Short story competition – 6th forms. Read the winners’ stories!

Flora Philipp 6cn

Old memories

I love to open them. They tell their own story. It is like reading a diary. You feel a little guilty for sniffing in someone‘s privacy but the curiosity is stronger. Every now and then I go to the airport, not to fly away, I go there to purchase a forgotten suitcase by auction. Others like gambling, this is my personal addiction. It is all about luck, the bag is sealed, so I have to guess in which of them is a little treasure. To be honest, it doesn’t matter to me how much money there is inside, well if there was some, it would be a nice side-effect.

“50 pounds“ shouts the auctioneer, it is a small Lillifee suitcase, I had one of those when I was about 10 years old. My mum gave it to me, because she and dad had planned our first real holidays in Portugal. Although the intense noise of the airplanes was my music to fall asleep, we had never flown away before. I dreamed of foreign countries, but mum always told me we can’t go away. The money was little and my parents were working around the clock. But when dad gave me a hint about Portugal, I felt like the happiest person alive. “60 Pounds“, I blurt without another wasted second. „60 pounds going once – twice – three times, sold!“ It is more than I could normally afford, but I had to buy it.

Back at home I can still hear the loud noises of the planes, but after years I got used to them. I always wanted to move away from this dump but as I’ve grown older I’ve realized, that I belong here. To live in town is expensive and I still don’t have the money. In the city there live these persons who come to the airport regularly, but not to buy an old truck like me, to fly away. Well, it’s okay, nobody can blame them, if I had the money, I would do the same.

It is hard to open the case, but I have time. Finally, I smell the rotten smell of old clothes. It must have belonged to a young girl, many pink and violet dresses and a small bathing suit.
My mum cried “Pack your things!“ But I had been ready with this for days. I was thrilled about going on holidays with my brand-new bag and imagined long beaches and turquoise water. I was dancing and singing all day long, but my parents were showing their excitement a little bit different. Dad had to work even more to make some extra money, he left the house early in the morning and came back at midnight. He lost his temper because of every little thing. Then he shouted at mum, who lost her nerves too. She bursted into tears and blamed me for everything. I tried to cheer them up, but it seemed like it made it even worse.

I put the clothes into my washing machine, I will go to the second hand shop later. They are one pound each, maybe two. Then I turn my attention back to the case. It looks unused, only a few scratches, the original owner hasn’t travelled with it very often. “Faster, Faster“ dad yelled at me. I cautiously put the bag on the baggage belt. Three hours later we stood at the airport of Faro. Dad didn’t want to take a taxi to our apartment, it would have been to expensive. Mum sobbed “Aren’t we worth it?“, dad flew off the handle in the middle of the entrance hall. All people starred at us, but I just blinded it out. These were my holidays I wanted to enjoy every minute.

Suddenly a small cuddle toy catches my eye. At first I can’t identify it, but then I can make out a monkey. It is brown, nearly black, face, ears, hands and feet are light brown. When I went to Primary school every second person had exactly this one. It is inspired by a series called “Charlie“.
I can’t remember when I got mine, I can’t think of a time without him. I really fell in love with this monkey. Once I was allowed to stay at a friends house over night, which is 45 minutes away. In the evening I realized that I forgot Charlie at home, I had a tantrum, in the end my dad brought him to me. I didn’t forget about Charlie when I packed for Portugal. He was the first thing I unpacked in our apartment in Faro. It was far too small for the three of us, so I had to sleep between my parents in one large bed. I lay there next to mum who hadn’t stopped crying. Dad went to a nearby pub, as he always did when he was irritated.

I give the monkey a kiss on the forehead, he smells salty, like he went swimming in the sea. In Faro we went to the beach every day, that means mum, Charlie and me. Dad was sleeping all day long. But in the night he went out to the pub and stayed there until the early morning. He weaved back and shouted around in the apartment. Sometimes he was out of control and bandied things around him. Mum crawled out of the bed, immediately after dad tried to huddle to her. Mum packed all the things we needed for the day on the beach with tears in her eyes and off we went. I loved the morning in the city, I was amazed by the view and talked all the time about it to mum. But to be honest, she just didn’t listen, she was mentally absent.

