Write Across Victoria – Yr 9 Female Winners 0 Comments

Write Across Victoria – Yr 9 Female Winners

FIRST PLACE (AND OVERALL WINNER!)

The Mittenfish Lives, by Sacha Mann

Did you know that tinned food was available thirty years before the invention of the tin opener? In much the same spirit, my feelings for Avery Whitbread exploded into being long, long before Avery had any idea that I existed.

For some queer and inexplicable reason, I loathed her: a vicious, voracious hate that only those of working-class lineage can feel for the ‘toffs’. She was pallidly perfect; peering down upon the rat race on the grimy street, from behind the lace of her townhouse windows, her grey eyes listlessly combing the smoggy throng, her driftwood-tinted locks hanging limply over her death-pallor cheeks. Gazing up at her lacklustre face from my shackles, an anvil and expectant horse owner, all the fire of hopeless idealism welled up uncontrollably then settled in the region of my knees; it was my first flush of bitterly tinted rage.

Did you know that radioactive armadillos were once considered as possible war weapons? The frantic grasping of straws that prompted that idea was incredible. It was with a similar taint of desperation that I canvassed the range of possibilities for justice and freedom for the working class. I still had no idea of what brought the fervour upon me, nor what exactly I wished to achieve, but youthful passion needn’t be reasonable; the only prerequisite is a strong opinion and belief in your own importance, of which I had both in quantities unimaginable. Avery’s languid face, one that I liked to use to symbolise the entire upper echelons of society (oh yes, I was prone to appalling generalisations), ran constantly through my dusty dreams, coal and iron-stained. Ridiculous schemes born more of vengeance than idealism (though the two are often intertwined), wove through my mind, and I’m ashamed to say that I caused their fruition. For a time, Avery knew me; oh, she knew me well. She could hardly fail to notice the violent riot that caused the smashing of her window and the defacing of her walls, nor could it escape her attention that I was the catalyst, at the head of the melee.

Did you know that in the US there are more plastic flamingos than real ones? I felt that was a perfect metaphor for my country, the plastic flamingos being the healthy population of the ‘upper class’, but now I’m not so sure, with a deflated head and the benefit of hindsight I suspect that it was I who was plastic, for my rose-tinted ideals were merely a mask for teenage angst.

Did you know that the Striped Mittenfish can change its sex by turning itself completely inside out? Well, I experienced a similar overhaul, in character rather than gender. I renounced my ideals in favour of a cosy job in government, preferring to fade into pleasant obscurity than lead. I clothed the bareness left by the now-void idealism with cynicism and accepted my comfortable middle-class position, gained through government service. Despite my arrogant efforts, my country’s strong caste system continues to run as an ever-present undercurrent of society.

I forgot Avery, wilfully dispersing stray fragments of envy, idealism and anger. I got on with life.

SECOND PLACE

Schizophrenia, by Sienna Davis

Young genius Lucius Dalworthy climbed from his Subterranean Tunneller, straightened his top hat, and strode into the underground chamber. ‘Surrender!’ he cried. ‘There is no escape for you now!’

Standing amid the steam and dust, Cressida Mandeville – his equally young and equally brilliant arch-enemy – raised an eyebrow. ‘That’s odd. I was just about to say the same thing to you.’

Lucius Dalworthy rummaged through the old, rotting house. The smell of mouldy wood filled the air. He passed a knife on an antique glass table and slipped it into his trousers. The room was full of photos and old crockery locked behind antique cupboards, gathering dust. Footsteps came from down the dark, empty hallway. He quickly turned his attention to the hallway and straightened his top hat and glasses. ‘Lucius!’ a raspy voice called out. ‘What on earth are you doing?’

A figure emerged into sight. She was wearing fluffy pink slippers and a soft pink nighty. Her old, shaking hand slowly moved to a switch on the wall. The room illuminated as a bright, comforting light filled all the dark shadows and warmed the old furniture. ‘Lucius, are you okay?’ she asked. Her old face resembled someone he remembered. Fine laughter lines framed her mouth and tiny wrinkles appeared at the corners of her brilliant green eyes. Her grey hair curled at the ends as if it had been professionally styled. She grabbed Lucius’s hand and led him down the hallway. He passed a mirror and an unfamiliar figure stood before him. The figure was old and wrinkly with grey hair and navy pinstripe pyjamas.

