddenly, the figure produced a shrieking noise – plants arched down like a stick collapsing. I realised there was a shadow of a beast, overpowering another. Glancing down at my body, drenched in the swamp, I captured my eye onto an oversized eel, which was tearing small chunks out of my side; blood turned the murky swamp water red. In panic, I ripped the creature off my skin and I plunged my dagger into it’s temple. It fell, lifelessly into the swamp. The sun no longer gazed upon the sight; I saw black everywhere.
When I woke I was in a cave with red banners that had dark blue swirls. As I looked curiously, out of the cave, I saw: blunt swords and spears; men that wore clothes with leaves on; small wooden houses and my body was in bandages. Still puzzled, I sat up and yawned. My actions had brought silence and confusion. The men I saw earlier had focused their attention on me. Their beady eyes pierced my soul. When I heard a deafening screech I covered my ears and scrambled for cover. A red fiery wind blew over the mountain settlement and into the cave, which smelted the iron swords to spill and run across the floor of the cave. Cowardly, I walked backwards, attempting to avoid the smelted iron river. I was trembling in fear. Smoke had now filled the cave, causing my eyes to water; my lungs were filled with ash.
When the smoke cleared and the iron river settled, a scaled monster’s tail whipped just out of view. The scales were red and black, so detailed you could see the particles meet. Meat hooks like claws were sitting on the arch of it’s tail. Whilst people sobbed over the dead, I tried to figure out why the scaled beast attacked; I wondered if it was after something or someone: I feared it would come back.
As I went out of the cave I saw the havoc that the monster left behind. I felt guilty. Did I lead the beast here? Should I have been the hero instead of cowering in the cave? Was I responsible for these deaths?
The bodies were horrifically burnt and one was carrying a rather unusual potion. I recognised this potion and so I discreately picked it up and hid it in my sleeve. I ventured through the settlement. I was astonished to see the bodies. The once living wildlife and trees were now perished. The banners had disappeared. No one noticed my presence. Avoiding being seen, I scurried past the strangers who were aiding the injured. With a sigh, I hid out of sight beside a ruined house.
After sundown, I ventured out from the darkness, and began spreading the potion over the lifeless. I glanced at the deserted houses; flickers of the fires were still alight. I could see the walls painted with blood in the darkness. Startled, I saw the dead rise! Their eyes were repulsive enough to make someone faint.
I slowly walked backwards in disbelief wishing I had never taken the cursed potion. Would I survive? My body stiffened; my face was full of sweat; my sword was melted from the beast’s flames. I was damned…
Soon they gained upon me, my heart was pounding out of my chest, their hands were straightened in front of them and their fingers were moving rapidly, attempting to grasp my flesh. They began to groan. They moved as a sequel, everyone moving together.
Within seconds I could feel them digging their nails into my limbs. I was paralysed by the pain they inflicted. Now my eyesight was fading, the zombies horrible faces were blurry. I could tell I was going to die, because of the blood that was spilt.
In defeat I closed my eyes and waited for the fatal bite to my neck. Startled, I started to hear a faint crackle by the near post which held up the roof. The straw was burning and the mud based substance was acting like a petrol liquid, as the fire sprinted across the roof. Suddenly, a roof collapsed on to the blood thirsty zombies.
I was astonished that the roof had crushed the zombies to death, forgetting that I was severely wounded I jumped with joy. I collapsed. My body became lifeless. My body was punctured with holes where the zombies fingers ventured. I lay beside the chunks that were torn out of my side. The deafening screech returned. With no energy left in my body, I had no other choice than to wait for the beast to draw near. Its eyes were blazing red with rage, the fearlessly sharp claws on its tail straitened. I was terrified of the sight. I hoped my life would end. Painlessly. The beast started swooping down onto me. His colossal claws missed every time.
I decided to crawl slowly towards a fallen vandalised house. It was crafted by stones and they were layered precisely so the structure would not collapse. I stumbled across the stones, entering the fireproof house. The screeches of the beast were constantly heard. My ears were bleeding. The beast ventured towards the premises.
Now, the beast was using its best weapon – fire. It was bellowing flames everywhere. There was no place left to hide. I was vulnerable. The flames consumed my wounded body. I saw my own flesh turning into ash. No longer did I feel any pain. I gave my life away to the beast: my death was pitiful.
Runner Up Entry:
Emma Mewes (Age 11)
‘Quick, there’s no time to explain’ Jess said as she pulled me down the corridor. We had just been in science, doing measuring; we were measuring our stationery, while the teacher did an experiment. But it went wrong. We needed somewhere to hide we needed to get away. The thing is we had a maths test and we weren’t going to get a good score.
The day before…
‘Alice, Jess is here’ I ran down the stairs. Jess had come over to do revising, very little revising we did. We spent the whole time on the computer playing games. My mum did not find out but she will soon.
So we were running, running round the school. Everyone was in the classroom. The ‘beast’ was only after us. We ran and ran until we saw the door to the field. We ran faster and opened the door. We turned around just in time to see a giant blob dive through the door.
We closed the door and heard a sizzling noise. We thought the monster had disintegrated but we opened the door we found our class in a blob of jelly. BRRRRRRRINGGGGGGGGGG. There went the last bell. We had been running for the last two hours. We had run through the maths test. Just as the bell went we looked at the blob and it disappeared. All the class ran to their house jess ran to mine because it was closer. We did a lot of thinking and not much talking, then some eating, then some sleeping.
