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Calling all teens!

If you're aged 12-17 we need YOUR WRITING! Tell us what you'd like to read about here....

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 Writing by young people

Love; I Love You

By Ilse, 14, Aurora, OR, USA

My love for you is deep,
Really deep, I can't explain.
When I see you my day brightens up,
It's like you're an angel that refills my cup.

When you hold me I feel safe and strong,
If you really loved me you would stay among,
You would help me get up when I am down,
Then you take me to roam around your town.

I wanna stay with you forever and ever and always,
Till the end, no matter where life takes us.
Just hold me tight and never let go,
I say that I love you more and more.

I love you a bunch!
My love for you is real deep,
You know that is true.
We pursuit the ones we love,
No matter where it takes us.
(September 2008)

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Ballad of the Heart

By Mikayla, 14, USA

There's a hole in my heart,
Where the wind blows through,
Where you've left your mark there,
But I'm still aching for you.

The wind is so cold where that hole covers,
I try to tape it up but nothing will work
Only time will cover the mark you made,
I hate you.

The mark is getting smaller,
I can tell it's still there.
I'm beginning to heal,
I still don't think it's fair.

Why do you have to break my heart?
Couldn't it be some other lucky girl?
I thought I was special to you,
I was your gem, your diamond; your pear.
(September 2008)

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Places of Interest

By Steve, 16, NH, USA

There are four places in the world that I really want to see before I die: San Diego, California, Yellowstone National Park, Australia, and Italy. I know at least one person who has been to each one of these locations, except for Yellowstone, and I have heard nothing but great reviews. Each one of these locations are all extremely different, in their culture, weather, or the people. These differences from my everyday life are something I'm very intrigued by. I've always wanted to switch things in my life up every once in a while; I don't enjoy waking up each day knowing exactly what I'm doing each day for the next week, or maybe even month. That's why visiting these different places would be so enjoyable and fun to me.

About fifteen years ago, my dad and his whole side of the family vacationed in Italy for a week because my grandmother is 100% Italian. At the time, I was too young to go, and so was my brother, so my mom stayed home with us while my sister, my dad, and his whole side of the family went. The family stayed in Rome most of the time. Every single one of my family members that went on that trip absolutely loved it.

If I ever go to Italy, I would like to see Rome, Venice, and Florence. In Rome, I'd love to see the Coliseum and learn the history of the gladiator fights. I'd also love to learn more about Julius Caesar and that time period in Rome. I'd love to see Venice because of how great a city it must be. I would want to see the unique canals that run throughout the city like streets. I have heard Florence is Italy's most beautiful city, known for its artwork and architecture. In fact, the city is so full of art that some visitors of Florence get Stendhal syndrome, which is when someone becomes ill from being exposed to too much art. (http://www.wordspy.com/words/Stendhalssyndrome.asp). Also, the European lifestyle is so different than ours, I would love to experience that first hand, and see how they live their everyday lives.

My sister studied abroad in Australia for a semester when she was in college. She said it was her favorite place in the world. My dad visited her for a couple of weeks and he also fell in love with it, saying that if he had to live anywhere but the U.S, he'd live in Australia. Sydney and Melbourne are the two cities that most interest me, though I've always wanted to see the Outback, too. Sydney is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Australian cities. It is a beautiful city with great beaches and nightlife, and one of the most diverse cities in the world. Melbourne intrigues me mostly because of the pictures that my dad took during his visit. The city seems so clean and fun because of how relaxed and laid back I have heard it is.

I want to visit the Outback because of how different it is from where I live, like a huge desert with loads of different animals. From kangaroos to poisonous snakes and scorpions: I want to see them all. I would love to spend a day on tour out there to check out the nature and see Ayers Rock and other well known spots in the Outback.

When I was in the fifth grade, the cover of my social studies book was a photo of a picturesque waterfall in Yellowstone National Park. Ever since then, I've wanted to visit the park. The park intrigues me so much because I love the outdoors and I love nature. Yellowstone seems like an amazing outdoor adventure. One day I want to go out there with my dad and camp in Yellowstone.

Pictures I've seen of the park are breathtaking and some of the best pictures I've seen. There is so much to Yellowstone and so much to do. I'd want to spend a few days camping out, and try a little bit of everything: hiking, fishing, sightseeing, and visiting Old Faithful are things that come to mind. The wildlife would be amazing as well. I dream of taking a look at the bison herds and one of my favorite animals, wolves. Yellowstone is a place I'd like to go to get away from the city and people, a place I could escape to and leave my problems at home.

San Diego, California intrigues me as well. I've always had a little bit of an interest in the west, mostly in California and a little bit of Arizona. San Diego is probably my favorite city in the world, even though I've never been. The weather there is amazing and the beaches are awesome. I could go biking, sailing, or just walking or jogging down the beach on a summer day. San Diego is a place I can see myself living when I'm older. One thing I don't like about the city is it's a very expensive lifestyle. In California, everything is expensive. Also, I don't like how far away from New Hampshire it is. I don't know if I could live that far from my family.

I would love to visit some of these places at different times in my life. Italy is a place I would want to travel to in the summer with my family when I'm still in high school. I would love to go out west and enroll at a college in San Diego. After college would be my preferable time to go to Australia for a couple of weeks because that's the time when I want to do most of my traveling before entering the 'real world'. Last but not least is Yellowstone, which I would want to visit when I'm in my forties or fifties with my kids. Someday when I'm old and gray and sitting in a nursing home, I hope I can reflect on memories of these four magnificent places.
(September 2008)

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The Midnight Sun

By Daniela, 15, Cheshire, UK

The midnight sun,
Shines whitest white,
Over a sparkling land.
Never sleeping,
Keeping constant watch while,

Below, a great white bear
Waddles home,
The powerful limbs,
The strong jaws
Could crush bones.

Below, a group of birds,
Huddle for warmth.
If they could they would leave,
To a warmer land,
But they can't.

Below, a pack of viscious dogs
Run, run 'til the land fals into the sea,
Bothers running together,
'Til the land falls into the sea,
And joins the sun.

