The Curious Meeting

The fire in the fireplace emitted a soft, rosy heat throughout the room, illuminating the delighted faces of the people around it. They may as well have subconsciously noticed it, since they seemed somehow happier as they danced, twisting into different shapes and poses, making the wooden floorboards beneath creak softly below them. Outside the crusted window, thin flakes of snow fell, spiralling, twirling, throughout the backdrop of the dark sky, a perfect representation of a winter wonderland. In fact, anyone looking at it would have been mesmerized by the sheer beauty of its movement, of its repetitiveness. But everyone was looking instead into the smiling, joyful faces of each other as they moved across the wooden floor, each in their own little world of infinite time and infinite bliss. Nothing mattered to them then except their partner and the swaying rhythm of the music.
I was sitting away from the firelight, on a small wooden bench half in the shade. I hadn’t wanted to go there in the first place; no, I had been told of this event weeks before. I could still remember it now: The day had been a Saturday, a kind of herald to the holidays. I was sitting at the breakfast table, in the Mickey Mouse pyjamas I was wearing the night previously, not quite awake but still conscious enough to pour some milk from the fridge onto my bowl of Frosties. Mum came in, yawning. She sat down beside me, on the opposite chair, and said that she had received an email from one of her childhood friends last night, who wanted her to come to a class reunion in the nearby mountains, which, since it was winter, should be snowing. Dad had agreed to go; he stated that, since mum can’t drive, someone should have the honour to escort her there. He ended up getting a playful whack over his head with a rolled-up newspaper.
I had not wanted to go at first; I had planned my own activities, involving theme parks and movie cinemas, accompanied by Frank, a close friend of mine. The idea of going to a sappy reunion with adults who I don’t even know sounded weird to my fourteen year old mind.
But, I reflected, I somehow was persuaded to come. Maybe it was the idea of snow, which still appealed to my childish mind. Whatever it is, I stood there now, half regretting my decision. But then…
She had came, glimmering in the glow of the firelight, with a smile that seemed to make the world and the fire brighter than it ever was. Her hair was a bright auburn, her eyes lively and sparkling.
“Good evening,” she said in a purring tone. “I believe that we are in the same school, as your parents told me”.
As she glided towards my chair, I felt, for once, an opening in my heart. To love.
Two weeks later, the holidays had ended; and I was once in the world of homework and tests. However, there was one thing I had not forgotten so easily, something that stayed in the depths of my mind.
I had my first taste of love. And that had somehow changed my mind and how I think. I felt more determined to win her, known as Kelly, more determined to know more of her…
And that may be why, on a Tuesday afternoon, I decided to wait outside the school, with the intention of making her acquaintance. The sky was cloudless; but as I watched innumerable cars go by, with their own destinations that they were striving to reach, I felt as if I was separated from the world and the rest of my school, as countless schoolmates rushed past me, out of the gate, into their own turmoils and personal problems. Some waved and said things to me, but, in my own world, only silence came out of their mouths and their waves went by unnoticed. I was half in a stupor; unaware of anything but a overwhelming desire to meet Kelly. To see her again, to hear her voice…
A bird in a nearby beech tree chirped, a soft tone that shattered and dispelled the cloudy and overwhelming mist hanging over my mind. As it cleared, I was sent back to Earth, back to the troubles of everyday life. Into…
A vivid flash of auburn hair, accompanied by the delicate sweetness of a distinct perfume, as it floated through the air, invigorating the senses. My mouth went dry; I lost the ability to speak.
“Hi,” Kelly remarked softly, “nice to see you”.
It felt that the force of the entire world was on me; time suddenly seemed to accelerate. I was now aware of my burning cheeks and the impatient gestures of my peers as they pushed past me. I didn’t want this to end badly, but I could imagine that Kelly was already getting impatient. I needed to say something…
“Y-Yes, great day,” I replied.
She smiled and moved on, leaving me behind in a sea of embarrassment.
I don’t know why; but I had tried again.
It was nearly a fortnight after my embarrassing conversation with Kelly; yet I still felt confident.
As the sun set on another gloomy and overcast day, I could be seen, yet again, waiting outside the iron school gates, waiting to see her. However, this time I had come prepared; in fact, mum had caught me rehearsing a speech to her. She had given me a knowing smile.
A nearby car tooted, shattering my thoughts. It was travelling rather haphazardly, swerving across the narrow road, nearly colliding with a van going the opposite way. I could see the driver’s horrified face, forever frozen in fear, as he ploughed towards…
A girl, with long auburn hair.
Time seemed to stop completely: I could only remember that I was desperately calling out to her; but the words just won’t come. I could see her turning, her smile turning into a silent scream…
And then I had ploughed into her, knocking her aside…
But it was already far too late.
As the church bells solemnly tolled the hour, the tight knot of people standing around the open grave silently wiped away a tear from their eyes. It was spring; but not one bird sang in the trees, and no flowers blossomed. Well, not in this area anyway.
As a sobbing couple slowly sat down on one of the wooden benches around the grave, I knew that it was time. I picked myself up, and, shaking with resolution, ambled towards the imposing hole in the ground. I opened my mouth, then stopped; I had no idea of what to say. I saw that the others were looking intently at me, their eyes never straying away from me for a moment. I was the only witness to her death; the car driver had also died. But the words just couldn’t come. And then I remembered…
The dancing couples. Snow. The bright fire in the fireplace. The first attempt to speak with her. And the undeniable influence she had on my life since.
Slowly, carefully, I looked over the edge. And spoke.

