Noah Smerdon - Look within (Winner of the Calderdale 500 words competition)

She was timid and moved with caution, her up-tied hair quietly rustling in the west ward blowing zephyr. Her cold, cracking palms gripped onto the worn handlebars. Rusting were the chains as they creaked along on their never-changing path in a rotary motion. With every blade of damp grass and every newly fallen dew drop pressed towards the elderly legs of the tree, she felt every gram of pressure slowly crumble off her burning shoulders, as if every crack of the leather belt’s angry kisses never hit her pale, unblemished skin. Colder grew the night and tighter grew the frosts grip round her face, Breathing heavily, she watched as each smoky breath elegantly glided skywards into the vast nothingness above her youthful face. She wished she could too; drift away and be swallowed up into the jet black abyss.

She dragged her scuffed suede shoes through the growing puddles which inhabited the small mass of illuminated country roads, surrounded by the ghostly shadows of the surrounding greenery that towered over.

Little did she know of the hideous creature lurking in the same shadows and the same dim street lights she previously ambled through. It carried rage on its back the way a rugby player carries his beloved oval ball, or the way a budding astronomer clasps his telescope. She never heard him nor did she see him for that matter, but she felt the eerie silence was purposeful and that everyone was quiet just so they could watch her trip or stumble then pounce like a group of paparazzi on laughing gas and ruin hermoment away from the cage of worrying and anxiousness inside her head.

She watched as the waves of fog rolled over the valley and into every crack in the ground and through every cattle shed adjacent to her. Her body was a mountain range home to thousands of pink mountains raised from her skin; hidden in heat but returning without fail in the icy nights she walked in.

Suddenly the hidden monstrosity caught up to her and no longer hid itself in the darkness. It went on a rampage smashing everything in its path, it was uncontrollable. The girl watched on in horror of what was happening, sat cowered in a damp corner, her eyes opened wide in disbelief. The beast came to a sudden standstill, and disappeared back into the unknown. Surprisingly unfazed by the experience, she sat admiring the fog as it danced through the valley.

She reached the top of the hill and stood glancing at the few cars with the engines still humming and wheels still turning and lay down. She was contemplating how to remove this beast from inside of her mind and with it regain herself. She could almost see as the anger and rage joined the dancing fog and flowed away into the vast nothingness above.

William Turner - Abducted

I woke to a blinding light, piercing my eyes as I desperately attempted searching the room, as my eyes adjusted, I could make out several devices and structures of which I’d never seen before. Panicking, I tried to find my feet only to realise I was tied down unable to move due to shackles tying me to some seat.

I flinched as I noticed a peculiar being approach me, I was helplessly lying there, tied down in some alien structure which was cold and uncomfortable. The creature conferred to a companion, of which was holding a sharp, needle-like object. As the companion approached I couldn’t help but howl in fear, what were these things which abducted me! They resembled my kind, and yet were so different…

I howled, desperately trying to escape. Suddenly, I felt a quick painful jab in my arm, I looked to the source to see the companion. Staring at me, with careful coordination and consideration while it jabbed me with something I could only describe as an abnormal device. I tried to scream, but a sense of drowsiness overcame me, my eyes became heavy as my vision clouded into white, then darkness.

I could see my home, the verdant greenery. My wife offered me her hand. I reached out to it. Inches, centimetres, millimetres. BAMMM! I was rushed back to reality; a tear, meandering down my check as I remembered my wife.

My eyes adjusted to my surroundings for a second time, it was dark, it was bouncy and uncomfortable. I was being moved, locked up with nothing to comfort me but my own thoughts. I squinted, trying to decipher shapes in the darkness. Meters away, I made out a cage like what I was being detained in. I squinted harder as I tried to make out something that may be inside. It was then I saw it! Another one of my kind, I bellowed, desperate to get their attention… not a stir. I continued to yell, itching to talk to my kind.

That moment a blinding light suddenly entered from the outside world as an entrance was abruptly created by an alien possessing a metal stick equipped with attachments and handles. Although I could not understand what it was saying, I understood a tone of fury towards me. It approached, unlocked the cage and dragged me out by the neck nefariously. I looked around, my mind working faster than I could comprehend. Surrounding me were intimidating structures towering menacingly. Panicking, I followed my gut instincts and ran. As I raced a celerity of projectiles flew past me threateningly.

I thought of my wife and home as I collapsed, bleeding. The world was going black and my mind was dying out, as I faded away I saw the face of my wife and wept as I knew I’d let her down. My thoughts faded...

He’d been abducted by people, taken into captivity where he passed away. After all, captivity is no place for an ape.

Oliver Clayton

There’s a lot of problems that I’d like to get rid of. Like the hours at work. And the traffic to get wasn’t the best life, until I discovered the headset.

It was, literally, the answer to all my problems. I discovered it in M+S one day, and I immediately knew I had found my perfect time-killer.

Once I had brought it home, I had a look at the box. ‘Luxury design for comfortable use’ and, ‘futuristic and cool-looking’ and the one that really got my attention… ‘Solves all of your problems’.

I put it on and somehow, it was already up and running. I took in my surroundings. I was in my house, the exact same as before. “Maybe it was on augmented reality setting?” I thought. I decided to go outside, test the cameras in external conditions. I cruised over to my rubbish car and there, in its place, was a Ferrari 812 Superfast, one of the newest Ferraris. And, to make it even better, the keys were on the bonnet.

I grabbed them and leapt into the car. I rushed down the side road which my house was in and turned out onto the main road. The streets were dead. There were no other drivers and there was a long, straight road, and I had a superfast car. I spun it around, shoved it in gear and launched down the road.

I could feel the vibration of the engine, see the sun shining, the heat vapours off the tarmac distorting the air, the houses down the side of the road were mere flickers in a tunnel of speed. As I slowed down, it only just occurred to me that it had done what it said it would, and it solved two problems. Having a rubbish car and traffic. What else had this solved? I drove to the nearest bank, not knowing what to expect. I checked my balance and there was enough money to buy lots of gizmos, lots of food and still have thousands left!

I decided that I was going to go out for a meal and a drink, so I drove home to get changed. I took my VR headset off and, just like when I put it on, there was no difference between the virtual world or the real world.

After the shower, I looked out of the window, to check the weather. Then I noticed a red car on the drive, its bonnet proudly wearing the prancing horse, the famed Ferrari logo.

This was a problem. Something the VR headset was meant to solve. Did this mean I was wearing the headset in the shower all along, but I thought I took it off. So this means, no, it can’t be possible. I took it off before so this means…

It is part of me.