He looked at the old woman. Lucius opened his mouth and whispered ‘Where am I? Who are you?’ He was no longer wearing his top hat and his youthful complexion was gone. ‘I am your wife, we have been married for 48 years. You are in the house you grew up in.’ Lucius knew she was lying. He knew that the only way to get to the bottom of this mystery was to find out all he could about this woman.

She turned out the light and the smell of mouldy wood filled the air again. Strange figures appeared, they started running towards him. Lucius jerked back and started to run. He ran through the old room, knocking down the old clock. An ear piercing noise filled the room as the clock hit the cold ground. Lucius could hear the figures getting closer to him. Their cries of laughter and ring of swords sounded in his ears.

He ran through the front door and stumbled down the slippery stairs. The sound of laughter and screaming dispersed and he was standing all alone. A thick layer of fog covered the ground. His hands raised to his head and his top hat and glasses were on his head. He lunged into the mist and found his Subterranean Tunneller, he knew he would be safe in there. He peered over his shoulder to see Cressida Mandeville. She ran towards him and disappeared into the mist. The young genius Lucius Dalworthy climbed from his Subterranean Tunneller, straightened his top hat, and strode into the underground chamber. ‘Surrender!’ he cried. ‘There is no escape for you now!’

Standing amid the steam and dust, Cressida Mandeville – his equally young and equally brilliant arch-enemy – raised an eyebrow. ‘That’s odd. I was just about to say the same thing to you.’ A wave of evil creatures stood behind her. Their growls echoed in his ears. For a brief moment, they disappeared and Cressida was an old lady in a nighty, innocent and defenceless. Lucius knew better. He grasped his hand around the handle of the knife tucked away in his trousers. He ripped it out and ran to her. With a single swing of the silver blade, Cressida fell to the floor.

He was momentarily stunned. The body at his feet wasn’t his arch-enemy. It was his wife of 48 years.

THIRD PLACE

His Belief, by Gemma Randall

Did you know that tinned food was available 30 years before the invention of the tin-opener? In much the same spirit, my feelings for Avery Whitbread exploded into being long, long before Avery had any idea that I existed.

I straightened my bodysuit nervously, the dragon embroidered across the silvery cloth reacting with a twitch. I fixed my bun for the tenth time, and shivered, unsure of how tonight’s performance would go.

‘Ella!’ called Diana, the circus’s manager, leaning through the door. ‘Are you nearly ready? You and Avery are about to go on!’

I jumped and followed her to the wings, where Avery was already waiting in a bodysuit matching mine. The mere sight of him brought me back to that day, only a few years ago. My parents had taken me to see the same circus I now worked at, and Avery’s performance had captured me from the start. Dressed in a shining gold outfit, he had moved chairs to create an impossible tower, which he miraculously stayed upon, using both hands and feet. His gaze into the crowd, daring them to think he couldn’t do it, arrested my heart immediately. I just couldn’t leave the circus behind; after much hard training, I joined their acrobatic line-up. But this would be the first time I would be partnered with Avery for an act. Under my costume, my heart was beating like crazy.

Avery’s smile brought me back to reality in an instant. ‘Don’t go off into space like that during the performance, or I’m destined for an early grave!’

I blushed and nodded.

The acts seemed to go by in a flash; the dancers moving like fluid in frilly, glowing costumes; Gilly Verdestein with his many balls bouncing and leaping around him; and the Kreol triplets and their group standing on each other’s shoulders and juggling their fluoro hats all the while.

Suddenly, as if through wool, I could hear Diana yelling for me to get on the stage with Avery before the lights went up. People were pushing at me, trying to get me to snap out of my reverie without letting the audience hear; but my feet felt stuck to the floor, my muscles frozen.

Then, I caught a glimpse of Avery through the faces. His face wore an expression of confusion and frustration, and suddenly, for the first time in years, I saw that spark of belief that what people thought was impossible could be achieved, by him, me, and everyone else in the circus. And finally, just before the lights went up, I stepped onto the stage.

I heard the crowd hush as the music started playing, and Avery and I grabbed hold of the wire at the centre of the stage. I felt a tingle as Avery took me by the waist, and I heard the audience gasp as we ran the length of the stage and literally leapt into the air.

Time for our act to begin.

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