The Upper Fourth have produced some wonderfully sinister Dystopian tales, inspired by Philip Reeve's visit. The creative writing competition held was won by Matthew Boddy. Several excerpts of the finalists are included below. Their laminated final versions look very professional and make exciting reading.
Head of English and Learning Faculty
My name is Matthew Boddy and I was the overall winner of the Upper Fourth Dystopian sci-fi story contest with my short story Farewell. Farewell follows Caelum on his journey as he embarks on a quest to colonise a new home for all of humanity as the Earth slowly descends into chaos around him.
Caelum and his instructor shot out above the craft, just as it exploded into a ball of fire and sending one last onslaught of razor-sharp debris went screaming past them. They began rapidly gaining height as the small boosters launched them to safety. The heron slammed into the lake, sending a colossal shower of water up into the sky before the lake's jaws collapsed in on it, reducing it to little more than scrap. The water slowly calmed to a ripple, the great lake was obviously content with its new found treasure.
The Awakening – by Lucy Chen
Everybody had already vanished; it must have been the end of class, although, as I scanned the classroom everything was untouched, exactly how we had left it, except coated in thick layers of velvety dust. Shattered floorboards creaked when lead through the narrow hallway, the rough walls scraping against my fingertips. Traces of an eerie glow shone on the walls, I chased it hoping to escape the enclosing darkness, and then, the mysterious light had disappeared as it led me to the exit.
Not a single person was to be found. The whole town was deserted. Darting in the air, a crimpled butterfly tumbled to the floor, shuddering. Different emotions battled for dominance over my mind: confusion, curiosity, worry, fear, and dread. Above all, feeling hopeless gave me the urge to scream at the top of my lungs, hoping to release all the frustration stacked up inside me. The piercing shriek echoed among the distance. The thin air tasted raw, it was then when I realised how parched I was.
Extinction – by Spencer Cole
Cars whizz by my window, screeching as they go, on their hasty journeys. It’s a tremendous drop from floor two thousand down to the black sludge below which oozes about, squirming with the blood-chilling air. Yet another hellish day is over, I thought to myself, as I put my feet up and called my Romo to get me my telecommunication monocle. Everyone has a Romo these days, Romo meaning Robotic Obedient Machine Organiser. They do all of the dirty work which no human wants to do. They are creators, inventors and the police; everything around us is there because of them. The only way you can tell a Romo from a human being, is by its hands. Instead of the four fingers and one thumb which we have, they have seven fingers.
The air is cluttered with noise, cars fumes snake their way into your nose and the constant sight of metal drills its way into your memory. Never is there a moment of silence. Never is there a second of stillness. Never is there peace. But gradually, the fluorescent green sun drops away from human sight, accentuating the sharp peaks of the imposing buildings of the metropolis, as the darkness engulfs it into its cage of torture. Silence consumed the busy air. The Crawlers awake.
The Highwaywoman – by Maeve O'Neill
The story is set on a dystopian earth, where humanity has been split into two separate societies, one residing on earth and the other living in the sky. The protagonist is a young orphan girl who has crafted a life as a bandit, a notorious highwaywomen. The plot follows her capture, and her life after she has been taken into the mysterious second realm, the sky world.
Voices break the silence around me. I’m hidden, crouched at edge of an outcrop, my horse at my side. Past the outcrop is a simple country road, isolated yet still used fairly regularly. It’s beginning to darken, the forest laden with shadows, heavy and deep, the only noise the wind in the trees and birds singing, accompanied with my own soft breathing. Not until the voices came of course. At first it was just a distant sound, not voices at all, but the heavy clattering of hooves on the road. Snorts, the sound of horses, and a gentle creaking as wheels pursue them. A horse and carriage. Exactly what I am looking for.
I slowly rise into a stand, taking shallow breaths and pressing my body into the rock beside me. Moss tickles my face and hard stone grazes my skin, as cold as marble. Above me, branches web across a darkening sky, but no sunset is to be seen. That is because this is no dusk, is no night, it is only two thirty pm, sunset is not until two hours at least. This is an eclipse. Twice a day huge Sky Palaces, artificial moons, Parallax and its sister moon Saros, circle earth, taking up to half a hour to pass over one location.