We woke up to a rumble. A giant rumble. We went to the window to find green goo outside we knew what it was. We had a plan but we didn’t know if it would work…
We had made a powder, a green powder. We opened the window. The goo started to ooze in. quickly we chucked the powder at the ooze. It started to shrink. Shrink. Shrink. We looked out it was the size of a normal jelly. JJB walked past. JJB my dog. He looked at the blob and… He ate it.
All the trouble had gone.
Runner Up Entry
Marcus Layug (Age 11)
A hush fell over the room as the octogenarian told his story.
“Nine years ago… A child only ten years old, was playing happily with his friends. The island was in the Pacific Ocean – a lawless country. The grass swayed in the breeze, whilst the exotic wildlife observed the children playing. The child’s name was never known, but his friends were named: Gerald, John , Zoë and Max . Whilst they played a game of hide and seek their village was invaded by a cultural tribe, which swept through the towns protecting their people. The child (who was never recovered) was a professional at the game ‘hide and seek’. He always ended the game by frightening his opposition by victoriously bellowing his catchphrase “did you miss me?”
After this particular game, a large hysterical scream of excruciating pain was heard echoing through the island. The tribe sprinted to the civilian, Max, who was pretending to be injured with a broken leg. Max accused the ten year old child of assaulting him. Max explained that the child was jealous of his popularity with their other friends and that was why he had hurt him, leaving Max by himself to mourn alone. The tribe raised their spears and hurled them at the fleeing child. The child fled instantly, avoiding the spears which were thrown. The next day Max was found dead with a blade pierced in his neck.”
Many years later … Butterflies fluttered their elegant wings contentedly. The deer- which was eating grass – retreated to her tree domain. Even though it was warm, Zoe was wearing a thick fleece which caused sweat to drip slowly down her cheek. The thick dew stuck to her trainers from the grass as if magnets. The fiery sun beat down on her with bellowing force. Even though it was morning, Zoë enjoyed watching the birds tweet loudly.
Zoë decided to head inside for a glass of water. It went cold now. Shivering cold. Pop. Blood leaked from her wound. She wanted to scream but she couldn’t as a steel blade was forced through her spine. She lay there numb, seeing a shadowy figure enter her garden and hop over the fence. Off the shadow went silently. Zoë reached for her phone but her vision went blurry. Unexpectedly, she saw Satan himself.
Meanwhile, back in the north of the island the news spread like wild fire. The shadow was never found…
Gerald had just finished his work. He had smelled a disgusting scent of gasoline which polluted his car. Gerald (who was about to vomit) unrealistically sprayed an enormous quantity of Febreeze (air freshener) until the can was empty! Snap. Unexpectedly a branch snapped. Snap. “Who’s there?” Gerald whimpered. Snap. “This isn’t funny guys”. Snap. Gerald lunged in to the car in an attempt to escape his fate. Or had he? The car broke down miles away from his house . “No, no no” he yelled furiously; the car was out of petrol. Gerald was stranded on his own highway.
“Don’t move.” Gerald’s heart pumped blood around his body. The hammer in his body was about to smash out of his ribs. Gerald dropped. A furious burn pierced straight through leather, wool ,flesh and bone. Gerald was unconscious. Help arrived minutes later. But was it soon enough?
Soon Gerald awoke with doctors swarming around him as if a pack of deer was being hunted ruthlessly. He was safe now, surely.
Night eventually came as he had been unconscious for a day and a few hours. His family refused to leave until midnight and fresh roses were placed (attractively) beside him constantly.
Minutes later the door creaked open. The leopard was back threatening him. “Did you miss me?” Blood stained the wallpaper and the bed turned blood red. Literally blood red. Seconds later security sprinted up the stairs only to find blades smashing their skulls and punishing blows in their ribs. More swarmed the stairs only to find The Shadow gone.
Specialist inspectors were there in hours, dialling army veterans to the battle field where a man slaughterer had once been. They found a small pocket knife and located The Shadow at Old Blue Cottage.
The battle happened a day later; Agent Barrel was there a new younger recruit. He was equipped with a high calibur sniper rifle. He took position and peered through his scope on the gun. A large swat team engaged the target, firing multiple rounds non meeting neither hitting their final destination. Agent Barrel engaged the house; more followed worriedly. One agent hurled frag grenades and set explosives around the house instantly. Agent Barrel saw the target and fired. All missed except one. It forced the enemy to scream in rage. Agent Barrel felt a thin blade trim his head and land in his comrades temple. The dangerous killer retreated. Finally Agent Barrel injured with splinters of wood in his thighs travelled away calmly after sobbing about his comrades.
Agent Barrel reached his house noticing his wife wasn‘t home. He shut the car door and headed inside. He decided to flick through the TV channels. Agent Barrel (real name John) was about flick through the final channel, then his blood stained the couch. “Did you miss me?”
The Shadow swung his blade; ferociously. Agent Barrel ducked and was about to attack, until The Shadow was gone. Agent Barrel reached for the gun. Nervously sweat dribbled from his chin. He saw a blur and fired. Again another blur with another bullet with another miss. For a moment he felt safe until multiple blows rammed his chest, winding him with no mercy. But everybody has a limit as to how much pain they can handle, right? John felt no pain after a while. Until consciousness swallowed him whole and spat him out as if the foul creature was disgusted that he didn’t taste nice. John awoke feeling the pain rising in waves which crashed down on him, drowning him. Every wave was stronger than the next. There was The Shadow – the monstrous nightmare which murdered undercover agents.
With the gun inches away he moved. Drowning himself again. He forced himself to grasp the gun and finally adding the last killer blow.
The shadow still kept running, still escaping, still wanting revenge. The Shadow was gone. John never fully recovered though, as every night he felt endangered, almost waiting to die. Nothing could make John forget anything, remembering one thing in particular: did you miss me?