Below, the light catches the backs of pups,
As they swim on,
Chasing the fish,
Round and round,
Until they are called back to land.

Below, the great mammal,
Black and white,
Hunts for food
In the freezing silence,
Of the watery depths.

The midnight sun,
Shines whitest white,
Over a sparkling land.
Never sleeping,
Keeping canstant watch,
'Til winter.
(September 2008)

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Why I Love Him

By Miranda, 14, London, Ont., Canada

He's amazing,
In every
Way that there is.
He's talented,
And cool,
He is what he is.
He's fun,
He's cute,
He knows what to say,
He's funny,
And charming,
Every day.
He's such a great guy,
Amazing, is he.
Now if only he'd say,
The same thing,
About me.
(October 2008)

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Love is Pain

By Miranda, 14, London, Ont., Canada

Her eyes are filled with sorrow,
As each tear falls with pain,
The boy that she's in love with,
Is ignoring her again.

She's loved him for so long now,
Are the words she'll never say.
And because he doesn't love her back,
She feels so much pain each day.

They used to be amazing friends,
So close and really tight.
Now every single conversation,
Ends in a big fight.

He could never understand,
The pain she feels each day,
Because he's never loved a girl,
At all in this such way.

He doesn't like her anymore,
Not even as a friend.
She wanted them to be forever,
But now they have to end.
(September 2008)

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By Melanie, 16, Cooke County, Texas, USA

I have a mom,
I have a dad,
I have a bro,
Who drives me mad.
Together there's love,
Together we're one,
We're each different,
Each adding some.
Things get hard,
But we stick with each other,
If I had a choice,
I wouldn't want another.
My family's my family,
My life, my love, my heart,
Through thick and thin,
I hope we're never apart.
(September 2008)

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Living Free

By Melanie, 16, TX, USA

Our teacher was late,
It wasn't that bad,
We got to chill out,
Why should we be mad?
Sometimes it's boring,
Like when there's nothin' to do,
But we still have fun,
Just me and you.
We work real hard,
And work together,
We even get along,
Like birds of a feather.
So no matter who you are,
No matter where you go,
Just have fun,
And it will show.
(September 2008)

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Texas Our Texas

By Melanie, 16, TX, USA

Sittin' round the campfire,
Roastin' mallows and beans,
That's what campin's all about,
That's what it means.
Ridin' horses,
'Round the ranch,
Watchin' sunsets,
Sittin' on a branch.
Cowboys ride,
All day long,
Singin', just singin',
Their favorite song.
No matter where you go,
Texas is the same,
The wind will always blow,
The trees will always sway.
(September 2008)

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Sylvia Young

By Shanice, 14, London, UK

I love acting. I go Sylvia Young Theatre school, but part-time it's £90 every 12 weeks which is cheaper than most theatre schools (I've done research).

I recommend it to all wannabe actors and actresses.
I really want to go to the full time school, but unfortunatly, it is very expensive, around £2,000 and upwards.

My mum is still trying to find a way in order to get me to go there.

I recommend that you try the Brit School if you are 14+.
It's full time school and absolutely free and alot of celebs such as Leona Lewis and Amy Winehouse went there.

Good luck with your acting,
hope to see you ALL on tv
(August 2008)

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The Chronicles of Dondura: Emperor's Palace-Boy

By H.W., 13, Seoul, South Korea

The rising sun heated Dondura's realms, from the edge of the Trolem Icelands in the north all the way to Emperor Zafiaras's palace, far to the south.

The palace.

It was a magnificent building, with foundations thousands of years old. The palace was built out of beautiful stone, enchanted so that it would stand strong against the sands of time. It had been a home to the emperors of Dondura for generations. The palace was protected and loved over the centuries by both the emperors and their people.

Currently the palace was a home to Emperor Zafiaras the Second. Zafiaras was the youngest emperor Dondura had seen for hundreds of years. He was just a young boy of fourteen, scarcely taller than his servants' shoulders. But what mattered was that Zafiaras was a boy genius. His quick calculations and wise decisions had brought Dondura good times. Zafiaras was a better emperor than many of his ancestors, such as his grandfather, who had been a corrupt tyrant. He was assassinated by his own advisor.

Zafiaras didn't need to worry about advisors betraying him, because he didn't have an advisor, at all. The young emperor was far smarter than men decades older than him. In the end Zafiaras had agreed on having a palace-boy accompany him for the rest of his life ' a boy his own age, who would provide him with something most other emperors didn't get. Friendship.

The palace-boy's name was Jaccen. He was thirteen, a year younger than his master. Jaccen and Zafiaras soon became fast friends. The boys sometimes went out and had mock swordfights, or went fishing. When Zafiaras was with Jaccen he looked like any other boy in the kingdom, a well-dressed and dark-haired youth with intelligent hazel eyes.

But back in the palace the emperor was just what he needed to be stern, polite, and sometimes arrogant. He often sent his servants on various errands through the palace. Jaccen certainly wasn't an exception.

'Go to Markias and fetch the chain mail I ordered earlier. I'd also like some rabbit stew from the kitchen. I'm famished,' Zafiaras had told Jaccen.

Markias was the master of weaponry and armor of the palace. His family had looked after the emperor's swords and armor for generations. Markias was just as good a master-at-arms as his father had been.

Jaccen had to hold back a groan of frustration. The armory and kitchen were on opposite sides of the palace. But he knew better than to show his feelings in front of the emperor. Just as he was about to bow and leave Zafiaras whispered to him, ' 'I'll give you half of the stew. You know how good they are.'

With a grin and a nod Jaccen went swiftly on his way. He met the castle chef, prison guard, and other interesting people on his way to the armory. Most of them ignored him, even if they knew that he was Emperor Zafiaras's most trusted palace-boy and friend. Being a palace-boy had its advantages, but there were plenty of reasons to dislike being one, as well. Jaccen didn't know his parents, and he didn't have any friends, other than Zafiaras himself. But Jaccen enjoyed his job. He had an excellent friend in Emperor Zafiaras.

