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The Art of Storytelling: Norse Sagas from Millfield School Pupils #3

3 Jul

Image by Nat Hall



Year 9: Norse Sagas




Our Year 9 pupils have studied the craft of story-telling, and what better way to learn than by reading the Norse sagas, with their epic storylines and memorable characters? We gave them a brief to create their own variations on the Norse saga, drawing upon the old tales for inspiration, but taking them into new territory. Everyone in the English teaching team was impressed by the boldness and skill of the stories our young pupils wrote. Here is [ part 1 of ] a small selection. I hope you enjoy them. Our thanks go to Nicky for giving Millfield pupils such an exciting platform for their creative writing!

James Baddock

Head of English, Drama & Media
Millfield, Somerset, UK

ArtiPeeps has been thrilled to have  Millfield’s pupils working in tangent with one of our projects (The Nine Realms), and to see their talented, creative pupils on our site once again. It just goes to show how inspiring the Icelandic sagas still are and how alive the art of story-telling still is! For the past three weeks we have posted out 5 short stories from 5 of their very creative pupils. Below is the final saga and story.





My Viking Saga

by Martha


The Fegr province was regarded as one of the most beautiful lands in all of Iceland. Its snow- capped, mountainous peaks interlaced the horizon with silhouettes of all the interesting shapes imaginable to man. Wisps of glistening snow crystals illuminated like shining jewels by the effulgence of the moon shine, drift in the wind from the icy mountain tops, patterning the skyline. Its incomparable allure, a fit location to be the home of only the most divine of beauties. On the Northernmost peak, Iss Fjell, Ice Mountain, lived the most celestial of beings, angelic, and fair. Her name was, Sassa, the Ice Princess, the daughter of the great King Eeirikki Egilson, son of the once vigorous, candid ruler of Iceland itself.

Sassa had long white hair cascading in perfect curls down to her waist, her sapphire blue eyes were striking against her fair complexion, slender and tall, she had an certain elegance and grace that would be enviable to all women. Her loving and gentle nature was adored throughout the Fegr province, she would often visit the small town beneath Iss Fjell, where the inhabitants would approach her and could not help but feel at ease in her presence, as if she was part of their community. Sassa was young, only seventeen years old, she had an ignorance, a beautiful ignorance, making her pure, innocent… Her eyes had a light that should always come with youth, and her effervescence was enlightening. Her father rightly felt that only the finest of men would be fit for his daughter and, on the day of her eighteenth birthday he invited young suitors from every corner of Iceland to compete for her hand in marriage.

Little did her father know, Sassa, wasn’t interested in being married off to these great nobleman. She had fallen in love with the village huntsman. She had met him in the woods almost seven years ago, when they were both children. From that day forth she had met him most days. They would spend hours hunting together, and slowly they fell for each each other. The huntsman was a strong young man, named Vidar, he wielded an axe, simple and plain unlike the fanciful decorated weapons of the noblemen and had a bravery but yet a sentimentality lacking in most headstrong youths. Vidar was a descendant of the great warrior Bryanjar Erlingson, and it was evident he had inherited many of the qualities of an exceptional fighter. Of course the King could never approve of such a romance between the pair, a village huntsman in the eyes of the King wasn’t good enough for his crown jewel, Sassa. So Sassa kept their meeting a secret, a secret she had kept for many years.

One the Day of her matching, Sassa had decided to approach her father, she couldn’t keep her secret any longer. She told him of her disapproval of the matching ceremony, and of her dislike of the suitors he had selected for her.
‘Father I simply can’t marry any of these men, for I’m in love with another man’ Sassa pleaded.
‘And who is this other man!’ The King demanded, his tone burly and authoritative. His snowy grey beard shook with rage.
‘He is a huntsman’ Sassa replied proudly, yet her inner fear of her father’s anger showed in her timid expression. ‘He’s a brave man, strong and kind, he loves me with all his heart, isn’t that what you want for me father, to be happy?’
‘Not if it is to marry someone of such a low class in our society, a huntsman is not fit to marry for a princess, the men I have selected for you are of the finest in Iceland, surely that is good enough for any girl’, the king spat.
‘My huntsman is a far finer man and better warrior than any of these suitors, I would stake my life on that’ Sassa replied. There was an honesty in her voice, something that could convince anyone that her words were genuinely the truth. The king may have not been willing to believe this, but he knew his daughter believed that the man she loved was stronger than the suitors.
‘Than he shall prove to me, he shall prove that he is a better man and stronger warrior than the noble men I have selected for you. What I propose is a series of battles, If he defeats all the suitors , than you shall marry him, if you wish, yet if he is defeated, you will marry the single and first suitor that defeats him, you will no longer have a choice of the suitors and the huntsman not killed in battle will be banished to another Kingdom. If this agreement is broken, he shall be executed for treason’ the king suggested. Sassa had no other option if she didn’t want to lose her true love. The agreement was made and the next day Vidar came to the palace, to fight to the death for the girl he loved.

From a distance. The palace on Iss Fjell looked like it was entirely made out of ice but as you neared it was apparent that it was in fact a crystal palace, with spired towers, magnificent pillars, and decadent ballrooms. Every little detail within the palace was intricately designed, masterfully placed. Vidar entered into the cavernous marble hallway at the entrance to the palace. His footsteps echoed throughout the room, the sound bouncing off the high ceiling above. At the end of the hall was a throne, made of marble as the rest of the hall was, on it sat the King, his piercing glassy blue eyes examined Vidar sending chills through his body. Next to the throne stood four suitors that he would face in battle. The first suitor named Bryanjar was dressed in full armour, his steel plated appearance revealed his most well known trait, his coldness. He was a good soldier and the son of a great nobleman but was no warrior. Stood next to him was a young man named Cuyler, he was not as well built as the other men, he was small, and slight, however he had superior agility and speed, his skill was with a bow, it was acknowledged well that he would never miss. The next suitor was named Fritjof, he is a descendant of the God of tricks Loki supposedly. Fritjof was not a kind man in any respect, he had long dark hair and dark black eyes, like a snake, he had a sceptre glowing in an eerie green glow. As his name indicated Fritjof was known to steal many thrones and the peace of many kingdoms, by tricking his way into the many various kingdoms he had conquered. The final suitor was Hagen the highest son of the present ruler of Iceland Eirik Halvardson, his family were known to be ancient descendants of the God of lightning Thor, Hagen was handsome and notorious for his charming demeanour, any princess would have married him, yet he was desperately in love with Sassa, who he had known since they were children, the King was very good friends with Eirik Halvardson. Although Sassa had great respect for Hagen she didn’t love him. Hagen did not just have charms and good looks on his side, he was stronger than any other man in Iceland and was almost a giant in size, he was muscular and broad, Vidar knew that he would be perhaps his toughest competition, as Hagen didn’t have just sheer size and strength he had the same sentiment as Vidar, he was genuinely in love with Sassa.

