RhiRhi
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Written by RhiRhi

Murder in the morning

As the church clock strikes six, time stands still around me. A nearby cockerel crows, waking me from my daydream. Someone’s Morning Prayer has been answered as I stand beside a body lying across the doorstep of the church. A line of crumb-carrying ants march across his face, the sweet life nectar pooling the ground around me. There is a serene, momentary quiet after the chimes cease; his beating heart stopping to the dramatic echo. A dark figure glides past the church wall, before my silence is cracked by a far off wailing.

​Panic ensues, did someone see what happened? Looking around for evidence I notice smeared footprints underneath the large bush shadowing the grave yard entrance. That figure; they must have been here, watching, waiting. They must have seen. Maybe they can help, I must find them, but how? Suddenly, and far from willingly, I feel pulled towards the church. Stepping over the bloodied body before me, I push open the antique doors. They groan, seemingly in sorrow of the scene in front of them; or perhaps it is just the weight and years behind them.

​My footsteps echo through the empty pews, My Lord, forgive my trespass. It had been several years since I last entered a church, uttering words of forgiveness and sacrifice, servitude or gratitude. I had hoped I would never be faced with another trial like this, that I had escaped my past; that I’d left unknown experiences behind me. How wrong I was, something had followed me through this time. Over distant lands and shores. I had presumed myself alone, forgotten, You were to leave me, protect me. We have failed, I have failed. A rustling wakes me from my ruse. I am not alone. Oh Lord, if ever you were to be needed, to be true and forgiving, make that time now.

In my younger days I had been a great detective, the best on the force. I had solved every case I had ever taken and I was often hired to take cases that no one else could solve. I worked many cold cases back then, before that one case. Little Bonnie Asher. No one could save her, not after he had found her. The man that became my nemesis, nameless and faceless. He avoided everything I could do, everything the force could come up with to catch him, to protect Bonnie from him.

​He first struck in 1946. A young girl’s body, about eight years old turned up on the Marston Moor’s. It was my first ever outside case. Normally, I worked the streets of London and there was always plenty of action, but since I was the best detective, having never failed in solving a case at the young age of twenty-five, every force in the country needed me to solve some case they hadn’t got any leads on. We never identified the girl, there was no missing report that matched her, and no one came forward to claim her. She was pristine when we found her; a beautiful little girl who had so much life ahead of her. The medical examiner could identify only three things, she was raped, strangled, and branded. A small ‘8’ carved into her shoulder. So many false leads were followed trying to find our suspect, but in the end we could make nothing stick. I could find nothing.

​There was a string of seven more little girls that turned up, never in the same place, never even in the same county. We followed this trail of ‘8’ up and down the country; into Scotland - right down to Devon. Not even I could find anything. He was clever, I deduced it had to be a male, no child bearing woman could be capable to doing this to a child. He knew all my moves, must have studied my cases and capabilities, perhaps someone on the inside? I went crazy over the twelve months I worked these cases. Studied pictures until my eyes hurt, until my insides turned. I was sick. Sick of this bastard who could outsmart me, fool me into believing I was nothing.

Eventually I turned to God, well I had to have hope in something. I would visit the church every day. I would pray that something would come to me, something would be found, new evidence, anything but what turned up. Little Bonnie. My little Bonnie. Conflict of interest they told me. They told me I would be useless. For three days I sat in the church promising to sacrifice anything I had, everything I was to bring her back. To catch him. To find the bastard that laid his hands on my own child, delivered her to my doorstep, left her in the rain; the cold dead of night. My wife found her lifeless body the following morning. We’d put her to bed the night before, she slept soundly dreaming of tiddly-winks and Betty, her doll, who’d slept next to her. We never even knew she was missing. Of course the department found nothing, they knew nothing. I turned crazy, started making my own case, stealing from the department records, interrogating my friends and colleagues on the official case, getting nowhere. I still sat in the church, everyday hoping and praying that something would come, something would turn up.

I was dismissed. How is that even possible? Perverting the course of justice they say, SHE WAS MY GIRL, my little Bonnie. They couldn’t take me off the case completely though, nope, didn’t know about my secret stash of case files. I’d copied everything. All nine cases of the mystery ‘8’. My theory, Bonnie wasn’t meant to be included, why kill nine when you brand ‘8’. We’d thought it was over before Bonnie turned up, that he’d finished. He’d had his eight.

I read in the news today, another little girl has turned up. Another nameless child. Another call for witnesses, for someone to claim the body. Bonnie was different. Bonnie was a taunt, he wanted me to keep going, to try and find him. He was testing me; why else would he pick her? No one missed all of the other girls, no one ever claimed them. The system didn’t work. Something was wrong but I couldn’t work out what it was, I couldn’t figure out who or why.

​I followed the trail on the new girl, hiding in the shadows, following the investigation through the news, through the crime scenes. There had been three more girls turn up. The last one, Jenny, was claimed by a distant relative. She had been moved eighty miles from home. Supposedly an orphan child, the papers said the mother abandoned her. The claimant recognised her, they didn’t say how, they just knew. The mother acted distraught when she found out, but something didn’t add up. Had he got sloppy? Why had he chosen this girl now? One that could be identified. I followed this case to Hell’s Mouth, Wales.

I had no idea what I was doing here or what had I expected to find, but I knew I had to be here. Something had compelled me to come. For Bonnie. Dark figures passed around me, people could tell I wasn’t from around here. They kept stopping and whispering. I got an uneasy feeling about this place, the further I delved into the small, sheltered, little town. I discovered the orphanage here had been closed. Strange. I took it upon myself to delve into the town records, the library clerk staring at me the whole time. I flipped through pages of newspaper articles, all saying the same thing, ‘Girl Aged 8 Missing’, ‘Another Girl Disappears’, ‘No Trace of the Orphan Girls’. Orphan girls? Could these be the unclaimed girls we’d found? But the orphanage closed the year Bonnie died?

I don’t remember much about what happened next. Something roused me from the newspaper articles. My senses reeling, compelling me to leave. It was dark when I exited the library, something in me decided to investigate the orphanage. An uneasy mist surrounded the gates, the rundown building barely standing against the rough sea breeze. A dark figure moved in my peripheral vision. As soon as I turned, it had gone. The bushes across the street moved, I followed. Walking through dark passages and alleyways, across misty fields I could see a church spire just inside the woods. My compulsion to investigate was greater than ever. The dark figure crossed my line of site; in the distance stalking towards the church. Standing in front of the church I noticed the ‘8’ carved above the great doors. My realisation dawned. This was his home.

Frozen in time, unable and unwilling to move, I stood facing my God. Facing my reality. My life, my obsession had lead me to him. To his door, to this monster I couldn’t stop. My nemesis.

As the church clock strikes six, time stands still around me. A nearby cockerel crows waking me from my daydream. Someone’s Morning Prayer has been answered as I stand beside a body lying across the doorstep of the church. The body is mine. He was free, I was free. I push open the antique doors, my footsteps echoing through the empty pews. A bright light shining on the altar.

My darling little Bonnie.

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Written by RhiRhi
Murder in the morning
As the church clock strikes six, time stands still around me. A nearby cockerel crows, waking me from my daydream. Someone’s Morning Prayer has been answered as I stand beside a body lying across the doorstep of the church. A line of crumb-carrying ants march across his face, the sweet life nectar pooling the ground around me. There is a serene, momentary quiet after the chimes cease; his beating heart stopping to the dramatic echo. A dark figure glides past the church wall, before my silence is cracked by a far off wailing.
​Panic ensues, did someone see what happened? Looking around for evidence I notice smeared footprints underneath the large bush shadowing the grave yard entrance. That figure; they must have been here, watching, waiting. They must have seen. Maybe they can help, I must find them, but how? Suddenly, and far from willingly, I feel pulled towards the church. Stepping over the bloodied body before me, I push open the antique doors. They groan, seemingly in sorrow of the scene in front of them; or perhaps it is just the weight and years behind them.
​My footsteps echo through the empty pews, My Lord, forgive my trespass. It had been several years since I last entered a church, uttering words of forgiveness and sacrifice, servitude or gratitude. I had hoped I would never be faced with another trial like this, that I had escaped my past; that I’d left unknown experiences behind me. How wrong I was, something had followed me through this time. Over distant lands and shores. I had presumed myself alone, forgotten, You were to leave me, protect me. We have failed, I have failed. A rustling wakes me from my ruse. I am not alone. Oh Lord, if ever you were to be needed, to be true and forgiving, make that time now.

In my younger days I had been a great detective, the best on the force. I had solved every case I had ever taken and I was often hired to take cases that no one else could solve. I worked many cold cases back then, before that one case. Little Bonnie Asher. No one could save her, not after he had found her. The man that became my nemesis, nameless and faceless. He avoided everything I could do, everything the force could come up with to catch him, to protect Bonnie from him.
​He first struck in 1946. A young girl’s body, about eight years old turned up on the Marston Moor’s. It was my first ever outside case. Normally, I worked the streets of London and there was always plenty of action, but since I was the best detective, having never failed in solving a case at the young age of twenty-five, every force in the country needed me to solve some case they hadn’t got any leads on. We never identified the girl, there was no missing report that matched her, and no one came forward to claim her. She was pristine when we found her; a beautiful little girl who had so much life ahead of her. The medical examiner could identify only three things, she was raped, strangled, and branded. A small ‘8’ carved into her shoulder. So many false leads were followed trying to find our suspect, but in the end we could make nothing stick. I could find nothing.
​There was a string of seven more little girls that turned up, never in the same place, never even in the same county. We followed this trail of ‘8’ up and down the country; into Scotland - right down to Devon. Not even I could find anything. He was clever, I deduced it had to be a male, no child bearing woman could be capable to doing this to a child. He knew all my moves, must have studied my cases and capabilities, perhaps someone on the inside? I went crazy over the twelve months I worked these cases. Studied pictures until my eyes hurt, until my insides turned. I was sick. Sick of this bastard who could outsmart me, fool me into believing I was nothing.
Eventually I turned to God, well I had to have hope in something. I would visit the church every day. I would pray that something would come to me, something would be found, new evidence, anything but what turned up. Little Bonnie. My little Bonnie. Conflict of interest they told me. They told me I would be useless. For three days I sat in the church promising to sacrifice anything I had, everything I was to bring her back. To catch him. To find the bastard that laid his hands on my own child, delivered her to my doorstep, left her in the rain; the cold dead of night. My wife found her lifeless body the following morning. We’d put her to bed the night before, she slept soundly dreaming of tiddly-winks and Betty, her doll, who’d slept next to her. We never even knew she was missing. Of course the department found nothing, they knew nothing. I turned crazy, started making my own case, stealing from the department records, interrogating my friends and colleagues on the official case, getting nowhere. I still sat in the church, everyday hoping and praying that something would come, something would turn up.

I was dismissed. How is that even possible? Perverting the course of justice they say, SHE WAS MY GIRL, my little Bonnie. They couldn’t take me off the case completely though, nope, didn’t know about my secret stash of case files. I’d copied everything. All nine cases of the mystery ‘8’. My theory, Bonnie wasn’t meant to be included, why kill nine when you brand ‘8’. We’d thought it was over before Bonnie turned up, that he’d finished. He’d had his eight.

