Film Review on Battleship

Peter Berg produces and directs “Battleship,” a terrible action-adventure that unfolds across the seas, in the skies and over land as our planet fights for survival against a superior alien force. Possibly, the worst film of the year, Battleship fails across the board.

The story follows Taylor Kitsch as Lt. Alex Hopper, a Naval officer assigned to the USS John Paul Jones; Brooklyn Decker as Sam Shane, a physical therapist and Hopper’s fiancée; Alexander Skarsgård as Hopper’s older brother, Stone, Commanding Officer of the USS Sampson; Rihanna as Petty Officer Raikes, Hopper’s crewmate and a weapons specialist on the USS John Paul Jones; and Liam Neeson as Hopper and Stone’s superior (and Sam’s father), Admiral Shane.

In terms of screenplay, directing, soundtrack and casting Battleship is literally quite disgusting. A cheesy storyline is never a good sign as it means there is almost always cheesy writing, which is frankly unbearable. Even the action scenes in this film lack imagination and for any filmgoer seeking energy escapism, you’ve been terribly misinformed, as Battleship cannot even reach the level of an actual film, but rather an annoyingly long infomercial on the Navy and what the Navy does when attacked by extra-terrestrials.

This film was destined to be horrible as soon as Rihanna was casted but in the end, we can logically come to the conclusion that even she, was not the worst actor. Yes, I know I sound completely mad but I think I am right; Rihanna has, most surprisingly put in an incredibly sub-standard performance, but her peformance far exceeds what I was expecting. In reality, I would say that the worst actor is a toss-up between Taylor Kitsch and Liam Neeson, who put in laughably bad performances. I was most disappointed in Liam Neeson’s decision to involve himself in this, despite the big bucks offered- I completely lost respect for him.

So, even those who go to films looking for escapism and unrealistic fantasy, do not be tricked by Battleship, as it doesn’t even fit the viewing criteria of a donkey. I just hope that your view of the Battleship board game is not in any way affected by this film, as the board game, far exceeds the film in terms of intelligence.

My vote for the worst movies of the year.

Film Review on Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Despite having one of the most ridiculous names in cinematic history, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is actually an excellent film. Set in the early 70s, British espionage is in a state of crisis. An operation in Hungary has gone wrong and Control (John Hurt), dying head of intelligence agency The Circus, has been forced out, taking his deputy Smiley (Gary Oldman) with him. With Cold war tensions with the Soviet Union at their absolute peak and suspicions of a mole operating at the highest levels of The Circus, the board is set for a suspenseful thriller. Smiley is called back to put together a secret team to uncover which one of the four men at the head of The Circus is acting as a mole for the Russians.

Unlike the current stock of thrillers in cinematic society today, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which I will shorten to TTSS for convenience, doesn’t need to have overblown gun fights to have you on the edge of your seat. This is the major reason as to why TTSS is so enjoyable.

The intense complexity and intelligence of this film ensures that the viewer’s intelligence isn’t insulted, which is a big step up from the current stock of thriller films. The characterisation in this film is quite superb as the depths of human deceit and cunning are explored in some memorable performances, especially from Oldman and Colin Firth. A well-chosen cast and witty writing covers the fundamentals of a good thriller and TTSS takes it all on from there.

To be honest, there was a few niggles and a few patchworks here and there, but they were quite easy to happily ignore as you watched the rest of the film. Depicted with a form of intelligent storytelling, TTSS reminds us once again that dramas can be compelling and stunning without a cascade of explosions.

Film Review on Men In Black III

Creating a third MiB film was a real risk. Having created two incredibly witty and hilarious films prior to the current film, many fans of the franchise, including myself were quite nervous as to how this new addition to a much-loved series would turn out.

Thankfully, it wasn’t horrible. But it wasn’t quite on the same level as its predecessors. As a matter fact it was far off it.

In the new MiB film, an alien criminal kills the young Agent K(Tommy Lee Jones) in 1969, altering the timeline, changing the Agency and placing the Earth in danger. Hence  Agent J (Will Smith) must travel back in time to 1969 to before the murder and work with the young Agent K (Josh Brolin) to save him, the Agency, the Earth and humanity itself.