After a great deal of walking Jaccen found himself standing before the armory doors. They were huge and wooden. Jaccen had to push with all his strength to get it open. Markias the master-at-arms greeted him with a pat on the head.

'Did the Emperor send for his chain mail?' The man asked Jaccen with a toothy smile.

'Yes, he did,' Jaccen replied with a quick glance around the gloomy armory. 'I think he also ordered for a new sword a few days ago, didn't he?'

Markias nodded. He lowered his voice as he spoke, although there was no other human being in sight. 'I think Zafiaras is thinking of something again. It's not often he asks for so much armor or weaponry at once.'

Indeed that was true. Jaccen had run back and forth from the throne room to the armory several times in the past month. Twice he carried armor, once a magnificent jeweled knife. Just a few days ago Jaccen had brought Zafiaras a long bow made from the best wood in the kingdom and decorated with delicate carvings. It made Jaccen nervous. The relationship between Zafiaras and a former servant, Lord Algeron, was more uneasy than ever, Jaccen had even heard rumors of a brewing war.

Better not think about that, thought Jaccen, shaking the image of bloody, flashing swords from his head. Markias had come back with a glittering bundle in his arms.

'Careful, it's heavy,' he said as Jaccen took the mail from his hands.

'I'm fine,' Jaccen nodded.

He had carried much heavier parcels than this. His arms had been strengthened from years of being a palace-boy.

'Thank you, Markias,' Jaccen said, as he walked out the door.

'Anytime, Jaccen,' Markias grinned again.

Jaccen made his way through the palace, being careful not to damage or drop the precious chain mail. It had been made with very high quality metal, not a speck of rust or dust was to be found between all those tiny rings of steel. Markias must have spent hours polishing the mail. Most other men wore simple armor with a few steel plates to cover important parts of the body, such as the chest and arms. Zafiaras was different, of course. Even at his young age he could fight and handle weapons just as well as the soldiers that protected him. He had quality armor to top his swordsmanship skills.

The steaming kitchen made sweat run down Jaccen's forehead and neck. Zafiaras's birthday was in a few days. That meant the chefs of the palace were very busy. They needed to prepare a delicious meal that would please both the emperor and the entire palace. It wasn't an easy job, and Jaccen admired those chefs.

In fact he felt a little guilty in interrupting their hard work. Over his bundle of chain mail he called out to the nearest chef, a short and plump little man who was chopping vegetables.

'The Emperor has ordered a bowl of rabbit stew.'

'Rabbit stew?' the chef looked up, still chopping away. 'Zafiaras has a much simpler taste than his ancestors,' he remarked with a chuckle. 'I like it. Once Zafiaras the First asked for roast Zaune - we had to go for miles before we could find a dealer who had Zaune meat on his hands.' Zaunes were dangerous carnivores, the largest and most savage of Dondura. Jaccen tried to imagine wanting to eat one. The creature would most likely eat him first.

Jaccen nodded politely. Soon a steaming bowl of stew was sitting on top of the chain mail. It's delicious scent wafted into Jaccen's nostrils, making his stomach rumble. It was far past lunchtime, but still a few hours left until dinner. Being a palace-boy made you hungry.

Carefully balancing the stew on the mail, Jaccen bade the chef goodbye and made his way back outside. His arms were starting to go numb. Jaccen recognized this part of the palace as the library. He didn't have much time to read or write; but even he knew what a magnificent library the palace had. There were thousands of books, collected over the centuries by librarians and the emperors themselves. The precious books were kept in mint condition by many bookbinders and scribes, who repaired damaged books or deciphered old manuscripts. Jaccen sometimes looked over Zafiaras's shoulder to see the book the emperor was poring over, the tiny illuminations and letters always made him gape. Zafiaras once said, with a sigh, that even the best illuminators couldn't reproduce some of the books in the library. Jaccen, of course, did not fully understand, but he had just nodded and looked down at his feet.

Jaccen said hello to a fellow palace-boy. He was eleven, and worked under a knight of the palace. The boy was carrying an enormous pile of laundry. Jaccen would have carried it for him, but then he remembered the stew in his arms, beginning to get cold.

It wasn't difficult to find his way back to the throne room. Huge, beautifully carved wooden doors, with a golden knocker, stood tall and proud in front of the room. Jaccen knocked with one hand.

'Come in,' a relatively young voice called out.

Jaccen pushed the door open. At the other end of the room sat Emperor Zafiaras. He was a lean boy with dark brown hair and hazel eyes. The crown of the emperor sat upon his head, and he wore royal garments of silk and precious furs. At his belt he had his sword, Silversting. Zafiaras wisely never let his weapon out of his sight. Even a person protected as carefully as him could be assassinated with not too much difficulty. Yes, having a weapon around was important.

Zafiaras's brow was furrowed, as if he was deep in thought, as usual. The Emperor was always thinking about something, whether it was on the design of the new store room, the books in the library, or plans for battle, Zafiaras always came up with the best solution.

'Jaccen! What took you so long?' Zafiaras exclaimed, as Jaccen came forward with the stew and armor. He took the bowl from the top of the mail and put it aside for a moment. Jaccen held up the chain mail.

'It looks good,' he commented.

'Of course it's good, Jaccen,' Zafiaras said with a smile. 'I had a special shipment of metal from the Bracken Valley. You know just how valuable they are? I could buy another dozen Jargolves with this suit.'

The emperor nodded towards the glittering mail. Jaccen gulped. A dozen Jargolves? A Jargolf was the standard mount of Dondura, like Earth's horses. Only Jargolves were like long-legged wolves, carnivorous and agile. They were loyal companions and mounts, but riders needed to be cautious of their natural defense mechanism, spines.

'Give Markias my compliments. He did a fine job with the cleaning.' Zafiaras then picked up the bowl of rabbit-stew. 'Let's eat. I'm starving.'

Each of them holding a wooden spoon, the two boys scooped the delicious stew into their mouths. Only Jaccen had this kind of privilege, to eat in such a way with the Emperor of Dondura.

