interrobang issue two - James Hargest College

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interrobang issue two - James Hargest College
welcome to
interrobang
issue two
Welcome back to our second edition of
Interrobang!
Since our first magazine, we have
received much positive feedback from the
Community! We have also been featured
in the Southland Times and the Invercargill
Eye, which has added to the awareness of
creative writing at our own school.
We would like to thank the Hargest Admin
and both the public and school libraries for
all of their ongoing encouragement that
they have been giving us.
Producing a magazine takes a lot of effort,
and is something we have become quite
familiar with as we deal with the challenges
that we encounter in the publishing
process and learn from up close about the
commitment of writers, editors and artists.
Speaking of which, we are looking for artists
who would like their work published or
would like to illustrate for our authors. If you
are interested in either of those please come
to our Tuesday meetings.
Priyal Dass
Head Editor
Issue Two - July 2011
CONTRIBUTORS
Authors
Rebecca Adam
Michael McColl
Toni-Marie Pasco
Matt Armitage
Jono Boon
Raymond Chen
Emily Clearwater
Priyal Dass
James Eunson
Mitchell Gray
Katie Greene
Alex Grumball
Jessey Kerr
Craig Marshall
Stacey Shepphard
Kere Wylie
Rowan Kiff
Magazine Design
Craig Marshall
Editors
Priyal Dass
Miss Sullivan
Toni-Marie Pasco
Ben Frengley
Amber Challis
Alex Grumball
Rebecca Adam
Michael McColl
short stories
A Violent Romance (Extract)
By Michael McColl
Sitting in the bushes, knife in hand, he waited. The lanterns in the street glowed brightly
as the sun lowered in the distance. The intense orange skies indicated to him that it was
almost time. As he sat in wait he thought about what had happened. He had loved her
with all of his heart and she betrayed him. It was one thing that she left him for someone
else, but for her to run off with his brother was unforgiveable. That day he came home to
find the diamond ring that he had worked for months in order to buy sitting on the dining
room table; note attached. Now he was going to exact the revenge that he craved. He
wanted to subject them to the pain that they had subjected him to.
He heard a horse trotting along the cobblestoned street in the distance- the carriage
escorting his love and his brother in tow. As it pulled up the driveway he got a rush of
adrenaline knowing that the time was near. The silence was broken by the soft mutterings
of the two as they stepped out of the carriage. She was as beautiful as ever. Her long
brown hair flowed in the light breeze as she walked up the path to the front door of the
large manor where they had decided to make their home. Watching them together only
forced the anger inside of him to intensify. He was hurt. He was a fiery mass, he was
nothing but fury. He had given up everything for her and she had run away, taking his heart with her, leaving him hollow and evil.
The door slammed. It was time. He rose from the bushes barely making a sound. Drunk and bitter he staggered up the front
path. Knocking on the door he poised his weapon; ready for the kill. As the door opened he thrust the knife deep inside of his
brother. His blood oozed out and ran down his crisp white shirt. His brother’s arms reached out in defence. The sharp fingernails
of his brother gouged into his skin, removing small amounts of his blood soaked flesh. The pain he felt was only used to fuel his
rampage.
As the life drained out of his brother’s eyes he smirked at him. His brother weakened, realising that his attempts were futile.
Extracting the knife he stabbed him again. Gurgling slightly, his brother looked into his eyes. Hurt. Betrayed. A single tear slowly
ran down his brother’s pale face as he went in for a third stab. The blood spurted out of the wounds staining his murderer’s
clothes and skin. With one final stab his brother stopped fighting. His limbs stopped flailing and his cold, dead eyes stared into
the distance. The death did not deter him. He continued to stab his brother, each one a testament to the pain his brother had
caused him.
“One down, one to go”, he thought as he finally ceased mutilating his brother’s body and walked off in search of his true love. If
she didn’t love him anymore he was going to make damn sure she could never love anyone again.
Her screams pierced the air as she was drained of all life. Leaving the dead bodies behind, he ran.
Standing on top of the chapel’s steeple, James stared into the distance. The moonlight accentuated the sadness and regret in
his deep blue eyes. He allowed the fierce rain to soak through his blood-stained clothes. They’d be looking for him by now. Soon
they would find him. The smell of blood suddenly made James feel sick.
“What have I done?” He screamed out in vain.
Join me
James jumped back, frightened, as he heard the hiss inside of his head.
Join me and together we’ll be great.
“Who are you?” James yelled out.
Join me and you’ll be great.
Terror overwhelmed James as the voices filled his head. He began to claw at his eyes in an attempt to soothe his mind. It was
no use.
Join me and we’ll end all love. All pain. All suffering.
James stood, unable to make sense of the echoes yet despite logic and reason he knew what he had to do. Still clawing at his
eyes he jumped. In the moments he spent falling all the pain was lost. He felt strong once more. He knew that he would be great.
His landing produced a thud that resonated briefly in the air. As the blood slowly leaked from his dark eyes it ran gently down
the street with the pounding rain. James lay on the cobblestoned street a cold - dead hollow body. His soul had been collected.
He was now, and would forever be like Dipuc; the bitter and challenged brother whose future became dictated only by his past.
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The Short Life and Untimely Death of Wayde Smith (Extract)
By Mitchell Gray
The sun beat down upon the heartless desert. Its blinding rays split the seams of the earth and sucked all remnants of moisture
from its skin. It was an unstoppable heat, able to be vanquished only by the threat of night that would soon fall upon the world.
The landscape around was flat, not a rise or dip in sight, the horizon stretching out into the edges of thought. The sun above
created a shimmering reflection on the sand, the mirages temptation in this world of heat giving the surroundings a blurry look.
