Velvet writing Competition
JUDGES' HONOURABLE MENTIONS
OVER 18 CATEGORY:
Lucy opened her eyes and stared straight up. She watched the watery dance of shadow and light on her ceiling. Someone had left the pool lights on.
She knew without looking that everything would be the same, but scanned the bedroom anyway. The late hour had stripped all colour, but she preferred this monotone world. She wasn’t ready for colour.
She looked to the opposite wall, as she had done every night for her eleven years. Lily’s bed. Empty and perfectly made, a couple of bears identical to her own slumped, neglected against the wall. They too, were waiting for their owner to return.
Lucy and Lily had been identical in almost every way. The only difference had been that Lily was born two minutes later and profoundly deaf. She didn’t know whether this had brought them even closer. How were they to know? They had never known anything different. Most people addressed both of them through Lucy. Mistaking Lily’s deafness for general absence. Most people were stupid. Now she really was absent. Forever.
They used to feel, a lot of the time, like one person. The same person. It really was only Lily’s deafness that reminded them that they weren’t. Except when they were underwater. Then, submerged in the weightless, transparent volume, they were absolutely one. Together again, in the silence. Just as they had been in the womb.
Lucy got up and crept out of her room, their room. She padded into the lounge room, silently slid the door back, and headed to the deep end. Her face, bloodless and colourless, like the starless sky above her, was temporarily illuminated by the pool. She dived in, as she had every night, to find her sister.
OVER 18 CATEGORY:
It was The Rock’s fault. Before The Rock, Sonja’s doubts were a low white noise that she only heard late at night if she couldn’t sleep. After The Rock, her doubts grew loud and bossy.
Sonja and Justin jogged to the lighthouse nearly every day, but they didn’t pause there. They doubled back and stopped at the Pass instead, on its rocky outcrop – in the wind, or rain, or glorious sunshine – and congratulated themselves for choosing to live in this beautiful place. Justin would put his arm around Sonja’s shoulders, pumped with pride, as if he’d founded Byron Bay himself. But yesterday, when they reached their spot, he’d taken a small velvet pouch out of his pocket, fished out a diamond ring – a huge, beautifully cut solitaire – and proposed.
The problem was, Sonja hated diamonds. She hated their showiness, their blood history, the money wasted on them that could be put to better use. But Justin didn’t know any of that – he hadn’t listened, hadn’t asked. She looked past The Rock to his face, and saw the man she’d shared her bed, humour and heart with for the last four years.
So she said yes.
Justin flew to Sydney for a conference that afternoon. Once he’d gone, Sonja drank their most expensive bottle of wine, walked to the Pass, climbed up the cliffside stairs and threw The Rock as far as she could into the black, humming sea.
The next morning delivered a mercifully low tide. Sonja dived into the water for the twentieth, thirtieth, fortieth time, feeling into the sand and the rocks beneath her, before floating up to take in more air. She knew her chances of finding The Rock were slim, and fading with each long breath.
She smiled around her snorkel, and dived again.
UNDER 18 CATEGORY
I remember being young and feeling like the whole world was mine, like I had everything. I grew up in a small town just outside of the city, things were quiet. But then they weren’t. Everyone knew everything about everyone, but there was one thing nobody knew.
No one knew how he did everything for me. I remember how he used to carry me down to the beach and tell me stories about the waves and the little sand crabs that would burrow into the warm dunes. He’d tell me about the sweet biscuits and tea with grandma.
Things got bad after our parents died. He was eighteen and I was merely fourteen. The summer before they died I lost my sight, I was losing other things too. I couldn’t walk far, I’d collapse and seize. Things were simpler back then. My brother told me that the seawater was good for wounds. He told me it would heal me. Heal us.
He carried me down the dirt road toward the water knowing he couldn’t help me. I was afraid of the pain, the wind whipping my hair against my neck. He cried. He cried when I wouldn’t go in. Standing on that ledge, feeling the warm rock under the bare soles of my feet. The sun like a blanket on my skin, I remember it clear as day, right up until I heard the last clap from the wave hitting the rock beneath me.
The water, my final breath. It hurt for a minute, but I could feel his relief as I plummeted deeper and darker. It made everything soften. The water rushed in, and filled my lungs. I know he felt it too. But instead of it being painful, it was peaceful; freeing, for us both.
UNDER 12 CATEGORY
Astrid is not from our world, in fact she is from a completely different universe. She has been watching over us for thousands of years.
She has observed our Earth from the very beginning, admiring its raw and rich beauty. Sadly in the past few decades Astrid has watched on helplessly as some of the precious animals and landscapes she treasured the most started to fade away.
One fateful night Astrid made the brave choice to leave her universe and save ours. In a flash of light she shot through the sky and dived into our world.
As she emerged from the deep blue ocean she knew that she could not do this on her own, she needed a community of heroes.
In Astrid’s universe she was gifted with a unique power. Through her mind she can show you a vision of the future, a vision where you can make a difference and save the Earth.
As Astrid walked along the shoreline of Byron Bay she came across her first two heroes.
In front of her were two small children, Noah and Sofia playing blissfully in the sand.
Little did they know yet that Noah would go on to save thousands of endangered animals and that he would inspire a new generation of wildlife warriors. And that Sofia would lead a program to reverse the effects of coral bleaching. Returning our oceans back to their glorious beauty.
After she showed Noah and Sofia the vision they excitedly told their parents that one day they would save the world.
Even though Astrid’s work had only just begun, she felt in her heart that this world was full of heroes and that the future would be bright.