The battles took place on the tower arena of the palace, it had a semicircle of seating and a stage that hung off the edge of the tower to a great drop below. Many came from all over the land to witness the choosing ceremony. Vidar fought Bryanjar first, Vidar refused to kill anyone in these battles, his only aim was to win and not get killed himself. Bryanjar was no match for Vidar’s skill with an axe. Bryanjar’s amour protected him from any major injuries but he soon conceded, Vidar had proved to the king he was a far mightier opponent for the suitors than he could have ever imagined. Next Vidar faced of Cuyler, this battle was less hand to hand combat, Vidar was forced to dodge Cuyler’s arrows of fire aimed directly at him, he hid behind the obstacles in the arena, he found some branches as wood on the ground and used his knowledge and hunting skills to quickly create his own arrow. Vidar grabbed an arrow that had landed in the ground behind him and loaded his new weapon. He waited for the right time before releasing the arrow which hit Cuyler directly in the torso, Cuyler was taken out by this unexpected attack, and Vidar had again proven not just his might but his cunning and intelligence. 

Vidar then faced Fritjof, it was night now and only the moonlight illuminated the arena, Sassa sat nervously watching attentively, her fear was perhaps greater than Vidar’s. Fritjof’s sceptre gleamed on the cool moonlight. Vidar charged at Fritjof with all his speed and force he faced certain injury, and, possibly, inevitable death. Fritjof dodged to the side in one fluid move. His enemy swivelled in his direction. His menacing eyes were a blazing red and his dark hood made the rest of his features indistinguishable. Vidar’s opponent thrust his sceptre forward, only to be met by Vidar’s axe. The two weapons met in the air with a resounding ‘clang’. Vidar was surrounded now by at least ten images of Fritjof which one was real he could not tell. He swung his axe around at each of the figures, slashing the real Fritjof across the face, the wound healed almost immediately. Fritjof thrust Vidar against the wall, his axe skidded along the ground, Fritjof was choking him with his strong left hand, Vidar although he knew Fritjof had superior magical qualities, he matched him in strength, using his free hand Vidar pulled a dagger from his pocket and stabbed Fritjof’s torso. Fritjof recoiled in pain, giving enough time for Vidar to escape his grip and bring Fritjof to the floor. Grabbing his axe he held it to Fritjof’s throat indicating it was time for him to surrender. But suddenly the image of Fritjof lying on the ground in front of him disappeared and the real Fritjof plunged his sceptre into Vidar’s back, a hollowing gasp escaped the audience and Vidar collapsed to the floor. Fritjof now stood over him, Vidar used this as an opportunity to throw his axe at him killing him leaving Vidar injured but the winner of the battle.

Hagen upon witnessing this battle saw how brave and strong a man Vidar was, he knew that he was good enough for Sassa and he also knew he would probably lose if he were to fight him, Hagen loved Sassa but in doing so wanted what was best for her. He could see how much she loved Vidar, and knew if he were to defeat him in battle how unhappy she would be married to the man who killed her true love no matter how good of friends they were. Hagen addressed Vidar personally.
‘You are better than any man I know, you are truly the perfect man for Sassa’ Hagen said, his statement was humbling.
‘Thank you, you are fine man for doing what is right’ Vidar replied, before Sassa ran up to him and told him her father had approved of their marriage. Vidar smiled and nodded in respect to Hagen before carrying Sassa away into the woods to be married.



More creativity from Millfield:  

You can find some other poetry and writing from Millfield pupils here and here (their Freshly Pressed ‘Sense of Place Poetry’ 1 & 2) and their ‘QUEST short story openings‘ here.

Thank you for your interest.


The Art of Storytelling: Norse Sagas from Millfield School Pupils #2

25 Jun

Image by Nat Hall



Year 9: Norse Sagas


Reanna and Harriet


Our Year 9 pupils have studied the craft of story-telling, and what better way to learn than by reading the Norse sagas, with their epic storylines and memorable characters? We gave them a brief to create their own variations on the Norse saga, drawing upon the old tales for inspiration, but taking them into new territory. Everyone in the English teaching team was impressed by the boldness and skill of the stories our young pupils wrote. Here is [ part 1 of ] a small selection. I hope you enjoy them. Our thanks go to Nicky for giving Millfield pupils such an exciting platform for their creative writing!

James Baddock

Head of English, Drama & Media
Millfield, Somerset, UK

ArtiPeeps is thrilled to be having Millfield school working in tangent with one of our projects (The Nine Realms), and to see their talented, creative pupils on our site once again. It just goes to show how inspiring the Icelandic sagas still are and how alive the art of story-telling still is! For the next three weeks we will be posting out 5 short stories from 5 of their very creative pupils. Watch out for another two stories next week.




Viking Saga

by Harriet


WANTED : STRONG MEN, ANY AGE. That’s what the sign said. I wanted to go but that decision now just filled me with regret. Why would I leave? All I wanted was for my family and friends to think that I was brave, but the truth is; I am just a coward. Killing people isn’t brave it’s cruel. How could I let myself be so cruel?

I shook violently. I had the visions again. It had been four days since our ship arrived back in the village of Shlaahra. Shlaahra was a beautiful village off the west coast of Scandinavia, Shlaahra was small but it had enough to provide any person with the essential equipment that they would need to survive. Massive trees sheltered the whole village and the crystal clear lake stretched out until it stroked the feet of the mountains on the horizon. My face had been slit open and I had lost a lot of blood but I was recovering slowly but well. I had grown up in the village of Shlaahra and spent all my time here as a child, never really wanting to leave, until I was about the age of seventeen. Leaving the village no longer sounded scary. It no longer felt dangerous. I would be fine. Oh how very wrong I was. I remember the day that those huge men who wore furry boots up to their knees and long flowing capes that were decorated in purple and gold. They came to our village looking for warriors. I felt an urge in my stomach telling me to go. These men that had come to our village were brave nothing could scare them. Every single one of these men had a strange look in their eyes I couldn’t work out what is was an first I thought it was just bravery but only now I have realised that it was something more, they had pain buried deep under their stern faces. I know this now because I feel the same pain, the pain of regret.

I had been stuck in my bed whilst the rest of my comrades had been out celebrating the success of the raid and the new land that they had conquered. If I said it didn’t bother me that I wasn’t able to celebrate I would be lying but the guilt was still eating from the inside out. I sighed and looked up at the ceiling the beams of wood that had always held my house tall and strong somehow looked weaker. The gash across my face burned as I applied one of the herbal remedies the doctor had made me. I touched the opening on the left side of my face it started just below my hairline and finished on my collarbone. I got up slowly and struggled over to the door. My hand wrapped around the door frame and I watched the little children playing in the grass, remembering when that was all I wanted to do all day. The visions of the children faded away and a breathe of fresh air tickled my spine, my eyes had been taken over by the memories that I so wanted to forget.

I was back on the boat. We were sailing towards the village that we planed to raid and conquer. The sea spat on my face and the wind danced with my hair. I asked myself “is it bad to be excited?” I looked up a grey blanket of cloud filled the sky. Fog engulfed any light that tried to be seen. Nobody made a noise. Sea birds flew alongside the boat screaming and screeching. The man sat behind me whispered to the man sat next him. “we’re close”. My heart started to beat faster and louder. The skeleton of a tree emerged from the fog.

I started to shake uncontrollably. I blinked hard and fast. The sight of the children playing came back into focus. I was now sat in the doorway breathing heavily I didn’t want to remember what happened next but I couldn’t control the thoughts from crawling back into my head.