Was it an illusion?

The house looked normal that night, bathed in the weak glow of a nearby street lamp, with the rest of it, mostly the back yard, in half-shadow. In fact, it would have been perfectly normal to normal passers-by, but if you were to creep up to the front window, and peer through a small chink in the curtains, you would have seen and partly heard something very divergent.
The woman was lying in the corner of a dark and unknown room, while a man, with a pistol, held a torch to her pale face. The face itself was trembling heavily, the pale lips moving but nothing coming out. She was weeping, realising that she was staring her death directly in the face, her green eyes betraying the fact as they shed yet more tears, and nervously blinked. They grew wider, while the mouth opened into a silent shriek that nobody could have heard but her murderer himself, as he pulled the trigger. The pistol was especially designed by its manufacturers to muffle the sound of the shot, and, needless to say, it did its duty that night; anyone walking by at that time may have mistaken it for a cough. The deed accomplished, the murderer turned off the torch, and made his way silently out the house, and slid into the shadows like he never existed.
Whistles blew. the crowd cheered, and the tension was high. The soccer ball was kicked from one player to another, while the whole country watched from the stands, or from their television sets back home. But he had other thoughts on his mind, as he sat there, next to some middle-aged goofball who had taken the sport so seriously as to wear an attire resembling somewhat of a soccer ball.
How separate their worlds were, and how different were their intentions. As the man continued to watch the soccer ball get kicked from foot to foot, it was almost like he wasn’t concentrating in it, as if he was hypnotised by the ball itself. The whole stands seemed to him to be partly obscured by a deep, impenetrable fog, of which the occasional shout rang out. But the stadium lights: they were so dazzling, so blinding; surely they had turned it on too bright? Surely…
The ball was spinning, revealing occasional flashes of white and green. Spinning…
It was then that one voice penetrated through the fog. The sound of a long, drawn-out scream, and of the gunshot, the gunshot that sounded so much like a cough…
He jerked with a start, and started to regain his consciousness. His eyes strained, scanning the stand opposite him. A man reading, a woman cheering a team on with her presumed baby hanging on desperately to her arms, and a woman with intensely green eyes.
Green eyes. Staring right at him.
He started violently from his posture, heart beating rapidly, and scanned the other stand again, more desperately, hoping-just hoping that it had been an illusion, eyes furiously going to and fro…
To his relief, there was no such woman. Apparently.
The car sped off from the traffic lights, a little too violently perhaps, as several pedestrians and drivers shouted at him. But they hardly registered in his mind. He had been afraid of his wife, a woman that had been dead for almost two years. What had he been thinking? But, even as those thoughts rushed through his mind, he knew that he was deliberately avoiding the truth. His wife had a right to be vengeful. After what had happened…
He suddenly shut his eyes, hard, to drive it out of his mind. That was the past. It didn’t matter. He needed to look to the future…
He opened his eyes. And it immediately widened as he saw the mirror hanging above him.
A woman in the back seat, with a paper-white face and startling green eyes.
And a cruel smile on her face that betrayed the fact that she wasn’t entirely of a sane mind.
The man screamed, a loud, shrill scream, and desperately jerked the steering wheel to the right, barely avoiding the semitrailer next to him. No. It couldn’t be. She had been deceased for…
Trees flashed past him, in a seemingly never-ending blur, as he whimpered in his seat, and once more, with a willpower that surprise even him, quickly glanced back at the mirror.
He had quickly unbuckled his seatbelts, hands sweaty, and just managed to open his front door. The memory still fresh inside his mind, the eyes hat gleamed like a killer’s. The cruel, thin smile.
He went into his house. The terror seemed to mount up, inside him, building like an ocean wave. Shadows flashed, the wind whispered. He felt as if he was on the way to another world. Sobbing, he gripped the bookshelf next to the door, and pulled himself along, on his knees, semi conscious of something dropping from his hands…
The night was quiet. No one was about. He was completely alone and isolated, far away from any kind of help.
Slowly across the hallway…
A momentary flicker caught his eye. a movement of some sort from the window. Something seemed to be crouching there, something darker than even the night…
His hands grasped something. He gasped.
It was a pistol. No, THE pistol. How did it come to be there? Surely, it wasn’t there when he left. Surely…
And he was now in the corner of a dark and unknown room, for, due to his blind panic, he did not even bother to turn on the light. He could just barely see the switch now, so close, but in reality so far from his reach…
He then knew that the game was up. While voices whispered around him, and shadows crept, he suddenly sat up, like a dummy, with glazed and unseeing eyes and a body no longer caring what he did, and cried:
“I knew that I would get my revenge someday!”, while he laughed maniacally, a laugh that chilled the blood and shook the house to the core. His eyes did a wild dance, and his mouth curved into something resembling a sinister smile.
He then pulled the trigger, the trigger to send him into oblivion.