I read in the news today, another little girl has turned up. Another nameless child. Another call for witnesses, for someone to claim the body. Bonnie was different. Bonnie was a taunt, he wanted me to keep going, to try and find him. He was testing me; why else would he pick her? No one missed all of the other girls, no one ever claimed them. The system didn’t work. Something was wrong but I couldn’t work out what it was, I couldn’t figure out who or why.
​I followed the trail on the new girl, hiding in the shadows, following the investigation through the news, through the crime scenes. There had been three more girls turn up. The last one, Jenny, was claimed by a distant relative. She had been moved eighty miles from home. Supposedly an orphan child, the papers said the mother abandoned her. The claimant recognised her, they didn’t say how, they just knew. The mother acted distraught when she found out, but something didn’t add up. Had he got sloppy? Why had he chosen this girl now? One that could be identified. I followed this case to Hell’s Mouth, Wales.
I had no idea what I was doing here or what had I expected to find, but I knew I had to be here. Something had compelled me to come. For Bonnie. Dark figures passed around me, people could tell I wasn’t from around here. They kept stopping and whispering. I got an uneasy feeling about this place, the further I delved into the small, sheltered, little town. I discovered the orphanage here had been closed. Strange. I took it upon myself to delve into the town records, the library clerk staring at me the whole time. I flipped through pages of newspaper articles, all saying the same thing, ‘Girl Aged 8 Missing’, ‘Another Girl Disappears’, ‘No Trace of the Orphan Girls’. Orphan girls? Could these be the unclaimed girls we’d found? But the orphanage closed the year Bonnie died?

I don’t remember much about what happened next. Something roused me from the newspaper articles. My senses reeling, compelling me to leave. It was dark when I exited the library, something in me decided to investigate the orphanage. An uneasy mist surrounded the gates, the rundown building barely standing against the rough sea breeze. A dark figure moved in my peripheral vision. As soon as I turned, it had gone. The bushes across the street moved, I followed. Walking through dark passages and alleyways, across misty fields I could see a church spire just inside the woods. My compulsion to investigate was greater than ever. The dark figure crossed my line of site; in the distance stalking towards the church. Standing in front of the church I noticed the ‘8’ carved above the great doors. My realisation dawned. This was his home.
Frozen in time, unable and unwilling to move, I stood facing my God. Facing my reality. My life, my obsession had lead me to him. To his door, to this monster I couldn’t stop. My nemesis.

As the church clock strikes six, time stands still around me. A nearby cockerel crows waking me from my daydream. Someone’s Morning Prayer has been answered as I stand beside a body lying across the doorstep of the church. The body is mine. He was free, I was free. I push open the antique doors, my footsteps echoing through the empty pews. A bright light shining on the altar.

My darling little Bonnie.
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Written by RhiRhi

Life's quest

Chapter 1 - Discovery

Hello. My name is Faith. I am seventeen, I live on the outskirts of a large city, surrounded by beautiful landscapes and amazing sunsets. Today should be like any other ordinary day. Although I already know that today is no ordinary day, well after all today is my birthday. Today promises to be full of upset, let downs and failure, just like every birthday before it. I am dressed as normal for my day at college, had my usual boring breakfast of toast and juice and now I am ready to go. I feel a tight pang in my stomach, unlike anything I have experienced before. A strange pulling sensation. I immediately brush it off as nothing and leave for my morning journey.

Every day I walk these same paths. Down the road, through the park and past the woods towards the same old dreary bus stop, ready for college. It’s not an exciting walk but I do love to walk. The fresh air and space allow my imagination to run away and discover new far off places. I never imagined any of them could be real. The sun is shining on me today, hopefully it will be a good day and college life won’t beat me down as it normally does. As I reach the woods, I realise today may not be any ordinary day at all. Suddenly there is a rustle from somewhere near, just inside the treeline. I stop but I cannot see anything, no movement in the bushes, nothing, just the silent stillness I am so accustomed to. I keep walking, allowing my mind to wonder at the possibilities of what could have led to that rustle, maybe a lone wolf stalking out its next meal? Or perhaps something more likely, a small rabbit having lost its way home. Another noise. A whistling from somewhere very close by. Definitely not a rabbit, but also not a wolf so that’s something. As I continue walking past the woods my imagination running wild, I think of all the possibilities of what could hide in a bush but whistle. I can come up with many mystical and mythological creatures. Such a beautiful place inside my mind. There it is again, the rustling. As I look around I see the leaves settling from their disturbance. There is definitely something following me. I quicken my pace, hoping to reach the end of the woods before anything further happens. The rustling continues to follow me down the path along the treeline, whistling every so often as it moves from bush to bush. As I peer into the bushes I see a beady black eye looking back at me, perhaps my wolf theory was in fact not too far from the truth after all. In a startling flutter I am blinded by shining wings that quickly disappear deeper into the woodland. What on earth was that? It definitely wasn’t a crow or anything similar. It was much larger than anything I can think of and its golden feathers flashed in the sunlight. Perhaps an overgrown eagle, but why would it be hiding in the bushes rather than high up in the trees. I decide to venture into the woods, college can wait a few minutes whilst I investigate this.

​I didn’t realise these woods outstretched so far. To be honest as much as I love walking, I have never bothered to venture into these woods, they have just never appealed to me, until today. I can hear the bird calling in the distance above me, the same whistling that followed me down the path. Judging by its sound it’s definitely not an eagle, at least not one I’ve ever heard before. Most intriguing, I just wish I knew what it was. A flash of shadow above me snaps me back into the present. The shadow of the bird darts past me but it flies too fast for me to get a good look at it. Up ahead a clearing comes into view. Darkened by the trees looming overhead. Despite the eerie darkness of this place I still feel a strange pull to continue on. I’ve had this feeling already today, this morning at home. I’m starting to wish I hadn’t shrugged it off then, I certainly can’t ignore it now.

In front of me stands a translucent shimmer in the centre of the clearing, emanating a pale blue light from the centre. Without warning the bird swoops round, it appears much bigger than I first anticipated, and flies straight into the shimmer, but it doesn’t come out the other side. What the hell was that? I feel a pull towards the blue light.

‘I’m not sure this was such a good idea after all.’

A low pitched growl appears behind me.

‘No, definitely not a good idea.’

I slowly turn and immediately begin to back away, although I am fascinated with wolves, I have never wanted to meet one face to face, especially not out in the open. The wolf glides forward towards me in its natural surroundings, snarling and growling it forces me backwards towards the blue light. I hear the bird calling, its head peaking back out of the portal. I have two options, flee through a strange and unknown blue portal. Or stay and face the wolf.

‘This is so weird. I feel weightless. The growling has stopped. I feel like my body is being pulled apart and rebuilt one molecule at a time.’

I raise my arm against the blinding lights surrounding me, and slowly allow my eyes to adjust. My jaw drops open. Two bird stands in front of me, one quite small in size, at least compared to the other. It stands around four foot tall and it dawns on me that this was the bird that I followed into the woods. The other is not what I expected to see at all. The grand birds stands around twelve feet tall with impressive, strong wings. There is something unusual about these birds, something I have only ever imagined and read about in story books. These are griffins, part eagle part lion. The larger of the two stands with its regal head held high and proud, its lion stance held in defence. It is unsure of me despite saving my life.

‘How do you thank a griffin when you cannot talk to it?’

‘But perhaps you can’

What was that? Where did that voice come from? The griffin stares intently at me. It cannot have been…can it?

‘Can you hear me?’

‘Of course I can, my name is Regina, and you are most welcome.’

‘Wow. How is this even possible? What happened back there? Where am I?’

‘This is Andora. This is our home. You are most welcome here. I’m very happy you decided to follow the little one, we have been looking for you for some time.’

The griffin bows its regal head to the ground, bending its front claws. It appears to be honouring my presence.

‘Why are you bowing? Wait. Why have you been looking for me?’

‘You are the only one who can help Andora bring peace between its nations. I’m sorry to burden you with this with no explanation, but we must leave. The wolf will follow us very shortly.’

With no further explanation or speaking the griffon scoops me on to her back and takes flight. Once we are in the air I can hear howling from far below us. As predicted the wolf followed us, although this time it was not alone. As we speed off through the sky, I can see three other wolves have joined the first, two much larger than the one that forced me through the portal.

​I have fallen into a strange world, where a giant eagle cross lion is flying me across star filled skies. Stars in the middle of the day, how is that even possible? I am told this place is called Andora and I am to be its saviour, me, really? I don’t see how I could save anything, I can’t even save myself in my own life, let alone a world I’ve never even heard of before. As we fly through the sky I take in the surroundings below me. There are several woodland areas, a large marsh and fields of corn, and wheat. In the distance I see smoke billowing on the horizon. Something is burning, and I hope and pray that we are not headed to its location. I do not want to see what is happening that I may have been brought here to prevent. The griffin takes a sharp right nearly flinging me from its back, clinging on as she straightens I realise we are indeed headed directly for the billowing smoke. As we head over the horizon the cause of the smoke comes into view. A large castle stands proudly on top of a rock cliff, underneath it a small village burns. I can hear screams and people shouting as we near the village.

‘What happened here?’

​‘This is the work of Draken. He is the elder dragon who controls the neighbouring land. He sent his forces out this morning, he wishes for full control of Andora, but the King refuses to step down.’

‘And what am I expected to do here?’

​‘Help. The rest I am not authorised to tell you, I am only the messenger and deliverer of your safety to the King. He will explain all.’

As Regina lands next to the village, the villagers all seem to stop their attempts to put out the burning fires destroying their homes. I must admit I am oddly dressed to the peasant attire that adorns them.

‘She will help.’

A small child appears at my side and passes me a basket. He points towards a well in the centre of the village. The villagers resume running back and forth, their baskets leaking more water than they can get onto fires. I realise what I must do. The child follows me, as if he knows me, I use this to my advantage.

​‘Hello?’

He smiles at me, at least he can understand me, I hope. I fill the basket and pass it back to the small boy. A nearby woman takes the basket from him, seeing it is much too heavy for the small boy to take. She runs to the nearest fire. I have it. A human chain that is the only way we will get these fires out.

‘Will you help me?’

He nods at me.

​‘I need you to get your villagers to pass each other the bucket. It will be much quicker and more water will get to the fire. Can you do that?’

With that he was off. Whispering to people who seemed to stop their running back and forth. I passed the woman another bucket, a man came running up and took it. Another man, an older child and they continued until the basket was emptied and the small boy brought the basket back to me.

‘I think we can do this.’

​‘Of course you can, you are our hero.’

Continuing to fill the baskets, I notice the smaller children gathering round collecting baskets and pots to help put the fires out. Chains of villagers spread out in every directions passing the full buckets down the line to the fires. The smaller children bringing them back to me to fill them from the well and carry on the process. Everywhere fires are burning the heat of the flames is exhausting, but begins to die with every extra bucket we fill. Tirelessly we continue filling and distributing buckets until the last smouldering flame is extinguished. The damage is bad, although it could be far worse. Many of the villagers homes are gone, some are badly burnt a few remain intact. Suddenly I hear wailing and crying nearby.

‘I hope nothing bad has happened. What if someone was trapped?’ Walking towards the noise a small group of villagers crowding around a woman clutching a small boy to her chest. He had been trapped inside one of the buildings when the wooden roof collapsed. Her tears falling into the boys hair, but they cannot breathe life back into him. I move closer, slowly, the villagers stand aside to allow me passage to the woman. Crouching down next to her I slowly put my hand on the boys head. His lifeless blue eyes staring up into the starry sky. Gently I pull my hand down his face and close his eyes.

​‘Be at peace, small warrior’. With my words the woman clasps my hand tightly. The villagers take the boy’s body away. Some hero I am if I can’t even protect a small innocent child from this fate.

‘I can’t do this Regina. This is not my fight, not my fate. I cannot help these people.’