I was now running up the beach, seawater splashed up my back. The adrenalin flowed through every inch of my body. My heart was pumping so fast I could hear the blood flowing through my ears. As we got closer to the village I heard screams and yelling. I smelt something burning and smoke filled the air. The men that had run ahead of me were burning down the houses of the locals. At this point I knew I should have run. I should have hidden, but I didn’t, I kept going. A man charged towards me with a sword. For a moment I was completely stunned, the man flung his sword towards my stomach. I dodged it. The man slit my face. The axe that I was holding in my right hand swung around, I hit the man in the side…not once…not twice…but three times. His blue eyes stared at me as he fell to the ground. I left him lying there dead with his long brown hair swamped in blood.

I started to tremble. This was the memory I wanted to hold back. My eyes started to fill up with water and I shut them tight. The images of that man that I killed so barbarically will never leave my mind. My memories with forever taunt me.






by Reanna


She came to us in our time of need, the Phoenix of the gods, Thyra. She was a great sorceress, she stood at six feet tall, with scarlet hair and piercing yellow eyes, said to be so bright she burned what she stared at. She wore a maroon elk’s skin, which she was given by the her grandmother on her death bed. She had the wrist bands of Thor, protecting her from any blows, stronger than the strongest shield, with a shirt formed with the hair of Sköll. She was adorned in a flowing grey Cape, and wore the armour of Freya, with the cunning of Loki, and the courage of Odin himself. She was so strong she created flames hotter than the sun, but this was not all the time.

She lived in this very village, a young girl, who hid a secret. She was said to be fuelled by the underworld, creating fire out of nothing, a pyromancer. She helped those she could, fuelling fires for the people of our village, warming the homeless and poor, she was highly thought of by the Chief of our village. He presented her with the Phoenix gem, a perfect kite-shaped jewel said to have been chiseled by Asgard’s finest craftsmen, and given a blessing by Nótt. The chief told Thyra that only the purest may control the raging flame. She never took that necklace off, and it served her better than any other.

She also was given Thrain that day, her beloved horse. Her father said he was the descendent of Hrímfaxi, the horse of Nótt, the night, who pulled his chariot across the sky, and gave us the peace to rest. He was a small horse, only 15.2 hands, but he was brave. He was a shining dark bay, with a luminous white sock on his left hind leg, and a bright white star on his forehead. He had a jump that could take you to the stars, and a spirit so strong he would never back down; he would face the mightiest of beasts and refuse to retreat. He never left Thyra’s side, and he was her closest friend.

In the darkness of Hrímfaxi’s sky, Thyra was out riding on Thrain, using the old leather bridle her father had made for her, and an old saddle that she made herself out of an elk’s hide. She was with the daughter of the chief, Astrid, a young girl of 10 years old, who had beautiful golden hair, with a black coat on over her white shirt, and brown, tight pants that she always wore, despite her father’s hatred of them, and her little iron grey pony, Carr.

They were slinking between the trees, Thrain’s coat glittering in the moonlight, Carr marching proudly at his side, his little brown eyes twinkling with what was normally mischievous intentions. The soft wind brushed through Thyra’s silky hair, her bright eyes seemed to glow in the darkness. Astrid was chatting away, as she always did, and Thrain was listening, as he always did on these little adventures. The Great Grey Owls were hooting, and the bee-eaters were hopping from branch to branch, disturbing the trees around the four explorers, as Astrid liked to refer to their little convoy. 

But this night was different. There was a shriek, and a strong wind followed. Carr jumped at this, but Thrain stood strong, and blew at the direction of the sound. Astrid whispered to Carr, trying to calm him down. Thyra moved Thrain between Astrid and the direction of the sound. She dismounted, leaving Thrain to stand with the diffident pony, and walked towards the sound’s origin. She summoned a bright flame to her palm, which flickered as she sneaked through the bushes.

Thyra approached a clearing. Glowing ashes were floating around her, their dying light illuminated her pale face. There were five great oak trees fallen around her, charred. She ran her hand down one, lifting some of the ashes into the air. There were dark scorch marks in the ground, but they did not seem of fire, but lightning. Suddenly, there was a snap of a twig behind her. She turned, her palm ablaze with a large blue flame, which was roaring as she stopped. What she found was a rather pleased looking Thrain, accompanied by Astrid and the little Carr, who had obviously been munching on a near by bush, as he had leaves poking out the sides of his little mouth.

Astrid had now dismounted, and was inspecting one of the trees lying on the ground, while Thrain and Carr were poking each other with sticks they found, and seemed to be having a good time. Thyra was looking to the sky, hoping for a sign of the creature that caused this destruction. She was soon graced with an answer, as Ara, the Banshee Knight leaped from the cover of the trees beyond the clearing.

 It screeched as it pinned Thyra to the ground, producing a blackened purple blade from its sheath on the creature’s belt. Its eyes glowed a deep violet, its rotten, yellow teeth dripped corrosive pearls of venomous spit from a sepulchral, grotto of a mouth. Astrid gave a scram and ran behind one of the standing trees, and Carr followed. The monstrosity clicked as it formed an electric charge in its hand, making it turn a luminous purple. Thrain has begun to gallop over from where he and Carr had been standing. He angled his head so that the stick he was carrying was driven straight into the Banshee’s side. It wailed in pain as the makeshift pike impaled its exposed chest, and shrieked as the gelding placed its weight onto the fiend’s torso. There was a large crack, followed by a blood-curling scream from the banshee, and Thrain stepped back off the squirming monstrosity that now lay before him.

Thyra stepped on the creature’s wrist to remove the sword from it, and threatened it with a dancing red flame in the palm of her hand, the Phoenix gem glowed on her neck, making her eyes seem to flow with a look of inclination. Her wrist bands were coated with the beast’s drool, and the light of the flame made then twinkle like the stars above them. Thyra ended the monster’s suffering, with a swift downward blow to the head from its own blade. The creature squealed for a moment, but then lay still as the blade passed through the back of its skull.

The creature disintegrated into dust, only leaving its foul armour, which Thyra had no use for, but amongst it was a shimmering white gem, which piqued her interest. She removed it from the centre of the pile, and set the rest alight. She attempted to examine it in the moonlight, but Thrain had taken quite an interest in it also, and tried to eat it whenever she lifted it to view. Astrid was hitting a tree with her sword, with Carr standing behind her poking her with the stick he had been playing with earlier. They mounted and left the forest for the town, using the stars to guide them home.


More creativity from Millfield:  

You can find some other poetry and writing from Millfield pupils here and here (their Freshly Pressed ‘Sense of Place Poetry’ 1 & 2) and their ‘QUEST short story openings‘ here.

One more saga coming from Millfield next week!

Thank you for your interest.


The Art of Storytelling: Norse Sagas from Millfield School Pupils #1

16 Jun

Image by Nat Hall


Year 9: Norse Sagas


Olivia and Natasha


Our Year 9 pupils have studied the craft of story-telling, and what better way to learn than by reading the Norse sagas, with their epic storylines and memorable characters? We gave them a brief to create their own variations on the Norse saga, drawing upon the old tales for inspiration, but taking them into new territory. Everyone in the English teaching team was impressed by the boldness and skill of the stories our young pupils wrote. Here is [ part 1 of ] a small selection. I hope you enjoy them. Our thanks go to Nicky for giving Millfield pupils such an exciting platform for their creative writing!

