Creative Writing, Prose

The Man in the Hat

by Monim Wains I looked up across the carriage at the man in the hat, swaying from side to side with the travel of the train. The rolling rumble of the wheels on the tracks screeched beneath the city. There was a breeze through the window, but it was stale. Dust and darkness carried through […]

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Creative Writing, Poetry

St. Anthony in the Wilderness

by Fanxi Liu I had intended to write about language, twisting together the various strands of my degree and eclectic personal interests into a modern monstrosity that reads as if it had been processed through the digestive system of a very sick cat. Coy, cryptic sideways-glances at complex philosophical concepts with impressive institutional pedigrees, with […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

The End [4/4]

by Leo Gillard Yes, it was the end. But was it a triumph? The whole city was alight, though not literally. That was the fate of cities elsewhere, but not here. The war, that long, seven years of conflict, had come to an end, and the city was full of celebration. Citizens and returning soldiers […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

An Address

by Monim Wains The muddied ground sagged with the weight of weary legs. Dazed bodies stumbled around, groaning and aching, trying not to trip over the lumps in the soup of soil beneath their feet. It was too dark and wet to tell what they were stepping through; the huddle of the melee had left […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

Split [2/4]

by Leo Gillard On a normal day, Bel woke up when an alarm went off. Sometimes that alarm was just his alarm clock, sometimes it was the gas warning, sometimes a medication alert, sometimes a car on the street below or the house across the road, and sometimes it was an air raid alert. That […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

Blurred Crayons

by Monim Wains Old crusted sand baked under the searing sun. Thin cracks stretched along the surface, marking allegiance, marking blood. Shadows loomed over the lines, walking with slow, heavy intent. Links of chain rattled in the quiet air, as they looked over the earth. They, the powerful. They, the inheritors. They, the nations. One […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

One Year On [1/4]

by Leo Gillard Annie woke up to the sound of an emergency alert on her phone – the screen lit up, the ever familiar sound of an alarm played. The proximity of the strike was three miles, enough to justify hurrying everyone into the shelter at five in the morning. Normally those things were accurate, […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

Assist [3/4]

by Leo Gillard Kieran was perfectly aware that his life had… not exactly gone as planned. That he was stuck in something he couldn’t quite see the end of, couldn’t reach the bottom of to push himself back up again. He’d gone down the wrong path, somewhere along the line, and he’d sunk somewhere without […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

Snow

by Iona Cowley The snow came over the night, as we thought it would. Slowly white piled up as duplicate of all, inching its way upward, cruel and faded shadow’s opposition. The sky was unusually light, no doubt the work of the millions of tiny crystals that were diffusing the neon street lamps as they […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

Apart [1/4]

by Leo Gillard He’d never dared think about something like hope. Hope was for fools, for those reaching out in the dark, expecting nothing but still seeing everything, somehow. He didn’t have the luxury to entertain something so trivial, so baseless, so- Orion hoped for many things. He knew the hope was futile. He hated […]

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Creative Writing, Poetry, Prose

Pandora

by Monim Wains You stood at the bottom of the waterfall, pelted by the deluge, punches of weight pounding down on your bones, thumping a tonne on your shoulders. You had been brought to the forest some time ago; not out of your own volition, but by those who decreed that you should exist. Like […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

Winter [4/4]

by Leo Gillard Content warning: implied/referenced emotional abuse The sky was dark, and as Zach sat on the chair next to the radiator, he could watch snow falling. The street they lived on was always pretty poorly lit at night, but the light from the single streetlamp he could spot illuminated the flakes as they […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

I Remember

by Monim Wains A blank white lit the room, harsh surgical light on every sterile surface. It would have felt clean and empty were it not for the sombre that stained the air. Silence echoed through the room. All the colours were muted: pastel blue and that green that looked like plastic dyed in washing […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

Adult Single 20:33

by Kate Whittington My birth is a juddery one. I am seized by quick, tight spasms and then torn jaggedly from white unborn skin. I am imprinted quickly in strong black lines. There is little after-flow of blood. Into her hands, her fingers, warm jittering fingers and wrists damp with scent and sweat, little nicks […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

Autumn [3/4]

by Leo Gillard The sunlight was streaming through the trees, dappling the ground with ever-shifting patterns. As they walked, Sasha in front and Zach next to him just behind her, leaves steadily fell from the trees with every gust of wind. Further off in the distance, Arthur could hear Willow somewhere in the stream. Well, […]

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Creative Writing, Poetry, Prose

Embrace

by Monim Wains Skin pulled tight with springs and coils tense and stiff. Cold attic on a dry winter day, lit only by moon-blue beams that cut a chill in your chest. Each breath ebbing out in gasps. Anguish for a single sunlit ribbon to swim through it all, awashing you in warmth. To lay […]

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Creative Writing, Poetry, Prose

Love Says

by Monim Wains Love has a thousand shades from the mellowest yellow to the deepest red. It paints the grey wrinkles of a face onto a canvas, traced with lolling eyes and a lazy smile. Love. Passion and heat, calm warmth, drowning emotion and friendship. Inside jokes and a decade of moments, threads of memories […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

Summer [2/4]

by Leo Gillard It was mid-June, and the sun was probably burning the back of Sasha’s neck by now. She’d regret it later, but right now she couldn’t bring herself to care all that much. No, her priority was the ground in front of her: weaving her fingers through the warm earth, rooting out the […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