A shape stood on the horizon, moving slowly. The shadow it cast was long and thin in comparison to the landscape. It was a man.
The man walked slowly, the cloak over his shoulders heavy and hot on his weary body. His skin resembled the ground beneath
his feet: leathery and cracked from lack of moisture. He wore a wide brimmed hat low over his eyes, filling the sockets with
shadows. His black boots hardy left the sand when he stepped; they simply brushed its surface. He had started the journey three
days ago, two days before his horse had collapsed of exhaustion. But he was not a man of sentiments; he simply gathered what
belongings were important to his task and continued on foot.
He could not recall the taste of water or the feel of the cool wind against his face. The nights were supposed to be as equally
freezing as the days were hot, but that had not stopped him. Nothing could stop this man from reaching his destination. His eyes
had long since blurred into the nothingness, his body conserving the unneeded energy. This land was barren and there was no
threat of danger apart from the glaring enemy in the sky.
The man brushed a phantom drop of sweat from his forehead. Knowing that there wasn’t actually any moisture there, but going
through the idea that he had enough in him to sweat made him feel slightly better. His eyed refocused for a moment, the energy
sucking itself from him, deflating him. To his left he saw something, something he knew wasn’t really there.
It was a girl. No, it was in fact a woman. She wore a floral printed dress; the flowers red while the underlying material a soft
white. She was beautiful, her soft skin seemed to sparkle in the sun, bringing about a feeling in the man’s chest that was nearly
as unbearable as the dehydration. He forced himself look away, but not quick enough to miss a glance at the way her dark brown
hair trembled slightly, as if there was a slight wind or that it was simply scared of the man’s presence. His aversion of her sight
caused her to laugh, a light laugh that bounced around the landscape and sucked a tear from the man’s eye. The tear slowly
trickled its way down his cheek before being stolen by the sun.
“You shouldn’t be wasting water like that, Wayde. I don’t want you to die out here,” she called to him in the singsong voice that
his heart cried for.
“You’re not Martha. Martha is dead,” he replied in a voice as cold and hard as stone.
She giggled at his voice, her cheeks blushing slightly as she said “I’m everything Martha ever was or will be, just with a little
something extra.” She smiled a strange lopsided smile, insinuating that she was keeping something from him.
The man kept walking, dragging his worn feet through the sands below. They offered up less resistance now; his mind was
pulsing with the energy of the anger, betrayal and loss that filled him.
He turned towards her sharply, still avoiding his eyes from the sight of her familiar body. He could not risk even a glance now;
she had so much of a hold over him that he thought he might be unable to complete his task, if he was to look into those brown
eyes once more.
“Why are you here!?” he yelled at her, his voice croaking up his dried out windpipe. “I am coming. Whatever you’ve done with
Martha will be nothing compared to what I’m going to do to you,” he growled, the threat sitting on his tongue like a wild animal,
eager to be released.
She giggled again, “My you really loved her didn’t you? Good…that means this is going to be all the more fun!” She clapped her
hands in excitement, a dark fire burning in her eyes. The man looked away quickly. His eyes wandered before he fixed his eyes
upon the horizon. He was pointing his toes in its direction and he kept marching onwards. The lady fell into step beside him; her
bare feet making no indent in the soft sand. Only one trail of footsteps followed the pair.
They walked in silence for a while, as the sky slowly descended into darkness; the few early stars glowing quietly. “So what will
you do when you get here? There are over thirty of us now, and we are ready. What will you do?” she asked, the question hanging
unanswered in the shadow.
“What will I do?” the man thought out loud, his hands burrowing into the dark folds of his cloak, clasping a small object. His hand
whipped out of his clothing, pulling with it a streak of silver that seemed to come alive in the starlight. It danced between his
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skilled fingers as they twirled the object like a magician does his wand. He threw the object up into the air, its arc seeming to a
pause at its zenith, as if the silver could not decide whether to return to the ground, or continue up into the heavens. His hand
reached out and caught it again, easily transferring it from the caress of the air to his fingers. Its movement stopped suddenly,
and as its image became focused again the lady was able to see the long, thin barrel, the black handle and the darkly ominous
trigger.
The man’s face stretched in a smile that rivalled hers. It was full of the anger and the shadowy vengeance that was eating at his
broken heart. He pointed the end of the object at her, at arm’s length and she shied away from its sight. Her eyes brimmed with
fear. She disappeared into the darkness as quickly as she had arrived when she heard his late reply; the power in his voice scaring
a being whose very existence caused terror in men’s hearts.
“What am I going to do, you ask? I’m going to kill you all.”
Kraken (Extract)
By Kere Wylie
The water rippled by the sudden movement underneath, to an observer it wouldn’t have even been noticed, due to the slight
wind that caused millions of ripples along the surface of the fiord.
What you would notice though, would have been the huge shadow that swept along just centimetres from the surface. This
shadow was no dolphin or whale or a shark. This shadow was humungous. Fifty metres, it was daunting but the beast underneath
was incredibly more so.
Three children the youngest one a girl aged eight and the twin bothers seven years older, each one laughing, as they splashed in
the shallows, by a mile long stone pebbled shore that only had one soul on it. The mother of the children. She read her magazine,
bathing in the sun and ignored her children’s pleas to come and join them, by selecting the ABBA folder on her ipod and turn the
volume full boom and going back to her magazine.
The beast had sensed the thrashing in the water miles off and had smelt the children seconds later.
It’s huge tentacles surrounded the children, but each one was to distracted with one of their kind lying on the beach, fools, it
thought. Even if they hadn’t been distracted, it’s tentacles would still be invisible to them in the murky water. It let it’s mouth
which was full of razor sharp teeth rise out of the water.