'What are we going to do on your birthday this year?' Jaccen asked while chewing on a piece of rabbit.

'I don't know. The usual, I suppose,' Zafiaras said, with a shrug. 'Hunting, another royal tour, a speech, I wish I could go swimming in the stream for once.'

'Swimming?' Jaccen stared at Zafiaras. Only peasant children went swimming. The emperor must be very bored. Very.

'Why, what's the matter? Don't you remember the time we went out in the rain?' Zafiaras said, with a sly grin.

Oh, yes, Jaccen remembered. It was a rainy day in the fall, and Zafiaras had been bored out of his mind again. How old had he been? Ten? Eleven? So bored that he suggested that they go out in the rain. Jaccen was only nine or ten, so he didn't know as much about royal manners as he did now. He agreed, and the two rolled around in the muck and water for hours, until some scholar came to fetch them, with horror plain in his face. They had been scolded, of course, but not punished. Since then Jaccen and Zafiaras hadn't gone playing outside. With the exception of fishing and hunting, possibly.

'Yes, that was fun.' Jaccen smiled at the memory. 'But still, we're older, now. We can't go romping about like we used to.'

'I know, I know,' Zafiaras sighed, and licked some stew from his spoon. 'That's the problem. Sometimes I envy peasant boys.'

Jaccen sipped some more broth. 'I forgot to tell you.' He suddenly remembered something a servant had told him. 'There's a meeting, tomorrow. In the grand hall, it's something about the welfare of the farmers, I think.'

Zafiaras nodded. There was nothing he didn't know. 'I've heard. I think I'll have to send the farmers some more gold. They didn't harvest much grain last year, if I recall correctly.' He set down the bowl and rubbed his chin thoughtfully. 'Wouldn't you agree?'

'Yes, yes.' Jaccen agreed to nearly everything his master said.

Just then a voice reached their ears from the great doors. 'Your Highness! We bring you a message from Tarrock!'

'Enter.' Zafiaras turned to Jaccen with another sigh. 'Well, here we go again. It can get to you, being emperor, Jaccen, could you bring me a volume of poetry from the library? Any book would do, actually.'

'Yes, sir.' Jaccen, too, sighed. Here we go again, he thought.
(August 2008)

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By H.W., 13, Seoul, South Korea

I am confined,
Like a bird in a cage,
Like a fish in a bowl,
Like a dog on a leash.

Below me - rules.
Above me - regulations.
Beside me - dull and grey people.

I try to escape,
I try to break free,
But I cannot.

I want to soar through the skies like an eagle,
I want to glide through the seas like a fish,
I want to lope through the forests like a wolf.

I want to imagine.
I want to be free.

But I cannot.
(August 2008)

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Moving On?

By Leah, 14, Stoke On Trent, Staffs, UK

'Sky, go and get some wood!' my mum bellowed from somewhere beyond my room.

'Mum! I'm in bed!' I protested, tiredly.

'Well get up then!' she said, her tone becoming irritated.

I sighed. Yes, I love to get the firewood, but not this early in the morning. Honestly. I begrudgingly dragged myself out of my cosy bed, and pulled on my dad's leather jacket. After all, anyone knows better than to not have my dad's breakfast ready for when he gets up. I opened the door of the van carefully, trying not to make much noise. When I got to the forest, I saw the raindrops shimmer, as they slid off the autumn tinted leaves. The sky was scattered with clouds, like sugar on a piece of blue paper. I snook across to the wood pile. It felt as though I was waking the stillness of the forest. Reaching the woodpile, the rich earthy smell enveloped my airways. This is my home.

Something's wrong. I know it is. Rushing towards the site, I notice Tyke, my little brother, is crying. Mum is distraught, her porcelain face engulfed with anger and tears. Floyd and Arch are packing up their possessions. It hit me. No. It can' be. Not again. The day suddenly awoke with a start, and my whole world came crashing down around me, in front of my eyes. Running across the field, I tripped up over the wheelbarrow of wood I had carelessly abandoned. I tore my new, favourite, nightie, but I didn't care.

'Mum! Mum! We're not moving again are we? I've only just settled in!' I cried.

'Look Sky. We are moving, but I'm so angry! I can't take you and Tyke with me, or any children with us', my mum said as a small amount of what she was feeling, slid down her cheek.

'Social services decided to raid us, and said that the camper and our lifestyle, aren't suitable for you to grow up in', said my mother, her voice thick with emotion.

'But I like it here, don't my opinions count?' I questioned.

'Sky! I can't help it! You must understand that if I don't do as they say, they can send me away to prison?' said my mum, her eyes searching me, for some sort of pity and reassurance.

'I know mum, but I'll miss you so much!' I blurted out.

'One day, we will meet again. Just remember that I love you. Please don't let me down. I'm putting my trust in you. You'll get by fine. Now, look after Tyke for me, and you might see me sooner than you think,' she said.

A horrible looking woman strode across the grass, peering around as if we were living in a sewer or something. She was wearing a tight fitted suit, and some disgusting boots, the old-fashioned lace up type. I could see her glaring at me from down her long nose. I suppose I don't look like your average teenager. I have long scruffy dreadlocks with pink and blue tips at the ends. Glancing down at myself, I found I was still wearing my nightie and black leather jacket.

'Right, Sky.' She said my name as if it was a foreign language. 'Please get Tyke and say your goodbyes. Then come over to the car,' she said, with pursed lips.

Tyke was running around all hyper. I told him it was time to go, but he clung to mum like a limpet. That's what I wanted to do, but I decided to stay strong for my mum. I put on my bravest face and turned to look at her. After detaching tyke, I grabbed my mum, and breathed in her smell of incense, forests and candles. The scent of home.

'Mum, I will miss you so much!' I spluttered, as any hopes of staying strong disappeared.

'I'll miss you too, Sky, but I know I'll see you again,' replied mum.

Hearing the horrid woman's screeches in the distance, I pulled away from my mum, and began to walk off.

'Wait!' shouted mum.

