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" and it was all a dream" is an ending that is hard to pull off but dreams and nightmares also make room for writing twists and tension and bringing a focus on specific, often bizarre, details.

Take a look at these pieces written by Westburn School students during a recent series of workshops with our tutor, Heather McQuillan. We will be sharing more of the writing from the Westburn writing groups over the following weeks. :)

The Chequered Hallway

( an excerpt)

I look through the door to find a cheery, plump face staring at me with a breakfast tray. They take the cloche off and present a plate full of cake, not just any cake, furry cake. I gag in disgust as the cake starts separating, revealing that it is actually millions of tarantulas, wolf spiders, and redbacks. They clamber hastily towards me. I scream and sprint backwards. I’m trapped in a corner with a picture window next to me. I crack the glass with the same rod I nearly got hit with, and jump.

It is all so fast. I feel gravity truly kick in as I prepare to turn into human jam, a few metres from the ground. I suddenly hear the theme song for Friends, playing in the background. My eyes flicker open and I find myself on the couch, a woollen blanket spread over me, the television on, kettle hissing, and relieved that it was just a dream.

A spider scuttles out of the shadows.

Ashley C Year 8


The man gazes at the landscape as it awakes. Wind blows at his concealed face and the cold winter sun stares from across the valley. His grey coat shuffles from the southerly. A small shiver runs through his body. A memory. A particularly nice one. He felt it… happiness. He hoped they wouldn’t notice.

He walked inside and sat down in a chair. Cold food lay on untouched plates; a whole feast uneaten. He grabbed a slice of chicken with a fork.

It was a blissful memory. A field. The sun shining down onto it. Warmth. Moments before the crumbling of the world.

He jerked when his hat was yanked off. His eyes widened as he spun around to meet an officer.

They knew.

The officer seized his arm and dragged him away from the crowd. Eyes were set upon him once more as he entered the main room in the centre of the building. He was dragged to a constantly growing line. He waited for something he couldn’t see because of the amount of people, but he knew where it was headed.

An old wooden sign was standing next to a door. ‘Termination.’

Ameer L, Year 8

Circus Tent

As I open my eyes, I am suddenly aware that I am in the midst of a circus truck, lying on a pile of pillows.

“Good morning.”

I look up and notice a tall, slender figure looming over me, watching me.

“Where am I?” I shiver.

The figure does not respond, merely waves an arm towards the door and strides off.

I stand up, following it outside, suddenly shielding my eyes from the burning sun. As my eyes adjust, I notice things that as a child, I would have found mesmerising, but now they just seem eerie: a twirling acrobat with pure white skin, a clown with dripping makeup tooting a horn, and a man with a snake twisting around him, slowly tightening around the man's neck.

The figure taps me lightly on the shoulder. “We must be off, " it says gently.

I nod, wondering what will become of me as I follow it into the vast, red, circus tent.

Ava M, Year 8

Thanks to the staff at Westburn School for facilitating these workshops. :)

(c) Write On and the young writers, 2023


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