The Beginning of Semester 2

Updated: May 21

A New Kind of Normal

It's my first week back on my master's degree and our course is finally allowed on campus. The course thus far has all been online, so it's exciting to see things changing back to a regular style of learning - though what is regular nowadays? Only time will tell.

Despite being allowed on campus, due to work, I've had to remain online this week, which was still productive, just filled with too many Teams glitches for my liking. I'm so excited to meet my peers in person next week and to finally feel like a regular university student.


This week we were given quite a few writing exercises, so I've compiled them into this post and hope you enjoy!


WE SHOULD GET COFFEE SOMETIME - Crime Thriller

"Everything you have just told me is a lie." Erica spat.

A lie? How predictable. The fact that Erica Harroway would have the audacity to accuse me of lying is laughable, and yet I feel the urge to crack my neck, it's too stiff. Could this be one of those karma induced headaches perhaps? No, I hadn't meant for the accident to happen. That's what everyone else had called it at the time, an accident. Mother had said it would all be okay, that it wasn't my fault, not really, but then she'd also said the same about Sharn, and Paul, and Jag, and Ruth.

The difference with Erica was that we'd remained friends afterwards, we did. The smiles she would give me. The laughs we had. The games we played.

Why was she denying it now?

A lie.

She's trying to tell me a lie.... again, just like everyone else.

I believe the drink has gotten to her head, the head covered in bruises and scars. I hadn't caused them, surely? She'd only fell from a pram and lightly banged her brow, years ago. Erica had been two at the time, I was eight. It was blurry, too difficult to recollect with any clarity.

Looking at the marks amongst her peroxide blonde hair, I notice that they're fresh, stitched in butterfly form. Not my fault. It couldn't have been. My hands are shaking.

She mentions having seizures ever since the fall, but I believe that to also be an exaggeration, like the cries she bellowed that day in the park. More lies. She walks with a stick now too, which I believe to be a scheme to commit benefit fraud. If she can lie to me, a childhood friend, why not the government?

Liar, I laugh like we used to, fingers twitching around the hammer. I need Erica to be on my side again, not the side of the police.


BOUTIQUE BEGGARY - Philosophical Fiction

It's a strange life to live, but it's my life. Although it all looks exactly the same as my previous childhood home, from the oak furniture to the pristine ashtrays, the sharpened cutlery and tacky chandeliers. I was never allowed to touch any of it at home. Now, I can touch everything.

Home, a tasteless word with little meaning to me, is often described as warm, cosy and happy. Mine was cold, military and emotionless.

I feel the same way as I promenade through the mass-produced rubbish in the store, my current place of residence. Like a King, the aisles are my palace halls. The bedcovers become my robe and I take a colander for my crown.

The lights go out, and the security guard leaves and I find myself alone. Still cold, dark and lost, but free.

I play checkout and imagine what it would have been like to have the miniature toy edition as a child.


IRONIC MEMORIES - Comedic Fiction

I am a sheep, like literally a sheep. Not by choice, because who would choose to be a sheep if they had the option? They're cute to look at, I guess, but sheep don't talk, or write for that matter. They all eat grass and I tried it one time, it tasted like a tangy leaf and I wouldn't recommend it.

My distaste for grass alone should be enough to show Mrs Walker that I have more potential. I don't have a natural 'Baaaa' either and sheep are supposed to be shy. Do I seem shy to you?

Daddy says it's a joke that Mrs Walker doesn't see my natural brilliance and the fact that she's downgraded me to a sheep is unforgivable.

I am glowy, bright, I shine like a star. I'm the star every year we perform the nativity, so why, baby Jesus, am I. Now. A. Sheep?!


I look back on those times and have to laugh at the irony. For I'm now an introverted vegetarian with a most excellent ability to 'Baaaa'.


"I Am Writing" Prompt - Horror

I am writing to tell you of a horrible event, an event so terrible I can barely stop my hands from shaking as I put pen to paper. On that day, the skies outside were black and the clouds were grey, and the ghosts were both in my mind and in my kitchen.

The ghost of my next-door neighbour from thirty years ago, the ghost of my great Aunt who’d owned the house before me and now my own ghost, greeting them as if for the first time. I wave but it feels a rather stupid gesture, given the circumstances, so I move my hand through my hair, as if that were where it was always meant to go.


I feel like my eyes are crossing, looking at the bridge of my nose, but they can’t be because I’m looking straight ahead at my body lying on the floor covered in thick blood.


Thanks so much for reading,

Alex Allison

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