She pulled off her blue cardie and threw it to me. Then she took off her chain and threw that to me also.

'Thanks mum,' I said, smiling.

'Sky! Come on! We HAVE to go now,' snapped the horrid woman.

And with that, Brenda (that's the woman's name by the way) walked me over to the car. I got in, and glanced back at the place I once called home.

'Sky, breakfasts ready!' shouted an unfamiliar voice. Hang on. Where am I? I'm in a room, not the van.

The events of yesterday came back me to me. Oh no, I want my mum.

'Sky?' whimpered a little voice, belonging to my brother.

'Tyke, come in here. I'm in here!' I responded.

The door creaked open, and there stood my little brother, in his clothes from yesterday.

'Sky, why are we here? Where's mum?' he whispered.

I decided to pull myself together for my little brother. He doesn't understand. He has no adult figure any more. I put on a brave voice.

'I'm not too sure what's going on myself, let's go down stairs and find out,' I said.

We cautiously stepped downstairs, an in noticed a sign. 'Stoke-on-Trent children's home' it said. So that's where we are. Voices echoed through the large corridor. I figured that this is where breakfast is. As I pushed open the door, about twelve faces stared back at me, after all I am the new kid. Tyke just stared back, but I felt unnerved and looked at the floor. Brenda broke the silence, by telling us to have some breakfast and then she would tell us what was going on. At last!

Looking at the table, I noticed how hungry I was. Tyke sat down and just started jabbering away at some kid, but It was obvious that for me, it was going to be harder. The girls were all made up, and had perfect hair. They glared at me as I walked past.

'Look at her hair! It's so weird!' whispered one of them.

'What is she wearing!' said another.

I was wearing my mum's cardie and chain, and my torn blue jeans, one of the things I had managed to grab before leaving.

Sitting down, I grabbed a piece of toast and ignored the stares. I saw this place had a huge garden. It had a patch with lots of trees on it, which reminded me of home. Suddenly, I longed to be in the garden. I got up from the table, and found the door. The cool morning breeze made me shiver, just like it had the day before. It felt quite nice to start with, but then it's icy fingers seemed to pinch at my skin. I made my way back inside, and back to my room. It was sickly pink and had pictures of cheesy boy bands on the walls. It was obvious that a very girly girl had stayed here before me. Ah well, if I'm going to be staying here for a bit I may as well personalize it! I tore down the posters and shoved my things in the rickety wardrobe.

I've been here for a year now. It's not so bad, but I've changed. I had to have my hair cut for school, and I wear make up now. I still have my roots though - I still love nature and everything. A boy moved in a week after me - his names Finn. He's a bit like me really - plays guitar and is a bit wild. We get on well. His mum was a junkie, so I know what he's going through. I miss my mum but I can see why I was taken away I suppose. My life is better now. This is my home.
(August 2008)

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The Sanguine Petals

By Noel, 15, Gainesville, FL, USA

The expired rose lay upon the land,
The great beauty's petals were covered in sand,
The winds salvaged the petals, lifting and cleansing them,
The winds carried them away, laid them down, and said a hymn.

My friends who are today laid down to rest,
Amongst this field and river shall find beauty best,
Our Lord shall 'gainst knaves and thieves, our friends defend,
The evils' ways our Lord shall mend.

The departed shall live in peace and calm,
They shall rest in peace sans sin or qualm,
Dearest of entities, we in turn shall prostrate to You,
We assure You, our Lord, that we love You.

Upon the Earth the petals were laid,
Assured that the sun would never fade,
They danced across the stage of life,
Free from hardship and all strife.

The stem of the rose which lay far away,
Sank into a river where t'would stay,
The petals, however, did live on,
Their sanguine appearance brought color to each dawn.
(August 2008)

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She Woke Up with a Start

By Charlotte, 14, Llanharry, Cardiff, Wales

She woke up with a start. Then it all came back to her, the terror and fear, but also the wonder and joy, of the dream she had just had. She didn't think she'd ever had a dream that long, or that complex. But she was glad it was just a dream. Or was she? Sure, sometimes it had been terrifying, once she even - hold on, what was it again? That part seemed kind of misty.

It felt like years since she had last gone to sleep. But then again, that's what it always felt like when she argued with her brother. Oh well, she could go to sleep now. Her mum came in with hot chocolate, kissed her on the forehead, and went out of the room. The hot chocolate helped her to feel even sleepier. She drifted off into a silent slumber.

She woke up with a start.

'Hey,' she thought, 'where am I?'

She sat up, and her bed seemed to wobble a little.

'What the hell?'

Sally seemed to be in the middle of the sea.

'I bet this is Gerard's doing,' she thought for a second.

She blamed everything on Gerard. A white, sandy beach with glorious palm trees beamed out not too far ahead. Then she looked down. She hadn't realised until that moment that she was soaking wet. And there was her mattress, right beneath her, right where it should be. But there was no bed, no duvet covers, nothing.

'Well,' she thought, 'If I'm going to survive, it's only going to be by paddling.'

Sally started paddling with her hands. Somehow, she seemed to move forward, but the beach right ahead of her got greyer and more miserable looking, and further away, the closer she got. She paddled and she paddled, but it still didn't do anything. She was starting to get really anxious as the black, drooping palm trees disappeared, just like that, POP!, when she crashed into an island. Now this really confused her. There hadn't been an island there before, had there?

It was the most miserable looking island she had ever seen. It was about the size of her living room at home, and formed of wet, grey sand and pebbles. Sally was only wearing her knickers and t-shirt, (even though somehow she was stifling hot,) and the pebbles scratched her feet. She peered at the beach, dull and grey, through the piddling rain, Rain? There wasn't any rain a second ago! she thought, and miraculously a strong lifeguard was whizzing towards her on a boat. But, hold on, it was getting slower and slower, and as it reached her, the lifeguard was a 3 year old boy on a giant rubber duck. The boy smiled at her, and patted the duck space behind his back, a gesture to signal that she was to get on. At least climbing on was easy. The duck slowly, slowly, started to drift towards the beach.