The storyline sounds OK-so far, so good. A perfectly executed directorship  would ensure a sequel rivaling MiB 1 and 2. But that is as far as it goes. It isn’t perfectly executed and is lacking much of the unique vibe that accompanied the first film. It’s not that Men In Black has lost its appeal, its just that people have lost the ideas behind MiB’s appeal. In terms of acting, it was really a mixed bag. Tommy Lee Jones as Agent K is predictably perfect, playing his character as well as he did in the first two films but I feel it is Will Smith’s portrayal of Agent J that doesn’t live up to expectations. Smith’s positive, slightly hyperactive screen presence in the previous films is lacking here, and seems much more like a predictable Hollywood actor. This is probably one of the most disappointing parts of the film, as Will Smith is  a good actor, so its all the more obvious when he isn’t acting as well.

On a positive note Josh Brolin’s portrayal of the young Agent K is surprisingly good, injecting a fresh and interesting take on Agent K.

But before I finish, I would like to say that the film is not as bad as I making it look like, it’s just that this was such a good film franchise and it can be a bit frustrating when it gets fuzzed up.

But then again, it could have been a whole lot worse and completely destroyed MiB’s reputation, so in the end, we can consider ourselves quite lucky.

Film Review on “The Avengers”

The incredible amounts of hype and promotion and the subsequent ‘rave reviews’ for The Avengers, the 2012 American superhero film, based on the Marvel Comic, is really an indicator of the sub-standard films people are ready to label ‘intelligent’ these days. Joss Whedon’s blockbuster follows the efforts of a group of superheroes(which include Hulk, Thor and Iron Man) to save the world from an impending invasion by the otherworldly forces of Loki, who happens to be Thor’s brother. This group of superheroes is quite dysfunctional, and much of the film shows the struggle behind uniting this distinct group.

Loki, the villain in this film is Thor’s brother, who controls the Tesseract, a pulsing cube of energy that opens a gateway to the universe. Using the Tesseract, Loki intends to crush Earth into submission with an army of Chitauri,(basically, an army of alien mercenaries). Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. assembles the Avengers with the purpose of confronting Loki’s unstoppable army, but this highly dysfunctional group of superheroes must first learn how to achieve teamwork.

I don’t really need to describe this film much further as you can probably see where it’s going; Nick Fury assembles Avengers because of a psychotic Asgardian’s desire for revenge on humanity- the Avengers don’t like each other so much because of their conflicting egos-somehow the Avenger’s unite and take on Loki’s army, so on and so forth.

These action-flicks which pretend to be serious are pretty much the same; there are heroes, whose character’s are probed over lightly, there are villains who are villanised further and then towards the climax of the film there is a cascading of special-effects intended to overwhelm the viewer and make them forget how stupid the film really is.

So, this film is bad and that much is obvious. But the really worrying problem is that people have been sucked in by the hype or actually thought the film was intelligent.

The incredible box-office success of The Avengers, which has seen it become the third highest-grossing film of all time shows us that people are starting to identify with the spiritual emptiness and cynicism that The Avengers is composed of.

How to Train Your Dragon – Music from the Motion Picture

I love the movie How to Train Your Dragon. With endearing characters, spectacular action and a touching message, it is one of my favourite animated films of recent times. My favourite part of the movie, however, has to be the masterpiece that is John Powell’s score. Excuse the pun, but this spectacular soundtrack brought the film to new heights.

The opening piece of the film, This is Berk, is an absolute delight, leaping from a moody intro to a blood-pumping frenzy of string, brass and chamber voices before cresendoing into an absolutely breathtaking string melody. Dense with rich layers and full-bodied themes, this piece feels like a story unto itself, conveying strength, whimsy and emotional beauty in just over four minutes.

More stirring themes are introduced in Test Drive, creating a rousing sense of adventure and excitement, not to mention being the guiding force behind my favourite scene in the movie; when Hiccup first takes flight on Toothless. The rich melodies introduced in these two pieces echo throughout the score, played by strings, horn, piano and  percussion.

One of my favourite pieces on the album would be See You Tomorrow, with an infectious jig sure to get your toes tapping. The piece simply bubbles with playfulness and joy. Meanwhile, the tense build-up of strings in Dragon’s Den erupts into a bombastic barrage of excitement. Another gem is the soothing and beautiful Romantic Flight, which plays as the lead characters Astrid and Hiccup soar through the clouds.