The Diamond

It had been an overcast morning. As the wind howled its ferocity to the world and the dried leaves scuttled like hunched spiders across the road, I yawned, and put another sugar lump in my coffee. It was going to be another tiring day, if the previous ones are anything to go by; there had been an increasing interest in the theft of the Johnston diamond in our local museum. While the was apparently impossible, it had been done, and the media had been relentlessly digging up new news articles: “Security guard in total shock; could it be him?” and, today, “Mystery apparently unsolvable”. It therefore had been hard this week in the local police to keep the media and the public at bay. And today was going to be no different; as my chief, Dermot Clark, explained to me yesterday.

“Farnham, we cannot take this any further to the media; who knows what they could make up with the extra information!” he had said. I pity him; he had been devoid of any sleep since the theft.

Two days ago, at seven thirty in the night, a security guard in the museum had heard breaking glass, and seconds later the ringing of an alarm. He had rushed there as fast as he could, but the diamond had already been stolen, prised out of a shattered glass casing. The entire lack of suspects was baffling: since the guard told us that he had locked all the doors and windows, and there was a shattered glass pane found right next to the exhibit the next morning, the mystery was how exactly the thief managed to get through locked doors and windows to reach the exhibit.

Today, I was heading to the police station to meet up with the chief. He had apparently got hold of a suspect that had been what he described over the telephone as in an “excited state”. The police station was a one-storey brick building, with a tall wooden fence encompassing it on three sides except the front, where a driveway led up steeply towards the garage. What bothered me was that although the house was partly bordered, there was nothing to stop someone from going around the house form the front, as the only door was one that was easily opened, with no lock. As I entered, the chief led me to a small interrogation room positioned facing towards the fence. There was a window partly open; but the blinds were drawn and the high fence prevented anyone overhearing the conversation. I could see that the chief was excited; his eyes practically sparkled as he led me to a chair. The witness was brought in. She was Joanna Richardson, the accountant living just across me; however, with a recent workplace scandal, she was close to being in debt. With the preliminary questions complete, she began her statement.

“Well, I was on my way to a restaurant (It was Friday, after all). I left my house at five-thirty, and took the main road, which led past the museum. It was nearing night when I approached the museum, and it was dark; the streetlights did little to make people see where they are going. Anyway, I was past it when a car swerved violently across the road, and came towards me.”

“Where were you at the time?” I asked.

“Just slightly past the museum, almost to the intersection. Then, as it swerved towards me, I saw his face-“

“Whose?” I asked.

Then, suddenly, a shot rang out. It was astonishingly loud, and narrowly missed Joanna. I believe that we were all in shock for a moment. Joanna was trembling, repeating the words “someone took aim at me” over and over, her face blanched of all colour. Then, slowly, The chief got up, and strode over to the window. He spent some time attempting to raise the blinds. When he did, the culprit was gone. All that was left was a revolver.

A still loaded revolver that was still smoking.

“Well,” the chief remarked, “it seems to be over.”

After obtaining the name of the person that Joanna saw on the night of the crime, and noticing that a) the person had the same make of revolver that had been used to take a shot at that had gone missing in the past week b) that he had a motive for the crime and c) he was near the police station when Joanna had been shot at, apparently visiting a friend, Henry Forbes was immediately arrested, without any questions being raised as to the fact that the gun had been missing the previous week. Joanna had now retired back home with her husband, a smug and incorrigible man that always seemed to know secretly your problems, and would hold them upon everybody else, threatening you with it. All in all, I did not trust him. And the crime did not make sense.

“But, Chief,” I objected, “Forbes’s maid stated that almost everybody in town knew that he had a revolver, and that it was kept in an in securable place”.

“Well, that has little bearing on the case. But, since we have time, why don’t you explain your objections to the arrest to me?”

