- Top Story - September 2023
Don’t go down there.
I walked down King Street every day. It is always busy, it’s light airy and alive. The towering sandstone buildings stand like benevolent guards between you and the rest of the city. Running parallel to it is Albion Road. It is grey empty and always dark. Between them is an alley. It is black as night even in daylight. I don’t want to go through, there’s always a man halfway down holding a match illuminating his twisted, broken grin. Today I had to, today I walked down, he raised the match to his lips and blew. It went black.
The Hangman’s Mirror
The mirror showed a reflection that wasn't my own, I didn’t know who it was but they looked as miserable as me. I don’t even know why I chose to look into it, it was there and hell, I wasn’t ever going to see my own face again. There’s no point in offering me any pity as that is something I don’t deserve, my trip past the mirror was my own doing and I owned it, even as the hangman placed the noose around my neck I didn’t flinch, apologise or beg for mercy. I killed them, i killed them all and let me be very clear I enjoyed every last minute of it. No. This was where my life was always heading and it was in its own way, beautiful. But that mirror i wish that i had never stopped. That I had never looked into it because I am there, now and forever.
- Runner-Up in Time Traveler Challenge
The Cooper ExpeditionRunner-Up in Time Traveler Challenge
Everyone knows where they were when British President Cooper was assassinated. 12.42pm May 29th 2069 walking through Bristol during his campaign for re-election. It was the trigger for the country’s fall into authoritarianism and the catalyst for a complete shift in the politics of Western Europe. For many it was the beginning of the end of democracy and the starting point of every major modern history book. If there was a single event that defined the 22nd Century it was this.
An Olympic Struggle
The IOC have announced that from 2036 all competitors at the Summer Olympic Games will have to reach athletic standards. Regardless of discipline everyone will have to prove they are an ‘Olympian’ by running and swimming 1500 m. There will not be a time limit but all must demonstrate this before being allowed to compete.
Gradwell Web Design had been in Sheffield for nearly three years when Fiona Davis landed her first job as a designer. It was her first job since leaving university and she was desperate to impress. For someone as talented as Fiona it wasn’t hard to demonstrate it through her creativity but she also wanted to do it through her productivity. Whenever a deadline loomed she made sure it was met regardless of how unrealistic it was. This meant she utilised the very modern set up of the Gradwell offices and could be found leaving or arriving at times most other people would be fast asleep.
There was a moment, when I was younger, that I think I may have encountered true darkness. I tell you this as something of a warning, that out there, in the most mundane of places, there are things so malevolent that imagination defies belief. I think I was fortunate, not for the encounter but for the ability to have learned the lesson.
The Vampire’s Grave
November is a transit month in my mind. There is the build up to Halloween in October then by December the focus is on the festive season. November seems to be cold and empty and disappears far too soon. My friend Richard used November as his opportunity to prepare for a busy working period after a hectic October. That is if you could consider what he does ‘work’ as he claims to be a Podcaster and YouTuber or something of the like. I have known him since I was at school and despite his very good GCSE and subsequent A-level results, he never really settled into a regular job. With the advent of the much easier production of audio and video to get onto the Internet he found his niche. Not that made him much money, and he topped up his income with bar jobs, and the occasional stint delivering takeaway food.
Mr Benstoke’s Passion
Benjamin’s father owned a newsagent that was down the road from the big old Victorian museum. He would go every holiday but it was when he was old enough to go on his own that his relationship with the museum blossomed. Every Saturday morning he would help set up all of the newspapers for delivery and then be at the door to the museum from the minute it opened.