Now that I think about it, all the songs on this album are gems. With How to Train Your Dragon, John Powell created a masterful score of incredible originality and wonder. This is music with exuberance and tremendous energy; the kind of music that just fills your soul with warmth. This is my favourite film soundtrack. Whether by YouTube, iTunes or The Pirate Bay, make sure you listen to this epic music.

1. “This Is Berk” – John Powell

2. “Dragon Battle” – John Powell

3. “The Downed Dragon” – John Powell

4. “Dragon Training” – John Powell

5. “Wounded” – John Powell

6. “The Dragon Book” – John Powell

7. “Focus, Hiccup!” – John Powell

8. “Forbidden Friendship” – John Powell

9. “New Tail” – John Powell

10. “See You Tomorrow” – John Powell

11. “Test Drive” – John Powell

12. “Not So Fireproof” – John Powell

13. “This Time for Sure” – John Powell

14. “Astrid Goes for a Spin” – John Powell

15. “Romantic Flight” – John Powell

16. “Dragon’s Den” – John Powell

17. “The Cove” – John Powell

18. “The Kill Ring” – John Powel

19. “Ready the Ships” – John Powell

20. “Battling the Green Death” – John Powell

21. “Counter Attack” – John Powell

22. “Where’s Hiccup?” – John Powell

23. “Coming Back Around” – John Powell

24. “Sticks & Stones” – Jónsi

25. “The Vikings Have Their Tea” – John Powell

Thanks for reading! 

 

a passenger

a passenger alone on a bus,

sitting, quite and blank

not a person in hundreds knows them

for they do not know themselves

staring out the window at nothing

a glass portal to emptiness

an escape from reality,

minutes described an eternity

if you were to wait for this passenger

you would surely miss your appointment

but you do not care, for in this moment,

the moment wins

the passenger sits in stillness

as you watch, filled with agony

you are confounded by chance

but chance is a certainty

you must depart the bus

you leave the passenger alone.

were ever they are heading,

they are just a passenger.

the night was cold

The night was cold, sitting in a worn chair, a young man, turned old,

for years this chair has endured such pain,

it would seem as if one, could proclaim he knew of none,

but now with a sky void of sun, forced to remember again.

‘this will will not be my dungeon!’ he proclaims

nevertheless as he sat there, his memory regained.

 

A life so long, it would seem forever, but consciousness not so strong,

everything turns to dust in the end of time,

but to deny what little soul, would be to deny completely in whole,

he is not so bold, as to acknowledge such a crime.

Without speak for years he is a pantomime

this is the end of his climb

 

Relation to thought, it takes its toll, after an eternity he is taut

bewilderment and madness hidden in plain sight

sense must be made, his own thoughts cast a weary shade

as he stares upon the blade, with-strained by godly might.

by his own decision theres is confirmation on this night

to truly live he must end this plight

 

returning to his mind, lest his thoughts stray, sits but a sign

deteriorates communication between reason and blame

it must be done now, if he is to find peace, he stands unbound.

as he moves with little sound, to find what will leave no pain

with nothing left there is no shame.

Double

This is just a short story I had to write for class. But when writing the story, I realised my original idea was way too big for a short story. I had to change everything, and the whole entire story is different. This is the version which I submitted for class. My original is still a project in construction, and I will post it up when finished. 

But here it is, and again, if it feels rushed or slightly ‘odd’ or just incomplete, it probably was because I had a different ending in mind when I began writing. Enjoy 🙂

—————————————-

It was cold and raining, and as dreary as it could possibly be. The rain was beating down on my limp body, and I was wet enough that I was sure I could be wrung out. The unfortunate consequence of forgetting ones umbrella.

However, even though it seemed so miserable as if the sky was crying, it actually seemed quite peaceful. The nasty weather meant everyone was shut up in their Victorian-Style homes, snuggled up inside with a blanket, presumably in front of a fire, with a mug of hot chocolate. I didn’t have to catch people staring at me, or hurry past–whatever they felt like. Or they might to decide to stay, and we would both have to endure a few minutes of awkward conversation revolving around him.

But that didn’t happen today. I was left alone, as I continued to walk down the slippery street.