​‘But you already have, can you not see the joy you have brought to a weeping woman’s heart. She has lost her child, but you have named him a warrior of the hero. No greater death can be achieved by their people.’

‘But I don’t understand this place. I don’t see how that can help them. How I can help them?’

​‘You put out the fires, and only one life was lost. Come, we must leave these people to mourn. It is by far time that you met with our great royalty. The king will be waiting for you, especially after these events.’

Without warning Regina scoops me on to her back once again.

I am torn inside. I wish to return home, to know my fate is not to play a hero to this suffering world. How can I prevent this from happening again, I am merely a child myself. How does someone of seventeen suddenly get thrown into a world to become a hero? Perhaps it is my lack of faith in my own abilities.

‘Regina, I’m scared. I don’t think I can do this.’

​‘Hero you must be, hero you must become. This is your destiny, your fate, your true path. All will become clear to you hero. All will be explained. You must trust in your heart. That is all that will guide you through troubled times.’

I think on Regina’s words as we climb the mountain, soaring round the cliff up towards the castle. Follow my heart. I was pulled towards the portal, is this what Regina is talking about? Perhaps my fate does lie here. Perhaps destiny did bring me into those woods that day. Any other day I would have walked away, but why not today? What was so different inside me that I had to follow the griffin? Perhaps the King will have the answers I so desperately need to help me. Make my path clear to me. Make this decision easier. I’m not sure I could leave and abandon these people. They need me. But can I be their Hero?

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Written by RhiRhi
Life's quest
Chapter 1 - Discovery
Hello. My name is Faith. I am seventeen, I live on the outskirts of a large city, surrounded by beautiful landscapes and amazing sunsets. Today should be like any other ordinary day. Although I already know that today is no ordinary day, well after all today is my birthday. Today promises to be full of upset, let downs and failure, just like every birthday before it. I am dressed as normal for my day at college, had my usual boring breakfast of toast and juice and now I am ready to go. I feel a tight pang in my stomach, unlike anything I have experienced before. A strange pulling sensation. I immediately brush it off as nothing and leave for my morning journey.
Every day I walk these same paths. Down the road, through the park and past the woods towards the same old dreary bus stop, ready for college. It’s not an exciting walk but I do love to walk. The fresh air and space allow my imagination to run away and discover new far off places. I never imagined any of them could be real. The sun is shining on me today, hopefully it will be a good day and college life won’t beat me down as it normally does. As I reach the woods, I realise today may not be any ordinary day at all. Suddenly there is a rustle from somewhere near, just inside the treeline. I stop but I cannot see anything, no movement in the bushes, nothing, just the silent stillness I am so accustomed to. I keep walking, allowing my mind to wonder at the possibilities of what could have led to that rustle, maybe a lone wolf stalking out its next meal? Or perhaps something more likely, a small rabbit having lost its way home. Another noise. A whistling from somewhere very close by. Definitely not a rabbit, but also not a wolf so that’s something. As I continue walking past the woods my imagination running wild, I think of all the possibilities of what could hide in a bush but whistle. I can come up with many mystical and mythological creatures. Such a beautiful place inside my mind. There it is again, the rustling. As I look around I see the leaves settling from their disturbance. There is definitely something following me. I quicken my pace, hoping to reach the end of the woods before anything further happens. The rustling continues to follow me down the path along the treeline, whistling every so often as it moves from bush to bush. As I peer into the bushes I see a beady black eye looking back at me, perhaps my wolf theory was in fact not too far from the truth after all. In a startling flutter I am blinded by shining wings that quickly disappear deeper into the woodland. What on earth was that? It definitely wasn’t a crow or anything similar. It was much larger than anything I can think of and its golden feathers flashed in the sunlight. Perhaps an overgrown eagle, but why would it be hiding in the bushes rather than high up in the trees. I decide to venture into the woods, college can wait a few minutes whilst I investigate this.
​I didn’t realise these woods outstretched so far. To be honest as much as I love walking, I have never bothered to venture into these woods, they have just never appealed to me, until today. I can hear the bird calling in the distance above me, the same whistling that followed me down the path. Judging by its sound it’s definitely not an eagle, at least not one I’ve ever heard before. Most intriguing, I just wish I knew what it was. A flash of shadow above me snaps me back into the present. The shadow of the bird darts past me but it flies too fast for me to get a good look at it. Up ahead a clearing comes into view. Darkened by the trees looming overhead. Despite the eerie darkness of this place I still feel a strange pull to continue on. I’ve had this feeling already today, this morning at home. I’m starting to wish I hadn’t shrugged it off then, I certainly can’t ignore it now.
In front of me stands a translucent shimmer in the centre of the clearing, emanating a pale blue light from the centre. Without warning the bird swoops round, it appears much bigger than I first anticipated, and flies straight into the shimmer, but it doesn’t come out the other side. What the hell was that? I feel a pull towards the blue light.
‘I’m not sure this was such a good idea after all.’
A low pitched growl appears behind me.
‘No, definitely not a good idea.’
I slowly turn and immediately begin to back away, although I am fascinated with wolves, I have never wanted to meet one face to face, especially not out in the open. The wolf glides forward towards me in its natural surroundings, snarling and growling it forces me backwards towards the blue light. I hear the bird calling, its head peaking back out of the portal. I have two options, flee through a strange and unknown blue portal. Or stay and face the wolf.

‘This is so weird. I feel weightless. The growling has stopped. I feel like my body is being pulled apart and rebuilt one molecule at a time.’
I raise my arm against the blinding lights surrounding me, and slowly allow my eyes to adjust. My jaw drops open. Two bird stands in front of me, one quite small in size, at least compared to the other. It stands around four foot tall and it dawns on me that this was the bird that I followed into the woods. The other is not what I expected to see at all. The grand birds stands around twelve feet tall with impressive, strong wings. There is something unusual about these birds, something I have only ever imagined and read about in story books. These are griffins, part eagle part lion. The larger of the two stands with its regal head held high and proud, its lion stance held in defence. It is unsure of me despite saving my life.
‘How do you thank a griffin when you cannot talk to it?’
‘But perhaps you can’
What was that? Where did that voice come from? The griffin stares intently at me. It cannot have been…can it?
‘Can you hear me?’
‘Of course I can, my name is Regina, and you are most welcome.’
‘Wow. How is this even possible? What happened back there? Where am I?’
‘This is Andora. This is our home. You are most welcome here. I’m very happy you decided to follow the little one, we have been looking for you for some time.’
The griffin bows its regal head to the ground, bending its front claws. It appears to be honouring my presence.
‘Why are you bowing? Wait. Why have you been looking for me?’
‘You are the only one who can help Andora bring peace between its nations. I’m sorry to burden you with this with no explanation, but we must leave. The wolf will follow us very shortly.’
With no further explanation or speaking the griffon scoops me on to her back and takes flight. Once we are in the air I can hear howling from far below us. As predicted the wolf followed us, although this time it was not alone. As we speed off through the sky, I can see three other wolves have joined the first, two much larger than the one that forced me through the portal.
​I have fallen into a strange world, where a giant eagle cross lion is flying me across star filled skies. Stars in the middle of the day, how is that even possible? I am told this place is called Andora and I am to be its saviour, me, really? I don’t see how I could save anything, I can’t even save myself in my own life, let alone a world I’ve never even heard of before. As we fly through the sky I take in the surroundings below me. There are several woodland areas, a large marsh and fields of corn, and wheat. In the distance I see smoke billowing on the horizon. Something is burning, and I hope and pray that we are not headed to its location. I do not want to see what is happening that I may have been brought here to prevent. The griffin takes a sharp right nearly flinging me from its back, clinging on as she straightens I realise we are indeed headed directly for the billowing smoke. As we head over the horizon the cause of the smoke comes into view. A large castle stands proudly on top of a rock cliff, underneath it a small village burns. I can hear screams and people shouting as we near the village.
‘What happened here?’
​‘This is the work of Draken. He is the elder dragon who controls the neighbouring land. He sent his forces out this morning, he wishes for full control of Andora, but the King refuses to step down.’
‘And what am I expected to do here?’
​‘Help. The rest I am not authorised to tell you, I am only the messenger and deliverer of your safety to the King. He will explain all.’
As Regina lands next to the village, the villagers all seem to stop their attempts to put out the burning fires destroying their homes. I must admit I am oddly dressed to the peasant attire that adorns them.
‘She will help.’
A small child appears at my side and passes me a basket. He points towards a well in the centre of the village. The villagers resume running back and forth, their baskets leaking more water than they can get onto fires. I realise what I must do. The child follows me, as if he knows me, I use this to my advantage.
​‘Hello?’
He smiles at me, at least he can understand me, I hope. I fill the basket and pass it back to the small boy. A nearby woman takes the basket from him, seeing it is much too heavy for the small boy to take. She runs to the nearest fire. I have it. A human chain that is the only way we will get these fires out.
‘Will you help me?’
He nods at me.
​‘I need you to get your villagers to pass each other the bucket. It will be much quicker and more water will get to the fire. Can you do that?’
With that he was off. Whispering to people who seemed to stop their running back and forth. I passed the woman another bucket, a man came running up and took it. Another man, an older child and they continued until the basket was emptied and the small boy brought the basket back to me.
‘I think we can do this.’
​‘Of course you can, you are our hero.’
Continuing to fill the baskets, I notice the smaller children gathering round collecting baskets and pots to help put the fires out. Chains of villagers spread out in every directions passing the full buckets down the line to the fires. The smaller children bringing them back to me to fill them from the well and carry on the process. Everywhere fires are burning the heat of the flames is exhausting, but begins to die with every extra bucket we fill. Tirelessly we continue filling and distributing buckets until the last smouldering flame is extinguished. The damage is bad, although it could be far worse. Many of the villagers homes are gone, some are badly burnt a few remain intact. Suddenly I hear wailing and crying nearby.
‘I hope nothing bad has happened. What if someone was trapped?’ Walking towards the noise a small group of villagers crowding around a woman clutching a small boy to her chest. He had been trapped inside one of the buildings when the wooden roof collapsed. Her tears falling into the boys hair, but they cannot breathe life back into him. I move closer, slowly, the villagers stand aside to allow me passage to the woman. Crouching down next to her I slowly put my hand on the boys head. His lifeless blue eyes staring up into the starry sky. Gently I pull my hand down his face and close his eyes.
​‘Be at peace, small warrior’. With my words the woman clasps my hand tightly. The villagers take the boy’s body away. Some hero I am if I can’t even protect a small innocent child from this fate.
‘I can’t do this Regina. This is not my fight, not my fate. I cannot help these people.’
​‘But you already have, can you not see the joy you have brought to a weeping woman’s heart. She has lost her child, but you have named him a warrior of the hero. No greater death can be achieved by their people.’
‘But I don’t understand this place. I don’t see how that can help them. How I can help them?’
​‘You put out the fires, and only one life was lost. Come, we must leave these people to mourn. It is by far time that you met with our great royalty. The king will be waiting for you, especially after these events.’
Without warning Regina scoops me on to her back once again.
I am torn inside. I wish to return home, to know my fate is not to play a hero to this suffering world. How can I prevent this from happening again, I am merely a child myself. How does someone of seventeen suddenly get thrown into a world to become a hero? Perhaps it is my lack of faith in my own abilities.
‘Regina, I’m scared. I don’t think I can do this.’
​‘Hero you must be, hero you must become. This is your destiny, your fate, your true path. All will become clear to you hero. All will be explained. You must trust in your heart. That is all that will guide you through troubled times.’
I think on Regina’s words as we climb the mountain, soaring round the cliff up towards the castle. Follow my heart. I was pulled towards the portal, is this what Regina is talking about? Perhaps my fate does lie here. Perhaps destiny did bring me into those woods that day. Any other day I would have walked away, but why not today? What was so different inside me that I had to follow the griffin? Perhaps the King will have the answers I so desperately need to help me. Make my path clear to me. Make this decision easier. I’m not sure I could leave and abandon these people. They need me. But can I be their Hero?
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Juice
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Written by RhiRhi

