Teddy

Your sad lonely eyes

stare up from the bin.

I’m too old for you now,

but this feels like a sin.

Teddy, oh darling teddy,

you always were the best,

but now I’m thirteen,

you must be binned with the rest.

I remember very well

how I took you everywhere

and at dinner, I insisted,

you simply must have a chair.

You were always there

when I laughed or shed a tear

and when I told my secrets

you always seemed to hear.

You had so many outfits

you sparkled head to toe.

As I remember, I wonder

where did all your clothes go?

Yet you must stay inside the bin,

I am much too old.

I hope, dear Ted,

that I don’t seem cold.

Why am I talking to you anyway?

It’s not as if you can listen.

But as I stare at your poor small face

my eyes begin to glisten.

I suddenly realise,

I really do need my bear.

Just because I’m thirteen

doesn’t mean I do not care.

I’m never too old for you,

I need you, I cannot lie.

I promise I will keep you

Right up until I die.

The Walk

I put one foot in front of another, yearning to turn my head, just once, so I could see her face, so I knew she truly was there, and this wasn’t some monstrous trick on Hades’ part. However, I had to trust him; no mortal had ever escaped the underworld, and the thought of life without Eurydice was unbearable. I couldn’t hear footsteps behind me. I called her name anxiously- she shouted mine, but her voice seemed so distant; it echoed around the dark cavernous walls. But it was there, and how sweet it was! Sweeter still than my harp which lulled the guards to sleep. My eyes creeped sideways by their own will; many times I dragged them back. The damp walls of the cave seemed even more sorrowful and bleak when I knew the absolute beauty that walked behind me. I ached to see her face… Surely a mere glimpse couldn’t be noticed? I thought of Hades’ black, merciless eyes. Yes, he would notice. Tears dropped down my face as I thought of how long my love had spent in this terrible place. A light slightly illuminated the blackness ahead, shining off the river Styx. I crossed the river, praying that Eurydice would be able to cross. The light was bright now; I stepped out into it, until I was engulfed in light. Relief and joy flooded through me; I turned..

“Orpheus!” she shouted.

She was still in the darkness.

She disappeared in an instant.

School 2

It’s amazing the things you learn at school.

Louis learnt that you can always tell when a teacher wears a wig from the colour of their eyebrows.

He learnt that you could always get away with doing no History homework, because Miss Partridge believed the ‘I left it at home’ line every time.

He learnt that you must never, ever make friends with Joshua Mindles, because then nobody else would ever speak to you. Ever.

He learnt that the hard way.

He learnt nothing from his teachers because he didn’t listen to them.

They had nothing worth listening to, in his opinion.

Why listen to rubbish about Pythagoras when that bird soars so gracefully overhead?

Exactly.

No reason at all.

He learnt that if you assumed the correct blank expression and copied off the right people in class, you would never be stupid or clever enough to be noticed.

That was good, he learnt.

Being stupid meant calls to parents, extra tutoring and more attention.

Being clever meant  teasing from classmates, extra exams and more attention.

He learnt that humans were stupid.

Animals were better people.

Can a human spin a web?

No.

Does a human have beautiful feathers that gleam in the sunshine?

No.

Will a human be his friend?

No.

So Louis sits in Maths class, pencil behind ear, watching a rabbit edge gently by the window. The classmates don’t talk to him.

Louis is happy.

It’s amazing, the things you learn in school.

The Hunt

Benjamin didn’t cry, as his brothers did, when the cheetah killed the gazelle. It was beautiful how the blur of orange and black dashed along the grass of the zoo enclosure, and though the gazelle was fast and elegant, it had nowhere to run. Benjamin watched the hunt open-mouthed, face pressed against the bars. His mother struggled with his brothers behind him, not noticing the youngest child watching the predator catching its prey with such fascination. The gazelle’s legs were swift and willowy; it cantered across the grass, becoming increasingly agitated as it realised it was trapped. Its slender frame skidded to a halt as it reached another wall, and it frantically struggled to turn round but…

The cheetah approached. Its paws pounded the ground; they should have made a noise like the beating of a drum, but they were quiet as a whisper in the dead of night. The sun beat down on its lustrous tawny yellow fur, the spots like eyes against it. It moved more gracefully than the gazelle, like a the shadow of a swooping bird. Its legs were a blur of yellow, and the gazelle’s eyes were wide; it stuck out its small horns, and just as Benjamin’s mother turned round, unblocking the boys’ view, the cheetah ripped out the gazelle’s throat in a frenzy of blood.

Benjamin did not cry. He watched in silence, not in mourning for the gazelle, nor in shock, but in an odd reverence for the cheetah.

The Star

Does anyone spring to mind when you read this? I was thinking of many people.

Oh yes, they all said, she was a glamorous beauty. He blonde hair was always lustrous, silky and you could be certain, after a photo-shoot, all the girls in England would have theirs identical the next day. Her face was perfectly symmetrical, the souring contours of her face aloof and beautiful in every way, and her dresses sparkled almost as much as her blue eyes. She was hot, shocking, and amazing. And her role in Loved, Lost and Forgotten? Wonderful. She sang; she danced; she acted. A true star. Hollywood loved her; her face was plastered over the posters, the glossy editions of Hello!. She couldn’t leave the house those days; she’d be engulfed in a vast crowd of paparazzi, chanting her name, taking her photos, begging for autographs. Those were the days…

And then… it stopped. Everything. Her career in acting was over, they said. She wasn’t such a good singer as that. Nor a decent dancer. She was old. Where was the fresh meat? That was when she’d had her breakdown.To be expected, they all said, it’s what showbiz does to you. And she was off the radar..

Now she sits naked before her mirror, surrounded by photos of her youth. She looks so different. The wrinkles streak down her face like scars. The tattoos look so out of place on an old woman. The deformed, twisted face from a lifetime of botox…

She is a dead star.

School

I haven’t posted much lately because I have been writing my first novelette (it sounds too big-headed to call it a novel!), but now I have finished my first draft, I can start writing short stories again. I’m a bit rusty, so please give me some feedback so I can get back in check. Thanks :) Gertie xxxxxx

“Getting along in school is complicated, but it’s okay- you have us. Stop looking at Josh; he’s like, so weird. Talking to him is social suicide. You want people to like you, right? Good. Okay, take down your hair. You look like such a geek with it scraped back! Wow, you need help. Take some of my lipgloss. First rule of school is stay with us. If you’re on our side nothing can happen to you. If you want to know what happens to girls who don’t stick by us, just take a look at Samantha Perks, over there in the corner. OMG, have you seen what she’s wearing? She’s really let loose since we broke friends. Anyway. Secondly, don’t be clever, but don’t be dumb. Clever girls have no friends, and definitely get no boys. And they smell of garlic. Don’t be stupid though; there is nothing more annoying. Just dumb yourself down a bit. Third. Take your tie off. Yes, I know, it’s uniform, but I mean, purple? It’s just not flattering for a girl’s complexion. You’ll get a demerit, but nobody cares, I mean not unless you’re a total nerd or something. Roll your skirt up, girl! What do you look like? Ugh, I hate girls who wear their skirts past their knees. Shh, we can talk later, Miss is here. Oh, and welcome to Greenhall High!” Ahana looked trustingly into Rhiannon’s eyeliner-rimmed blue eyes. She smiled. Everybody was so friendly at high school.