James Baddock

Head of English, Drama & Media
Millfield, Somerset, UK

ArtiPeeps is thrilled to be having Millfield school working in tangent with one of our projects (The Nine Realms), and to see their talented, creative pupils on our site once again. It just goes to show how inspiring the Icelandic sagas still are and how alive the art of story-telling still is! For the next three weeks we will be posting out 5 short stories from 5 of their very creative pupils. Watch out for another two stories next week.





English Saga

by Olivia


The towering pillars and castle turrets sparkled in the dazzling sunlight. It was yet another beautiful day in Asgard, as you would expect for a land of the Gods. Loki sat rested against the trunk of a flowering tree, ripping up chunks of grass in a restless manner. Desperate to create some havoc (after all, he was the God of mischief) he racked his brains for ideas.

It was surprisingly quiet for such a lovely day; the courtyards and gardens lay untouched. That is, until the sound clip clopping sound of heels in the distance grew ever louder, until Lilija and her heels made it to the courtyard. Her ankle length silk gown swooshed past Loki as she paraded through the garden, providing him with a gentle breeze – much appreciated in the stifling heat. This was the most action Loki has seen all day, and he was growing increasingly restless and deprived of mischief. Frustrated, he turned back to what was left of the churned up grass beneath him. Until… Lightbulb! His face lit up; he knew what he was going to do.

Her glossy golden locks flicked back over her shoulder in the gentle wind as she made her way across the bridge from Asgard to Midgard, the land of the mortals. Although days as beautiful as this one were not rare, Lilija never grew tired of them and would never miss the opportunity to stroll though the beautiful forests of Midgard. Dappled sunlight fell upon her delicate shoulders through the canopy of trees above, and a soft breeze brushed against her skin. Usually she loved the escape from Asgard, and the opportunity to have her own space and be alone with her thoughts… but was she alone?

The brilliant sun dipped behind a large white-grey cloud and suddenly the woods became eerily dim, and a sudden chill fell over her like a blanket. Papery leaves rustled in the bushes and scraped past her ankles. Bewildered and unsure of what was going on, she became self conscious – she was not used to being out, alone in the woods when it was grey. Her mind sprung into overdrive, overthinking every danger gaining inspiration from every insecurity of the young goddess (there was many to choose from as she had such a comfortable life). Do you ever get the feeling you’re being watched? Lilija did.

Loki perched on a branch in the form of a crow, watching over Lilija. It was not long until Lilija would tire and fall straight into his prank.

Lilija began to relax once she found her way out of the dense forest, and made her way towards a large flat rock to sit and rest her legs. It was cleansing for her to sit and watch the perfect nature that wasn’t artificially beautiful like everything where she was from. Although relaxing, the sun was hot and had been beating down on her for several hours now, and she was parched. Loki knew that Lilija would not be prepared for this – she never was – and this is where his plan came in.

To Lilija’s delight, she spotted a glass of water (or so she thought) glistening in a shady spot under the edge of another rock. Maybe if she wasn’t so desperate, or had the common sense to check whether it was water and not some foreign clear potion made by Loki, then what happened next would not have taken place.

Feeling rather pleased with herself, Lilija lay back on the rock to soak up some more rays before making her way back – or at least, she tried to. Something was stopping her! Bewildered, she turned around to investigate, and to her horror she found an oily, curly green tail sprouted from her coccyx! Her eyes shot back to her hands, which had now become dry, wrinkled and that same off dark green colour yellow/white claws had replaced her manicured nails. She felt her dress become increasingly tighter until a boil covered, bloated pot belly burst through the seams of her tailored silk dress. Lilija had never been so horrified in her life! Meanwhile Loki sat watching the whole thin, screeching with side splitting laughter; his potion had worked, he’d turned the princess into her worst enemy, a goblin!

Distraught, Lilija fled back through the forest to the bridge, so she could burst through the gates to Asgard and make it to her quarters before anyone could see her. However, the gates were guarded at all times by Horatio, guardian of the golden gates. Inevitably, she was stopped at the gates, and told to leave or face fatal consequences. As much as she begged and pleaded, Horatio was having none of it – understandably, he thought this ‘goblin’ was crazy. Distraught and in despair, Lilija fled from the bridge. What was she going to do now?

Loki couldn’t help but feel dreadful for causing the goddess such a hard time; he only wanted a bit of fun. He felt it was his duty to fix what he had started. Just as he had done earlier that morning he began to concoct a potion that would hopefully reverse the effects of the previous potion. Meanwhile Lilija was slumped, sobbing at the foot of a tree.

Several minutes passed before Loki’s potion was finally finished and sealed it in a small flask with the label ‘drink me’. Loki, still disguised as a crow, flew over Lilija and dropped the concoction into her lap. Confused, Lilija picked up and inspected the flask. Drink me? She has enough sense to ponder drinking this unknown liquid, but she was so distraught and in such a bad place mentally that she would rather die than live the rest of her life a goblin. Relived, Loki perched nearby to watch the potion kick in.

Lilija tossed the flask on the floor and held her head in her hands, staring down at her ugly feet. only they weren’t ugly anymore! Her manicured toenails and slim ankles looked identical to how they had when they left the castle that morning! Looking down, she noticed more and more of her was her own body! Immediately she ran over to the water, and stared back at her reflection. Beside herself with joy and relief, she ran to the gates before anything else could happen to her!

She flopped onto her plush queen size bed and sighed. It had been a long day, and certainly a walk she’d never forget.


The Giant Skymir


The Land of the Ice Giants

by Natasha


Complete devastation. The war was done and lost. Any memory of a life before had long since been abandoned. You could still smell the dead in the air and the lingering of sadness dangled from the surrounding icicles. The snow was stained a vermilion red, decorated with bloody limbs and weapons retired from battle. It was harder than I imagined it to be. To return and see the utter desolation. The once alive mountains stood silently, mourning as they were forced to witness the slaughter and were able to do nothing about it. I wandered aimlessly for a while, reminiscing in the part I played that destroyed this once tranquil place. It was then the memories came flooding in…

My bloody sword hung limply from my quivering grasp. All determination had deserted me, but I knew deep down that I couldn’t give up now. The beast towered over me, I could feel his warm breath brushing against my sweaty skin. I swung my sword with all the strength that remained but I unanticipated the distance. The beast saw my fault and pounced while I was off-guard.

Suddenly I stopped myself, I didn’t want to remember. Maybe coming back here was a bad idea after all? I looked up at the sky. As a child I was told stories about the wonder and beauty of this place. How in the morning the sky would turn a pinky-orange colour and how gradually throughout the day it would transition into a deep purple. People travelled from all parts of the country to gaze up at those skies. Now as I look up all I see is black. Enormous black clouds, bulging with rage. What has become of this place?

The beast leaped on me with such force it knocked all of the air out of my lungs. My head hit the ice with such intensity that I feared I wouldn’t be able to get back up again. My eyes glazed over, a mixture of fear and fury. The beast pressed my sword against my gulping throat. I couldn’t fight it, I wasn’t strong enough…

I immediately stopped myself because I knew the worst was to come. A shudder of fear engulfed me as the memories replayed themselves, still as vivid as ever. To my horror my eyes fell upon a terrifyingly familiar sight. The gem still shone bright, even after all these months. The ruby stone was so large I could vaguely see my panicstricken face in the reflection. Slowly, I crouched down and clasped it in my hands. I am forced to remember.