Seeing an opportunity to express myself, I hastily rushed into the act.

“First,” I started, “why didn’t Forbes shoot Joanna dead?”

“What do you mean?” said the chief, puzzled.

“Well, after realising that the first shot had missed, why didn’t he shoot at her again? There were plenty of shots left, and there would be ample time, since we were stunned immediately afterwards. Secondly, why leave the revolver at the scene of the crime, which would inevitably lead us directly to him?”

“Well, you heard what he said: It was common knowledge in town, and that he could have thought that it would lead nowhere.”

“Yes,” I said, “but surely it would be better to take it with him? That way, the identity of the murderer could be even more well-hidden.”

I could see that the chief was starting to accept my observations. Encouraged by this, I continued:

“Therefore, since Forbes revolver was found at the scene of the crime, he was not responsible. And I was particularly mystified by Joanna’s remark, “Someone took aim at me”.”


“Well, if she knew that Forbes was a likely murderer, would it be more likely that she said “he” instead of “someone”?”

“You mean-“

“Yes, ” I said. “Joanna was lying in the fact that she saw Forbes, or anyone at all, although Forbes was driving to the shops at the time, at a place near the museum. And the fact that the shot missed her, prompting no other shots from the gunman given that he still had plenty of time, I think that we could say that she could be guilty. After all, she claimed that she was outside on the day of the theft on five-thirty, thus giving her plenty of time to run, take a taxi or some faster way of transportation to the museum; even walking would get you there before dark. She then goes in, hiding in some obscure location, perhaps the lavatory, until the museum closes. Then she comes out, steals the diamond, then smashes the window and escapes into the night. She would sell it later to pay off her debts.”

“Impossible,” said the chief.

“No, it is particularly possible. Remember that we have not questioned her husband, and that we do not know where he was when there was an apparent attempt on Joanna’s life. He could have stolen the revolver a week ago, when they were preparing for the theft together; they might have also kept themselves informed of Forbes’s actions, so as to incriminate him since he was also in a debt, but a much larger one that had to be repaid at a sooner date.”


The Ascendancy of Poseidon by Kaan Yilmaz

Rising from waves of anger comes a storm,
Monstrous plates like the oppressor’s fists lash,
Thrashing his trident the sea’s soul turns brash.
Into an incubus he shall transform
When petty fear and alarm strike and swarm.
The outburst in the sky causing a crash,
Brought on by the barbaric winds that clash.
Hark! The waves and winds abruptly deform,
But panic dies down and sets the prey free.
The rolling waves when he chortled in scorn,
Once many a faint heart would turn to flee.
But a calmer, peaceful surface to adorn,
For the sovereign spirit of the sea,
Returns the tranquillity of the dawn.

Exodus by Kaan Yilmaz

Heath’s eyes snap open. They dart around the room. Left-right-up-down. Hands quaking. Teeth chattering. A trickle of cold sweat seeps down his bony forehead. He slowly and fitfully sits up in his ice-block bed. Another nightmare. Another night of torment and suffering. These terrible ordeals have polluted his sleep for a week now. Maybe more. Definitely more. Yes, more. It has to be. A frightened Heath gazes slowly around his barren room, with the alarm clock casting dim shades of light on the walls. Why is it him? Why does he have to go through this punishment? After a quick peek at his alarm clock next to the bed, he realises he is late again. Late for another day of sorrow.

He shakily hauls himself out of the bed, as if he was about to collapse under his own weight. The moment he stands up, his vision seems to blur. He is not looking around his gloomy room. Heath’s eyes are telling him that he is back in “the days”. He is suddenly craning his neck to look up at his father. A tall, corpulent man with beady eyes and a thick moustache. His father is yelled at him, blaming him for “all of this”. By that, he meant all of the disputes and feuds in which his parents had expressed their absolute disgust and hatred towards one another.

“Oh, yes,” drones Heath aloud to himself. “I remember…”

This was the night that his parents had the argument. It was a rampage that had lasted for perhaps six hours, without pause for a breath. The feud had spilled out into the frostbitten streets of Richmond. Broken glass. Broken bottles. Broken hearts. Neighbours peered through their curtains, looking both irritated and fascinated. His mother was lashing out curses to the man. He did not respond with his own words, but with every single punch and kick that he could muster form his boulder-like body. To escape the hostility that was bubbling on the street, Heath had shut himself into his bedroom. It was consumed by dust and the window was jammed. The paint on the walls was chipping and peeling off, but it was his only safe little corner of what seemed to be an unwelcoming world. He can still hear these shrieking voices that haunt him from time to time.