'Phew, at least it's not getting any further away,' she thought, with a sigh of relief.

But then again, it wasn't any nicer. About ten hours, (literally), later, the duck got to shore. Sally jumped off, smiled at the toddler, and started advancing towards her house, which now was on the beach.

The house was normal size at first, but as Sally approached it, it became very, very, VERY big. Oh no, what now? She grimaced.

'No! Gerard's going to be even bigger, and beat me up even more!' She thought, with terror.

Entering the house, she saw 2 humongous red buckled shoes and a pair of very large stripy socks. Uh-oh, she cringed. She knew what was coming next. As she had expected, a pair of big brown innocent eyes looked at her, and she felt herself being lifted up to a great height.

'DOLLY!' bellowed her little sister.

Yep, in the long, 4 years her sister had been alive, she always had been obsessed with, well, dolls.


That was her sister, treading up the stairs, walking into her bedroom, to her doll house, plonking her inside the doll house. Strangely enough, the doll house was a complete copy of their own house, and Sally found herself snug and warm, safe in her own bed.

'Mustn't go to sleep, mustn't go to sleep,' Sally mumbled, but even as she spoke, she was drifting off.

She woke up with a start. She was in her house. It was all good. But it still felt a bit strange, somehow, as if something wasn't right. Hmm. Sally got up, a little light headed.

'Yep, still wearing my t-shirt and knickers,' she noted.

She wandered carefully over to her sisters room, (uh-oh, her sister wasn't in bed,) and over to the doll house. Peering into the little replica of her room, in the little replica of her bed, she saw a little replica of herself, lying still and white, and, gathered around her bed, little replicas of all the members of her family, even Gerard, sobbing at their dead daughter. Falling down through the ceiling, landing in the little replica of the living room, and dying with grief. Then, they faded away, like the sea carrying away the sand. Now, her dream had been lasting a whole day, and Sally was no stranger to all this strange stuff that was going on, and she knew what to expect. She rushed down to the living room, and getting up, looking slightly tired, her family were getting up from the floor. Then, everyone started to get ready for the day, just as normal. Was her dream over? Sally wondered. Had she woken up without realising?

She felt a little shaky, getting ready for school, packing her bag, brushing her teeth, eating breakfast, fighting with Gerard and getting out of the car. It was summer, so she was quite warm, but somehow she seemed to feel a little draft. She watched the car zooming off, back home, and seven miles away. The draft was bothering her. She had remembered to get dressed - hadn't she? Looking down at herself, she saw she was only wearing her t-shirt and knickers. Shoot. What should she do? Chase the car home, walk home, go into school like the giddy donkey she was, maybe change into PE kit, go into town to buy new clothes? She needed a plan.

'Well,' she decided, 'if I haven't woken up, then I must still be dreaming, in which case, it wouldn't matter if I got laughed at.'

She started walking into school.

'And if it's a dream, then maybe everybody else will be wearing t-shirt and knickers, and even if they don't, who cares? Nobody, that's who!' she was completely relaxed.

Well, there was still the little possibility of the dream not being a dream, but Sally was fairly sure it was one.

'And even if it isn't, I have good legs.'

Sally wandered up to her form room, expecting everybody else, (who weren't, by the way, wearing t-shirt and knickers, but normal school uniform,) to be shouting things at her, wolf-whistling at her, and the like. But, the weirdest thing happened, nobody seemed to notice! So, she carried on through her day as normal, eating a packet of crisps at break, chatting to her friends, and still nobody seemed to realise she was only wearing 2 garments. Then it was maths.

Mr Clancy, the teacher, was nice enough, but had this air about him that made people think he was, well, what he was was indescribable, but there was something about him.

'If this is a dream,' thought Sally, 'it doesn't matter if I don't do any work.'

But she had forgotten about the assessment she hadn't revised for. As Mr. Clancy handed out tests, Sally started to panic a little bit. The dream was getting sour.

'Oh yeah, this is a dream! And as it's a dream, it doesn't matter if I get all the questions wrong!' Sally felt relieved.

Then she had an idea. She could get the answers for the real test for when she finally woke up. It was the perfect plan. She waltzed over to the front desk, whistling, and took the paper with all the answers on it from Mr Clancy's desk. Plonking herself down onto her own desk, Sally laughed at Mr Clancy, who had a mixture of amusement and anger on his face.

'What do you think you are doing?!' He questioned.

Well, Sally decided, no point in lying.

'I'm just looking at the answers,' Sally replied.

What would he do? She was expecting him to explode. She was expecting his face to go purple with rage. She was expecting to get after school detention. Unexpectedly, he calmed down.

'Oh. alright then. Go ahead.'

He went to back to his desk, and started reading the newspaper, as he always did in tests.

She had to get out of there, as quickly as possible. She rushed out of the classroom. Mr Clancy still didn't notice. But wait! She had left the paper in there! Sally remembered seeing this film about a year ago. It was Japanese, something about a bath house. Anyway, the girl in the film held her breath across the bridge and none of the spirits saw her. Sally could do the same thing! She held her breath, and saw herself disappear. She opened the door, rushed over to her desk and grabbed the paper, then rushed back out again. Yes! Now she needed somewhere to take a good look at the answers.

Becoming visible again, she wandered around the school, looking for a nice place to sit. After about 10 minutes of looking she got bored, and decided to go into a classroom with a different class, maybe in a different year. Hey, what about year 11? Her big brother was in year 11. Being her dream, she knew automatically where he was, and she skipped joyfully to German. She also thought it would be fun to get on the German teacher's nerves.

The German teacher was a young woman who had been teaching at the school for about 2 months, and knew nothing about how to control the classes. Nobody liked her, because she was always very stuttery and always ended up repeating herself about 100 times. But this class behaved well, because there were only 12 people in the year 11 class. The teacher could relax, and nobody bothered to wind her up, until Sally had her dream. She held her breath as she entered the classroom, because it was fun to experiment with being invisible, even if she was dreaming. They were perfect conditions. Her brother wasn't sitting next to anybody, there was nothing on the board, and they were just perfect conditions. She sat next to her brother, Gerard, as silently as possible, (which was easy in just a t-shirt and knickers) and then let out her breath slowly. Everybody was quietly working at something or other, and the only person that noticed was Gerard.