In a side pocket I find a souvenir. It is a fridge magnet which looks like a sardine tin. It is broken apart, but in the right corner I can still read “Algarve“. It reminds me of my own souvenir of the holidays, it was the reason why the fight escalated. Dad overreacted because I dropped it and it got destroyed. The fridge magnet had costed only two Euros, but dad was hot-headed. Mum sent me to the bathroom where I stayed for hours I tried to think about something positive, but it was way harder than normally. I heard dad shouting bad words, and mum hissing “Leave me alone, I don’t want to see you anymore!“ I have never discovered what they were really fighting about. When I left the bathroom, mum was weeping in the corner of the room. She told me that dad went into the pub, I have never seen him again. He must have fetched all his things in the night. On the table he left the key of this apartment and a letter. It was addressed to me. He explained that he took the first plane back home. He is going to move out of our house. At the end he wrote his new phone number, which I should only call in emergency.

I want to put the case away, but I can feel that I have overlooked something. I shake it upside down, suddenly a book with “Top secret“ on the cover falls out. It is a diary. In Portugal I put the Telephone number of dad in my diary and I have never lost a word about it again. We flew back two days after dad left us. My Lillifee bag got lost by accident, mum felt very sorry for me, because she knew how much I loved it, but I tried to be strong for mum. I forced my best smile and pretended as if it would be no problem.

No, no, that’s not possible. Frantically, I search my key ring, it is still on it. I have never thrown away my key for the diary, for all the years I have carried it with me. It is worth a try, I slowly insert the key in the hole, it fits. On the last page there is a small sheet with a number on it. I grab my phone and type in the number. I can hear the ringing of the phone. Why did I do this, what should I say? I want to hang up, but a man answers at the other end. “Daddy?“- “Hello Sweetheart!“

 

Marlene Miletic 6c

The Commemoration Of A Kind-hearted Woman.

It was a rainy day. The wind was making the leaves dance an the temperature seemed not to cease falling. Far down the street you could see the silhouette of a young man walking to a church. He was not exactly heading to the church, but to a small house behind it. The door of that house was closed but the lights were on. Next to the door hung a note. It said ‘Commemoration of Diana Tencredy starting at 4 pm’. The young man looked at his watch – ‘4:11pm‘. He openend the door and went in. The room was full. Some twenty chairs had been set out in rows and almost everyone was occupied. In the front stood a podium. Behind it stood a man who was speaking . “Elijah“, a pink-haired woman whispered and gave the young man a sign to sit in the last row on the chair next to her. Elijah did as he was told and started to listen to the speech. “…And we ask ourselves the same questions again and again. Who killed her? Why did he killed her? Is there anything I could have done to prevent this?“ The man looked desperate when he spoke, “I know that…“, he sighed, “We all want to get some answers. But they won’t get her back, will they?“ He smiled for a moment and looked like he remembered something great. “Diana always used to say ‘If you can’t change something you need to accept it.‘ That’s what we got to do now. We need to accept that Diana…will never come back.“ The people started clapping and the still sad man left the podium to be replaced by another man.

