Earlier this year Outcomes First Group launched an engaging and educational competition for all the children in their care and schools to participate in during lockdown. All budding JK Rowlings, David Walliams’ and Julia Donaldsons were invited to write a short story around one of the following themes:
- Being Happy
- My Dream
The competition was a fun and creative project to participate in, but also offered a solid link to the Ofsted framework on writing.
Waterloo Lodge School are delighted to share the winning entry for the 12-15 year old’s category is our very own Charlie; a Year 11 pupil. Huge congratulations Charlie!
The judge’s comment for Charlie’s story was: This piece contained really imaginative use of vocabulary, the description really made me feel present in the piece and elicited a sense of chaos and panic. I was also impressed with the use of punctuation.
Below is Charlie’s story:-
(Technically, some would classify this as a ‘nightmare’ but I tend to find it rather enjoyable)
Armageddon, that is the one word to describe this neurological hallucination. Although apocalypse is close. It features a run-down society, undead swarming the streets, weaving in and out of the blocked traffic, pounding on the doors (locked) the automobiles serving as some people’s only protection from the ‘zombies’ some were armed, but they were the first to succumb to the dead, breaking their own windows, allowing the infected to pour in like a tsunami of rotting flesh. Others tried to flee, either on foot, or on any non-motor vehicle, however this presented its own risks as there was no barrier to obstruct the writhing corpses. Those without firearms constructed cruder weaponry, there was one that stuck out, a roller blader who had melded a hockey stick to a cleaver, he was doing well, decapitated a rather substantial swarm of ghouls, but as he was dashing towards his next target, a rotting hand darted out of a storm drain, with a loud thud the would-be hero slammed into the pavement, the last I saw of him, he was being dragged, screaming, by his blonde ponytail, into the sewers.
The survivors had been surrounded, the horizon drowned in a thick blanked of groaning, slouching cannibals. As they got closer and closer, the long, low growl of the undead was drowned out by a high pitched scream, not human. Suddenly, a quiet whistle seemed to hang in the air above them, and for a moment the world was engulfed in flames and bony shrapnel, flying overhead 3 F-22 Raptors circling slowly as a CH-47 Chinook lowered a rope-ladder, offering a chance of salvation, the first 7 survivors climbed aboard, leaving just enough room for one more person, as the 5 remaining survivors argued amongst themselves, a deafening groan seemed to take all warmth from the sun, they weren’t alone anymore, pouring out of the nearby houses, more of the unnatural abominations streamed to their meals, like a fish towards a worm, the pilot of the Chinook squawked that the 5 would have to choose soon, otherwise they would all be left behind.
One of the survivors strayed from the group, and elderly woman, heading to the undead, in doing so, exposing a bite-mark on the left calf, she was torn apart, not even screaming, just accepting it, that left four, a young man attempted to climb up to the helicopter, only to fall, he lay on the ground for about 7 seconds, not breathing, blinking, just staring at the sky blankly, motionless. A student nurse went to check on him, as he was checking the vitals, he suddenly jerked up, and bit the man on the shoulder, tearing away flesh and bone, that left 2 survivors, a businessman from London, and a chef from Sicily, the businessman darted to the ladder, only to be attacked by the chef, bringing a boot down, crushing his nose, laying on the street, bleeding, a look of horror crosses the chef’s face, the businessman’s arm had an extra hand, gripping him like a vice, on the elbow, pulling him towards the storm drain, and peering out at him were two pairs of yellow, unblinking eyes, attempting to pull himself free, he shrieked, cutting his cheek on the cleaver-hockey stick combination, the chef attempted to climb the ladder, but the Chinook was nowhere to be seen, turning around, she saw why, at every conceivable angle, a groaning, gangrenous cannibalistic corpse shuffled closer to her, as the businessman was dragged into the sewer, she closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and charged at the horde screaming.
Alcohol seemed a salvation to some, and a cruel punishment to others, incurring the unyielding wrath of raw emotion, and yet, no matter its effects there were seldom those without the pathological need to drink. There were many a casualty, the zombies were the least of some people’s worries, starvation, dehydration, other diseases, and other survivors, in a society without laws (can it really still be called a society?) The prepared reigned supreme, people were restless, the living dead controlled 3/4 of the world’s landmass, the scattered remains of the military and armed forces had their own colour system for different areas, Blue areas were safe-zones for survivors, Purple zones were for supply planes to drop and refuel, these were guarded day and night as they were surrounded by White zones. White zones were areas completely overrun – save for a few LaMOE’s (Last Man On Earth’s) – most countries still had a minor human presence, save for a few northern islands, particularly Iceland, oh god help Iceland, ask anyone to tell you. Iceland was the definition of a pre-outbreak paradise, crime rates were low, so the law enforcement had very little firearms, so when the Americans withdrew their troops, what chance did they have of stopping the torrent of Refugees arriving by sea?
So as the population descended, the authorities straining to maintain their borders, were completely unaware of the infestations already bubbling within. Many people attempted to escape by sea, thinking that on open water they would be safe, many a refugee fled to the coastline, resulting in the now encompassing wall of writhing flesh, many boat owners would only take people on board who met their demands, some asked for money, food, weapons, and then there were the more disgusting demands, one ship would only take women, another only whites, they shone their flashlights in people’s faces, trying to root out ‘darkies’, those who couldn’t get on the ships before they departed attempted to swim, it was horrific, a few infected refugees died whilst swimming, only to reanimate below water, it was deep enough for a man to drown, but shallow enough for a standing ghoul to pull prey under, you would see swimmers suddenly disappear below the water, bubbles rushing to the surface, sometimes limbs would join them, mostly feet and hands, then there were the ‘dead crews’ a few boat owners hadn’t checked their passengers for signs of infection, now the reanimated were being moved into locked rooms, but as strong as the doors were, the windows weren’t sturdy, relentlessly pounding at the glass, shattering as they poured through the gaps, several ships completely overrun with undead passengers, occasionally one would fall in the water, some of those floated, something to do with the gasses being trapped in their intestines. This lead to the ‘boomers’, zombies that would just explode, sending infected tissue and fluid everywhere, sometimes you would even see them spurt stomach acid, melting the skin of those around.
I was one of the lucky ones, I tried to swim, frantically dashing towards a boat, any boat, but I was tired, I had been running all day, I briefly considered turning back, but dragging along the beach were thousands of reasons why I shouldn’t, I made it to the side of a ship named the S.S. Mariner god bless that boat, I tried to pull myself up, my arms wouldn’t stop swimming, abruptly a powerful arm wraps around my chest, this is it, I thought, any moment I’m going to be dragged down, the arm pulled, I screamed, closing my eyes I brace myself for teeth ripping into my flesh, but I notice something, I’m not in the water anymore. The captain looks down at me, a grim smile crossing his face…