The children never noticed the water suck away between their feet. Neither did they have time to run as six tentacles the width
of huge branches fly out of the water surrounding them. A bird cage with it as the cat watching in, at it’s prey.
But the children did hear the roar. A great bellowing sound, like one that’d come from a earthquake echoed through their bodies.
Their blood went cold from the sound waves it created, as they turned around to stare at the beast.
It’s two huge eyes looked at them with no mercy or pity just pure hatred. Its black cat like pupils, moved from child to child. The
skin made from thousands of scales the colour of brown and greenish sludge with a red gleam to it, reeked of fish and rotting
corpses. What most stood out was the huge shell on its back or what was assumed to be it’s back. It sat there so out of contrast
with the monster, it was as if the whole beast could fit inside it. That’s when they knew they could not escape.
No more thoughts would travel to the children’s heads because with in a secound the cage made of tentacles squished flat.
blood mixed with the murky water causing a purplish red colour. As the now limp, crushed bodies of the children were pulled into
the monster’s mouth and swallowed.
The mother looked up. Her natural mother senses tingling . . . Something was wrong. She looked up and over her magazine.
Dropping it when she realised what she was seeing. Her face warped into fright and horror. She screamed and turned to run to
the road for help.
But she only got a metre, before a huge tentacle sprang out of the stones beside her, latched onto her so tightly it broke one of
her ribs, she screamed and tried to wriggle free but the suckers that felt like they might rip the skin off her held her in place. Then
with out wasting time it threw her into its gaping mouth. The mother petrified, screamed only one word “ KRAKEN!” before she
was cut to smithereens by the hundreds of the gnashing foot long teeth.
The kraken for that’s what it was, sunk down, deep into the murky fiord of hollows spring.
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Enlightened (Extract)
By Toni-Marie Pasco
Blackness. That was all that was to be seen, if anything could be seen at all. Darkness was all that greeted the young girl as she
rose from her impromptu slumber, her eyes widening as she struggled to see anything.
Blindness. That was her first thought. That was her only thought.
She tried to move around, but found something solid holding her back. She tried struggling around, but it was as if she was
frozen in ice, incapable of moving all but her eyes.
The air was warm and sticky, smothering her. Her attempts to take a deep breath in failed as the heat burned her throat.
Coughing, she began to panic.
Forced to take small, sharp breaths only, she felt the fiery pain race across her ribs before spreading through her chest and
stomach.
She fought. Inside and out. Against the restraints holding her back and the overwhelming claustrophobia and fears that had
seeped into her mind. Her mind was all she had now and if she was to get free, get anywhere, she would have to utilise her mind
to her strongest capabilities.
What do I know? She thought, ever logical. I know who I am; I know my name, so obviously I have my memories still. The last thing
I remember...Unable to recall what she had been doing last, she felt the panic beginning to force its way back into her mind.
Remembering her meditation, she slowed her breathing as much as possible, trying hard not to focus on the pain. Her mind’s
eye created a shape, a white blob. Slowly and deliberately, she forced the blob to take a form. A single white lily began to show
and then softly move in her mind. All her focus on the flower, she turned the image gently, giving it form as she went.
As she allowed the image to fade, she noticed with satisfaction her pain had dulled down to a slight throb. Proudly, she allowed
herself a brief smile. Controlling pain levels was one of the things she had recently mastered, and though deemed irrelevant
at the time, she was pleased she had learnt it. Even if it had only been intended to help with the headaches she was prone to
getting.
Elena nearly started as something brushed the length of her face. It was her blonde hair, matted slightly. Or at least she hoped
that it was.
Her mind clearer, she tried to retrace her steps; tried to remember what had led her to the darkness. However, nothing relevant
came up. She remembered her fighting with her mum before she left for a business trip, but even in her confused state, Elena
recognised that that particular incident had happened weeks before.
Despite knowing that a lot of time had passed since arguing with her usually calm mother, she was no closer to working out how
she got to wherever the hell she was.
It’s as if a blank has been drawn over my memories from the past few weeks. I know they happened, I can almost see them...Yet...
She blinked a couple of times, trying to focus. She pulled her concentration forward and tried to part the darkness, but it refused
to shift. She concluded she was in a room of some sort, that the dark around her was real darkness, not caused by outside
disturbances.
Somewhere, a sound rippled through the air. It was faint, but she could make out it was a voice. A deep male’s voice. A second
voice, this one higher but still a male, joined with the first. Then a fit of laughter echoed through the dark. The voices came
closer, yet she found herself unable to focus on the words.
I should lie down, create the illusion of sleep. She groaned. She didn’t even know if she was sitting, standing or lying. Hell, she
could be hanging upside down and not know it; there were no sensations save for pain in her body. Groaning a second time she
made her second revelation; no sound came from her mouth. None at all.
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Deadly Game (Extract)
By Raymond Chen
A man emerged from the blood-red streets. His bladed limbs glinted in the moonlight.
His black cloak waved in the wind. Untouched by blood; it was a remnant of what once
was flawless and perfect. Having met no other worthy opponent, Roy was getting
bored. Kicking a lone can into The Square, he idly inspected the dust-covered trinkets.
Sad doll faces, carefully displayed behind a shop stall, eagerly looked back at him. In
a fit of boredom he decapitated them in one stroke, watching their heads roll onto the
pavement. The shattering of porcelain rang out loudly and echoed into the murky mist.
Turning to leave, he suddenly felt a chill as a sharpened claw descended upon him.
Leon bared his teeth as he dropped down from his hiding place, his metal claws
ready to crush his victim. Just as the tips of his claws reached their target, the
afterimage faded away.