When the People stopped clapping the new man started to speak. “For those who do not know me my name is Caleb Warbeck. I was a friend of hers. But it doesn’t make me sad that Diana is dead. No, what I feel is anger. Let me explain why. It was four years ago when we all went to highschool. By saying we, I mean Diana, her friends, me and my best friend Elijah Bourne.“ Some people started muttering when he mentioned the name. Elijah sat still in his chair and ignored the stare from the pink-haired woman beside him. Caleb too ignored the reaction of the audience and continued to speak. “Diana and Elijah were a couple and everything went well. Until Elijah told us that his father wanted to move away with him. As you probably all know, Mr. Bourne ran a multinational company and it was always clear that his son would take it over one day. But when Elijah didn’t want to go with him, he made him decide between his friends and his career.“ Caleb was making eye contact with the audience all the time. However, he did well avoiding Elijah’s eyes. “I can remember when I and Diana talked about that in the school cafeteria. She said that it was more important to secure your life than to stay with your friends. Then she suddenly silenced and stared at something behind me and before I could react, she kissed me. In front of all students… and in front of Elijah.“ It was completely silent in the room. No one dared to say a word. “He completely lost his temper. He was so angry. He had a real tantrum. That was the point that changed his mind and he decided to join his father. The day he left, Diana came to my house. She said that she wanted to apologize and to tell me why she cheated on him. She only wanted the best for him and the best for him was to secure his life even though he had to leave his friends.“ This time Caleb did not avoid to look at Elijah and for the first time that evening they stared at each other. Their eye contact kept, until Caleb abruptly broke it. “That’s why I’m so extremely angry that Diana died. Because she was the last person to be killed. If anyone doesn’t deserve it, it was her.“ Those were his last words before he left the podium. The audience broke into applause again. Elijah was clapping too, so he did not realize that the woman next to him had left her seat and walked now to the podium. In contrast to the others, she was not sad nor angry. Actually, she had a wide smile on her face.

For the third time that day, the clapping stopped and the pink- haired woman started the third speech. “Hello everybody. I’m Pamela Dunbar or just ‘Pam`, she introduced herself.“ You probably wonder why I’m smiling. It’s not that I’m happy about Diana being dead. But I know that she’d want exactly this. She’d want us to be happy.“ The smile has vanished and now she was completely serious. “I can totally understand that it’s hard to be happy when everything you want to do is to hide under a blanket and cry. It’s very hard indeed“, she nodded approvingly. “When I once heard that Diana had had a fight with Elijah I asked her if she weren’t upset about the beef, but she just simply replied ‘ Life is to short to be upset about a beef.‘ Well, ok, actually, at first she said ‘Why would I be upset about beef. I love beef.‘“ Many people laughed. “What I want to say is…there are so many bad things in this world. We shouldn’t let them take away our happiness. No one expects from you to never cry again. Just go on, live your life. And if you one day remember Diana Tencredy again, don’t be sad. Just remember her great ‘beef joke‘ and smile. Although you’ll probably get hungry and spend your whole money on beef.“ Then Pamela looked up and spoke her last words. “ May you Rest In Peace, Diana Tencredy.“ And for the last time that day everyone clapped. “Oh and we have prepared cake and coffee there if you like some“ she added quickly and pointed to her left where a table stood with several cakes and a coffee machine.

Elijah stood up and looked around. He wanted to talk to Caleb. When he spotted him, he was just halfway through the exit. But before Elijah managed to get through the crowd and open the door, he was gone. He closed the door again. Then he decided to send him a text massage to meet him at the cliffs. That was where they used to hang around all the time.

Two hours later Elijah waited at the cliffs. It was slowly getting darker and the only sound you could hear were the crashing waves. Then he saw someone approaching him. Even from the distance he recognized the man who he once called his best friend. “I am surprised you came,“ Elijah said with a rough voice, but Caleb ignored it. “You wanted to talk to me?“ It was more a statement then a question. “Yes, I wanted to tell you something.“ Caleb looked at him expectantly. “Then hurry up I don’t have plenty of time.“ “Trust me I won’t bother you ever again after that.“ Elijah took a deep breath and started to explain. “I arrived here a week ago.“ A surprising expression appeared on Caleb’s face but he did not interrupt him. “That Diana kissed you was hunting me for years. The loathing I felt grew bigger and-“ “ No!“ Caleb suddenly shouted. “You didn’t kill her!“ Elijah stared at him for a moment completely calmly. “Do you want to know why my father wanted me to move away?“ he asked then. “No, I don’t care! I just want to know if you killed her!“ He was so angry that he started shaking. Elijah did not reply immediately. He turned around, walked a few steps to the edge of the cliff and looked down. Then he slowly turned around. “I didn’t know why she kissed you.“ “That’s no reason to kill her.“ “I’m not trying to find any excuses. I perfectly well know what I have done.“ “ B-but what did you achieve with that. It doesn’t turn back the time!“ “ It won’t change anything if I turn back the time.“ Caleb looked extremely confused after that statement. “Can you please stop talking in miracles. Just tell me, what do you want now, why are you telling me this?“ Elijah sighed and stared at the floor. It seemed like it was hard for him to say the next words. “The only thing I want is that you become the joyful and generous man…“ He took a deep breath. “I fell in love with.“ Then he stepped back, but his foot did not touch the ground.