As Heath fumbles around with a frozen piece of butter and a stale piece of what could barely pass as bread, he attempts to regain his focus and pull his thoughts away from the flashback while trying to make his ‘breakfast’. He has been trying to concentrate on combining the bread and butter without a knife, and is deep in his thoughts when out of the corner of his eye, he picks up the subtle movement of his tea cup. His eyes widen. His hands freeze. A shiver rockets its ways down Heath’s spine. His father is holding onto it. Grasping it in his claw-like hands. Surely he is imagining things… Heath blinks. The man is now tipping the cup. Out trickles the vile, green liquid like teardrops from a mourner. A frightened, petrified Heath shifts his eyes from the cup to the man. His father is now pointing to him. His eyes hold him captive. They make his arms twitch. They make his knees shiver. They make his mouth tremble. The father appears to be accusing his own son of something that he could not comprehend the reason of. With that, the devilish man vanishes. Dissipated. Gone. Not a trace of his presence left. To Heath’s amazement, the cup is left untouched. It has not even slid out of place. Just another hallucination. The frightened man hastily clashes the bread with the butter using his bare hands, and wolfs it down. He stares hesitantly at the cup for a while, but this was the only beverage besides water that he could afford to drink.

After his rather unsatisfying meal, Heath decides to take a sick leave from his depressing work at the receptionists’ desk at the hospital. During his walk, he tries to make sense of why he is seeing these disturbing images of his parents during any daily activity. Why is his past trying to haunt his future? There are many questions left hanging unanswered in Heath’s mind. But he cannot not ignore that same nagging feeling forever. It is the same as ignoring a stone in your shoe, a crying baby left unattended, or… anything. But this is far more serious. It is threatening to destroy his future. His livelihood. His hopes. His dreams. His very existence. He needs to stop this agony before it consumes his mind.

“There must be some solution,” he says, lost in his thoughts, “and every problem has a way to fix it. I just don’t understand how to fix this one.”

Out of nowhere, a large shadowy figure emerges like a viper from the shady trees above Heath. It cannot be. Not for a third time. Heath’s father is grinning. Not a bright, happy grin. A devious grin, that is. This is surely a sign of Heath going crazy. There is no way that this is possible. The ground quakes and shudders behind him. Another vessel of sadness. The two identical copies of Heath’s deceased father extend their arms in a hugging motion. They are slowly, but surely, pacing their way over to Heath. He cannot move. The fear has eaten him up. His legs are planted to the ground. Heath’s heart starts pumping. His breathing is getting faster by the second. Hands clenched. Throat dry. Teeth gritted. Eyes wide. The ‘fathers’ finally grab hold of a writhing Heath from either side of his body. In unison, they sink. Ever so slowly, into the ground. It is too late.

Speech: Stand up for mankind

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, but it seems nothing has changed, nothing has resulted from the death of our brothers and sisters who died fighting for humanity, fighting for freedom and liberty we all are entitled. It seems that some governments around the world are regressing back to police states and the future will be one where people are denied full humanity by restrictions imposed on their lives.  Under the guise of democracy, many governments around the world are in fact secretly surveying on our private lives, corrupting the media, and taking away our rights. Much like what Aldous Huxley envisioned in his ‘Brave New World’, the future could be a place where the common citizens have no rights.

Firstly, in our current day world, we all take Democracy for granted. We enjoy freedom of speech, we enjoy how we know the truth, and we enjoy thinking for ourselves. But think for a moment how it would feel if we got these luxuries forcefully taken away from us. Many people around the world don’t enjoy these rights, and slowly governments will take these rights away from us. For example in our lives, we rely on the media to tell us the truth. Some people in many countries such as North Korea or China don’t enjoy freedom of press, and are being denied the truth. Their state-run media are brainwashing their citizens, denying them the ability to think for themselves. It may seem farfetched to believe that this is happening in Australia; however, many governments including ours are bribing newspaper organizations to give them favourable press. This is taking away from our right to truth.

The second issue is the idea that the governments are spying into our private lives. All of us have conversations with others in our life, but how would you feel if every single conversation were being eavesdropped. That’s exactly what’s happening currently. Almost everyone uses the internet and mobile devices to converse, and to be social. Our governments are taking advantage of this, and are engaging in a process known as phone-tapping. This is where they can see every single message you send, listen into every single call you make and track your every move. How are we supposed to speak freely with one another if we are constantly being monitored? Our governments are suppressing us. Freedom of speech is a lie. You might wonder, oh they’re just doing it to protect us, for security. Look at Tony Abbott, he’s been phone-tapping the Indonesian President, look at Rupert Murdoch, he’s been phone tapping all the celebrities. This is not for us; this is for their personal greed and gain.