His body smashed into the dirt, throwing up a plume of dust and debris. While he
struggled to recover, he was suddenly barraged in an instant with a flurry of slashes
on his body. A near-invisible object encircled him, creating multiple afterimages
that seemed to strike him at the same time. Focusing his vision, Leon was only able
to see the blade of Roy’s forearm slide into his chest. Feeling his own thick blood
dribble down his battle garments, he pulled back quickly to avoid another hit. The man stopped his attack and instead watched
him menacingly. He felt his Nano machines accelerate his cell replication. Avenging his sister was all that ran through his mind.
His love for his sister was so strong that he ignored the pain; instead he focused on the young man in front of him, promising
himself that he would finally die tonight.
Roy mocked him: “There is no way you can touch me. Give up!”
At this point Leon laughed at him. It was a dark cackle, dripping with disdain. “I almost feel sorry for you, Roy the Human Blade.”
He spoke of the name with anger, condescension and a tinge of black humor.
Leon took a deep breath and he released his energy in a sudden burst. He traveled a hundred meters, in an instant, towards Roy.
Roy casually held up his right arm to block Leon’s charge. However, he was taken by surprise when the blood encrusted claw
ripped through his bladed arm and pierced his chest. Ignoring the pain he lashed out with a savage counter-kick at Leon’s claw.
A cascade of sparks flashed from the impact; metal against metal. Unable to keep hold Leon jumped back to receive a slicing
uppercut from Roy. Both fell back as they tried to recover. Roy’s right arm fell to the ground, twitching uselessly. Clutching his
shoulder in disbelief, Roy screamed loudly. The blood slowly flowed from a torrent to a trickle as the decapitated shoulder closed
the wound.
Wiping blood from his mouth, Leon grinned at the victory. He felt invincible as the adrenaline rushed through his veins. Unknown
to him the stressed Nano machines were already starting to degenerate as a result of the heavy use of energy. Instead of healing
they began to decompose.
Without saying a word the two rushed at each other.
His surroundings were a blur while Leon continued to fight Roy in the lightning fast battle. Each student parried their opponent’s
attacks causing a blinding flash of light each time the blades connected. The loud sonic booms could be heard from miles away
as Leon and Roy exchanged blows with each other at insane speeds. Roy pulled back as he was ripped across the chest with
four claw blades after a careless counter- attack. Now bleeding more heavily than before, Roy pushed his limits beyond human
capabilities; squeezing the energy out of his Nano machines, he forced his movements to become faster and more powerful.
“I cannot and will not lose!!” screamed Roy.
He savagely used his whole body to rip and tear Leon who was now struggling to keep up with his new tempo. Again, Roy’s
afterimages surrounded Leon, confusing him. Moving at the same time the shadows would strike at his flesh, inflicting physical
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wounds that fade away seconds after.
Torn muscle tissue, strings of tendons and thick red blood rained from the sky while Roy and his ghosts attacked Leon in an
endless barrage of elbow slashes and savage kicks.
Suddenly Leon comprehended what was happening; his body had already stopped regenerating and a slight vapour was
beginning to form around him as his skin began to evaporate. With only seconds left to hold his accelerated state he knew he
had to end it fast. He would make Roy suffer like he did even at the cost of his miserable life. With a carefully constructed plan
Leon allowed himself to be stuck down to the ground. He watched as Roy approached him for the finishing blow.
“But before I end your suffering tell me…why?” Roy asked.
“Why…?” Leon said in a strained voice as he talked blindly to Roy, “You dare not to even remember?”
He paused to glare up at him with a withering stare. He slowly closed his eyes.” For my sister…”
“What? “
“FOR MY SISTER!!!” Leon suddenly shouted as tears streamed down his face. Leon lunged at Roy, claws open. Bringing his blade
down upon Leon, Roy was caught by surprise when the razor edge sank into the energy cell of his claw.
“Goodbye, Roy…”
“Y-you monster!!” Roy’s voice was engulfed by a sudden explosion of blood and electricity.
The heated air crackled and sparked with light that reached the ends of the city.
The night sky had become illuminated by an artificial daylight, so radiant that the sun would be ashamed to rise the next morning.
Death on Court
By Stacey Sheppard
She was fierce, she was fast and she was final. She had such spark. She zoomed around the court taking pleasure in the rise and
fall of various players. She had few talents but tennis was one of them. She took pride in her appearance and the colour of her
hair.
She aged with experience but still maintained her inner youthfulness. She knew many skilful players, having had one on one
contact with some of the best. I always admired her from afar and many times ran to aid her, to help her off the court.
She breathed her first breath on a tennis court, as well as her last and I don’t think she would have wanted it any other way.
Without her the tennis was not possible, the momentum lost and the spectators bored.
Her final play was sensational. An ace serve started us off and was closely followed by a meaty return. I watched play with eager
eyes hoping to learn something. The game had a break neck pace and I soon found myself short of breath as I watched the show.
The final shot was a harsh one and I knew in my heart that she was going to a place of no return. One last serve, then a magnificent
cut and it was all over. She fell in a graceful arc and died.
She was so peaceful laying there next the boy balls feet and I couldn’t hold back the tear that slid down my face.
She had won but at the same time lost and I smiled at the irony.
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In the Hallways
By Emily Clearwater
I walk the school hallways in bliss. People smile and wave to me and I reply accordingly. My feet carry me to my next class
without giving it a thought. The floor is clean enough to see my reflection. Litter is never an issue here as everyone is considerate
to the environment. The cooking class door swings as I pass, wafting sweet bakery scents in my direction. I lift my head a little
higher to inhale and devour.
