The History Department thoroughly enjoyed reading the entries for the Historical Fiction Competition received at the start of term. The standard of the entries was extremely high and the History teachers were impressed both by the quality of the writing and the thorough historical research deployed in the stories. Topics chosen ranged from World War Two to the Norman Conquest. Congratulations go to all those who entered the competition and listen out for the results in the next whole school assembly! In the meantime, have a look at some samples of writing from the competition:
The bloodbath was up to my ankles, as the mud was already too saturated to hold any more. Wherever I stepped, the dark red substance oozed out of the ground. Again the cries of the wounded pierced my ears. Then I happened to do a terribly idiotic thing. I just stood there, staring in despair at the battlefield.I zoned out, I realised. I cursed myself for that and readied my limp sword in my hand. As I was about to turn around, a hand gripped my shoulder. Too late. This was no ally. This was a Norman. My sword flew behind me. Halfway through that manoeuvre, however, I felt my hand leave my body. I spun around and I was met with the wonderful sight of four Normans leering over me, beady eyes and ugly expressions on their faces. One dragged me down. But as they got in their own argument of how they were going to ‘painfully torture and kill me’, I managed to scramble and turn away, only to be met with an ARROW flying straight towards my face. I did not duck quick enough.
Whichever deluded person made the wise assumption that all wounds heal with time was obviously out of their senses when they said it. Well, maybe not completely. Physical wounds heal and they fade away, largely forgotten about forever. But this person, and everyone who utters this phrase, was definitely thinking about a different kind of wound. One which cannot be seen.The wounds which I have sustained will never heal. No matter how many psychologists try to stitch me up, I am, as they say, scarred for life. Never to be repaired, or ment.And even if I did assume that this saying was true, how much time? Surely not three quarters of a century. For that is how long I have lived with these memories, these experiences these wounds. The funny thing is I have physical proof of my suffering; a skin graft, along my right forearm. I stopped wasting pointless time over it years ago. That will never fade away either, I will always know what happened there.
This particular slave hadn’t fared so well he tried to resist what the heavens had decided were his destiny. His life seemed to happen in a blur, from being a happy young boy running around the field, playing with his friends. He was with his friends until, they came. The men who had big hats on, seeming to blend into the high African canopy of the jungle, snatched them away from each other until they were reunited, in shackles and chains being led to the big ship bound to be taking them to the land of, of slaves. The Americas. It was a blessing to be bought because he was chosen, out of all those slaves just lined up, but life on the plantation was grim. His life seemed worthless but then nobody ever delved into his past. Not just because he was shocked into a shy and reclusive state but because the past was never remembered yet the present would never be forgotten.
It is night. The vessel sways viciously and I can hear shouts of men above us battling to sail the ship against the aggressive waves. Below deck, I sit next to Ralph who is peacefully asleep in his hammock. His gums are indigo, swollen and spongey, his eyelids protrude over bulging eyeballs and the rashes on his body are closer in comparison to purple blotches. I have been sat by him for the last two days without sleeping. I am exhausted but I fear that, if I rest, he will be gone when I wake up. My head falls against the end of Ralph’s hammock as fatigue begins to pull me into a slumber. Wait. From the corner of my half-closed eye I see something. Something red. And it’s coming from Ralph’s stump. I cry out. Everyone in the room rises and pulls out their weapons. They sleep lightly in case of an emergency. Most lie back down when they realise that it is only me but a handful of them rush over to see what the upset is. Ralph moans but does not stir.”Shoot him” I whimper…