Many authors, past and present, have envisaged the future. Many stories have been created telling us of police states with CCTVs and constant surveillance, many have told us about how society brainwashes its citizens so they don’t revolt, but none have been listened, nobody has heeded the warning. As we venture further into the future, our society is receding back into the past. Governments are greedy for power, and for them to stay in power, they need to stamp us out. We are the main force which can stop the dictators from taking over, and that’s why they are scared. They are scared of us, because we can do something about it. Many stories like ‘Brave New World’, and ‘The Pedestrian’ have told us about one brave soul who fights against the oppressive government, who has taken all their rights away, but in the end they are only one brave soul, but we can be many brave souls and actually stop the dictators from taking over.

In the end, many of you here may be scared of acting, may be scared of taking a stand against our government’s paths towards dictatorship. However, there are many of you, many of us, and we should fight against oppressive rulers. We should listen to the many authors who have explored the idea, and stop phone-tapping, stop media bribing, stop greedy governments. Maybe when you sit down in front of the television to watch the evening news, think about what they are telling you, is it really the truth?

Blade Runner 2: Futuristic Short Story – Victor Yin

‘Bishop to King Seven checkmate, I think.’

‘Got a brainstorm, huh, Sebastian? Milk and cookies kept you awake, huh? Let’s discuss this. You’d better come up, Sebastian!’

The elevator whirred into action and Sebastian could feel the G-forces as he and Roy headed to Tyrell’s penthouse. The door opened, and there was Tyrell, sitting on his bed, beckoning for him to enter.

‘Mr Tyrell, I’ve brought a friend,’ Sebastian stuttered. He was nervous, especially with Roy breathing down his neck. Tyrell looked towards Roy’s right and noticed Roy.

‘I’m surprised you didn’t come here sooner.’

Roy approached Tyrell and started talking to him. Sebastian didn’t really pay too much attention to the banter between Roy and Tyrell. He walked around the room, marvelling at Tyrell’s creations.

‘The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long. And you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy. Look at you. You’re the prodigal son. You’re quite the prize!’

‘I’ve done questionable things.’

‘Also extraordinary things; revel in your time’

‘Nothing the god of biomechanics wouldn’t let you in heaven for.’

A painful scream pierced Sebastian’s eye-drum. He turned around insticntively, and there was Roy, gouging out Tyrell’s eyes. Sebastian bolted towards the elevator, he could hear screaming, and then it stopped. He turned around and made eye contact with Roy. He frantically pressed the button marked ‘close’. The elevator door started closing, and then a hand appeared through closing gap. The door reopened despite Sebastian’s commands. Roy grabbed Sebastian and lifted him up into the air.

‘Sorry, no witnesses!’

Sebastian woke up in a cold sweat. As his vision cleared up, he realized he was lying on a bed. He looked around and noticed Holden looking at him.

‘Oh you’re awake, how are you feeling?’

Sebastian was unsure of what to say, so he just nodded his head.

‘Are you Mr J.F Sebastian?’

‘Yes sir I am.’

‘Welcome to the Off World.’

Sebastian glanced around. The room was white, with one large glass window facing him. Outside there was grass, trees and a clear reddish sky. There were doves flying around in packs, there were animals grazing, and a man and a woman working the land.

‘How am I in the Off-World when I failed the test?’

‘You’re dead. We found a TDK disk in your apartment, with all your memories up until your death and we uploaded it to a replicant’s body.’

‘Why would you do that for me? T-Thank You’

‘We need you to succeed Tyrell, as head of Tyrell Corporation. Replicant production has stopped after his death and we need new replicants to aid construction of the Off-World. Shuttle will bring you back to Tyrell Headquarters tomorrow morning.’

With the return of Sebastian, the Tyrell Corporation began designing a new prototype, Nexus 7.  Sebastian designed it all by himself, and it was an improvement from the Nexus 6. Nexus 7 had A- level intelligence and A-level Physicality as well as all being equipped with randomly generated memories. What’s most important was that the words of their creator were their command. Or so was the intended program — to prevent the repeat of Nexus 6.

The first one Sebastian created was installed with the memories of Pris.  Pris sported a neater bob cut as well as a punk one-piece outfit.

‘Hey Pris, how are you feeling?’

‘What’s this, where am I?’

‘You’re at Tyrell Corporation.’

‘Where’s Roy?’

‘I don’t know, Pris.’

Pris sprang up from her bed, with her Next Generation physicality.

‘D-Do you want to come to my apartment?’

‘Yeah! Sure!’

They took the elevator down and exited Tyrell Headquarters and into the streets below. Heavy acid rain lashed the streets and scalded the pathways and the face of buildings. It was dark at 2pm in the afternoon, just like any other ordinary Los Angeles day. The crowded streets sported a colourful mishmash of umbrellas.