Another bad night

Somewhere in the distance my subconscious picks up the sound of sirens screeching. As it pulls my brain and body into waking I realise these are no ordinary sirens but air raid sirens. I cough myself into consciousness, surrounded by thick black smoke, unable to see, unable to breathe. The darkness around me consuming all my senses, sirens blasting, smoke filling my lungs, a faint smell of sulphur fills my nostrils. I fall to the floor straining to see through tear filled and groggy eyes that are determined to remain asleep so as not to deal with the reality occurring around me. Behind me I can see a faint red glow, barely visible but beckoning me to explore it. Struggling to get my limbs to cooperate with my panicked brain I crawl through dust and rubble towards the light. Within seconds the smoke clears, flying up into the dark sky above. My senses struggle to adjust to the air flowing over me, purifying my body from the torment the smoke has caused. As I turn around I struggle to identify my surroundings. I’m certain I went to sleep in my own bed last night. I remember the comfort of my silken sheets, cool against my skin through the heat of the day. The support of my pillow against my weary head and neck. The scent of a freshly washed blanket, for the cooler periods of the night. I had settled down in blissful comfort unaware of the trials that laid ahead of me. Unaware that I would wake up in strange surroundings. As I pondered over my quandary, taking in the surroundings around me, trying to shut out the smell of smoke and sound of sirens I realised that I had awoken in another time. Another place. It was the only logical solution. This was not my house, my street, or anywhere I could recall having ever seen before. I could not place the strange signs and buildings, or at least what was left of them. This place looked like a war zone. Come to think of it, it smelt and sounded like one too. My whole body begins to quiver. My senses all running into overdrive. I had absolutely no idea where I was, or what to do next.

The sirens have stopped. Either that or I have become so accustomed to them since I awoke, I can no longer hear them in my conscious state. I begin to wonder the rubble laden street in front of me. There are no street names, no clues as to where I could possibly be. And no-one to be seen. Not even a bird or a dog or even a rat. No sign of life around as far as I can, despite this clearly having been habited recently. Walking through the rubble and debris I see a paw sticking out. A child’s teddy, unknown to me to be the only companion I will gain from this experience. Every building has been reduced to rubble. Some walls still remain intact but badly burnt from smoke and fires that continue to billow ferociously, this is how I imagine hell would look like, but a lot quieter. Eerily quiet, and lonely. Loneliness. My greatest fear. Something I have never been able to conquer a fear of abandonment and being alone, and this place is every empowerment to that fear. My heart begins to race and thoughts flood through my nervous brain. I’m unable to quench or control my need for contact, to be talked down and clamed. Instead I have Ted, well what else do you name a homeless child’s toy. I take a few moments to rest and cuddle the teddy close to my chest. It brings me some peace amongst the ruins and war torn buildings around me. If only I knew where I was, perhaps I could get some help.

Moments turn into minutes, which turn into hours, although it feels like a lot longer. I feel calm enough to move and pick up my troublesome journey again. With Ted by my side and hand in hand, we move off through the rubble, stepping carefully so not to disturb the ground around us. The roads are cracked and torn, the pavements mounds of bricks and cement. I notice an alley to my right. There is a light at the end. The only solid light that I have seen since that warning red glow. Suddenly the light dims and flickers. My heart racing, my head pounding, I cover my face as the glass tube explodes. That was strange. There are no visible signs of electricity around, and no other lights to be seen. That couldn’t have possibly been down to me could it? My weary limbs force me to sit. Although I am usually fit enough to run marathons this place is taking an uneasy toll on me constantly in strange and frustrating ways. I can’t work out what is really happen around me, or to me. Clutching Ted close I close my eyes. The sirens have stopped. I hear the crackle of fires in surrounding buildings, and the crashing of bricks as the fires demolish what is left of my surrounding foundations. Looking up at the sky I wonder what is happening. To my surprise through the smoke I can see a clear night sky. A calm amongst the storm. Twinkling diamonds above me. I was once told that every person we have loved and lost makes up those stars, each spirit watching over us intently. As if summoned by my thoughts a breeze passes over me. As if a spirit has reached down from that piercing night sky to guide me. I force myself to stand, to follow the path of the breeze. It leads me away from the burning rubble and into a field. Behind me I can see the burning glaze of the buildings, but here it is peaceful, serene even. I push on a few minutes more and see a small wooden shed in front of me. My mind screaming at me to rest, I enter the shed with hesitation. It’s completely empty. I shut the door, sit down to rest and softly close my eyes, still clutching Ted to my chest.

I awake with a start. Sun beams flowing in through gaps in my wooden fort in the middle of the madness. I feel like I have slept for days, but I know the reality is merely hours. I wish I felt refreshed, but my mind wearily tugs at me reminding me of the previous day’s devastation. Tentatively I open the shed door. In the distance I can see, nothing. No burning, crumbling ruins. No fires. Nothing. Perhaps it was all a dream? But if so, why am I sleeping in a shed? I look around me. There is nothing but green fields. At least it’s not the burning hell I feel asleep from. I have no idea where I am going, or where I have been but I still decide I can’t stay here. Ted and I walk towards the direction the sun rose in. Normally I would say east, but I don’t truly know where I am so I don’t know if that is true. After walking for what feels like miles… a face full of dirt. I tripped over a branch. There are no trees around, no bushes just a sole and lonely branch in the middle of the green fields. This place is so strange, like something out of a fairytale, or perhaps a horror film. Looking up I notice a windmill on the horizon. How did I not notice that before? Now I am sure my mind is playing tricks on me. There is still no sign of life. The birds that woke me, are nowhere to be seen. Just me and Ted. Ted and I. Picking myself up and dusting myself off I walk towards the windmill. Perhaps there will be someone there who can help me. As I reach the windmill the sails begin to turn. My pace slows, my heart races, my mind and thoughts hit overdrive once again. I can out, but no one responds. There is no one here, no shadows, no voices, just emptiness. I hear creaking. Followed by cracking. As I look up the sails begin to break apart and fall to the ground. Everything stops. Clutching Ted to my chest I open my eyes. I am surrounded again my rubble. Broken wood splintered around my feet. No catalyst, nothing to have caused it. Just me, Ted and the windmill. I can’t comprehend what’s happening to me. I fall to my knees weeping. Is there no one here that can help me? My fears take hold once more. Abandoned. Alone. Unwilling to go on, clutching a child’s toy to my chest.

Sometime later, once I have regained some of my senses, my anxieties have calmed and the rational part of my brain has kick started me again, I force myself off the floor once more. I notice a small stream that I’m sure wasn’t there before. In the distance I can see a bridge. A magnificent structure, unlike anything I’ve seen before. Without thinking I push forward towards the bridge. The sun has started to set before I reach the bride. Grand steel rises from a river miles below. I make the climb up the steep rise towards the top of the bridge. Glass plates along the edge of the bridge separate me from the water rushing below. Jagged rocks appear in between sweeping waves and white water flowing under the bridge. Looking back I can see nothing. Not through darkness of the setting sun, just nothing. The green fields have gone, the windmill is not where I just came from. Nothing. No burning rubble, no smoke filled ruins of fire, no hell, no light. Just the bridge I now stand upon. My weary mind hits overdrive again. I’m trying to comprehend how my surroundings can change so drastically. Am I dreaming this? Imagining a wakened state, that doesn’t really exist? Where has the destruction gone? Where did the beauty go? The glass surrounding me shatters without warning. Spreading shards out into the raging river below. The waves have become fiercer now, covering the rocks and frothing the water from below.

In my mind I can hear someone calling me from afar. Not around me, but below me. Like a siren who calls a passing ship towards a perilous end. Against my rational judgement, I walk towards the edge of the bridge. The voice is beautiful. Like nothing I have ever heard before. I can see nothing below me. The night has enclosed the bridge and darkness surrounds me. The only light I can see is that of the moon, beaming down on me. I can hear the water rushing below me, and the voice calling me. I notice my reflection on the hand rail of the bridge, as if the steel were in fact mirrors. I cannot even recognise myself. But then who would recognise the faceless being staring back at me. The voice continues to call to me, such beauty that cannot be seen. Enticing me to the waters below. Faceless. My weary body begins to fail. I feel empty. The darkness consuming me. This voice calling me. Perhaps I don’t have to be alone, perhaps I can join her, this unknown beauty in the depths below me. Clutching Ted to my chest I lower myself to sit on the edge of the bridge. It will all be over soon.

I awake, startled and panicked. No subconscious lulling me to wake. No burning fires or smoke filled rooms. No birds, no green fields or wooden shacks. No voices. I am in my bed, not some unknown land. Satin sheets cooling my burning skin. My boyfriend sleeps next to me, clutching me to his chest. I calm instantly. I am not fearful, I am not faceless, I am not alone. Just another bad night inside my manic mind.

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Juice
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Written by RhiRhi
Another bad night
Somewhere in the distance my subconscious picks up the sound of sirens screeching. As it pulls my brain and body into waking I realise these are no ordinary sirens but air raid sirens. I cough myself into consciousness, surrounded by thick black smoke, unable to see, unable to breathe. The darkness around me consuming all my senses, sirens blasting, smoke filling my lungs, a faint smell of sulphur fills my nostrils. I fall to the floor straining to see through tear filled and groggy eyes that are determined to remain asleep so as not to deal with the reality occurring around me. Behind me I can see a faint red glow, barely visible but beckoning me to explore it. Struggling to get my limbs to cooperate with my panicked brain I crawl through dust and rubble towards the light. Within seconds the smoke clears, flying up into the dark sky above. My senses struggle to adjust to the air flowing over me, purifying my body from the torment the smoke has caused. As I turn around I struggle to identify my surroundings. I’m certain I went to sleep in my own bed last night. I remember the comfort of my silken sheets, cool against my skin through the heat of the day. The support of my pillow against my weary head and neck. The scent of a freshly washed blanket, for the cooler periods of the night. I had settled down in blissful comfort unaware of the trials that laid ahead of me. Unaware that I would wake up in strange surroundings. As I pondered over my quandary, taking in the surroundings around me, trying to shut out the smell of smoke and sound of sirens I realised that I had awoken in another time. Another place. It was the only logical solution. This was not my house, my street, or anywhere I could recall having ever seen before. I could not place the strange signs and buildings, or at least what was left of them. This place looked like a war zone. Come to think of it, it smelt and sounded like one too. My whole body begins to quiver. My senses all running into overdrive. I had absolutely no idea where I was, or what to do next.
The sirens have stopped. Either that or I have become so accustomed to them since I awoke, I can no longer hear them in my conscious state. I begin to wonder the rubble laden street in front of me. There are no street names, no clues as to where I could possibly be. And no-one to be seen. Not even a bird or a dog or even a rat. No sign of life around as far as I can, despite this clearly having been habited recently. Walking through the rubble and debris I see a paw sticking out. A child’s teddy, unknown to me to be the only companion I will gain from this experience. Every building has been reduced to rubble. Some walls still remain intact but badly burnt from smoke and fires that continue to billow ferociously, this is how I imagine hell would look like, but a lot quieter. Eerily quiet, and lonely. Loneliness. My greatest fear. Something I have never been able to conquer a fear of abandonment and being alone, and this place is every empowerment to that fear. My heart begins to race and thoughts flood through my nervous brain. I’m unable to quench or control my need for contact, to be talked down and clamed. Instead I have Ted, well what else do you name a homeless child’s toy. I take a few moments to rest and cuddle the teddy close to my chest. It brings me some peace amongst the ruins and war torn buildings around me. If only I knew where I was, perhaps I could get some help.