'Hey Sally! What the hell are you doing here?' Gerard said, with a mean scowl on his face. They never had got on well.

'I'm revising for my maths test.', came Sally's reply.

Nobody noticed Sally, (apart from Gerard, which was a shame as Sally would have enjoyed winding up Frau Schwarzenegger,) but everyone in the room sniggered at Gerard, apart from Frau Schwarzenegger, who gave him a warning look, but Gerard didn't notice this. Sally started looking at the answers.

'Revising? What do you mean, revising, you've got the answer paper, you idiot.'

Then it was Sally's turn to scowl.

'That's how I'm revising. Don't call me an idiot, you're an idiot.'

As Sally was speaking, Frau Schwarzenegger had walked up to Gerard's desk, and was now standing behind him, arms folded.

'And just who do you think you're talking to?' She enquired.

Gerard slowly stood up, a menacing look on his face. Frau Schwarzenegger was scared of the spoffiest of people.

'Never you mind who I'm talking to, who the hell do you think you're talking to?'

Now this was an unlikely thing for Gerard to do, because as mean as he was to Sally, he was nice as pie to the teachers. (And, as a matter of fact, everybody else.) And then Frau Schwarzenegger made an unexpected move. Nobody had ever expected her to answer back to one of the students. Gerard was taller than Frau Schwarzenegger, being a 16 year old boy, and as she looked at up him, she cursed him, calling him every name under the sun, and then they started having a screaming match. Sally was scared, she was very scared, and she had only seen Gerard this worked up with her before. Forgetting about her dream being a dream, she stood up between Gerard and the German teacher, and pushed Gerard back, red in the face, screaming at him. She had a really high pitched scream, and she only ever used it on Gerard. She had had fights with him before, but never like this one, they were brawling like anything. When Sally had stood up, she had become visible to everybody, and there were one or two people in the room crying. Sally's hair was getting tangled; she had blood trickling down her leg, and tears streaming down her face. Gerard was just about the same. (Except for the bleeding leg.) Then she saw the penknife, Gerard's pen knife, being flicked out. Surely even Gerard wouldn't do such a thing?

She ran out of the classroom, screaming blue murder, away from him, and he followed. Sally was very fast, she had come 1st place in cross country, but Gerard was so worked up, and his legs were so long, he caught up with her right away. He still had the knife in his hand. And then he stabbed her.

She woke up with a start.

Then it all came back to her, the terror and fear, but also the wonder and joy, of the dream she had just had. She didn't think she'd ever had a dream that long, or that complex. But she was glad it was just a dream. Yes, she was glad it was just a dream. From that day on, Sally was very careful to be extra nice to Gerard, and they never fought again. They had arguments, about little things like who had the biggest piece of cake, but apart from that, it was all good. Oh, and she got full marks in her maths assessment.

Yep, it was all good.
(August 2008)

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Up on the Hill

By Peter, 16, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, UK

Fire on the hill,
Screams in the vale,
Moaning and crying,
All through the hail.

Begging for mercy,
Ice in the soul,
Bang goes a gun,
A corpse in a hole.

The tree on the hill,
Waves too and thro,
With its roots in the soil,
Around the corpse left below.

Then along comes an axe,
With hack and cry,
Down goes the tree,
It all must die.

A child on the hill,
Frolicking with mirth,
Not a care in the world,
At six years since birth.

Then up boil the clouds,
Down comes the light,
The child lays strewn,
Next to a burning kite.

Up on the hill,
Lays death like a veil,
A harsh cold laughter,
Carried on the hail.

(June 2008)

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Society's Loon

By Peter, 16, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, UK

Wake to the sun,
Sleep to the moon,
Day to day,
Society's loon.

He sits on a bench,
Watching the world,
Crash and burn,
Humanity unfurled.

Drunks on the street,
Guns in prams,
Society slipping,
Gram by gram.

The man on the bench,
Prays for our souls,
Then he weeps for us all,
As we dig our holes.

So much for humanity,
Our towers of gold,
So much for charity,
Left in the cold.

Black and white,
East and west,
The end of the world,
At our behest.

I sit on the bench,
And wait for the end,
Society's loon,
We've gone round the bend.

(June 2008)

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By Amy, 14, Strathaven, Scotland

Content by myself,
I need no one,
A material world out there,
By myself,
Those fake smiles,
Pity on me, only pity,
They have no time for me,
They pretend they care,
Too busy with their hectic lives,
While I have none,
I had someone,
Lost someone,
Need no one.

What we had,
All I need,
Need nothing now,
My food is dreams of you,
My air is memories of you,
If it's all I have left,
Then it's all I'll live for,
The world outside is opaque,
Without your smile,
The world outside is faltering,
Without your wakening eyes,
The world lost it's colours,
Without the rosy blossoms,
That were your cheeks,
You were the kindness people took after,
Where is their guidance now?

I had you and lost you,
I'll live by what I had,
I need no one.

(June 2008)

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So There We Were

By Martha, 14, Staffordshire, UK

So there we were, Ash and me, a couple of year 8s chilling at dinnertime at school. As usual, nobody could tell us what was going to happen to Ash when we walked home that day. No one had any idea anyway.

"I wonder what blue jelly tastes like?" Ash asked me, it was another of his many random questions.

I looked at him for a second then burst out laughing,

"You're weird mate, really weird."

Then he looked over at a girl sitting at a table opposite us.

I rolled my eyes and sighed,

"Look mate, it is really bad to fancy Lucy the Goth girl, it will do you're reputation no good mate."

Ash shrugged and went back to slurping his chocolate milkshake then he stopped for a minute,

"What about you Lucien, with that girl Hollie?"

"Yeah, but she isn't an angel of death like Lucy, she's just a plain angel."

