‘Burning Embers’ by Darcey, age 15, Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School

I do what I do best: run. I run as fast as my body will physically allow me. Down the hallways
and round sharp corners I run, not daring to look back at the damage I’ve caused. The deeper I
run into the building the faster the smoke smothers me in its blanket of darkness. I sprint down
three flights of stairs and continue straight to the abrupt right at the end of the science block
corridor leading to my freedom. Almost there, I tell myself. Just a little longer and it’ll all be

As I turn the corner I feel my body stop sharply and I almost topple over with the force of it.
There, just visible through the blackness is the shape of a boy, standing in the corridor. It’s him.
His hair is messy and singed and his arms and legs are covered in burns and black dust but it’s
him. It’s him. We don’t make an effort to move like one would expect us to. We don’t make an
effort to hold each other, we don’t make an effort to speak or cry or laugh or say hateful words
in anguish or anything else one would do when they’ve come face to face with both the love of
their life, and the one who smashed them into a million pieces. We just stand there, frozen and
staring at one another.

Where did it all go wrong? The thought swims through my head before I can grab hold of it.
How did we end up here, leading each other down the wrong path and suffocating each
other’s hearts with the lies and deception until they both died, intertwined and wrapped up in
a bundle of tears? I open my mouth to ask him, to allow him to take the hammer and smash
the last remaining fragments of my heart that are still desperately clinging to hope but an awful,
hellish sound and a flood of light from the classroom to my left interrupts me before I can get
the words out.

Suddenly, the corridor explodes into orange and gold and red. Desks and chairs fly through the
air, the noise as they clatter to the floor barely audible over the crackle of the flames. They lick
up the sides of the enclosed space, hungry to turn anything they can touch into nothing more
than a pile of ash. My body is flung sideways against the opposite wall and my head makes a
sickening crack as I land heavily on the carpeted floor littered with grim and dust.

It’s funny, we as humans take everything in our life for granted. We don’t think about how this
could be the last time that we kiss our partner goodbye or the last time we tuck our siblings into
bed or the last time we say “I love you”. We just think that we will get the opportunity to do it
all again tomorrow. For me there is no tomorrow. Not anymore. It’s said that in your final
moments, your life flashes before your eyes. This is unfortunately not true. In this moment,
there are no memories being displayed in my head, no opportunities to say goodbye, no second
chances. The only thing I think about as my vision grows dark and my heartbeat begins to slow
is William Lucas. The boy who dances on canteen tables and eats yogurt with a fork. The boy
who won’t walk under a ladder but will ride the tallest rollercoaster in the country. The boy
who can ski but can’t skate. The boy who’s smile will fill you up until it’s ruined everyone else’s
but only when you earn it. The boy who made one terrible mistake that cost him not only his
life but mine too. The boy that gave me my life back and then took it away with a laugh and a
flick of a lighter. William freaking Lucas. The love of my life. The dancer in my dreams. The
only boy who will ever have the pleasure of being my undoing. He started my story and now
he’s written the last words and closed the cover.
My eyes slowly drift shut one more time and l invite the peaceful nothingness in with open