Moments turn into minutes, which turn into hours, although it feels like a lot longer. I feel calm enough to move and pick up my troublesome journey again. With Ted by my side and hand in hand, we move off through the rubble, stepping carefully so not to disturb the ground around us. The roads are cracked and torn, the pavements mounds of bricks and cement. I notice an alley to my right. There is a light at the end. The only solid light that I have seen since that warning red glow. Suddenly the light dims and flickers. My heart racing, my head pounding, I cover my face as the glass tube explodes. That was strange. There are no visible signs of electricity around, and no other lights to be seen. That couldn’t have possibly been down to me could it? My weary limbs force me to sit. Although I am usually fit enough to run marathons this place is taking an uneasy toll on me constantly in strange and frustrating ways. I can’t work out what is really happen around me, or to me. Clutching Ted close I close my eyes. The sirens have stopped. I hear the crackle of fires in surrounding buildings, and the crashing of bricks as the fires demolish what is left of my surrounding foundations. Looking up at the sky I wonder what is happening. To my surprise through the smoke I can see a clear night sky. A calm amongst the storm. Twinkling diamonds above me. I was once told that every person we have loved and lost makes up those stars, each spirit watching over us intently. As if summoned by my thoughts a breeze passes over me. As if a spirit has reached down from that piercing night sky to guide me. I force myself to stand, to follow the path of the breeze. It leads me away from the burning rubble and into a field. Behind me I can see the burning glaze of the buildings, but here it is peaceful, serene even. I push on a few minutes more and see a small wooden shed in front of me. My mind screaming at me to rest, I enter the shed with hesitation. It’s completely empty. I shut the door, sit down to rest and softly close my eyes, still clutching Ted to my chest.

I awake with a start. Sun beams flowing in through gaps in my wooden fort in the middle of the madness. I feel like I have slept for days, but I know the reality is merely hours. I wish I felt refreshed, but my mind wearily tugs at me reminding me of the previous day’s devastation. Tentatively I open the shed door. In the distance I can see, nothing. No burning, crumbling ruins. No fires. Nothing. Perhaps it was all a dream? But if so, why am I sleeping in a shed? I look around me. There is nothing but green fields. At least it’s not the burning hell I feel asleep from. I have no idea where I am going, or where I have been but I still decide I can’t stay here. Ted and I walk towards the direction the sun rose in. Normally I would say east, but I don’t truly know where I am so I don’t know if that is true. After walking for what feels like miles… a face full of dirt. I tripped over a branch. There are no trees around, no bushes just a sole and lonely branch in the middle of the green fields. This place is so strange, like something out of a fairytale, or perhaps a horror film. Looking up I notice a windmill on the horizon. How did I not notice that before? Now I am sure my mind is playing tricks on me. There is still no sign of life. The birds that woke me, are nowhere to be seen. Just me and Ted. Ted and I. Picking myself up and dusting myself off I walk towards the windmill. Perhaps there will be someone there who can help me. As I reach the windmill the sails begin to turn. My pace slows, my heart races, my mind and thoughts hit overdrive once again. I can out, but no one responds. There is no one here, no shadows, no voices, just emptiness. I hear creaking. Followed by cracking. As I look up the sails begin to break apart and fall to the ground. Everything stops. Clutching Ted to my chest I open my eyes. I am surrounded again my rubble. Broken wood splintered around my feet. No catalyst, nothing to have caused it. Just me, Ted and the windmill. I can’t comprehend what’s happening to me. I fall to my knees weeping. Is there no one here that can help me? My fears take hold once more. Abandoned. Alone. Unwilling to go on, clutching a child’s toy to my chest.
Sometime later, once I have regained some of my senses, my anxieties have calmed and the rational part of my brain has kick started me again, I force myself off the floor once more. I notice a small stream that I’m sure wasn’t there before. In the distance I can see a bridge. A magnificent structure, unlike anything I’ve seen before. Without thinking I push forward towards the bridge. The sun has started to set before I reach the bride. Grand steel rises from a river miles below. I make the climb up the steep rise towards the top of the bridge. Glass plates along the edge of the bridge separate me from the water rushing below. Jagged rocks appear in between sweeping waves and white water flowing under the bridge. Looking back I can see nothing. Not through darkness of the setting sun, just nothing. The green fields have gone, the windmill is not where I just came from. Nothing. No burning rubble, no smoke filled ruins of fire, no hell, no light. Just the bridge I now stand upon. My weary mind hits overdrive again. I’m trying to comprehend how my surroundings can change so drastically. Am I dreaming this? Imagining a wakened state, that doesn’t really exist? Where has the destruction gone? Where did the beauty go? The glass surrounding me shatters without warning. Spreading shards out into the raging river below. The waves have become fiercer now, covering the rocks and frothing the water from below.
In my mind I can hear someone calling me from afar. Not around me, but below me. Like a siren who calls a passing ship towards a perilous end. Against my rational judgement, I walk towards the edge of the bridge. The voice is beautiful. Like nothing I have ever heard before. I can see nothing below me. The night has enclosed the bridge and darkness surrounds me. The only light I can see is that of the moon, beaming down on me. I can hear the water rushing below me, and the voice calling me. I notice my reflection on the hand rail of the bridge, as if the steel were in fact mirrors. I cannot even recognise myself. But then who would recognise the faceless being staring back at me. The voice continues to call to me, such beauty that cannot be seen. Enticing me to the waters below. Faceless. My weary body begins to fail. I feel empty. The darkness consuming me. This voice calling me. Perhaps I don’t have to be alone, perhaps I can join her, this unknown beauty in the depths below me. Clutching Ted to my chest I lower myself to sit on the edge of the bridge. It will all be over soon.

I awake, startled and panicked. No subconscious lulling me to wake. No burning fires or smoke filled rooms. No birds, no green fields or wooden shacks. No voices. I am in my bed, not some unknown land. Satin sheets cooling my burning skin. My boyfriend sleeps next to me, clutching me to his chest. I calm instantly. I am not fearful, I am not faceless, I am not alone. Just another bad night inside my manic mind.
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Written by RhiRhi

A Journey in Paradise

I am eleven. I am standing on a long sandy beach, looking out upon the vast Laccadive Sea. The Indian Ocean and all the secrets of the sea. Memories flash back to me of being four years old and splashing in the bath tub. I was brought up on Disney films and the belief that although life could be difficult, everyone deserved a happy ending. I wanted to be a mermaid, a beautiful marine creature with a fluorescent scale tail and clam bra, the mythical ideologies of children that never cease to amaze me even to this day. How could I have possibly grown up to be a creature that didn’t exist? But that didn’t stop me from dreaming. Stood on that beach it was a possibility. A great adventure to unfold under the sea, well at least in my imagination.

We are in Beruwala, Sri Lanka, the most stunning country my parents have given me the privilege of experiencing to date. They are great world travellers, every few years I am treated to the joys of experiencing the history, beauty and extravagance that the world has to offer. This year was the most amazing. A long and troublesome journey, suffering the ailments of travel sickness as with every journey we undertook, we arrived at the hotel some fourteen hours later. Even at such a young age I was accustomed to the long travelling times and enduring the sickness that struck me without fail every time a plane hit a patch of turbulent, but every time it was worth it. And this time was no different. Sandy beaches, clear blue seas and sunny skies. Places some can only dream of ever seeing. After settling into our hotel for the night, we were woken early the following morning for our first excursion, into the tropical rain forest. I love the outdoors and everything nature so for me this was the best thing to be woken up for. After a rather long mini bus ride through Sri Lanka’s mountains and forest roads we arrived at our destination where we were greeted by our tour guide and a rather magnificent creature. Towering above me stood an elephant. A real elephant. I had never been given the opportunity to be this close to one before and I stood awestruck by the beautiful mammal in front of me. It reminded me of many scenes from the Disney films I was so hooked on, of princes riding elephants through grand parades, elephant hordes stomping through the jungle. I could only have imagined the possibility of being this close to one, until now.

As we mounted our steed for the journey I couldn’t help but glorify the rough skin of the elephant, something to me now that seemed so magically smooth at the time. Just to me able to touch this creature was enough to send shivers through me. A grand beast who I befriended for this short journey in my life. Something seemingly so long ago but still so familiar in my memories. I was invited to ride on the elephants neck, not like the commoners (my parents) behind me in saddled seats, but untethered and free, roaming through the forest tracks, my arms around the neck of my new found friend. As we walked through the forest, full of the chirping and grinding of various bugs, creepy crawlies and critters who live there I reminded myself just how lucky I was to be able to appreciate this moment.

I am eleven. I have ridden an elephant, and now I am standing on a long sandy beach. Behind me my parents watchful eye as I toy with the waves washing upon the golden sand in front of me. A trader approaches me, and my father is by my side in moments. This man carries a monkey on his arm, however my thoughts are not of Disney films or happy memories. They are sad. This monkey is not a pet he is a prisoner. Chained to the man’s arm so he can no more move than ever hope to escape. The monkey struggles against his captor and I notice he is missing his teeth. Something I later find out is normal practice amongst the beach traders, to capture and remove the teeth of monkeys to bring tourists a photo opportunity. After some bartering between my parents and the trader, the man passes me the monkey to hold. I feel a wave of grief over take me. The monkey calms in my hands, as if at peace with me. Another friendship I have made in a country far away from home. I only wish, to this day, that I could have brought that monkey home. Saved him from a tormented life on a beach in paradise, but not his paradise.

My parents decide that it is time to take a walk. We walk for miles up the beach being greeted by various traders and stall holders along the way. I see an opening where the sea runs across the beach forming a small river. I look around the clearing and see a small pool has formed under the shelter of the surrounding trees. I am astonished to see a man bathing in the pool, but he is not bathing himself. With him he has an elephant. Another elephant! The man beckons us closer, luckily he is wearing a loincloth otherwise it may have been a very different story, but there lying in front of him is another great and magnificent elephant. Rolling around in the pool of water bathing with his owner. These creatures are truly magnificent, each wrinkle across their hairy rough skin capturing the glistening water as the sun beams through the sheltering trees above us. This is a moment that I could never forget.

I am eleven. I have made many friends on this journey, some human, some animal, but you can never judge a friendship based on the animalistic qualities of that friend, after all humans are but animals too. That aside, I stand again in paradise. Alonside the sea, my memories of becoming a mermaid are rife in my mind. I have convinced my parents to allow me to go body boarding with friends we have made in the hotel. They are seen as responsible, they are all adults and much older than myself, but my parents agree to entrust them with my safety. We pay the trader for hire of a body board and off I go. Striding through the water and pushing out against the waves that try to force me back to sure. I will prove that a life at sea is my calling. I try flipping my ‘fins’ realising very quickly that I should opt for a more dominate swimming stride that I am capable of and instead turn to a front crawl. Battered by each wave, we turn around and glide to shore to start our mission again. I never knew I could have so much fun as I did that day.