When I finally reached the porch of my own Victorian-style home, I stopped. There under the safety of the veranda, was a package, lying neatly on the doormat. I was surprised, to be honest. In perfect little Rosewood, no one receives a package on their doorstep. You might as well have your child pass it on to another family while they were at school. Or, you would probably see them at the store. It was as if we were just a huge extended family, living all over the place. This made me feel claustrophobic, as if there was no escape.

I knew it couldn’t have been my parents who had ordered something online. My parents were out of town at the moment, on a business occasion. They were both lawyers, and what drove the Hastings family towards success. It felt odd to be alone in our large empty house. I was usually with him when my parents left for business trips, but this was the first time they had left me alone.

I picked the package up, and let myself in. Taking my shoes off, I padded in, careful not to drip water where it would stain the plush rug.

After the fire was crackling, I finally sat down to open the package, set in dry clothes, with a mug of hot coffee on the table.

The package was wrapped in plain, white paper, and had no postal address. I took the paper off, and was left with a brown box. I lifted the lid, and my heart thudded.

I was staring at my face. There, stacked carefully, were numerous photos of me, taken from distances. There where photos of me asleep, taken up close. I felt sick. However, it was then that my mind snapped, and my usual sharp mind came back. I noticed the tiny mole on the ear of the subject material of all the photos. It wasn’t me in those photos. It was him. Quinn.

My dear brother.

Quinn was my brother. We were brothers who shared the same face. We both had the same black hair, and pale skin, and dark eyes. Only visible difference was that he had a tiny birthmark on his ear. We would always compete, my parents would claim witness to that. “Quinn and Seth, my little competitive boys,” was what my mum would say.

 I think the fact that we were twins was what drove us to compete with each other. And growing up in the Hastings family with a competitive twin was not easy. My parents motivation was to win and be the best. It was drove us towards success. Of course Quinn fit in perfectly. I think that the fact we were twins was what hurt the most when he would receive the most praise from my parents.

A strip of paper read ‘Quinn’, and was placed on top of the photos. I shifted the photos aside, and there underneath was a USB flash drive. 

Quinn had died a couple of months ago. It had happened while I was at France for a student-exchange program. He had died in a car accident. That is still the exact amount of knowledge I know of my brother’s death. My parents became distant, and everything just melted away. Quinn- centre of attention in life and in death.

So why was someone sending photos of him to our house?

As I sat there alone, while the rain continued to patter against the roof, I wondered what was happening.

I suddenly shivered, the warm glow of the fire, not feeling so warm anymore. I wanted to talk to someone. What was happening? Why did my surroundings suddenly seem so unfamiliar to me?

I picked up the flash drive. What could be on it? Almost fearfully, I pulled my laptop out, and booted it up. After inserting the drive, I opened it up. I was left with one video file.

What could someone who had taken photos of my brother have on video? I was hesitant to open the video. What would I see? My brothers death? But there was nothing to see about that. Quinn had died in a car accident, when he was out of town, in the city, like my parents told me. Of course I was never there for the funeral. Quinn was already deep in the ground before I came from France.

After like what seemed an hour, I opened the video. I was watching a small white room. There was white walls, with a white floor and white bars over a small window. In the corner was a small white bed, where someone lay…

I gasped! There lying down, was Quinn. Perfect Quinn, dressed in white clothes. Where was he? What was he doing there?

The video was being filmed from the corner of the ceiling, like a surveillance camera. There was nothing else that was happening in the video. Just Quinn, lying down. His surroundings seemed so picture-perfect, like a hospital…

“Hello Seth,” someone said behind me. I jumped out of my skin. Slowly, I turned my head around. My heart stopped.

There standing in front of me was Quinn! Still in the white clothes I had just seen him wear in the video, he was standing there in front of me! Not deep in the ground where he should have been!

“Wha-…” I stammered. But I couldn’t talk! Here I was staring at my dead brother.

“I’m not dead,” he said, as if he read me like a book. “Oh no! But I guess it was much easier for Mum and Dad to say that, than the real truth.”

“You’re not dead?” I finally managed to squeak. He smiled a sick smile, and shook his head.

“Ah, Seth, you were always a scaredy-cat! I’m not dead. But speaking of death, I am here for that particular reason.” I just noticed in his hand was a sharp gleaming knife. My blood ran cold.

“What are you doing here? How are you alive?” I demanded!