I am alone in these hallways but surrounded. I am careful. I watch every step I take, placing my feet in the gaps where the floor is
still… floor. Everything is rusted and battered. Flesh clumps and thick blood had splattered upon everything. Even through the cracks
in the roof, the unknown seeps down and drips onto me. Congregated in corners I see torn torsos, limbs and other shredded organs.
The stench stings the nostrils. It drills into your head and threatens to burn your insides, tugging with its arms down your throat to
force out your bowels. I cover my face with the last piece of clean material I have but even that carries an odor that is inhumane to
acquaint with.
I turn the corner where a group of people I know call me over. A smile parts
open my lips to reveal a set of pearls. I am introduced to a new student and
an unfamiliar hand reaches out for me. I cup it firmly. My pulse drums as
though the warmth of his hand transfers through my veins. He and I converse
momentarily. To me he seems like a nice guy; well dressed, his eyes framed
and a strong handshake. I feel as though my greeting has left an impression on
him. Joyful warmth spreads as I consider the new shoulder that I have grazed.
I step away from the corner and equip my weapon. Although rusted its blade is
never blunt in the hands of the trained. I stretch the unsharpened edge before
me and gulp. My feet slide into the open. A screech echoes off the walls of the
darkened corridor. I bare my teeth and cry back. The creature’s mangled fingers
stretch out to grasp me from the apparently vacant shadows but I am swift.
Through experience only, I know how to save myself. I duck around. The creature
is too slow for me and I rip my blade through its rotting frame while my back is
turned against it. A terror inducing wail causes my body to shudder. My heavy
breathing is all that remains after the confrontation is won. I look at the new
mess I have spread. I want to cry. It’s an ungodly sight, torn from a horror film and
placed before me. I pushed the remains to the side. It leaves a trail of black blood
that will direct my attention to it later.
A familiar voice travels to my ears. My name is called from somewhere within
the boundaries of these hallways. I glimpse the source and grin. He waves
to me, in blue and grey, from bottom of the stairs. The sight of him stirs my
emotions, turning my head into a mixing pot. I excuse myself from the group and let the crowd consume me. I slip through the
swarm of students and bank at the top of the stairs.
I hear it, roaring from the downstairs corridor. My fingers grip my weapon once again and bared teeth clench tighter. Profanities and
other thoughts taint my mentality. I am fearful. Anxiety trembles inside me. Excitement is non existent in this barrage environment.
The cries increase and the floor shakes beneath me. I try to back away from the army that waits but I can’t, I am grounded at the top
of the stairs.
He comes into full view. We exchange radiant smiles until my cheeks strain. People float past but are courteous, avoiding me as
I go against the surge. Their heads stay low, eyes adrift as he reels me in with the string I am bound by.
I see their bodies now. They barge through and up the stairs, hauling their dismembered corpses at me but I push them off with my
blade. The creatures tug at my arms, biting at my flesh. They’ve circled me in their hunger. I free myself momentarily to slice and
halve them. Their innards disperse, splattering the walls but I have no time to recover before I am the target of a new mass.
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I am pressed comfortably against his chest now, in the middle of the corridor. He has a magicians stare and I am lost in it.
Everything else around me seems non-existent. His arms embrace me and my body sighs.
One tackles me to the floor. Its mouth widens disturbingly and tries to gouge out my shoulder. I force the creature off and attempt
to get back to my feet but others already have me pinned against the floor. I feel my feet tear from their limbs and a screech is
forced from my throat.
He pulls me closer.
Another razor bite shreds off more flesh.
And he whispers to me…
And they snarl at me…
“This is how it ends...”
Last 70 Rounds: Part Two (Extract)
By James Eunson
Meanwhile, across the English Channel, Luftwaffe Oberst Hans Dietrich Von Franz was wide awake and was on the prowl. It was
nearly 5.00am in the morning and he knew well enough that British Lancaster’s would be returning from bombing the German
industrial heartland.
He was flying a Heinkel He 219 A-2/R1 “Uhu” (Owl) night fighter, the latest in night fighter technology. Armed to the teeth with
various machine gun and cannon instalments, she was deadly in every way. That included speed, agility, firepower and not to
mention the FuG 212 Lichtenstein C-1 radar set, complete with its 32-dipole element Matratze antenna array that prolonged out
of the nose like a crooked, twisted tree branch.
The 219 had a crew of two: pilot, of whom Von Franz was most experienced; and his navigator Major Klaus. Klaus had been flying
since the start of the war, he when was only a lieutenant. He was soon under the command of Von Franz, a veteran of nine years,
an ace of five, Von Franz scoring 107 victories over the Allies.
So far.
Now Von Franz was aiming to beat that of so many other German aces, who had earned their time taking chunks out of the
American bomber formations. Some of them were only rookies. This made Von Franz even more driven, but on the orders of his
superiors, he was to join the night fight.
Suddenly, Klaus’s voice cut through the whining din of the two Daimler-Benz engines...
“Lancaster’s above, no escort”
Von Franz smiled. “How many?” he ordered.
“Five, Herr Oberst “
“Excellent”
Indeed, Von Franz could hear the sound of twenty Rolls-Royce Merlin engines nearby, and could see the glowing flames of a
burning aircraft. “I take it they’re wounded birds almost home” Klaus said.
“Precisely” Von Franz said, smiling wryly.
Page 8
short stories
“Then it is a perfect time to strike, nein?” said Klaus. His voice was bitter, as always. That’s how he came to Von Franz’s right
hand man.
“Indeed, Klaus,” Von Franz said. “And now we are going to make a deadly wake-up call.” Von Franz ordered and set off in pursuit
of the damaged bombers.