The end was about to come. I knew it and didn’t have anything left in me to fight it. The beasts grin was repulsive, his eyes narrowed as he relished in my suffering. I had lost all hope. Suddenly the beasts expression altered dramatically. He roared in agony and turned his ugly head to peer behind him. Surprised, I tilted my head to see the disturbance. An emptiness filled my stomach. A fear worse than death consumed me. Gilleous stood behind me, sword at the ready, his arm dripping from a fatal wound.

A tender feeling came across me as the potent memories cut deeper into the already aching feeling in my gut. Never had I felt so much pain. I couldn’t fight back the tears so I fell to my knees. Hoping the Gods would rescue me from this
inescapable grief…

Gilleous looked deep into my eyes then swung his sword across the beasts chest. The beast howled in agony and retaliated by hurling his axe at Gilleous. However, he narrowly missed his left shoulder. Seizing the opportunity Gilleous plunged his sword into the beasts chest. The beast screamed with rage and fell to the floor. Gilleous stumbled over to me, holding out his hand to help me stand. I laughed with relief. Everything was going to be alright. Immediately I regretted that thought. Gilleous’s comforting smile was suddenly replaced with a shocked, pained
expression. He dropped to the ground and to my horror I saw an axe, encrusted into his back. I saw the despair in his eyes as his body crumpled into a heap on the ground. The beast was lying on his back, bleeding profusely, grinning hysterically. Satisfied with his final kill.

I just wanted to die. The pain was so unbearable. I hadn’t cried like this since the day of his death. It seemed that I had been building up all this emotion deep inside of me. The drought was the worst part of grieving, now it seemed I was drowning in my own tears. I clasped the gem in my trembling hands. At least I would have something to take back to his family. Suddenly a strange feeling came across me. I could breath. Amongst all the sadness I found a glimpse of comfort just in the memory of Gilleous. Although I missed him with every bone in my body, deep down I knew that he died protecting me. I had to honour his memory. That’s what he would have wanted after all. I took one final look at the miserable battle scene and mounted my horse. I stroked her blonde mane affectionately, I remembered the day
Gilleous brought her for me. I could barely sit properly the first time I rode her, but over time Gilleous taught me. He was always the best teacher. I was soon the finest rider in our kingdom. Yes, I said to myself aloud. That’s how I would remember Gilleous. As the man who nurtured me, helped me mature and grow as an individual. The greatest man who ever lived.


You can find some more poetry and writing from Millfield pupils here and here (their Freshly Pressed’ Sense of Place’ poetry) and their QUEST short story openings here. More sagas coming from Millfield pupils next week!

Thank you for your interest.


‘Mixed Episode’; ‘Care in the Community’ by Louise M. Hart (Poet) FreeSpace #3

28 May



Mixed Episode

by Louise M. Hart


Through the eons of my suffering
And the perpetuity of my pain
Dissociated from the familiarity
Of shared meaning and consensual reality
The spectres of madness
Misery and mislead mentality
Fuelled my moral shame

Lost in the wilderness of unceasing mental flight
And the fight to still the rapid thoughts
That summoned my ecstatic anguish
And melancholic blue delight
Like a whore I surrendered to the tremors
Of the merciless and entrapping night

I dismantled my pedestal
Only to be captured by the arms of jailers
Paid to seal my fate
To be the accused in a never ending trial
Governed by the hegemony of The State

Whilst my body became secured
Within a hospital ward
Policed by nurses and hate
My mind
Formerly determinate and solid
Fragmented into a thousand fragile parts
Each with no knowledge
Of the others
And belying my flailing sick and tired heart

My inner voice externalised into a universal yell
That began
“Help me nurse, I don’t feel well”
And culminated in a needle
In the arse of the hell
Of my enforced unreason
And silence

Thus I was baptised for the second time
Not in water
But in the shrine of my mutilated throat
The shuttered eyeballs of the socially excluded
The flesh of my sacrificial duffel coat

Even my doting Mother could not perceive
The blood and bones
I saw beyond human flesh
The words only I could hear
That inflamed my agitation
And saturated my soul with fear
And ontological distress

I challenged all perception
And claimed that reality was a scam
A grand hallucination
In which existence was woman
And matter did not matter
For I was the only one and true
Living Mad Hatter


Care in the Community?

by Louise M. Hart


At any time I could freak
Or stay in bed for at least a week
And they would say
“I bet she hasn’t taken her tablets today”

I could shout or cry
Scream that I wanted to die
And they would say
“I bet she hasn’t taken her tablets today”

But, what will they say
When I take my tablets every day?

Release her like a rehabilitated criminal
From the padded cell of care in the community
Where she will lobotomise every opportunity
That comes her way

And refuse to take her tablets any day
*I dedicate these poems to any readers who feel alone in their suffering. YOU are not alone.

Writing is the scream that cannot be silenced.

You can find more about Louise and her poetry here:
You can get Louise’s latest book The General Paralysis of Sanity here



*’FreeSpace’ offers creatives or groups 3 slots on ArtiPeeps which can be taken up in a cluster or in a sequence over a period of months. They can be used for further showcasing, self-expression or for projects.

If you are interested in FreeSpace, don’t hesitate to get in contact via a reply box, or the form on our What’s On’ Page or via @ArtiPeeps


‘Dear’ & ‘Tread Softly’ by Louise M. Hart (Poet) FreeSpace #2

22 Apr

Maternity by Picasso



Louise M. Hart


You personify the best and worst of the universe

You bore me naked
Then you covered me up
You believed my existence serendipitous

But I ran out of luck

You nurtured a seed
That bloomed into a weed
Refusing to grow up

For I disavowed a blossoming exterior
In order to feel nearer to you
Than to myself

You filled my tears with laughter

My smiles belied a must
To master the unacceptable disaster
Of my uninvited, hidden desires

Thus, I inhaled the air like a choking mist
My life shortened by each deadly hiss
Of lung penetration

I like your soul, but not your hair

I eat Mum’s, because I know you care


Tread Softly


Invention of my Mother
Who lifts me up
I am nearer to death
Than to love

She will always be more than a memory
Who beckons my mind to follow
Its creative streams
Of metaphorical rivers and symbolic seas

Oceanic under mental foot
Spread beneath passing readers’
Psychical feet
Like Yeats’ immersive, but desiccated dreams

Another day over
A milestone nearer
I cry myself younger

You can find more about Louise and her poetry here:
Watch out for Louise’s 3rd FreeSpace.  Coming Soon!



*’FreeSpace’ offers creatives or groups 3 slots on ArtiPeeps which can be taken up in a cluster or in a sequence over a period of months. They can be used for further showcasing, self-expression or for projects.