 

Marie Wilhelmstätter

The Mystic Envelope

First Part
What does it mean to be special?
Of course, every person who has both feet on the ground would not say he or she is special and nobody would aspire to be something not ordinary. Secretly, in each of us dozes a little fire which wants to burn high, wants to be discovered. Wants to make us special. When you walk through the alley in your city you will certainly see some couples around or some people rushing their way through the crowd. All of these people are evidence that we need to be special, does not matter if it is for someone else (love) or in school, in their job or even just in your own soul. Seeing all these special people is one thing but being able to see their personality and deepest dreams with one blink of an eye, the whole situation starts to stink pretty violent.

My name is Thurisaz, I am eighteen years old and I am a Shadow Seer. I can see the shadow of all people in our wide and cruel world, and I am just one of thousands of Shadow Seers. The shadow of people consists of their deepest dreams, their fears and of course all their characteristic preferences and skills. Certainly, nobody knows of our extraordinary skills and it needs to stay a giant secret because no one wants to imagine what would happen if any human being (or how we call them „hotchpotch“) had find it out. Enormous disaster! Anyways, we need to act like being a hotchpotch in order we can do our work secretly. This work stuff or leisure activity, how we youngsters call it, is something like a side effect of our nature which expects us to find and fight Shadow Influencers who try to change the manner of the hotchpotch people though dark magic, in order to exterminate the Shadow Seer and create a big „army“ of humans who are under their thumb and need to do whatever they acquire. So in total the whole humanity depends on us even though we are unknown to them.

Coming back to real problems. Being special. I tell you being special may sound amazingly nice but literally it is a real paroxysm. Especially, when you are someone (like me) who tries to do something physically impossible. Pretending to be air. I swear being silent is one thing but being able to be not noticed by your school mates the whole high-school long is something special. I mean not really special, like in our case, but it nearly abuts upon a wonder, doesn’t it? You may feel sorry for me, but somehow this is evidence that the physical impossibility is not as impossible as people think.

The whole special thing about me started exactly a year ago when my parents got murdered. I was sitting in our cottage near the sea when suddenly the doorbell rang. I jumped on my feet and speeded to the door in order to welcome the outstanding person warmly. When I opened the heavy wooden door an old and tall man, who streamed out an indescribable power, stood in front of me. I was a pillar of salt unable to move when the old man was watching me with his infinity black eyes. I could not hang on staring at these eyeballs hypnotising me. I tried to defend myself but I could just clench a fist through my anger. Suddenly, a heartbreaking scream put my teeth on edge and in some undefinable way I could stop watching this guy. My legs moved as quick as they could in the direction where my parents had been before I opened the door. But when I reached their actual base I could not find them. Panicked and lost in the cottage I phoned the leader of the Shadow Seers who sent me some guards to bring me to the headquarters where I have been living up to now.

Since this terrible moment of loss I just spoke as much as I needed to my surrounding people, concentrating on school and starting some kind of secret investigation about my parents’ absenteeism. The headquarters have obviously already done these investigations but could not find any suspicious signs so they have regulated the investigation. I could not stand the fact that my parents died and nobody thinks it is enough important to find the reason why. At the same time, they started to check me whether I have been injured by the leader of the Shadow Influencers. Actually, that was the exact moment when they decided that I am special. Yeah. No honestly, it is quite creepy when people tell you that you have got a special skill which you used to fight one of the most powerful Shadow People, who nobody had ever been able to fight, without knowing what this skill really is.