It was only a short walk to Sebastian’s apartment. It was the same old abandoned apartment block. Sebastian and Pris took the elevator up. The apartment leaked water and had eroded away much of the elevator cables. The elevator creaked and groaned its way up.

The toys walked out to greet Sebastian.

‘Home again, home again, nice to see you Sebastian.’

Pris suddenly knelt down, sniffing the floor.

‘I smell blood, Roy’s blood.’

Pris grabbed Sebastian by the collar, with a desperate look in her eyes.

‘Take me to the roof.’

As they opened the door to the roof, Roy’s body was there, lifeless. Pris ran to his body, which had been etched away by the acid rain revealing bone and flesh. Pris sniffed the corpse, and then kissed it. She then turned around to Sebastian and grabbed him.

‘Sebastian, Sebastian, can you revive Roy?’

‘N-No, T-That’s out of my expertise.’ Sebastian lied.

Sebastian looked at Pris sheepishly. Pris looked angry. She gritted her teeth.

‘I’m going to kill them. I’m going to kill all the humans, starting from you.’

‘No Pris, don’t say that, stay where you are. I am your creator. I now command you – stay, s-t-a-y-y ’

A loud painful scream was heard.

Maus: Argumentative Essay – Victor Yin

Vladek’s aggravating personality traits are a product of his experiences during the Holocaust. Do you agree?
Maus is a book written by Art Spiegelman documenting his father’s treacherous journey through the Holocaust. His father, Vladek, is portrayed as a character with an aggravating personality, stingy, selfish and cynical. Vladek’s aggravating disposition is a product of his experiences during the Holocaust. His selfishness can be attributed back to his experiences in that ordeal where he had to take things to survive, even if it meant taking from others. His distrust and cynicism can be seen as a direct result of his being betrayed by his friends, and his obsession with money can be linked to how money helped him survive in the holocaust. However, Vladek’s personality is not shaped by the Holocaust but is definitely affected by it.

Vladek’s self-serving character is a legacy of his traumatic experiences in an environment where  ‘every man is for himself’. The pragmatic principal of putting one’s self interest ahead of others governs almost every living soul during the Holocaust.  An example of Vladek’s egoistic behaviour is when he climbed onto someone’s shoulders to hang a hammock for him to lie on to prevent himself from being killed or trampled when people were shoved onto a train to the concentration camp.  This is an example of the necessity to be selfish, for his survival. Another example of Vladek’s selfishness is when Vladek wants to give Art a new coat, believing that “It’s a shame my son would wear such an [old shabby] coat.” The irony is that he seems to be doing not for his on Art but for he himself. Instead of getting Art a new coat out of love, he gets Art a new coat out of preserving his own image. This is indicative of the selfish nature of Vladek.  What is worse is that he later says, “I have for you a warmer one. I got at Alexander’s a new jacket, and I can give to you my old one; it’s still like new!” This shows that Vladek did not even buy Art a new jacket but instead buying himself a new jacket and giving Art his old one.

Vladek can also be described as extremely cynical and distrustful which is because during the holocaust he has been betrayed by many people he thought to be friends. This is shown when Vladek and Anja pay smugglers recommended to them by Mrs Kawka to take them to Hungary, but are betrayed and handed over to the Nazis. ‘In Katowice, it was only to them the smuggler phoned’. Experience such as this results in Vladek’s loss of faith in friendship. This can be illustrated early in the prologue, when young Art tells his father that he has fallen from his skate while playing with his friends in the schoolyard but his friends have left without him. It is obvious that his friends do not have any malicious intent, but Vladek responds cynically, lecturing his son, ‘Friends? Your Friends? If you lock them together in a room with no food for a week… Then you could see what it is, Friends!’ This unexpected sceptical remark does not comfort Art at all, and is definitely unwarranted.

Moreover, Vladek is stingy and greatly concerned about money, which can be attributed to him having nothing in the holocaust, and needing to save to survive. His obsession with money can be seen as a consequence of how money has saved him so many times from being caught in the Holocaust, through bribery and influence.  ‘All 12 of our household were given now to live in 2 and a half small rooms, but most people had even less space, but father-in-law and Wolfe had a little influence.’ Vladek’s miserliness is shown in the extreme methods he uses to save money. Francoise comments on it by saying, ‘Since gas is included in the rent, he leaves a burner lit all day to save on matches’. His stinginess may have also stemmed from his needing to save the smallest things to survive. An example of this is how Vladek had to save bread to exchange for cigarettes to bribe the guards with.