Squadron Leader Harvey “Hare” Gordon, Distinguished Flying Cross and bar, knew well enough that there was an enemy in his
presence. Banking his de Havilland Mosquito NF II towards the French coast, he could make out very faint black smudges moving
across the morning sky to England.
“Probably British bombers, nothing to worry about old boy, come on, we’re running low on fuel.”
The voice was from his fellow New Zealand Mosquito aircrew Pilot Officer John Havoc. His last name defined him perfectly! John
was his navigator, and was the worrier of the two.
“Come on,” he said tiredly. “No sensible Jerry would be up at this hour.”
“That’s what I fear” the squadron leader muttered under his breath and banked his plane towards the five smudges.
The Luftwaffe colonel managed to sneak in behind the last trailing bomber. Its port right engine spouted smouldering red flame
and bullet holes criss-crossed its sides. Lining up his line of sight against the Lancaster, he waited until the wing fell into position.
He then opened fire. The Heinkel was lit up, its half a dozen cannon firing shells directly in the fuel tanks, blowing the wing apart.
The plane tumbled downward like a lumbering beast suffering a fatal blow.
Immediately, all four remaining Lancaster bombers opened fire into the night, illuminating the Heinkel. But Von Franz had already has the Heinkel wheeling and spinning downward and aiming at the next aircraft. The ball turret gunner found the Heinkel
and opened fire on the wing, taking a section of the engine cover off. Von Franz was quick to open fire and the shells exploded
into the ball turret, killing the gunner instantly but the Lancaster was still in the air, pulling away from the Heinkel. Frustrated,
Von Franz gritted his teeth and opened fire for a second, longer time. The whole aircraft exploded, and the backwash sent the
Heinkel into a hurtling cartwheel through the sky.
When Von Franz finally regained control of the aircraft, he gasped as he saw another Lancaster come hurtling at him. It opened
fire, shells exploding against the wing and smashing the antenna. Von Franz glanced upwards. No Lancaster could do that much
damage. He realised that the “Lancaster” was actually Harry “Hare” Gordon’s Mosquito. Gritting his teeth yet again, he set off
after the “Englander”.
Rebellion (Extract)
By Rebecca Adam and Michael McColl
The grass was damp. Moonlight faded slowly past tree tops.
There were six fires; six figures. The vessels were placed down gently. Violent light erupted from them, and something rose into
the air - something important.
Not yet.
But it wasn’t time yet.
Not yet, not this night.
The glowing dimmed, the moonlight faded The small fires petered out, and the figures swept gracefully back into the shadows.
Soon it will be time. The full moon will come soon.
The full moon.
One will be taken...
Fog filled every corner, suffocating and heavy.
The second will follow.
A knife was raised, its long silver blade reflecting absent moonlight.
Midnight.
Moonlight at midnight. The stream the stream the moonlight.
The blade fell; a scream penetrated the smothering Nothing that was Everywhere and Nowhere.
But not this night
Page 9
short stories
Melanie rubbed her forehead tiredly, avoiding cracks in the pavement as she walked. After her nightmare last night she had
found it difficult to get back to sleep. It was typical, she reflected, that this should happen Sunday night, four hours before
school started. Bonus that she had had time to finish her Calculus homework though. Grudgingly she raised her head to judge
the distance remaining to the school gates; a possible 100 metres, and there were still 18 minutes until the first bell rang. If she
struggled she would undoubtedly make it in time. Sighing morosely, she lowered her head and continued her short yet tiring
trek It may not be far, but Melanie was physically exhausted already, and the weight of her dreams made the remaining journey
seem like one thousand metres instead of only one hundred.
The dreams had slowly progressed over the last couple of weeks; from voices and shadows, to actual figures and actions. She
had been struggling to get a good night’s sleep for so long that she had actually begun to daydream about sleeping during class.
Footsteps behind her prompted Melanie to glance sideways at her pursuer, who whacked her suddenly on the back.
“Happy morning, Mel,” the assailant chuckled. “You look dead!” Oscar grinned as he slowed to a walk beside her, slapping her on
the back cheerfully. Melanie glared at him tiredly. Oscar, with his short black hair and shiny green eyes, reminded her curiously
of a puppy she’d once tried to convince her parents to buy as a pet. Her parents were never keen on keeping pets though, and
sadly the puppy was claimed by someone else.
“Good, not happy,” she corrected him absent mindedly, “...and I am dead, dufus.”
“Right, sorry. Should’ve been obvious I guess. Big knife in your head and all.” Melanie shoved him sideways.
“Gross, Oscar. Seriously.” He snickered and mimicked being attacked with a knife.
“Well fine then,” he relented. “Let me put this to argument: You can’t be dead, because you look so tired, and since all dead
people do is sleep, you can’t be tired!”
Melanie risked another glance upwards, and saw that the school gates were now looming ominously above them. Crowds of
their school-mates milled slowly around them, heading in the same direction as Melanie and Oscar. The bell had obviously rung,
but it was clear that no one was quite ready to let go of the weekend vibe just yet.
“Alternatively,” Oscar continued, oblivious to the fact that no one was listening to him. “Alternatively, this could be a zombie
movie, in which case it is highly likely that you really are dead, because the dead never sleep!” Having concluded this point Oscar
was smiling to himself in satisfaction, attracting the glossy stares of several girls in their year as they passed.
Shaking her head to clear it of cobwebs, Melanie chastised herself for not noticing how fast they had reached the school, or that
the bell had rung. She had definitely been close enough to hear it. Normally she usually prided herself on her observance, but
lately… well. These days she was just too tired to be so observant. She consoled herself with the knowledge that her late afternightmare texts to Oscar meant that he also woke up in the early hours of the morning, although he always managed to get
back to sleep afterwards. It was probably callous of her to take pleasure in waking him up, but as the saying goes; misery loves
company - and Melanie was definitely miserable. She risked a glance at Oscar as they both walked through the front gates, but
he appeared to be completely unaffected by the 4 AM wakeup call that she had initiated that morning.