"I don't think you can get plain angels mate," he replied, "and anyway, I think Lucy is...an individual, she doesn't have girls who follow her round and whisper behind peoples backs like Hollie."

"Whatever mate, whatever."

There we were having this debate over the differences between Lucy and Hollie as usual, nothing strange, nothing to suggest something bad was going to happen, and a few hours later the bell rang for home....

We were walking home Ash and I, like we'd been doing since year 7 on our first day. Just talking about the usual stuff,

"Nah, I've got absolutely nothing on tonight, boring huh? Nothing ever happens to us does it?" Big mistake Ash, saying those words, massive mistake mate. I whacked him one with my bag in the arm,

"Hey mate, what was that for?"

"You moaned that nothing ever happens to us," I replied.

"Not what I meant mate," he told me, hitting me back twice as hard.

That's when it happened, strange how one minute everything can seem so normal and the next everything changes. I shoved Ash and he stumbled, fell even, right into the middle of the road, in the path of a speeding car. Next a screech of brakes as Ash flies and hits the pavement, and I look on in horror, and then he's lying at the side of the road, quite still. I ran over to him,

"ASH!" I shouted, expecting him to get up and laugh as if nothing happened but still he lay, quite still.
The driver got out of the car,

"Don't touch him," he shouted, and then he got out his mobile phone,

"Oh my gosh! This is all my fault. I sit next to Ash as if I was waiting for him to sit up and say,

"What are you playing at mate? Pushing me into the road like that, you stupid goose brain!"

Then he'd stand up and everything would be normal again, if only.

The paramedics took him off to hospital, it was serious. I had to sit down and hold on because the ambulance was going so fast,

"What's your name love?" the lady asked me.

"Lucien, his name is Ash, look is he gonna be ok?"

The paramedic didn't answer me, "How did it happen?" she asked.

"We were talking, just talking and then I hit him with my bag...just for fun....and then I shoved him, it was all my fault!" I rambled, the paramedic nodded understandingly and patted my shoulder,

"We'll do everything we can for him, I promise," she told me, I nodded, although part of me didn't believe her.

At the hospital, I couldn't go with Ash into the room when they wheeled him in. His mum arrived,

"Oh my gosh Lucien, where is Ash? What happened?" She grabbed my shoulders and waited for an answer.

Ash didn't have a dad, but his mum loved him to pieces. More than I can say for my mum, she left me and my dad. I looked into her eyes,

"He got hit by a car," I swallowed, "it was my fault, I'm sorry."

Then I found that tears were coming out of my eyes I tried to wipe them away furiously but Ash's mum had seen and hugged me,

"Don't be silly love, it's not you're fault, don't you ever think that."

Then she ran to a nurse and frantically asked where Ash was. I was alone in this nightmare but then my dad came in and asked what happened, I told him and he sat with me,

"It's ok Lucien, I'm here now, I'll wait with you, how is it your fault anyway son?" he asked.

"I shoved him," I answered.


"I was only playing I didn't think he'd go into the road" I was crying again, my dad put an arm around me,

"Don't cry son, if it was an accident then it wasn't you're fault," he tried to reassure me. I didn't believe him for one second.

After what seemed an age later the doctor came out. I knew he was there but I couldn't look at his face, a face always told me how a person felt, and if it was solemn...well you know. But Ash wasn't gone, he was just unconscious,

"We don't know how long he'll be unconscious for, you might want to go home," so we did.

I couldn't eat my tea, and I couldn't sleep that night either, I was thinking about Ash, my best friend. On a normal night I'd be thinking about how we'd watch the football together on Saturday with my dad's homemade pizza and a whole bucket full of popcorn and cans of coca cola. But tonight I was wondering if Ash would ever watch football again, or maybe he'd become a vegetable, and just stare blankly at the screen, no emotion, no talking, just nothing.

The morning came at last and I had fallen asleep. By then my dad came in with a smile on his face,

"The hospital called, it's Ash, they think he's coming round."

"Really?" I asked.

I got ready really quickly and we rushed to the hospital in the car and asked the nurse where Ash Fox's room was. We went into the childrens ward, and there he was, right at the end of the corridor with a tennis ball, throwing it up in the air like he was bored. He saw me and grinned,

"Hi ya mate, whereve you been? I've been bored here!" he said.

I smiled back and walked over to him, as I got closer I saw the bruises on his arms and head, he noticed me looking at them,

"Nice bruises huh? I wonder what people at school will be thinking.

"That you've been in a fight probably," I answered.

"Yeah, I'll tell them I fought for Lucy against Fred Smith and won, but with many bruises and fractured ribs and a broken leg."

"Yeah, like you could win a fight against Fred Smith," I laughed; he laughed back but then went,

"OUCH! Don't make me laugh you goose brain."

"Sorry Ash," I paused, "sorry about everything mate, about shoving you and landing you in here with fractured ribs."

"And a broken leg!" He added grinning.

"Hey you're making me feel worse here."

He laughed and grimaced with pain but then he patted my shoulder,

"Don't worry about it mate, I forgive you, at least I get a month off school now eh? They say I'll only be in here another few days and then I'm free to go," he lowered his voice, "because mate, the food here really is horrible and I would give anything for your dad's pizza, oh, but I tried blue jelly here," he shook his head, "not nice, really not nice."

I laughed at him,

"Your weird mate, really weird."

So there we were, he recovered, my best friend Ash, and now we're 20, still best friends, engaged to our girlfriends Lucy and Hollie, just normal, and that's the way we like it.

(June 2008)

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Artist Part 2

By Yuki, 15, Christchurch, New Zealand


the artist steps onto the desert
dim memories sink beneath his feet
placid thoughts of that night
before his heart broke in two
so passionate and lustful
he remembered
but the whirlwind of resentment
had torn and hacked his heart open
he was slain and defeated
he gazes at the trickling sand
slowly weeping down from the heavens
clasping his hands together
in a prayer for healing
and forgiveness
the artist takes one last look
turns and slowly dims away
(May 2008)

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