The second time going out was much harder. I tired quickly as the waves grew in height. Glancing back nervously I realised that between the waves I could only glimpse the hotel where my parents awaited my return. I paddled forwards, the waves growing in height. And then the rain came. Huge droplets that I was certain if you ran around enough you could stay dry from, but I’m also very sure that was just hear say really. The waves continued to grow and the sea became rougher. The approaching storm whipped up the sand and the clear blue of the sea had diminished to a murky brown. We had been warned to stay within a certain area otherwise the sea bed dipped greatly. I came to realise that the waves had been pushing me further out, and away from the ‘safe’ zone where I would still be able to touch the sea bed. I was quickly coming to choose whether I truly could be the mermaid I had always wanted to be over being able to see my parents. By this point I could see nothing beyond the beach. I hear shouting. I see a small ant sized object coming down the beach, getting closer, calling to me. My father. He demanded my return to shore, at this point I was quite happy to do so. I had had my fun playing with nature’s great mysterious of the sea at this time. I turned around and allowed the sea to bring me into shore. Shivering my father pulled me out of the water and marched me back to the arms of a nervously waiting audience in shelter at the edge of the hotel complex. Apparently they had lost sight of me on many occasion as the monsoon had started. I was exceptionally grateful to have them ruin my fun in the sea, before it truly was ruined

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Written by RhiRhi
A Journey in Paradise
I am eleven. I am standing on a long sandy beach, looking out upon the vast Laccadive Sea. The Indian Ocean and all the secrets of the sea. Memories flash back to me of being four years old and splashing in the bath tub. I was brought up on Disney films and the belief that although life could be difficult, everyone deserved a happy ending. I wanted to be a mermaid, a beautiful marine creature with a fluorescent scale tail and clam bra, the mythical ideologies of children that never cease to amaze me even to this day. How could I have possibly grown up to be a creature that didn’t exist? But that didn’t stop me from dreaming. Stood on that beach it was a possibility. A great adventure to unfold under the sea, well at least in my imagination.
We are in Beruwala, Sri Lanka, the most stunning country my parents have given me the privilege of experiencing to date. They are great world travellers, every few years I am treated to the joys of experiencing the history, beauty and extravagance that the world has to offer. This year was the most amazing. A long and troublesome journey, suffering the ailments of travel sickness as with every journey we undertook, we arrived at the hotel some fourteen hours later. Even at such a young age I was accustomed to the long travelling times and enduring the sickness that struck me without fail every time a plane hit a patch of turbulent, but every time it was worth it. And this time was no different. Sandy beaches, clear blue seas and sunny skies. Places some can only dream of ever seeing. After settling into our hotel for the night, we were woken early the following morning for our first excursion, into the tropical rain forest. I love the outdoors and everything nature so for me this was the best thing to be woken up for. After a rather long mini bus ride through Sri Lanka’s mountains and forest roads we arrived at our destination where we were greeted by our tour guide and a rather magnificent creature. Towering above me stood an elephant. A real elephant. I had never been given the opportunity to be this close to one before and I stood awestruck by the beautiful mammal in front of me. It reminded me of many scenes from the Disney films I was so hooked on, of princes riding elephants through grand parades, elephant hordes stomping through the jungle. I could only have imagined the possibility of being this close to one, until now.
As we mounted our steed for the journey I couldn’t help but glorify the rough skin of the elephant, something to me now that seemed so magically smooth at the time. Just to me able to touch this creature was enough to send shivers through me. A grand beast who I befriended for this short journey in my life. Something seemingly so long ago but still so familiar in my memories. I was invited to ride on the elephants neck, not like the commoners (my parents) behind me in saddled seats, but untethered and free, roaming through the forest tracks, my arms around the neck of my new found friend. As we walked through the forest, full of the chirping and grinding of various bugs, creepy crawlies and critters who live there I reminded myself just how lucky I was to be able to appreciate this moment.

I am eleven. I have ridden an elephant, and now I am standing on a long sandy beach. Behind me my parents watchful eye as I toy with the waves washing upon the golden sand in front of me. A trader approaches me, and my father is by my side in moments. This man carries a monkey on his arm, however my thoughts are not of Disney films or happy memories. They are sad. This monkey is not a pet he is a prisoner. Chained to the man’s arm so he can no more move than ever hope to escape. The monkey struggles against his captor and I notice he is missing his teeth. Something I later find out is normal practice amongst the beach traders, to capture and remove the teeth of monkeys to bring tourists a photo opportunity. After some bartering between my parents and the trader, the man passes me the monkey to hold. I feel a wave of grief over take me. The monkey calms in my hands, as if at peace with me. Another friendship I have made in a country far away from home. I only wish, to this day, that I could have brought that monkey home. Saved him from a tormented life on a beach in paradise, but not his paradise.
My parents decide that it is time to take a walk. We walk for miles up the beach being greeted by various traders and stall holders along the way. I see an opening where the sea runs across the beach forming a small river. I look around the clearing and see a small pool has formed under the shelter of the surrounding trees. I am astonished to see a man bathing in the pool, but he is not bathing himself. With him he has an elephant. Another elephant! The man beckons us closer, luckily he is wearing a loincloth otherwise it may have been a very different story, but there lying in front of him is another great and magnificent elephant. Rolling around in the pool of water bathing with his owner. These creatures are truly magnificent, each wrinkle across their hairy rough skin capturing the glistening water as the sun beams through the sheltering trees above us. This is a moment that I could never forget.

I am eleven. I have made many friends on this journey, some human, some animal, but you can never judge a friendship based on the animalistic qualities of that friend, after all humans are but animals too. That aside, I stand again in paradise. Alonside the sea, my memories of becoming a mermaid are rife in my mind. I have convinced my parents to allow me to go body boarding with friends we have made in the hotel. They are seen as responsible, they are all adults and much older than myself, but my parents agree to entrust them with my safety. We pay the trader for hire of a body board and off I go. Striding through the water and pushing out against the waves that try to force me back to sure. I will prove that a life at sea is my calling. I try flipping my ‘fins’ realising very quickly that I should opt for a more dominate swimming stride that I am capable of and instead turn to a front crawl. Battered by each wave, we turn around and glide to shore to start our mission again. I never knew I could have so much fun as I did that day.
The second time going out was much harder. I tired quickly as the waves grew in height. Glancing back nervously I realised that between the waves I could only glimpse the hotel where my parents awaited my return. I paddled forwards, the waves growing in height. And then the rain came. Huge droplets that I was certain if you ran around enough you could stay dry from, but I’m also very sure that was just hear say really. The waves continued to grow and the sea became rougher. The approaching storm whipped up the sand and the clear blue of the sea had diminished to a murky brown. We had been warned to stay within a certain area otherwise the sea bed dipped greatly. I came to realise that the waves had been pushing me further out, and away from the ‘safe’ zone where I would still be able to touch the sea bed. I was quickly coming to choose whether I truly could be the mermaid I had always wanted to be over being able to see my parents. By this point I could see nothing beyond the beach. I hear shouting. I see a small ant sized object coming down the beach, getting closer, calling to me. My father. He demanded my return to shore, at this point I was quite happy to do so. I had had my fun playing with nature’s great mysterious of the sea at this time. I turned around and allowed the sea to bring me into shore. Shivering my father pulled me out of the water and marched me back to the arms of a nervously waiting audience in shelter at the edge of the hotel complex. Apparently they had lost sight of me on many occasion as the monsoon had started. I was exceptionally grateful to have them ruin my fun in the sea, before it truly was ruined
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Written by RhiRhi

Trapped

My darkest thoughts keep calling.

Tears keep threatening, then falling.

Without warning, without knowledge.

Without reason, sense or logic.

Pandora’s box has opened,

an empty void remains.

Filled with years of spent emotions,

held back in mighty vain.

No safety blanket remaining.

No box to hide amongst.

Years of darkness surrounding.

It’s very easy to become lost.

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Written by RhiRhi
Trapped
My darkest thoughts keep calling.
Tears keep threatening, then falling.
Without warning, without knowledge.
Without reason, sense or logic.

Pandora’s box has opened,
an empty void remains.
Filled with years of spent emotions,
held back in mighty vain.

No safety blanket remaining.
No box to hide amongst.
Years of darkness surrounding.
It’s very easy to become lost.
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Juice
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Written by RhiRhi

Like a wolf hunt

I can feel the dirt shifting beneath my paws,

grains of sand pushing deep between my claws.

I pick up a scent floating on the air,

a heartbeat far away, perhaps a scampering hare?

Surrounded by the whimpering of a starving brood,

I surrender to my instincts and hide my little crew.

I’m creeping through the forest stalking out my prey,

waiting for the one that just happens to stray.

I still have its scent, my frightened little pet,

and hear its racing heart though it’s yet to see the threat.

Following my senses and skulking through the night,

I find my targets trail, and we’re off, they’ve chosen flight!

All my limbs are synchronised, so perfectly in tune,

harmonious acts of nature, guided by the moon.

My fur pulls straight behind me, against the rushing breeze,

Mother Nature’s attempting to dissuade and referee.

But my little family needs me, it’s them that I must save,

until they’re big and strong enough, then I must be enslaved.

I’m gaining on my target, well within my sights,

soon I’ll be upon him he’ll no longer have to fight.

As I near the finish line I’m thankful in my head,

for destiny has given him this wondrous task ahead.

To feed my little family, and nourish them for days,

the snap of my jaws, that’s it, the rest is just a haze.

I wonder through the forest, my catch within my jaws,

And ponder on the feeling of the dirt beneath my paws.

I’m returning from my hunt, to the brood that waits at home,

perhaps I need not return? I could live my life and roam.

Yet as a devoted mother and a wonderful wife,

why then would I choose, any other life?

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Juice
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Written by RhiRhi
Like a wolf hunt
I can feel the dirt shifting beneath my paws,
grains of sand pushing deep between my claws.
I pick up a scent floating on the air,
a heartbeat far away, perhaps a scampering hare?
Surrounded by the whimpering of a starving brood,
I surrender to my instincts and hide my little crew.

I’m creeping through the forest stalking out my prey,
waiting for the one that just happens to stray.
I still have its scent, my frightened little pet,
and hear its racing heart though it’s yet to see the threat.
Following my senses and skulking through the night,
I find my targets trail, and we’re off, they’ve chosen flight!

All my limbs are synchronised, so perfectly in tune,
harmonious acts of nature, guided by the moon.
My fur pulls straight behind me, against the rushing breeze,
Mother Nature’s attempting to dissuade and referee.
But my little family needs me, it’s them that I must save,
until they’re big and strong enough, then I must be enslaved.

I’m gaining on my target, well within my sights,
soon I’ll be upon him he’ll no longer have to fight.
As I near the finish line I’m thankful in my head,
for destiny has given him this wondrous task ahead.
To feed my little family, and nourish them for days,
the snap of my jaws, that’s it, the rest is just a haze.

I wonder through the forest, my catch within my jaws,
And ponder on the feeling of the dirt beneath my paws.
I’m returning from my hunt, to the brood that waits at home,
perhaps I need not return? I could live my life and roam.
Yet as a devoted mother and a wonderful wife,
why then would I choose, any other life?
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Juice
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Written by RhiRhi

Wrong choice

I can hear the bustle of movement around me, but I can’t force my eyes to open. The searing heat inside me is unbearable but I can’t move. My limbs are paralyzed, refusing to move from the bed as rocks against a stormy sea, unwilling to react to the commands from my tormented brain. I am trapped. Somewhere between life and death, in a room of clinical white walls, starched sheets and bright lights. The lights. Bright pin pricks above me-stars in a clear night sky; how can something so hideous tonight resemble something of such great beauty? There are noises all around, my senses are on fire, battling a crippling fear running through me. What have I done? Why am I still here? Why did you not just leave me to go and be at peace within myself?