“What?” He glanced sideways at her, then grinned and wiggled his eyebrows. “I know, I know. It’s my fabulous charm. You can’t
stop staring at me!” Melanie rolled her eyes.
“God you’re full of yourself,” she smirked. As they passed through the school gates, the nightmare of last night slowly faded to
the back of Melanie’s mind, but she couldn’t quite manage to shake the ominously feeling curling in her stomach; she couldn’t
help feeling that the dream meant something terrible and important. Oh well, she shrugged. I’m sure it’ll be fine. It’s school what could possibly go wrong?
Page 10
short stories
Roman Short Story (Extract)
By Myles Livingstone
The line of soldiers are in perfect rank as they marched across the outstretched grass plain, a sea of red tunics and glinting metal
armour. The sight of the wall of red and gold emblazoned tower shields, the glistening iron-clad soldiers and the drumming
of their thunderous lockstep was enough to shatter any remaining semblance of confidence a foe may have. Across the flat
grassland from the advancing legion stood a far larger horde of muscular, ferocious-looking beasts of men, no two warriors
wielding or wearing the same weapon or clothing, unlike the uniformed divisions of soldiers ahead of them. The barbarian
warriors watched silently as the invading force moved, acted and looked in a way completely foreign to them. The very ground
seemed to tremble as they marched, as if Gaia, the Titan Earth-Mother herself, was bowing to the might of these mortal men.
Now they were close, within two-hundred yards. The barbarian warlord could see them in more detail. They were tall, broadshouldered and with muscular physiques, many with battle scars upon the faces of men who had stared death in the face
countless times. The metal of their greaves, segmented breastplates, lamed pauldrons and helms all looked dull and worn.
The tunics they all wore under their armour were a dark shade of red, the flowing fabric seeming like dark blood spilling over
the landscape in a deliberate, unstoppable wave. These men were no ordinary soldiers. They were veterans of many successful
campaigns, harsh environments, fierce battles and all had painful memories of friends lost in wars long forgotten. The warlord
then noticed his own warriors, whom he had fought beside in many skirmishes and battles against the neighbouring tribes of his
homeland. But never in all his years of leading them had he seen them so shaken. They almost seemed as if they were wavering.
They had never seen or fought a foe so organized and disciplined, so well-armed and armoured, so well trained and experienced.
But he knew that once the fighting started they would not let him down, they would fight to the last man. As the rival army
continued its inexorable advance the warlord threw his arms in the air, raising his spear and shield as he sat atop his mighty warchariot and issued a heart-stopping roar, inciting his subjects to follow in what was a deafening outcry. Yet their stony-faced
adversaries didn’t so much as flinch, continuing to uncompromisingly march.
In the front rank of one of the many cohorts that made up the implacable battleline, one legionnaire watched the hostile
barbarians as he marched beside his comrades. From what he could tell they preferred to fight without any armour, or shirt, for
that matter. Maybe it was to frighten their enemy, or so they were not encumbered with the weight of metal armour. It could
even be traditional. They also covered their bodies with blue tattoos and warpaint, surely to intimidate a foe. These warriors
were just as foreign to him as the many other barbarian races he had battled against. As he watched the roaring horde intently
he held his tall red and golden tower shield at his side, the grip of the shield held firmly in his left hand. His gladius swung on the
same side from a shoulder strap, the blade encased in a red-dyed wooden sheath. His armour was tarnished and scarred, the
segmented plates now dull, not as gleaming as they once were, just as the armour of all the other men in the legion.
His name was Decius Antonius Meridius. Twenty-nine years of age, eleven of those years spent in the army, and eight of them
spent on campaign in foreign countries. As veteran as any of the soldiers alongside him, he knew how to wield a sword, knew
how to hold a line with his comrades and he knew how to take life. The man to his left, Lucius Decimus Severus, who he had
fought in the same cohort with since the beginning of his service, was a good friend and a reliable soldier to have beside you. To
his right stood Marcus Livius Suetonius, a family friend from Rome and a hell of a javelin thrower.
These two were the most important men in the world to him during a battle as if they faultered he suffered, if they broke
formation he could expect a swift strike from an unwelcome foe. But he trusted them with his life, as with any of the soldiers in
his cohort. All of them were friends. Brothers of the sword. When men fight, kill, live and witness death together they become
comrades. Stronger than any bond, whether it be blood or friendship. And now they stood ready to fight together. And if so die
together. Because if that were so Decius knew if he went to the Elysium today then he was in good company. As good a way as
any to spend eternity. Enough, he thought, a battle is no place to be lost in thought. He turned his attention to the still roaring
barbarian host. They were no more than one-hundred yards away now. He noticed the barbarian warlord atop his horse drawn
war-chariot swing his spear, which he held aloft, down to point at the Roman battleline. His scream was drowned out among
those of his horde but they understood his order. The entire mass of warriors surged forward. Immediately Decius heard the
order of the tribunes and centurions across the span of the legion.
Page 11
lyrics
The Stars Might Fade Away
By Katie Greene
I take a journey through the dark
But the moon won’t guide me
I hold onto the shadows
So the sun won’t find me.
If you see Stella
Can you make sure you tell her
About me?
If the night is for the devil
Well, then he can come get me
I don’t want to be alone
But the heavens won’t let me.
So if you see Stella
Can you make sure you tell her
About me?
Chorus:
Are you afraid that the stars might fade away?
Is the light that they shone
Too far gone from here?
