Late in 2012, I conducted a writing workshop with Grade Seven students at my old high school, Burnie High. The talent displayed in this very young group of students was phenomenal – so good I wanted to share some of it! Over the next few days I’ll be blogging the very best pieces from this workshop. The task was to create a first chapter of a novel, in the form of a letter. Hopefully, one day, the students will be able to turn these first chapters into longer works. I hope they do, and that they let me read them. I’m so thrilled with what they’ve done so far. It’s hard to believe these writers are only just in their teens – and some not even there yet!
I hope you are as impressed as I was! The third story is called The Legacy. Enjoy!
My eyes opened, but the glare of the light forced them shut again. Even then my eyelids had to stay millimetres from each other to enable me to look around at my surroundings. The room was completely white, even the rose in the vase that was placed on the draws. I hated roses, they had a beautiful scent but on their stems there were lethal thorns that I always forgot about when I picked one up. Why couldn’t it be a daisy? They have a nice scent too and have no thorns.
I continued to investigate my surroundings, after a while I turned my attention to myself. There was no severe damage just a few cuts and bruises, nothing I couldn’t handle. After a while nothing interesting happened, and I slipped back into my unconscious state. I dreamed that I was in a room similar to the room in the conscious realm, instead of being in bed I was sitting at the head of a long table full of food; spaghetti, a plate full of asparagus, turkey and cranberry sauce. I tried to dream of something else but it seemed there was nothing to dream about in my mind, just the necessities of life. The dream with the food continued and at the end I didn’t feel any different except that the plates were empty.
When I awoke I found a cooked breakfast sitting in one of those fancy silver trays. The food was fresh with a great deal of steam rising lazily from it into the air. Whilst I ate I gazed around the room, nothing appeared to have changed, and that was when I noticed the rose. Withered, lifeless petals floated in the vase, with parts of the stalk drifting slowly through the water. To my amazement there was a fresh bud sitting on the stalk, within seconds it had started opening, my eyes widened until I it had stopped flowering. All parts of the stalk had reformed and the old withered petals had vanished.
Sliding out of the bed, I walked around the room and observed the numerous paintings with different topics; farms, portraits of people and famous monuments. Finally, in the corner of the room hidden behind a wardrobe was a plain white door with no handle. I raised my hand and knocked once, then twice, waited, and it opened.
The smell of freshly ground coffee beans filled the air, the whir of the machines was audible from blocks away, and the chinking of saucers was like the heartbeat of the city. I was sitting at a table in one of my favourite cafes in Paris watching the people milling hurriedly about outside.
There were business people exchanging comments, late Christmas shoppers running about, children pointing at windows adding to their wish lists, and ordinary people gossiping and walking along the streets.
While I sat their sipping my espresso it struck me that I didn’t know what I would be doing this Christmas. I could venture down south to Nice, travel across the border into Tuscan, Italy, or I could spend it quietly in Paris. After pondering these possibilities for a while I decided to stay in Paris.
I finished off my coffee and ventured on home. I lived a block away from the Eifel tower and right next to the river Seine. It was in a noisy location due to the tourists flocking to the famous monument. The noise was bearable at this time of year, in summer it was nightmarish. I comfort myself in the tourist season with the cheap price and the splendid view. It was a simple two story house with four windows each with small balconies of wrought iron bars, with great attention to detail in the flowers in the centre.
Recently I had just started a new job, as a night guard in the Louvre Museum. I hadn’t been interested in any sort of office job and decided to try the experience. On my first night we had a major break-in attempt. It appeared that the purpose was to vandalise the Mona Lisa, however, the vandals misjudged the thickness of the glass encasing the painting. This delay enabled us to apprehend the vandals before any damage was done.
Although this wasn’t my preferred job the pay was good and the shifts were reasonable. The first day I arrived in Paris I applied for a job at the pool as a life guard, but as it turned out I didn’t “meet” the basic requirements. I wasn’t a strong swimmer, and I didn’t have the strength to lift a large unconscious man. Looking on the bright side, I have learnt a lot more about art and have started bringing a pad a pencil with me to practice my skills while I’m on my shift.
When I arrived at the gate I noticed that there was a mail in the letter box. I opened it to find a plain envelope suggesting that it must have been hand delivered. Once inside I opened it, finding an old tattered and torn piece of parchment it said.
I’ll never be able to see you again now he is coming. Remember one thing, don’t let them catch you, they will never stop trying, and never give in.
Confused, I read it again, reading each word out aloud until it was etched into the deepest crevasses of my brain. I knew that there was more to this piece because of the torn parchment. This piece was a clue to a jigsaw.
Right then, two cars pulled up, both black BMW’s. Out came nine people wearing plain clothes carrying MP2’s. I knew something wasn’t right. I shoved the parchment in my pocket, I ran out the back door, through the garden and jumped the fence. There was a wrenching feeling in my gut, from that moment on I knew that things Would never be the same.