Tonight I made a decision. It came from a horrible life ending thought. There was nothing else left for me. I had to escape, be free of my own mind, to find my peace. I couldn’t just run. I couldn’t disappear. This had to be the end. The pain had become unbearable; a lifetime of living through hatred and equations of reality. A lifetime of hell within my own mind, failing realities, and life changing games. Tonight I made the decision to leave everyone behind. To move into a better place although I knew it would be hard. They would each have the turmoil of dealing with what I had done, but in the end I knew it would be far less painful. Less painful than living with my past and loving me every day. Tonight I was wrong, not just the simple mistake of the wearing someone else’s emotions, but life threateningly, deathly wrong. When you go through life with harrowing memories, it takes its toll on you in ways that cannot be seen or understood. I couldn’t talk about anything, I papered over the cracks as if I was just redecorating inside my head, pretending everything was perfect. Tonight was different. Tonight I made myself an outcast, noone did it for me, noone pushed me or forced me to, noone but the demons living within my mind. They made me believe that I could never truly be loved, and that everyone was better off without me. But how wrong they were.

I am blinded by bright lights and unsure as to my surroundings, am I still laying in a bed? As my hazy mind awakens I am walking through a forest, green leaves and whistling birds, beauty all around me. I can see behind me the hustle of a busy A&E room, my closest friends and family pacing back and forth, shouting, and trying to get answers. I see my lifeless form laying on the starched white sheets. Unwilling to move, unable to speak. What have I done? Ah, yes, my life threatening decision. In my numbness I was sure that this was the right way. As I look around I see my family all around me, willing me to be OK, whispering sweet nothings of “I love you”, and questioning why I would do this.

​I stop to take in my surroundings, and I see my endless reasons to live. The sun and beauty of this place forcing my own internal realities to realign with the truth of life, and my debilitated brain to rethink its own mistakes. I wonder where this place is, whether this place is real, or if it is just another harrowing creation of my mental-being in turmoil. I see a door in the distance, a speck in the beauty of wooden statues reaching the sky before me. I am tempted to walk away, walk towards the door. I am curious as to where my mind could lead me, through new adventures. Away from the darkened room behind me. I could leave, couldn’t I? Half the path is taken, just a little further and freedom. One last look and I will go, and take this new journey laid out before me.

As I open my eyes my mother sits next to me, her voice strained, her tears threatening to open up - salty waterfalls against cold hard cliffs; “I love you” she whispers, and I realise my mistake all along. I am not alone, I will never be alone no matter where my turmoiled-brain takes me, I am surrounded by people who will fight for me. Sometimes, though, I still wonder what was through that door.I can hear the bustle of movement around me, but I can’t force my eyes to open. The searing heat inside me is unbearable but I can’t move. My limbs are paralyzed, refusing to move from the bed as rocks against a stormy sea, unwilling to react to the commands from my tormented brain. I am trapped. Somewhere between life and death, in a room of clinical white walls, starched sheets and bright lights. The lights. Bright pin pricks above me-stars in a clear night sky; how can something so hideous tonight resemble something of such great beauty? There are noises all around, my senses are on fire, battling a crippling fear running through me. What have I done? Why am I still here? Why did you not just leave me to go and be at peace within myself?

Tonight I made a decision. It came from a horrible life ending thought. There was nothing else left for me. I had to escape, be free of my own mind, to find my peace. I couldn’t just run. I couldn’t disappear. This had to be the end. The pain had become unbearable; a lifetime of living through hatred and equations of reality. A lifetime of hell within my own mind, failing realities, and life changing games. Tonight I made the decision to leave everyone behind. To move into a better place although I knew it would be hard. They would each have the turmoil of dealing with what I had done, but in the end I knew it would be far less painful. Less painful than living with my past and loving me every day. Tonight I was wrong, not just the simple mistake of the wearing someone else’s emotions, but life threateningly, deathly wrong. When you go through life with harrowing memories, it takes its toll on you in ways that cannot be seen or understood. I couldn’t talk about anything, I papered over the cracks as if I was just redecorating inside my head, pretending everything was perfect. Tonight was different. Tonight I made myself an outcast, noone did it for me, noone pushed me or forced me to, noone but the demons living within my mind. They made me believe that I could never truly be loved, and that everyone was better off without me. But how wrong they were.

I am blinded by bright lights and unsure as to my surroundings, am I still laying in a bed? As my hazy mind awakens I am walking through a forest, green leaves and whistling birds, beauty all around me. I can see behind me the hustle of a busy A&E room, my closest friends and family pacing back and forth, shouting, and trying to get answers. I see my lifeless form laying on the starched white sheets. Unwilling to move, unable to speak. What have I done? Ah, yes, my life threatening decision. In my numbness I was sure that this was the right way. As I look around I see my family all around me, willing me to be OK, whispering sweet nothings of “I love you”, and questioning why I would do this.

​I stop to take in my surroundings, and I see my endless reasons to live. The sun and beauty of this place forcing my own internal realities to realign with the truth of life, and my debilitated brain to rethink its own mistakes. I wonder where this place is, whether this place is real, or if it is just another harrowing creation of my mental-being in turmoil. I see a door in the distance, a speck in the beauty of wooden statues reaching the sky before me. I am tempted to walk away, walk towards the door. I am curious as to where my mind could lead me, through new adventures. Away from the darkened room behind me. I could leave, couldn’t I? Half the path is taken, just a little further and freedom. One last look and I will go, and take this new journey laid out before me.

As I open my eyes my mother sits next to me, her voice strained, her tears threatening to open up - salty waterfalls against cold hard cliffs; “I love you” she whispers, and I realise my mistake all along. I am not alone, I will never be alone no matter where my turmoiled-brain takes me, I am surrounded by people who will fight for me. Sometimes, though, I still wonder what was through that door.I can hear the bustle of movement around me, but I can’t force my eyes to open. The searing heat inside me is unbearable but I can’t move. My limbs are paralyzed, refusing to move from the bed as rocks against a stormy sea, unwilling to react to the commands from my tormented brain. I am trapped. Somewhere between life and death, in a room of clinical white walls, starched sheets and bright lights. The lights. Bright pin pricks above me-stars in a clear night sky; how can something so hideous tonight resemble something of such great beauty? There are noises all around, my senses are on fire, battling a crippling fear running through me. What have I done? Why am I still here? Why did you not just leave me to go and be at peace within myself?

Tonight I made a decision. It came from a horrible life ending thought. There was nothing else left for me. I had to escape, be free of my own mind, to find my peace. I couldn’t just run. I couldn’t disappear. This had to be the end. The pain had become unbearable; a lifetime of living through hatred and equations of reality. A lifetime of hell within my own mind, failing realities, and life changing games. Tonight I made the decision to leave everyone behind. To move into a better place although I knew it would be hard. They would each have the turmoil of dealing with what I had done, but in the end I knew it would be far less painful. Less painful than living with my past and loving me every day. Tonight I was wrong, not just the simple mistake of the wearing someone else’s emotions, but life threateningly, deathly wrong. When you go through life with harrowing memories, it takes its toll on you in ways that cannot be seen or understood. I couldn’t talk about anything, I papered over the cracks as if I was just redecorating inside my head, pretending everything was perfect. Tonight was different. Tonight I made myself an outcast, noone did it for me, noone pushed me or forced me to, noone but the demons living within my mind. They made me believe that I could never truly be loved, and that everyone was better off without me. But how wrong they were.

I am blinded by bright lights and unsure as to my surroundings, am I still laying in a bed? As my hazy mind awakens I am walking through a forest, green leaves and whistling birds, beauty all around me. I can see behind me the hustle of a busy A&E room, my closest friends and family pacing back and forth, shouting, and trying to get answers. I see my lifeless form laying on the starched white sheets. Unwilling to move, unable to speak. What have I done? Ah, yes, my life threatening decision. In my numbness I was sure that this was the right way. As I look around I see my family all around me, willing me to be OK, whispering sweet nothings of “I love you”, and questioning why I would do this.

​I stop to take in my surroundings, and I see my endless reasons to live. The sun and beauty of this place forcing my own internal realities to realign with the truth of life, and my debilitated brain to rethink its own mistakes. I wonder where this place is, whether this place is real, or if it is just another harrowing creation of my mental-being in turmoil. I see a door in the distance, a speck in the beauty of wooden statues reaching the sky before me. I am tempted to walk away, walk towards the door. I am curious as to where my mind could lead me, through new adventures. Away from the darkened room behind me. I could leave, couldn’t I? Half the path is taken, just a little further and freedom. One last look and I will go, and take this new journey laid out before me.

As I open my eyes my mother sits next to me, her voice strained, her tears threatening to open up - salty waterfalls against cold hard cliffs; “I love you” she whispers, and I realise my mistake all along. I am not alone, I will never be alone no matter where my turmoiled-brain takes me, I am surrounded by people who will fight for me. Sometimes, though, I still wonder what was through that door.

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Written by RhiRhi
Wrong choice
I can hear the bustle of movement around me, but I can’t force my eyes to open. The searing heat inside me is unbearable but I can’t move. My limbs are paralyzed, refusing to move from the bed as rocks against a stormy sea, unwilling to react to the commands from my tormented brain. I am trapped. Somewhere between life and death, in a room of clinical white walls, starched sheets and bright lights. The lights. Bright pin pricks above me-stars in a clear night sky; how can something so hideous tonight resemble something of such great beauty? There are noises all around, my senses are on fire, battling a crippling fear running through me. What have I done? Why am I still here? Why did you not just leave me to go and be at peace within myself?



Tonight I made a decision. It came from a horrible life ending thought. There was nothing else left for me. I had to escape, be free of my own mind, to find my peace. I couldn’t just run. I couldn’t disappear. This had to be the end. The pain had become unbearable; a lifetime of living through hatred and equations of reality. A lifetime of hell within my own mind, failing realities, and life changing games. Tonight I made the decision to leave everyone behind. To move into a better place although I knew it would be hard. They would each have the turmoil of dealing with what I had done, but in the end I knew it would be far less painful. Less painful than living with my past and loving me every day. Tonight I was wrong, not just the simple mistake of the wearing someone else’s emotions, but life threateningly, deathly wrong. When you go through life with harrowing memories, it takes its toll on you in ways that cannot be seen or understood. I couldn’t talk about anything, I papered over the cracks as if I was just redecorating inside my head, pretending everything was perfect. Tonight was different. Tonight I made myself an outcast, noone did it for me, noone pushed me or forced me to, noone but the demons living within my mind. They made me believe that I could never truly be loved, and that everyone was better off without me. But how wrong they were.



I am blinded by bright lights and unsure as to my surroundings, am I still laying in a bed? As my hazy mind awakens I am walking through a forest, green leaves and whistling birds, beauty all around me. I can see behind me the hustle of a busy A&E room, my closest friends and family pacing back and forth, shouting, and trying to get answers. I see my lifeless form laying on the starched white sheets. Unwilling to move, unable to speak. What have I done? Ah, yes, my life threatening decision. In my numbness I was sure that this was the right way. As I look around I see my family all around me, willing me to be OK, whispering sweet nothings of “I love you”, and questioning why I would do this.

​I stop to take in my surroundings, and I see my endless reasons to live. The sun and beauty of this place forcing my own internal realities to realign with the truth of life, and my debilitated brain to rethink its own mistakes. I wonder where this place is, whether this place is real, or if it is just another harrowing creation of my mental-being in turmoil. I see a door in the distance, a speck in the beauty of wooden statues reaching the sky before me. I am tempted to walk away, walk towards the door. I am curious as to where my mind could lead me, through new adventures. Away from the darkened room behind me. I could leave, couldn’t I? Half the path is taken, just a little further and freedom. One last look and I will go, and take this new journey laid out before me.



