‘The Barbed Wire Border’ by Samuel Austin, age 15, Year 11

It was a border of barbed wire and towers. Others in the courtyard were
lifting weights, playing basketball and other such games. I, however, stood
there, one the edge, watching, longing. I saw beyond the fence, guards
with batons and german shepherds, the back of a sign I knew said “border
state prison” and further beyond that, men and women. Men and
women, going about their lives. Normal lives. Even when I have finished
serving my sentence, I will never have that again. Did I ever have that?

When I was young, my parents were both very loving and there was never
any doubt in their marriage. Not for the others in school. They all had step
dads and step mums and half mums and half dads. One girl went without
food for days when her dad wanted to punish her. I guess I wasn’t normal
then. I was better than normal. I grew up to get a nice, well paid job and a
fairly sizable house. Definitely not normal. All my friends worked in
sainsbury’s, tesco and mcdonalds and had to lose their entire salary each
month to afford rent in an incredibly small flat. Better than normal. I met
a nice woman in my workplace, we started dating and agreed to be
married. Not normal, better than normal. My friends did not have any
luck in that arena, apart from one, who was the antithesis of a good
partner and ended up being accused of taking advantage of her. Though,
he wasn’t charged for it. Then, a week before the marriage ceremony
took place, I was walking home from a trip to asda. The air was cool and
the moon a bright lamp in the sky, like that at the front of a steam train. I
had been forced to take a back route through london. That’s where I saw
them. There were two figures, clearly drunk, fighting. A tall woman, with
blonde hair, done into a ponytail, and a larger, muscled man, with dark
skin and medium length, wavy black hair. I only caught the final few
seconds of it. The man had her pinned to the ground.

“Don’t you touch me!” She screamed.

I saw her reach into her pocket. I dashed to intervene.


I wasn’t quick enough. A blade came out and was thrust into the man’s
jugular, as he recoiled away. The girl got up, dropped the knife and ran off.
Another man then came and found me alone, with a dead man and a
knife. Worse than normal.

I stood there, then. I watched, through the wire border, people go about
their normal lives. I longed for a normal life. I stepped forwards. I climbed.
The wire pierced and stung my hands but I kept going. My longing for
normality was too great. I heaved myself over. Guards with batons came
and started hitting me. It hurt like hell but it didn’t matter. I felt that little
bit closer to being normal.