“ Mum and Dad always hated me. They never loved me. It was quite obvious after they covered this all up! They just had their love for you! They didn’t want me anymore. That’s why they chucked my in that asylum! They thought I was sick! I wasn’t!” I stared at Quinn. His eyes were shining, and was shaking uncontrollably.

“They put you in a mental hospital? Why?” I asked hesitantly.

“They hated me! They didn’t like it when I would do the things I did. When I told them of the people who would watch over me! I told them my secrets! So they locked me away! And then covered the secret up by telling everyone I died!” he shouted!

My mind went numb. My parents would do that? They would lock my brother in a mental asylum, and to protect their family name, say that he had died?

It seemed ludicrous! Why was I listening to a crazy person in front of me? But it all fit. How my parents never talked of it. The funeral wasn’t held in town, but I didn’t know where. And the fact that my twin brother was standing in front of me was proof enough!

“They loved you more! So that’s why I had to come back. I had to escape! I have to get rid of you! I’m the better twin! I have to… kill you!” Those last words he muttered, and then lurched forward.

My mind was screaming to run, but my legs were numb, and still. A thousand questions were swimming in my mind, but I knew that I would never get those answers.

 Because my brother lifted that knife above his head, and plunged it down in my heart.

I was going, drifting away. To a place where there wasn’t any twins…

It was just me

 By Yashith Fernando 

My Guardian Angel

I sigh, and keep my eyes closed, as I feel the warm rays of sunshine playing on my face. I feel so at ease, and safe. But that is when I remember.

I sit up, and shake myself, preparing myself for the day. ‘Today will be good,’ I tell myself. ‘If anyone asks “How are you Riley?” I will reply with “I’m fine, thank you”’.

The pep talk doesn’t work and I groan silently. It is then that Alicia, my sister, walks in. She is already dressed, and smells faintly of lavender, and strong coffee.

‘Hey,’ she says, ‘Morning.’ She hurries around my room, collecting some of my dirty clothes, and pilling them into a basket.

‘Morning,’ I reply flatly, and swing my feet off my bed, and stretch. It is then that I catch my sister staring at me.

‘Are you ok?’ she asks. I have to give her credit for this. My sister, though it doesn’t show, is really observant, and could tell if I was happy, or sad. There was no way to fool her, even though I tried.

‘Why shouldn’t I be?’ I ask. She shrugs, and continues collecting clothes. There is a stack of photos on my bedside, and I leaf through them, while the memories surge through.

I don’t even notice when Alicia stops what she’s doing, and comes and sits by me on my bed.

‘Do you want to talk about it?’ she asks. Again, she was really observant.

‘No,’ I say, and she nods and stands up. ‘But I have to,’ I say. Alicia stops, and turns back to me. “If I don’t, I’ll be thinking about it all day, and it’ll drive me crazy like the previous days.’

She comes forward, and we both sit cross-legged on my bed. I am about to tell her everything…

_______________________

3 Months Earlier

I felt the blazing heat of the low Californian sun pounding onto my already red neck. My bag felt already a thousand times heavier in the heat, and my throat was parched dry.

‘How could anyone get used to this?’ I asked myself. I looked around myself, and I saw other kids, walking as if the sun was nothing – just the sun!

‘You can do it Riley’ I told myself again.

It has been about a month or so since it happened. A lot had happened in that month. But what started it was the usual thing that happens to every kid in every book and film – they’re father gets a new job position in a new place.

My dad’s into the hotel business, and this new position of management led him to California, the heat of America. And believe it or not, I wasn’t like all the kids in those books and films, horror struck about leaving their beloved home and friends, and having to go to a new place. I was excited – and happy! Who wouldn’t if your father was receiving a higher position that received more pay. And not to mention leaving Australia, and coming to America to live in a new place where I could experience new experiences! It was like a dream come true.

The new hotel my father would be managing was called ‘Four Seasons’ and it was just right out of a movie! It had a swimming pool on the roof, and marble staircases with shiny wooden banisters, as well as a crystal chandelier in the main lobby!

My sister, Alicia, was in Europe at the moment. She was taking part in an exchange program. It was part of her final score for her University mark. But she said she would come to California when it was over.