Can’t you see them burning
Shooting through the atmosphere?
I don’t want to watch every single star I’ve known
Disappear.
Eclipses aren’t so scary
When you’ve always been in one
Don’t pollute my friends
With the light of another sun.
I never meant
For night to turn into
Day.
Chorus:
Are you afraid that the stars might fade away?
Is the light that they shone
Too far gone from here?
Can’t you see them burning
Shooting through the atmosphere?
I don’t want to watch every single star I’ve known
Disappear
Do you think
They’ll ever come back
Again?
Chorus (x2)
Page 12
poetry
Slow Thinker
Your Nightmare, My Reality
Snail on my arm so different from me
When you look at the world what do you see?
Is this how it must be,
Your Nightmare,
My Reality?
Should I continue to fight it,
Or let it set me free?
By Kere Wylie
By Jessey Kerr
What do you hear? Where do you go?
Hardly going a distance in a day, you’re way too slow.
Your body so slow but is your mind?
Do you think such things as human kind?
I guess it’s time to succumb unto the power,
Nothing can escape it now.
It is coming nearer to the hour,
For all the innocent to bow.
While you slither away
Are you wondering about life?
And what will happen with the upcoming day?
Behold! The destruction and death.
Searching through the rubble,
There is no-one left.
Do you think such things as a higher force?
Trying to make sense of the world
From any old source?
After all that had been lost,
And all that has been left behind
Was everyone else blind,
Or was all just in my mind?
Do you feel pain as I do?
Do you watch the clouds
To know when the rain and snow is due?
It was all just in my mind.
My Head is a battleground,
A Wasteland of terror and hate.
On one side is the evil and broken,
The consuming force sealing my fate.
Do you stay up and wait
And think of the things you love
And the things you most hate?
Do you ever think of true love?
Or flying high like a bird
And watch the world from above?
But, on the other side is the light,
The remnants of my former self,
The devoted followers of freedom,
That won’t go down without a fight.
Or do you ever think of life as a fish?
Or believe in hope and fate?
And watch the stars and make a wish?
I am divided,
Your Nightmare,
My Reality.
Only one force can prevail,
Whether I make it back,
Happy and pure.
Whether I am scarred for life
Tormented and un-cured.
Do you do physics and trig?
As you slither on the ground ?
Even though the world is far too big
For a snail like you,
But then again the universe
Is way too big for me too.
What faction will be in control of me?
I suppose we will just have to wait and see…
Are we sitting in the same boat?
Trying to make sense of the world
Trying to stay sane to keep afloat?
So are we really so different? Snail on my hand?
Each trying to make a living on this unforgiving land?
Page 13
poetry
These Eyes of Mine
Behind the Mask
If through these eyes of mine you too did see;
Would fair not be far and far from hidden,
No longer the truth always forbidden
And a true smile not such a rarity?
Words on paper
That chill to the bone
By Craig Marshall
By Matt Armitage
Story of my life
How I feel so alone
Walk in these shoes that are upon my feet!
For then you may eye the light that I see,
The shadows that people cast onto me
And the continual tales and deceit.
The mask on my face
Hides who I am,
Makes me look happy:
That was my plan
Knowing I am not thought of as the norm
Does not heed my actions or thoughts prolong,
Or cause me to act like the uniform –
But only tempts me to prove right as wrong
While continuing to endure the storm
In hope that someday I too will belong.
But behind the mask
Is a life broken and torn
A heart so sad, a heart so forlorn.
I’m trapped in a cage
But it’s becoming my home.
I’m slipping away
From all I’ve once known
You Cannot Escape Your
Shadow
And these fears I have
Oh, how they haunt me.
When the world does end where will I go?
By Jono Boon
Is there someone, somewhere,
So far above?
Is there someone out there
Who I one day will love?
You cannot escape your shadow
Orphaned by the true self, from which you cannot hide
Under your empty shell of glass of which in you abide
Carrying a body where people can see beyond what you want
A crowd can see the faults beyond your façade.
Never the light will be too bright and scare away the eye
Nor too dark that the iris opens but still cannot see
Open doors now shut, closing heart, mind and soul
The shadow still remains cast by the sun, forever following
Even the moons cast the empty black into nocturnal life
Seas within your body begin to collide releasing who you are
Capsizing your soul into the deep of the ocean
And then to be swallowed by the sands of time
People can always see your shadow, you cannot cover
Everyone eventually sees as the crack begins to show
Your attempts of seclusion will end in loss
Over time, it will slowly swallow who you are
Under the black layer there is a heart that mirrors yours
Reversed and turned inside out, is where its body lays
Sheltered and given life by light and the darkness of your shell
Hollow bodies hang around you, the noose right in front
All the mindless faceless dolls of which you will soon become
Do you really want this? Can you really escape this?
Or, do you try to escape by cowering in the dark?
While all the time, the vertical rule stands
Until then I will live and wait,
Follow my decisions,
Choose my own fate.
Page 14
comics
Faceless (Extract)
By Rowan Kiff
Page 15
comics
The Misfortune of Max
By Craig Marshall
The misfortune of max
001 Job hunting
I need a job...
You could try
McDonalds.
...
I already
did...
I didn't get accepted.
Ouch
The misfortune of max
002 CAreer choices
So what are you
doing next year?
I'm not sure, I think I'l
just live in my parents'
basement and get a
part time job at a
takeaway. What about
you?
I'm going to University
to do a Bachelor of
Commerce majoring in
Accounting.
Page 16
Oh, I'm
sorry to
hear that.
comics
A Brief History of Time (Extract)
By Mitchell Gray
Page 17
Cover and magazine design by Craig Marshall.
All text and images are copyright of their respective owners.

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