If you are interested in FreeSpace, don’t hesitate to get in contact via a reply box, or the form on our What’s On’ Page or via @ArtiPeeps


Do take a look at our ‘The Nine Realms’ Indiegogo Campaign

19 poets, 23 artists, 3 musicians and a Viking boat!


nine realms8

‘North by West Midlands’ Part 2 by Louise M. Hart (Poet) FreeSpace #1

3 Mar

Angel of the North


North by West Midlands, Part 2

Except Yourself


Louise M. Hart


I travelled north to learn how to be free
But the shrieking gulls delivered my spirit
To Nemo’s tomb
Buried beneath 20,000 leagues of despair
Under a doom sated sea
A fisher of souls, swept to her watery demise
By waves that tempted my mind
And stung my watery eyes

Lapping the frail shore of my bored
I roared from the depths
Of my soul’s new found distress
And swallowed the sea water’s acrid foam
Like a fleet of melting acid ice cream cones
My thoughts nourished by the taste of its cool duplicity

Being caught between the to and fro
Of my unique soul’s existence and human homogeneity
I had become invisible, both on land and sea
Like a single splash of water on a pier-less shore
Depositing no residue of my life or piteous form

One day, I stepped into troubled waters
Where I witnessed rising from his/her liquid bed
Like Poseidon’s changeling son/daughter
The angel of the north
Who spoke to me, “It’s not so bad, up here, with the haggis
And the local beer
Better rain upon a sunny head
Than sun shining beyond a mind
That is dull as lead”
“Like mine,” I screamed
“It is not your home location,” S/he equivocated
“Inducing your mental rot
Your soul is sick
For existence has failed to offer you a role
In this season’s production
Of the dominant model
Of the anti-social whole
This is not how life should be…
This is not how life should be”

Angel of truth
Lancelot, inhabiting a nautical incarnation
Of Avalon, for the guiltless generation
Riding against the tide, with limbs of lace and leather
Your presence warmed my heart
Like rays of sun in wintry weather
Words slid from your tongue
Like a gentle elixir
I drank them slowly
And let them fix me


Part 1 is here



You can find more about Louise and her poetry here:
Louise will be returning for her second FreeSpace on Wednesday 22nd April.



*’FreeSpace’ offers creatives or groups 3 slots on ArtiPeeps which can be taken up in a cluster or in a sequence over a period of months. They can be used for further showcasing, self-expression or for projects.

If you are interested in FreeSpace, don’t hesitate to get in contact via a reply box, or the form on our What’s On’ Page or via @ArtiPeeps

Weekend Showcase: Louise M. Hart (Writer/Poet)

16 Jan


Every Friday, 1 creative, letting their work speak for itself.


Louise M. Hart





North by West Midlands

by Louise M. Hart


I journeyed north in pursuit of happier thoughts
And a deep fried mars bar
But, blind were the eyes, watching me arrive
And burnt was the mars bar

My baggage was heavy with burdens
Beside me, were a loving Mother and my black (and white) dog
It had been a long, exhausting ride
Whose terminus,
Under the conceit of summer sunshine, concealed the cloudy thoughts
That burst inside my mind

Thus, I regressed to a developmentally former time
My awareness of my impending pain
Like the cries of a virgin bride
Hidden from world view

Cradled in the comfort womb of the Scottish landscape
“It’s beautiful,” I cried
I could never distinguish calculated deceit from honest lies
And, thus, unpacked my luggage, as though
I was holidaying in a land of enlightenment and fun

And the sea called to me, “Run”

So, we turned our backs on reality and ran
Billy, my beloved dog before he was taken and I
Hugging feral fingered trees in the name of city slickers
We blamed ourselves for our inability to defeat the bourgeoisie
With our indiscreet charm and our inadvertent attempts at infamy

But, soon the sun was gone

And the trees were as bare as my face
Expressing thoughts as toxically as fumes of human waste

I realised that my end was nigh, when I could no longer cry
My life collapsing, like The State’s self proclaimed fiscal cliff
Into the gluttonous foam of the North Sea’s residential home
In which my austere soul sprayed stingy piss
And fired blanks thoughts with life denying regularity

I became undone

And, then winter’s chill arrived
Articulating its intent in my mind’s shrieking descent

Into gloomy thoughts and conspicuous insanity
I entered a race I was born to lose
Whose other competitors existed as alien forms
So prolific that I believed mine to be the only existing human face
That interpreted the unnatural selection of human rejection
And the death of universal subjectivity

A belief in fate’s omnipotence
Became my faith, my anti-God delusion
Of confinement secured by thought intrusion
And mental institutionalisation

Wintertime thrust me between the thighs
Of a system I summoned, but despised
Whereupon a nurse knocked my gentle door
For I had slept not, the night before
Rising before the portents of a spreading dawn
And staring blankly at the dark and silent screen of my television

There are clubs, up north, especially created for the chemically inferior
Staffed by people who, even before the humiliation of an introduction
Know every member’s name
For in their eyes, we all look the same
Sporting diagnostic labels and medicated shuffles
Our identities socially constructed and acted out in vain regard
For the needs we espouse
And contradicted by the nature of the pills
We consume to reinforce
And legitimate the acute angles of the pain we survive

They wiped my arse, but closed their ears when I spoke
Offering computerised basket weaving and messages of no hope

Ooh, there’s trouble up north
When identity crumbles, like ideological rubble
For I had fallen and been captured by a beast with two faces
One face that soothed my heated brow
The other, functioning as subjectivity’s adversarial sacred cow
Cock, bull and ball breaker of all fleshy nuts of bone and brain
It destroyed meaning, like the presence of a double negative
In a sentence, articulated in the open parenthesis of pseudo-silence
And intellectual non-sense

Eventually, I wrote a book
And defected to the way out west, to try my luck-
The mid land of nowhere

Life had knocked me down
But, creativity lifted me back up


You can find more about Louise and her poetry here:
If you would like a Weekend Showcase please do get in touch via the contact form on the What’s On Page or via the comment box.







‘A Sense of Place’ #2: Millfield School Poetry Festival (Year 9, 10, 12)

26 Jun




The Millfield Poetry Festival was an opportunity for our students to express themselves and have fun with words. The theme was “a sense of place”, which our highly creative pupils interpreted in a dazzling variety of ways, from the visual to the abstract, the comical to the philosophical. The English Department was overwhelmed by the inventiveness, daring and candour demonstrated by the young poets. The festival culminated in an evening showcase, in which students read or performed their poems and received prizes from our guest adjudicator, charismatic performance poet/rapper Breis, who finished the evening with his own inspiring material.

What follows is a small selection of some of the poems featured in the festival. I hope you enjoy them.

James Baddock Head of English, Drama & Media


Year 9



by Hussein


In the great city of Cannes

The air is so fresh;

Beautiful beaches boast soft sand

And the water is so clear that you can see your feet like you

Are in a swimming pool.

I have a flat right next to the beach so from my bright

Balcony I survey la France like a king.

And also right next to my flat there is a bakery and I can smell

The warm buttery smell from the boulangerie. J’adore les croissants,

J’aime aussi les pains au chocolats, mais je deteste

Baguettes parce qu’ils sont ternes.




by Ben


The mighty majestic trees

On mountains above

Nature has no fees

The swooping dove

Dives from heaven above.


As I hear the river gushing

I picture salmon jumping

My father and I hushing

We cast and hope our rods are thumping

Have we caught one or shall my heart stop pumping?


One lift of the road

I strike hard and swift

Have I done my job?

As I see the body surface I lift, I lift!

I see something much greater than cod.

I miss my father but I look to God.



Year 10


I am where I am

…………Where I am I am

…………………………….Where am I? …………

…………I am where?

…………………..I don’t know where I am!