Not all of Vladek’s experiences, however, can be attributed back to the Holocaust. For example his great interest in money occurred before the Holocaust as shown with his relationship with Lucia Greenberg. At the start of the book it is shown that he chooses Anja over Lucia Greenberg because the former is wealthier. When Vladek describes Lucia he says, ‘Her (Lucia) family was nice, but had no money, even for a dowry’. However, when describing Anja he says ‘The Zylberberg family was very well off – millionaires’. This shows money is an influencing factor in Vladek’s decision to marry Anja. However, his stinginess is definitely made more prominent and serious by his Holocaust experience.

Vladek’s aggravating personality traits are definitely the product of the holocaust. Vladek believes because of his survival, these traits are positive traits, and he must pass them on to Art as to help him survive in life. His selfishness is a product of the ‘every man for himself’ mentality. His stinginess is a result of his belief in the power of money in bettering the chance of survival through bribery. His cynicism is because of the betrayals Vladek has suffered.  ‘Maybe Auschwitz made him like that’.

Haunted House by Matthew Ung 9G

I gaze at the house in the distance. The house stands alone in solitude. It is deserted; no one ever dares to step near it. I see the rough wooden walls of the house. The house is covered in a shroud of darkness. The street lamps are dim, accentuating the darkness covering the house. The trees in the garden are dead, it is almost as if their life had been drained away from them. The garden is bare without even a blade of grass. The house is surrounded by a mangled wooden fence.

I begin to walk towards the house. I feel an unexplainable force dragging me towards it pulling me closer and closer towards the house. The sound of crashing of wheels on the tarmac road turns into an eerie silence. My ears are filled with nothing but the echo of my own footsteps. Every step I take, brings me closer toward the house. I am panicking, unable to control my body. I walk past the gate of the house and head slowly towards the mysterious wooden door. The force dragging me towards the house begins to grow stronger. When I am in front of the wooden door, my arm begins to raise, reaching out for the door. I begin to regret my decision to come to this house. I wanted to act brave and brag to my friends about going into this haunted house. I never believed in ghosts. I merely believed they were nothing more than superstition.

When the door flings open, I see walls covered in blood. I see deformed corpses lying on the ground. I smell the putrid stench of rotting meat. I stand unable to move. I feel vomit gushing up my throat from seeing this disgusting sight. The door slams shut enclosing me in this hell. I begin to punch furiously at the door, to no avail. Tears begin to trickle down my face. I realise this is going to be the end of my life. Everything turns pitch black. I feel excruciating pain, resonating through my body. I scream out in pain hoping that someone will respond, but no one does.

Writing Competitions for 2014 (page moved)

This page is no longer being maintained. 

Please refer to this link:


Writing Competitions last updated July 16
Maintained regularly by Joseph Nguyen.

Here’s a list of a few competitions that have their deadlines within the next few months that you can look into doing for fulfilling the requirements.

If you’ve found a competition of interest and has not been listed, please comment below and it’ll be added to the list.


(Italicised means it is restricted to a certain age group, or contains other restrictions.)

Other links to note are:
The Aust. Writers Resource Competitions list:

The MHS Libguides Writing also has a list of competitions:

July 18: Bayside Writing Competition: Flash Fiction ($0 fee, Bayside Council residents only)
16-18 years category is Flash Fiction of 150 words or less. Any theme.

July 18: Margaret Dooley Award for Young Writers 2014 ($0 fee)
Entrants are to submit a piece of ethical exploration that will engage a non-specialist audience.
Under 1500 words for people aged under 30 years.

July 21: Yarram Community Centre Inc Short Story/Poetry Competition ($3-5 fee, postal entries only)
1500-3000 word short story or 8-48 lines of poetry. Fees are $5 and $3 respectively and there is no theme set.

July 31: Mudgee Valley Writers 14th Biennial Competition ($5 fee, postal entries only) [Thanks, Jill for letting us know about this competition.]
2000 word maximum short story or 60 line maximum poetry. Two categories, novice and open, novice is for authors who have not won a monetary prize in a competition.

August 2: City of Monash WordFest 2014 Short Story Competition ($0 fee, for residents of City of Monash, or member of Monash Libraries)
Open category short story in prose. 12-14 years- 500 words max. short story. 14-17 years- 1000 words max. short story. Open category- 2000 words max. short story. Prizes include book vouchers to $500.

August 21: Boroondara Literary Awards ($0 fee, most categories limited to residents of Boroondara)
500-900 word prose or 200 lines of poetry for Yr 7-9, and 900-1300 word prose or 200 lines of poetry for Yrs 10-12. Open topics, as well as the main theme “Courage in Adversity”  for each category. Prizes of up to $600.

August 31: City of Melbourne Young Writer’s Award 2014 ($0 fee, for writers between 10-25)
3500 word max short stories or 100 lines max of poetry, or 4-8 pages of a graphic novel or comic short story for various age group categories from 10-25. Any topic is permitted.