My father told me and my mother not to pack much as we could get everything there. My mum was busy with a million things, so I just threw a couple pair of jeans and a few shirts and a jacket into my suitcase. How stupid and careless I was!

The moment he plane touched down in California, I was met with the blazing heat it was famous for! And all I had were stupid winter clothes to wear. My parents were too busy to buy me any new clothes straightaway, and I was practically a sweating mutation by the time they brought me a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. But still the heat was overpowering!

Since my father’s new hotel was in Los Angeles, he managed to secure us an apartment in the city as well. My school was also in Los Angeles, otherwise known in Spanish dialect, The Angels. But right now it was treating me like hell!

When I first arrived to LA High School, I was bubbling with excitement.  And my fellow American classmates greeted me with friendliness as well. My life seemed perfect in that minute moment if bliss. So, like usual, I had to go stuff it up!

Like I said, a lot can happen in a month.

I guess what was the main thing that stopped the moment was the realisation that I had no friends. Sure everyone was friendly and everyone knew me – I was almost popular! But that didn’t mean I had friends. It seemed that no one wanted me as their friend, like there was no room for me.

So there I was, friendless and alone, and that just made me do something I would never do usually: I stood up for Mathew Sailes in between History and French in the hall way at school. Jake Camelerie and his usual gang of boys were there, picking on him – again.  And being all alone just made me snap and I stood there, defiant, in front of Mathew.

What I did was something that took milliseconds to decide, but would have affect for a lot more than that.

It started slowly, the transition. First, it was names. Jake and his boys knew more names than the words in the English dictionary. And then came the shoving, and the pushing. Such little harmless things that left me wounded and bleeding.

I remember that those days, though they were in the brightest and sunniest place, my days were filled with darkness.

It’s funny what a little bullying can do. I never knew the real effects of it, until then

Before I knew it, I wasn’t cool Riley from Australia anymore. I was nothing, an outcast. I felt so alone and worthless.

I guess that was probably the end of my feelings of happiness. Or so I thought.

I remember sitting alone on a bench in after school, with the non-stop Californian heat around me. I was still moping around, when above me, a small box was placed in my hands.

My head jerked up and I say Mathew peering over me.

‘Hi,’ he said.

‘Hi,’ I replied, uncertainly. Why was he coming up to me now?

‘Um, I guess I never got to thank you when you stuck up for me the other day,’ he said. He looked really guilty, though I was not sure why. ‘And I should have thanked you much earlier, and I would really appreciate it if you might consider me as a friend.’

I looked at him, and I thought over what he just said. Here I was, in a new country, where I felt all alone, and I thought I had no friends, and was all alone. ‘What will one friend do?’ I asked myself.

And somewhere, my inner conscience broke through, and yelled.

‘What do you mean “What will one friend do?”,’ it asked me. ‘Listen to yourself! A friend will make the difference in the world, and you will be able to do anything!’

‘Of course,’ I said, and smiled at him. I looked down at my hands, and at the small blue box. I lifted the lid, and there, nestled inside, was an angel, stark white and beautiful. I didn’t know what it was made of – it felt really smooth.

‘Do you believe in guardian angels?’ Mathew asked me. I shook my head. Why would I believe in guardian angels? ‘Well, I do. I really don’t care what others think, but I just feel that someone is always there with us, at every single second of our lives. Protecting us. They will always keep us safe. We are never alone.’

I thought about these words. When I was walking home, when I was eating dinner, and even as I lay down in bed. “They will always keep us safe. We are never alone.” I looked around my room, expecting to see an angel just like the white one that was now on my window ledge somewhere in my room. Of course, there was nothing.

In the morning, I finally accepted what Mathew said. A part of me believed that I would always be safe, and protected. I smiled in the car, while my parents were talking in the front seats.

‘Is everything ok at school?’ my mother suddenly asked me. My head jerked up, and my mind was blank. I didn’t know what to say.

‘Ah – no. I mean yes. Wait…’ Now both my parents were looking at me with worry.

‘What do you mean Riley? What’s wrong?’ my father asked. He turned his head from the front and looked at me. I didn’t know what to say.

But I was saved. Because a big truck was suddenly coming towards our car from ahead. It was going to smash right into us.

And it would be because of this truck that my parents would be dead. Gone. Not in this world anymore.