…………In a big blank space

In a small dark corner

………………… I am where I am

…………………………….But where I am is where

I am scared of where

In this big blank space

…………………… Scared of I

…………………….In this small dark corner

………..Scared of what?

………………………………Inside my head

……….All in the where

And where in the all

……………………Where I am I am not

Where I am not, I am

………..Where am I?

…………………..I know not

…………who I am

……………………how I am

……………………………..what I am,

, …………………………………………………..why I am……

Where am I?







He sits there being prodded and poked,

Yet still smiles as I sit beside him,

His round cheeks blush and he stares down,

Embarrassed I am seeing him this way.


My hand is squeezed by his small sweaty one,

I am on his level as he stares into my eyes,

Pleading, afraid and silent,

As the salty tears trickle down his warm face.


When it is over, he smiles,

But in his eyes I can see he is still frightened,

And I help him limp to his next appointment,

More prodding, poking and injections await him.


I try to give comfort and solace,

Yet his eyes begin to glisten once again,

With their unshed tears,

As he tries to stand and cannot.


This place has become his second home,

The hospital full of doctors and nurses,

With their fixed smiles,

So not to worry the children.


But I can see the worry in their eyes,

In the eyes of his parents,

In my eyes,

In his eyes.


Life goes on,

Yet this little boy is not so sure,

As he asks his mother,

If he will die.







Year 12



by India


The Thames snakes through the city

Like a vein running through the body

The underground rumbles beneath the pavements

Like ants beneath the soil.

Ferraris, Bentleys, Porsche’s hug the pavements.

Homeless desperate tramps sit on the pavements.

Wealth seeping through Harrods, Selfridges and more.

Poverty around the corner at soup kitchens,

The hungry hang by the door.

A city of extremes, of laughter, fun and

Love, of hate, jealously and death.

This is my home, my life, my energy

My passion.

Go forward in London but always

Remember to look behind you.



The definition of home is divergent.

To a sailor;

his mansion is a wide, wavering ocean

with a nightlight that is brighter than no other as the stars shine, sparkling and broken.

To a pilot;

his palace becomes the azure as he overlooks it through the reflective,

gleaming window wandering the world endlessly.

To a soldier;

his castle is the feeling he gets when he accomplishes protecting his country

on the front line, for the ones he loves.

The explanation is boundless,

but home is nowhere without the ones we cherish.




‘A Sense of Place’: Poems From Millfield School’s 2014 Poetry Festival

22 May




Young poets in Years 9, 10 and 12 are writing poems inspired by particular places of importance to them, painting word-pictures of those places and drawing on a rich emotional palette. Here you will find some poems written by pupils in Year 9, the youngest year group in the senior school. The poems are fresh and honest, and show a deft touch and attention to detail. I hope you enjoy them.

James BaddockHead of English, Drama & Media,



The river flows beneath the night sky
In spring you see the birds learn how to fly
In summer there is the smell of fresh cut grass
And all the people begin to laugh
The swans and ducks then begin to waddle away
And all the children start to play
Autumn comes around fast
And clearing leaves becomes a task
Winter comes in hard before everyone’s eyes
And we all fill up on mince pies
Hot chocolate time by the fire place
Looking onto the Christmas lace
Next comes new year
When everyone forgets all the fear

by Ella and Zoe





by  Ellie


Into the river they paddle and dip,
The slender, silvery
The willow tree
Is where I choose,
As I did before,
And before that.

Riveted, gnarled, ancient,
Yet youthful.
Book in hand,
I clamber,
Up and…

The breeze ripples and eddies,
Reflecting the river below.
Swallows dip,
Snatching up the silvery stream,
They dive, they soar,
Up and away.




The magnitude of the mountains
Their prowess engulfing the slight senescence.
Tiny streams weeping across the prepossessing landscape,
Emerging as an alluring blur –
Pronouncing the innocence and purity of the mist.

Darkness drifts silently and swiftly upon you,
The once aesthetic landscape is now reticent.
Rogue shadows slink with faint, pitiful cries,
Mourning for their relief of death,
The ripples of blood swamping this innocence and purity
With the deep boldness and obnoxiousness.

In a trice, rays of light pierce through the recondite
Of darkness, like a hot knife through butter.
A glimpse of freedom, shone as bright as a star
Through the bleak barbarity of darkness,
Churning in my head, head, head.

by Henry




The sky is like a zen garden
Lights bright like stars
Grass as green as money
Water like a mirror

by Innes




I must stay

by Josh


The purple flash left in my mind
The hut below dodged the threat
My eyes are black my eyes are blind
The place below is getting wet

The clouds line the heavenly door
The street so silent and bare
The litter does roll on the floor
The smell of chips in the air

The candle lights are no match
The tree sways and sigh
The lonely dog starts to scratch
The room to sleep I must buy

They open my door
And are cold no more




by Freddie


The sun is a little boy with a magnifying glass
Burning all the ants,
Everywhere you go a predator is watching your every step,
All the animals staring into the abyss above,
Waiting for short showers,
Fighting for a drop of water,
Nervous to approach you,
Creeping into shadows,
A desert with no oasis,
The birds guarding the skies
As you walk on the crispy cracked earth.




by Page


The old wise men of Moccas.
Where the deer roam all day,
I could stay there all day listening to
the sounds of the wind within the leaves.

I listen with content in my heart. The
Peacefulness is overwhelming and my
Mind is at ease here.You can be
her forever without any disturbance.
Just the way it should be.

Different adventures everyday,
From low to high. Sometimes it’s
Inclement other times it is
Radiant, just like the house.

No disturbance just innocence.
It is easy to lose track of time.
You lose all thoughts.
At peace.



……………a spiritual place of wonder,
the sun even cowers behind burnt branches and neglected pressure,
…………..all silence,
except for a slight rustle of leaves,
…………..I can unwind,
not everything is as it seems,
……………standing out is just someone’s hobby,
……………and there is nothing to be done about it,
glistening gold,
final seconds,
……………and I exhale..

by Ellie





by Rosie


Sifting through each memory,
Every sense of time and space,
Emotions drowning
In the midst of this desolate place

Inmates dull and grey,
Nothing left to live for.
Each day another burden,
Hearts rubbed red and raw.

Locked up at night
Locked up in day.
Memories of the outside world,
Drift by each passing day.

There’s nothing left,
All hope is gone.
There’s nothing left,
My life is done.




World War II London

by Stephen

Sirens going, whistles blowing, bombs fall to the ground,
People running everywhere, confusion all around,
A shout goes out, someone’s hurt, the ambulance moves fast,
Where are the children? Are they safe? I am remembering my past.

Once the houses stood around lovely village greens,
With enormous homes full of love and life,
And children and a husband and a dutiful wife,
A world full of hope, a future full of dreams.

But now all that’s left is a horrible scene,
I must try to stop this to get back what has been,
What is left for you and me,
When the nations of the world cannot see,
They dominate us with power and might,
What is left for our children,
How will they learn what is wrong and right?

