‘The Before.’ by Dylan, Year 10, Chorlton High School

A low, dead wind shuddered through the steel canopy, teasing a loosened sheet of corrugated iron, whining in protest as it was torn slowly from its fastenings. The wind itself, while not living, carried with it a writhing mass of darkened smog, which collected in vast, circular eddies, before pouring over and spilling into the streets below; only to dissipate in the cool light. Its fledgling life snuffed out just as quickly as it was conceived.

Though its form was now gone, the scent of the fumes still lingered in the air; hitting the back of the throat with a violent, acrid taste. Of course there wasn’t anyone left to be bothered by the smell, but all the same it persisted with a dank evil.

Clouds began to gather overhead, rolling in off the seafront as if corralled together by that same wind. They moved over the water with an eerie grace, leaving small tendrils of vapour in its wake.

The water itself was the colour of obsidian and just as smooth; its glassy surface and exceptional stillness imposed an awful feeling of unease on the land, not to mention the thickening veil of fog which hung further off the coast. The charcoal grey gave off an impenetrable aura, infinite in its labyrinthine sameness.


More than the cool, or the damp that hung sneeringly in the air, the place reeked of abandonment and emptiness, much in the same way that a long empty house or rotting carnival ground might. Though the reason for this feeling – or even the emptiness at all – sat menacingly just out of view or logical reason. There was something putrid here, something wrong.