All because of me…

After that, everything was just a blur. I only remembered snippets of that brief period of time. The sound of the ambulance wailing, the smell of gasoline in the air, and that haunted feeling of standing alone surrounded by three dead bodies, and a whole heap of debris.

When I awoke in a clean white bed, I didn’t know where I was. But from the cards and bowl of fruit on my bedside, as well as the other empty beds in the room, I could tell I was at a hospital. As I lay there, I wondered why I was alive. Why me, when I didn’t fit in with anyone. Didn’t belong.

But I started crying when I thought of the stupid guardian angels. I was angry! Angry at everyone. Jake and his friends, everyone at school. But most of all, I hated Mathew, for making me believe in those guardian angels.

The last thing I thought before I dosed off to sleep again was that I would always be alone, with or without those stupid guardian angels.

_______________________

‘And you know the rest,’ I say. Alicia came as soon as possible, and took me back to the apartment in the city. She hadn’t talked to me much, as she was busy with so many other things.

I sit there, with my feet still crossed, as I feel Alicia’s stare. I slowly look up, and see her eyes, big and thoughtful.

‘Riley,’ she says softly,’ What do you mean you felt as if you didn’t fit in? That you didn’t belong?’

I sat in silence for a while, and then opened my mouth.

‘You heard me. I was an outcast. A stranger. I felt so different, and insecure around everyone else. They didn’t like me for who I was.’

‘Riley, who we belong with is up to us. Who we are, as humans, is for us to decide. Those who don’t accept us for who we are are the ones who don’t matter. They can make us feel different, and alone. But we aren’t. Because you aren’t. You have me to belong with, and – and you still belong with our parents. But no matter what, there will always be someone that you will always belong to. No matter what.’

‘Who? My guardian angel?’ I asked sarcastically.

‘No,’ Alicia says. ‘You will always belong to yourself. The only problem is finding out who you really are.’

What she says hits me with impact, and I feel tears trickling down my face.

I lean forward and hug her, and suddenly feel a warmth spread to me, and I finally feel to relax.

‘Thank you,’ I whisper.

‘You’re welcome,’ she replies simply.

‘Alicia,’ I say after a few minutes, ‘What’s going to happen now?’ I asked her.

‘I don’t know. We probably will move back to Australia. I can’t raise us both here alone,’ she said.

Slowly my heart sinks. I knew she would say this, but I had just hoped to stay, after she had said everything about belonging.

‘I know you’ve made a friend here. And I know you feel you belong around him. But belonging with someone doesn’t mean you’re physically with them every day.’

The doorbell suddenly rings, and Alicia quickly goes to answer it. She comes back not alone however. Mathew is there.

‘Hi,’ he says.

‘Hi,’ I reply. He looks nervous, and sits on the edge of my bed. He is about to speak, but I cut him off. ‘Mathew, I just need to say that even though we’ve only known each other for a short period of time, I feel as if you’re a really a true friend of mine, and I will really miss you when I leave.’

He suddenly looks relieved, and smiles. I grin right back.

‘I’ll miss you too,’ he says.

It is then that I feel the surge of happiness go through my body. I still feel grief for my parents, but I know this will always stay, and I will grow used  to it. But I know that I will always try to be happy.

I’ll try for everyone I belong to and with. I’ll try for Mathew, my parents, and Alicia.

But most importantly, I’ll try for myself.

___________________

By Yashith Fernando 

Dystopia

Just a really short story I did a few years back:

The suffocating atmosphere threatened to choke them and the buildings ready to attack at a moment’s notice. Strange objects in the sky charged as swarms of locusts in every which way. The explorers stood rooted on the ground, their mouths frozen like statues in eternal horror. Slivers of light filtered through the depths of the buildings. But it wasn’t this scene which shocked them- it was something far worse.

Death and destruction infiltrated the city like a poisonous gas with no antidote. Horrific, mutated beasts roamed the streets. The line between order and chaos had been blurred. Inhuman screams reverberated around- final death knells never to be answered.

A church bell tolled in the distance when walls of steel enclosed the huddled explorers, cutting the dense silence. Dropped in a huge truck, there was no need for any explanation. Any faint glimmer of hope was destroyed in an instant, as the metal beast’s wheels’ rhythmic groans mirror their agony.

Joseph Nguyen 9A