So let’s teach them to be tolerant, patient and kind,
To learn that the use of guns is weaker than the mind,
Let’s make it right for you and for me,
So that our children can see how we used to be.





by Tshimollo

Dubai … expanse of desert
With lots of Palm trees and
Lost in the overwhelming brown
Buildings appear from a distance,
Cars going from side to side,

The Human habitation desert gone,
Dubai is as hot as a boiling kennel,
The sand is crisp gold cornflakes,
The water is as warm as a hot
running bath,
The rooms are as cold as ice cubes

That’s the city of




I go to the magical island Minorca

the smell of fresh figs breathing though my nose

Sweet heaven!

I jump in the swimming pool

I get a breath of hot air

And then paralysingly cold water

I’m relaxed and joyful

I get on the jetski

Bumping and bashing

I fall off


by Will



The Beast

by Zoe

The cries of death whispered around the corridors,
Murmurs discussing the blood that stained the sheets,
Eager footsteps caressed the floors,
As the pained looks rushed to meet their fate.

As soon as the doors opened,
The unwilling were engulfed into a world,
Sanitised and streaked with fear,

The operating room beds creased with the contours of paralysed legs,
The shadows of the doctors swarmed over patients,
As the rubber gloves searched for the beast that crawled inside of them,
The beast that could cause the end.




Hot Potato 2! Short Story Collaboration #6 Jessica Cooke

20 May

Hot Potato

Welcome to Hot Potato!

6 writers over 12 weeks, writing 1 short story

 The Potatoes: 

Steve Harris, Michael Schmidt, Shannon Pardoe, Samuel Grainger, Josh Kremer, Jessica Cooke


Today’s instalment is the last section in our Hot Potato story featuring writer Jessica Cooke  who  has had the hard job of tying up all the the threads of our  collaborative short story.  You can find  all of the other sections of our short story here


Sara stood facing him at the end of the corridor. He walked towards her, stepping lightly and slowly, as though she was a tiny animal and as if so much as a breath less delicate than hers could cause her to break away.

Her hair was twisted high on top of her head in work-mode, and she wore a white surgeon’s coat complete with rubber gloves. A tiny badge pinned to her left breast read, “Sarah, Florist.” Little spots of color flecked her gloves and coat. She’d been painting.

“I knew you’d hate me having this job,” she said, “I’m sorry I wasn’t in touch. This was just something I had to do. Something… Without you.”

It had been like travelling a hundred years in the dark. Looking in abandoned places for numbers that might not be there, going into bars asking favours from people that didn’t even want to see you. A hundred years in the dark till now but instead of one light, he felt a thousand burning between the place where his bones meet his skin, and under their glare he felt more lost. He wanted to undo the pin that held her hair, letting it all fall across her shoulders and tell her how pretty she looked. How much he’d missed her. A decade ago, he wouldn’t have thought twice, but right now one more step and he’d feel like he was breaking the law.

“Do you want to see the lab?” she asked him.

He followed her into a crisp, white room where jars holding pickled flowers lined the rooms. He stared. Roses, tulips, lilacs; each jar held one single flower of a different breed to the last. Real flowers hadn’t existed like this in years, yet here they were, blurring the line between past and present. The long white petals of a daisy unfurled in the dappled liquid, its base gleaming like a yellow eye, its stem curved, suspended in the jelly.

She brought him to a table just in front of them, and opened the lid of a metal box.

There, inside, a miniature blue flower dipped its head towards its stem, curling into itself. Its leaves fanned out like ghosts in the water.

“Prototype, “Sara said, “Bluebell. Wild flowers are harder to recreate, because they weren’t as artificially engineered as the more popular ones. Rose was the first one, obviously.”

“Obviously,” he repeated, dumbfounded.

“I don’t know. You always seemed so obsessed with the moon, with the past. It was like you blamed it for everything. I needed to get out of LA. I mean, we haven’t had weather like the ancestors did since before we were born. So, I never understood why everybody mourned it so much. It was a terrible thing to happen, sure, but don’t you feel like the more we’re mourning one kind of light, we’re missing out on another?”

“Your flowers are beautiful,” he told her, “but fake.”

She looked down, sighing.

“I thought you’d say that. That’s why I didn’t want to tell you what I was doing. Can’t you see the benefits of the work we’ve done here? It’s only one small thing, but it’s a step towards recreation. Towards life. Through art.”
He shoved his hands into the pockets of the white coat she’d given him to hide their trembling.

“This isn’t Art. This is synthetic. Like, most of outside, what’s natural, what’s life is not synthetic flowers. I’d rather give my girlfriend a bouquet of moon! Because that’s what’s real. At least when she smelled she’d smell a piece of something that did exist, that was blown up, and that hurt everybody. It wasn’t nice that it happened, but I’m not about to forget that it did happen. This world has been changed, and no amount of chemical flowers is going to make me forget that life doesn’t exist any more.”

“What is the difference? Yes, they’re chemical, yes we made them and we painted them! But they’re here! They’re something! A step towards rebuilding! A step towards finally being happy!”

“It’s not about being happy. It’s about truth. Denial of the truth is the worst thing anyone can do to another person.”
“Is that why you came here? Hoping that I could be your truth, hoping that I’d want to go off with you and wander around, picking up bits of broken moon and imagining what life could have been like? We’re not kids any more, Wints.”

“I just wanted to see you. I had to see you,” he paused, “I still want you, even… even if this is what you want.”
“This is what I want.”

“I know. When I called you I just had to see it for myself.”

“I’m moving to New York,” she said suddenly.


“Tomorrow, they have a new lab opening. They have a project opening; they’re planning to recreate the whole of Central park, but with lots of flowers ahead,” her voice speed up, excited, “We think we can manipulate the roses to grow right out of the bark in the trees, can you imagine how beautiful that would be?”

“When do you leave?”

“In 2 days.”

Winston could see it now. The stuff of dreams. But how real was it dream when it hadn’t come from within? When it had come from someone placing it there, someone constructing it. He would never be able to visit the park without feeling like he was a trespasser in someone else’s garden.

“I should go,” he told her.

She didn’t blink.


A hundred years in the dark, for only a flash of light.

He left the building into the dust swirling street. Charcoal grey shimmied in the thick air around the emaciated branches of a tree. There was something beautiful in its wasteful figure. The way it held itself, proud of its bareness, unashamed.

He bent down, scooping a piece of moon up from the gravel and placed it in his pocket.

What rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards the Earth to be born?

Sara could have her garden, they all could. The moon felt coarse and hard in its pocket, its jagged edges scratched his legs through the thin fabric of his pants but he did not remove it. It would remain there all day, every day, a rough beast in his shallow life.

Sara and her friends would create a garden, inventing Nature in a way that no one had intended, and in decades no one would know the difference.

He put his hand in his pocket, holding the piece of moon. A hundred years in the dark with only a reminder of light.


 You can find more out about Jessica here:


Thanks to Jessica the final section of our story is now in place. The entire piece is complete. I will now go away and do a bit of light editing to draw the sections together into a cohesive whole.  The next stage will then be to find an artist to provide illustrations and to create an interactive pdf of the story. This will be given to the writers. The story will then be the 2nd piece in a collection of stories we hope to publish when we have accumulated enough for an entire book. 

Tomorrow ArtiPeeps will be featuring the third FreeSpace of poet Kate Garrett and her collection of poems on pregnancy and the experience of women through the decades. Do take a look.

As ever, thank you for your interest.




29 Twitter poets and artists, I contemporary version of Ovid’s Metamorphoses

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