As I open my eyes my mother sits next to me, her voice strained, her tears threatening to open up - salty waterfalls against cold hard cliffs; “I love you” she whispers, and I realise my mistake all along. I am not alone, I will never be alone no matter where my turmoiled-brain takes me, I am surrounded by people who will fight for me. Sometimes, though, I still wonder what was through that door.I can hear the bustle of movement around me, but I can’t force my eyes to open. The searing heat inside me is unbearable but I can’t move. My limbs are paralyzed, refusing to move from the bed as rocks against a stormy sea, unwilling to react to the commands from my tormented brain. I am trapped. Somewhere between life and death, in a room of clinical white walls, starched sheets and bright lights. The lights. Bright pin pricks above me-stars in a clear night sky; how can something so hideous tonight resemble something of such great beauty? There are noises all around, my senses are on fire, battling a crippling fear running through me. What have I done? Why am I still here? Why did you not just leave me to go and be at peace within myself?



Tonight I made a decision. It came from a horrible life ending thought. There was nothing else left for me. I had to escape, be free of my own mind, to find my peace. I couldn’t just run. I couldn’t disappear. This had to be the end. The pain had become unbearable; a lifetime of living through hatred and equations of reality. A lifetime of hell within my own mind, failing realities, and life changing games. Tonight I made the decision to leave everyone behind. To move into a better place although I knew it would be hard. They would each have the turmoil of dealing with what I had done, but in the end I knew it would be far less painful. Less painful than living with my past and loving me every day. Tonight I was wrong, not just the simple mistake of the wearing someone else’s emotions, but life threateningly, deathly wrong. When you go through life with harrowing memories, it takes its toll on you in ways that cannot be seen or understood. I couldn’t talk about anything, I papered over the cracks as if I was just redecorating inside my head, pretending everything was perfect. Tonight was different. Tonight I made myself an outcast, noone did it for me, noone pushed me or forced me to, noone but the demons living within my mind. They made me believe that I could never truly be loved, and that everyone was better off without me. But how wrong they were.



I am blinded by bright lights and unsure as to my surroundings, am I still laying in a bed? As my hazy mind awakens I am walking through a forest, green leaves and whistling birds, beauty all around me. I can see behind me the hustle of a busy A&E room, my closest friends and family pacing back and forth, shouting, and trying to get answers. I see my lifeless form laying on the starched white sheets. Unwilling to move, unable to speak. What have I done? Ah, yes, my life threatening decision. In my numbness I was sure that this was the right way. As I look around I see my family all around me, willing me to be OK, whispering sweet nothings of “I love you”, and questioning why I would do this.

​I stop to take in my surroundings, and I see my endless reasons to live. The sun and beauty of this place forcing my own internal realities to realign with the truth of life, and my debilitated brain to rethink its own mistakes. I wonder where this place is, whether this place is real, or if it is just another harrowing creation of my mental-being in turmoil. I see a door in the distance, a speck in the beauty of wooden statues reaching the sky before me. I am tempted to walk away, walk towards the door. I am curious as to where my mind could lead me, through new adventures. Away from the darkened room behind me. I could leave, couldn’t I? Half the path is taken, just a little further and freedom. One last look and I will go, and take this new journey laid out before me.



As I open my eyes my mother sits next to me, her voice strained, her tears threatening to open up - salty waterfalls against cold hard cliffs; “I love you” she whispers, and I realise my mistake all along. I am not alone, I will never be alone no matter where my turmoiled-brain takes me, I am surrounded by people who will fight for me. Sometimes, though, I still wonder what was through that door.I can hear the bustle of movement around me, but I can’t force my eyes to open. The searing heat inside me is unbearable but I can’t move. My limbs are paralyzed, refusing to move from the bed as rocks against a stormy sea, unwilling to react to the commands from my tormented brain. I am trapped. Somewhere between life and death, in a room of clinical white walls, starched sheets and bright lights. The lights. Bright pin pricks above me-stars in a clear night sky; how can something so hideous tonight resemble something of such great beauty? There are noises all around, my senses are on fire, battling a crippling fear running through me. What have I done? Why am I still here? Why did you not just leave me to go and be at peace within myself?



Tonight I made a decision. It came from a horrible life ending thought. There was nothing else left for me. I had to escape, be free of my own mind, to find my peace. I couldn’t just run. I couldn’t disappear. This had to be the end. The pain had become unbearable; a lifetime of living through hatred and equations of reality. A lifetime of hell within my own mind, failing realities, and life changing games. Tonight I made the decision to leave everyone behind. To move into a better place although I knew it would be hard. They would each have the turmoil of dealing with what I had done, but in the end I knew it would be far less painful. Less painful than living with my past and loving me every day. Tonight I was wrong, not just the simple mistake of the wearing someone else’s emotions, but life threateningly, deathly wrong. When you go through life with harrowing memories, it takes its toll on you in ways that cannot be seen or understood. I couldn’t talk about anything, I papered over the cracks as if I was just redecorating inside my head, pretending everything was perfect. Tonight was different. Tonight I made myself an outcast, noone did it for me, noone pushed me or forced me to, noone but the demons living within my mind. They made me believe that I could never truly be loved, and that everyone was better off without me. But how wrong they were.



I am blinded by bright lights and unsure as to my surroundings, am I still laying in a bed? As my hazy mind awakens I am walking through a forest, green leaves and whistling birds, beauty all around me. I can see behind me the hustle of a busy A&E room, my closest friends and family pacing back and forth, shouting, and trying to get answers. I see my lifeless form laying on the starched white sheets. Unwilling to move, unable to speak. What have I done? Ah, yes, my life threatening decision. In my numbness I was sure that this was the right way. As I look around I see my family all around me, willing me to be OK, whispering sweet nothings of “I love you”, and questioning why I would do this.

​I stop to take in my surroundings, and I see my endless reasons to live. The sun and beauty of this place forcing my own internal realities to realign with the truth of life, and my debilitated brain to rethink its own mistakes. I wonder where this place is, whether this place is real, or if it is just another harrowing creation of my mental-being in turmoil. I see a door in the distance, a speck in the beauty of wooden statues reaching the sky before me. I am tempted to walk away, walk towards the door. I am curious as to where my mind could lead me, through new adventures. Away from the darkened room behind me. I could leave, couldn’t I? Half the path is taken, just a little further and freedom. One last look and I will go, and take this new journey laid out before me.



As I open my eyes my mother sits next to me, her voice strained, her tears threatening to open up - salty waterfalls against cold hard cliffs; “I love you” she whispers, and I realise my mistake all along. I am not alone, I will never be alone no matter where my turmoiled-brain takes me, I am surrounded by people who will fight for me. Sometimes, though, I still wonder what was through that door.
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Juice
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Challenge of the Week #59: Modernise Shakespeare’s ‘Shall I Compare Thee’ sonnet. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by RhiRhi

Not a love poem

How can I compare you to a Summers day?

You shine as bright as the scorching sun,

lighting up the room with your blossoming smile.

Hearts melt to the warmth of your touch,

whispering words with your Summer breath,

before exhaling, your vines tangle within a tree,

strangling and suffocating grass green leaves,

forcing their fall against dew drops of Spring,

replacing Autumnal currents and Winters freeze.

Your gaze is as deathly as Medusas stare,

the timid turn to stone within their place,

yet, into you maze I am consumed and devoured,

cursed to dream upon stormy clouds,

deeply in love, my Winter sun.

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Juice
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Challenge of the Week #59: Modernise Shakespeare’s ‘Shall I Compare Thee’ sonnet. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by RhiRhi
Not a love poem

How can I compare you to a Summers day?
You shine as bright as the scorching sun,
lighting up the room with your blossoming smile.
Hearts melt to the warmth of your touch,
whispering words with your Summer breath,
before exhaling, your vines tangle within a tree,
strangling and suffocating grass green leaves,
forcing their fall against dew drops of Spring,
replacing Autumnal currents and Winters freeze.
Your gaze is as deathly as Medusas stare,
the timid turn to stone within their place,
yet, into you maze I am consumed and devoured,
cursed to dream upon stormy clouds,
deeply in love, my Winter sun.
4
1
0
Juice
14 reads
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Donate coins to RhiRhi.
Juice
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Written by RhiRhi

Secrets

Contained in a box

With a chain and a key

Is a secret that's held

Deep inside me

No one can know

Of the hurt that's inside

A secret so black

There's no turning tide

Locked in the box

Feels like the devil himself

It attempts to break free

It strains with the swell

Deep inside me

Is a secret to tell

A secret so black

You never can tell

A chip in the top

A crack in the box

A split in the chain

A patchwork in vain

A fracture appears

And with it a tear

The secret will out

And with it the fear

The finale is here

The world is to know

The secret inside

The feeling that grows

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Juice
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Written by RhiRhi
Secrets
Contained in a box
With a chain and a key
Is a secret that's held
Deep inside me

No one can know
Of the hurt that's inside
A secret so black
There's no turning tide

Locked in the box
Feels like the devil himself
It attempts to break free
It strains with the swell

Deep inside me
Is a secret to tell
A secret so black
You never can tell

A chip in the top
A crack in the box
A split in the chain
A patchwork in vain

A fracture appears
And with it a tear
The secret will out
And with it the fear

The finale is here
The world is to know
The secret inside
The feeling that grows
#poetry 
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0
Juice
41 reads
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Written by RhiRhi

Prayer

Another day is ending

Another day alone

Another day of sadness

Amongst a broken home

These feelings do not falter

Nor alter that decision

The choices made are faultless

They were indeed God given

But that does not dampen

The growing pains inside

It does not quench the thirst I feel

Or stop the drowning tide

Time will build defences

And lessen the heartache in me

Time will heal these open wounds

But it does not come for free

There is more sadness to come

Much more heartache to know

Darkness all consuming

Against Gods eternal glow

Provide me my saviour Lord

Protect me against the dark

Help me find the goodness

And light within my heart

Help me to conquer your mission

To find an inner peace

To live a life without solitude

To allow my saviours through

Lord grant me one last wish

Before the eternal black

Before the all consuming darkness

Swallows the courage I lack

Grant peace to those around me

Bring back the joy to their souls

Don't let them miss me o'Lord

Grant them the peace I destroyed

I ask only that of you Lord

Please hear my prayers of pain

Grant them the peace to move on

Peace when they hear my name

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Juice
36 reads
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Written by RhiRhi
Prayer
Another day is ending
Another day alone
Another day of sadness
Amongst a broken home

These feelings do not falter
Nor alter that decision
The choices made are faultless
They were indeed God given

But that does not dampen
The growing pains inside
It does not quench the thirst I feel
Or stop the drowning tide

Time will build defences
And lessen the heartache in me
Time will heal these open wounds
But it does not come for free

There is more sadness to come
Much more heartache to know
Darkness all consuming
Against Gods eternal glow

Provide me my saviour Lord
Protect me against the dark
Help me find the goodness
And light within my heart

Help me to conquer your mission
To find an inner peace
To live a life without solitude
To allow my saviours through

Lord grant me one last wish
Before the eternal black
Before the all consuming darkness
Swallows the courage I lack

Grant peace to those around me
Bring back the joy to their souls
Don't let them miss me o'Lord
Grant them the peace I destroyed

I ask only that of you Lord
Please hear my prayers of pain
Grant them the peace to move on
Peace when they hear my name
#poetry 
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Juice
36 reads
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