14 January 2021
Posted by Susmita Bhattacharya
We started off the year with a few celebrations. Last term, the Junior Writers submitted to two writing competitions - The Richard Jefferies Nature Writing competition and A Wander in the Woods 100 words competition.
We're so excited to congratulate Maxime Courtier and Marco Maguregi-Fleming who were longlisted for the Richard Jefferies Prize and to Mihika Bhattacharya who was a finalist in the Wander in the Woods competition. They will all receive certificates and Mihika's story will be published in an anthology in March.
Here are Maxime's and Marco's wonderful stories, I hope you will enjoy reading them.
By Maxime Courtier, 10 years old.
The sun was rising and Bill was preparing his next journey into the wilderness. He jumped out of the familiar shelter and explored the small forest. A sea of colours swayed in the gentle breeze and Bill slowly landed on them after a tiresome journey. The sun was just above the horizon, some trees in the distance blocking out light. A vast plain of dark green layers of trees surrounded Bill and his family but swallows hovered above the forest. Bill came across lots of different types of trees but they always had the familiar brown bark covering them. He spotted a large area with no trees, only little flowers reflecting vibrant colours. You could imagine an artist’s brush filled with colours painting only one bright spot standing out in the ordinary green of the forest. When he finished collecting his resources he flew around and chose his next destination. Bill could feel the wind weave through his fur but it was soothing: as if you had a blanket covering yourself. As well as all the other vivid-coloured flowers, the lovely smell of lavender filled his nostrils. Sometimes, Bill could smell smoke coming from a barbecue far away and he would see the grey smoke dancing in the air. The wind echoed in his ears, making him uncomfortable. But usually, Bill can hear the lovely melody and chorus of birds chanting in unison, creating a lovely tune to listen to. Over the flowers, over endless plains, Bill approached his next target. As the sun came down, all of his family returned to their shelter to meet the other bees.
The Descent - Marco Maguregi-Fleming
I trembled in fear just looking over the precipice. Mom and Dad squawked calling for us to come. I ended up the last one – the rest had jumped already. Three, two, one I counted in my head and I propelled myself off the cliff edge. Adrenaline rushed through me and the cliff top already seemed so far away.
Wind blew on my face as I cracked through my barnacle goose egg, wet feathers smothering my face. My mother provided shelter from the blistering cold winds as I snuggled under her comforting wings. Things were safer up here as I was about to see. I got hungrier by the day and Mom and Dad became weary feeding four chicks. Dad knew that the time had nearly come and Mom didn’t want to accept it. It would be six weeks until we could fly so we had no choice. The thoughts of it sent butterflies somersaulting in my belly. Tension grew among us. When the day came there was a deadly silence. Dad tried to encourage us down and Mom eventually left reluctantly. My brother went first but slipped and narrowly evaded a ledge. But all of a sudden, thud! He hit a rock sticking out headfirst. A shiver ran down my spine as an ominous black cloud formed overhead. Mom waited expectantly; I knew I had to go but before I could face it my brother and sister had already jumped too and landed safely. The weight of the world seemed to be on my shoulders.
My eyes watered as I plummeted down. Wind rushed past my face and I spread my wings gliding through the air. I caught a glimpse of my dead brother on the ledge as I sped past. Ouch! My belly hit a rock and the shock almost knocked me out. I started somersaulting through the air. I panicked, I had to get back to gliding again to control my fall. My parents squawked urgently as the ground neared. Out of nowhere, a grey surface appeared. Thump, I rolled down the steep hill for what seemed like an eternity and eventually landed next to my brother. My parents nuzzled me lovingly. I felt so relieved. I was safe! I had made it! My mom nudged me on as she knew at any moment a predator could lunge at us and devour us whole. Every bone in my tiny body ached but our safe place was in the distance. My legs almost buckled under the weight of my body as we reached the nest. Mom ruffled my feathers adoringly settling me into my new home.