Second Part

„Thurisaz, what are you doing? Quickly, come downstairs, lunch is served!“, yelled John, Thurisaz‘ adoptive parent. Thurisaz had her head in the clouds and nearly fell off her bed when his voice reached her ears. She furrowed her brow and replied irritated, „I am coming! Just finishing my homework in a minute!“. John was sick and tired of waiting for Thurisaz every single evening till she is arriving in the dining hall and bit her head off, „Are you kidding? It’s unbelievable how selfish you’re. Your whole family is waiting for the princess till she’s ready to spend some little time with them. Unbelievable!“. Thurisaz flew off the handle and hurried down as fast as she could to get worked up about the way her new father spoke with her. In the meanwhile, someone phoned the family and when Thurisaz appeared in front of the food loaded table, all of them looked shocked at their plate.

Thurisaz just wanted to start giving them a mouthful when she recognised that nobody reacts to her appearance. Everyone was sitting there without moving a bit besides John who stood immoveable next to the opened front door. Thurisaz calmed down and just took off to the door where John stood, when she caught a blink of a familiar man entering the house.

She could not believe her eyes when she saw her dad standing right in front of her. Her dad started grinning from one ear to the other one while watching her with an intensive look. A ton of questions had come to her mind and she had felt over the moon before she had a look at her dad’s eyes intensively. They looked different. She took another look at them and suddenly her whole body felt like being captivated and she could not say any word. Right in this moment Thurisaz could spot a little flame in his imaginary black eyes which appeared as quick as it was gone right then. The man broke the deafening silence, „My dear, haven’t seen you for such a long time. How are you doing?“ while talking in this unbearably nice voice he started to walk circles round Thurisaz, „I am here because I have a request to you.“ The transparent string around Thurisaz neck squeezed with every single word and suddenly she had a brainwave. This guy who stood right in front of her may look like her dad but she could memorize these scary eyes and her blood pressure rose barbarous. He is the Shadow Influencers‘ leader.

Without any idea how this shall had worked, Thurisaz had no second thoughts about her awareness. Thurisaz got extremely furious and clenched her fist. The man who mysteriously made her parents disappear stood right in front of her pretending to be her father. She developed an enormous power in her body when at once her dad’s body fell to the ground. Slowly everyone in the room started to move again and Thurisaz could not believe what she did right in that moment. She muttered in a low voice „I did it again. Fighting the Shadow Influencers‘ Leader.“

Even though John started to understand the whole situation a bit and quietened the family members down, Thurisaz was not really able to be happy about rescuing her family because of her dead father lying on the floor. She made her way right next to him and fell down on her knees. Filled with big tears in her eyes she stroke over her dad’s head. While closing her eyes her fingers created some lines over the dead body which developed into high flaming pillars. Unaware what she had done, Thurisaz jumped away from her dad and watched him in an unbelievable way about what was happening. In little tremors her father got up and looked at all the people in the room with a confused facial expression but with a total clear mind. At the same moment the Leader of the Shadow Seer entered through the door. John tried to explain the situation to him and when he got to the end the Leader looked at Thurisaz and her missed dad in an inexpressive way, „We knew you are special, all the time. Oh, my dear, you can create runes no one has ever seen or used. They are more powerful than anything that could get in your way!“. Right then every piece of the puzzle in her head about her parents‘ disappearance found their place. She was able to create runes with which she has already fought the Shadow Influencers‘ leader when he was visiting their cottage a year ago. Every time she gets filled with such anger she starts clenching a fist and creating runes in order to rescue herself. After she had detracted him his power the last time, he transformed his soul into her dad’s body. Lately it turned out that her father had no chance to defend himself against The Leader and her mother got murdered by him right after he took over his body.

Third Part

Even though, I was able to get my dad back, and by the way preventing the Shadow Influencers from ruining humanity, you can maybe understand the awkward side-effects of being special clearer. No one would have got hurt if I had not had this special skill. Anyways, I am in high spirits about having my father back and he is in the heart of my life. We will see which special skills will chance our lives in the future and maybe you can find your specialty too.

Yours, Thurisaz