Ripples in the Cracks

by Samanwita Sen You have always marvelled at the immaculate gloss of supermarket aisles, the shiny pages of magazine covers categorized into pristine, neat little sections which spring out to accost you with a lurid burst of colour; lurid, precisely to compensate for the depthless caricatures they celebrate; lurid, as if in contrived rebellion against […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

Spring [1/4]

by Leo Gillard ‘Ready?’ Arthur asked, his eyes fixed on the building in front of them. It was… small. The garden was covered in weeds, the grass overgrown, leaves still on the ground from autumn. The house itself was built of red brick, a squat-looking bungalow with shuttered windows, the blue paint of the door […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

A Scene

by Monim Wains Crisp air blows at my hands and ears; spring breaks from winter. Some days that chill and others that mellow. Freshness surrounds me now; everything filtered with a screen of sunlight behind the clouds. The green grass is shaded a slight yellow, as if the air is coloured warm. My legs are […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

The Tears of an African Run Inside

by Atinuke Olu-Lutherking The silver streaks in her hair glistened in the white light. I stared into her kola-nut coloured eyes. Her delicate wrinkles softened as she smiled. I couldn’t help but grin at her. She couldn’t help but smile at me. Life was sweet. The door creaked open. A woman strolled in. Suddenly, the […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

Desire

by Leo Gillard He’d always been the object of desire. Not… not always in the way he was now, of course, but people had always wanted something. And they felt like they could get it from him, or because of him. When he’d been young, it had been about power. Then again, maybe it was […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

When the Green Meets the Red, White and Blue

by Monim Wains I was born green, but thrown into red, white and blue. Two tsunami waves crashing into a grey ten-tonne wall. Tall and loud, rushing and gushing with full force right at me. Two oceans, continent-sized, pushing into each other. A ridge of mountains right between my lungs.  You must stay home, says […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

The True Fortune

by Monim Wains Behemoth blocks of glass and concrete rolled by the window of the bus, wobbling in the streaks of London’s rain. Alex gave no notice to the wet-smelling air from the window, too busy tapping his foot on the floor. He kept biting on his lip, his head stiff and restless. Butterflies flitted […]

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Creative Writing, Poetry, Prose

The Climber

by Monim Wains I have watched him, the cherub, from the moment he cried. He opened his eyes and gaped at the sky. His penny-sized heart just fluttering by; pulsing for the clouds, woollen and white. He reached from his cot, with his fingers he stretched. In his eyes, I could see the stars reflect. […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

Pushing Up Through the Pavement

by Chloe Jacobs In an alcove before the Rad Cam, there has been a shipwreck. Some small vessel has run aground on the cobblestones and left the debris of life behind, floating on thin waves of pure foam. Or, perhaps, these are the remains of an ancient civilisation. Great Pyramids have spilled onto English pavements, […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

In Extremis – Stones of Light

by James Page Crofton’s Seat was built upon an ancient rock overlooking the fields below. The single wide tower was surrounded by a low wall into which a great pair of iron gates was set as a mouth. It seemed as old as the land itself, and as likely to be abandoned as sheltering a […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

Ad Extremis – The Call

by James Page Beyond the tumbling hills, the great storm brewed on the horizon. Katherine found it mesmerising: its devastating vastness, the way it twisted and changed from moment to moment, the flickering light from within it flashing and fading. There was something strangely calming about its intricacies, despite the inevitable destruction it contained. She […]

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Comment, Creative Writing, Prose

Thursday Morning

by Aidan Chivers Written on my year abroad in France, where I am working as an English assistant in the small town of Romorantin. It was 10.30am on an average Thursday morning. I was in class with a group of 12-year-olds, fielding questions about the texture and consistency of Yorkshire puddings. The kids were bright, […]

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Comment, Creative Writing, Prose

How to Write Yourself a Past 

by Michael Angerer Our memories are the stories that we tell ourselves: to remember is to scribble in faint pencil across the fabric of our lives. When inspiration strikes – a light across the ceiling, the warmth of a bed, a cup of tea – we conjure up an image of the past that neatly […]

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Creative Writing, Diary, Prose

Romorantin

by Aidan Chivers The air around me is calm and still as I wake up, but if I keep my eyes closed and breathe slowly, I can still hear the fading echoes of church bells, morning lectures and Latin grace. They have not vanished, but are softly receding into old, fading patterns which hold glimpses […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

It All Drops Down

by Peter Pencewing What you are about to read is absolutely true and, although it happened to me, it could just as easily have happened to you. You see, last weekend – after a frightfully fearsome week spent in the Bodleian cramming for an essay due at the precise time of 2:37 p.m. on Friday […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

‘The World Above’

by James Page In the darkness, they fed upon each other. Coiling and writhing in the depths, the spot of sunlight moving down one wall and up the other, grazing their faces for a minute a day and then passing on. The smaller looked to the larger, and planned its next move. He turned briefly […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

In The Event

by Amanda Higgin Xanda and I have been having a conversation about our respective literary collections, wandering together around University Parks after having lunch in town. As an English Literature degree student, Xanda is obliged to have a huge collection of books of impressive quality; as an English Literature A-leveller I choose to have a […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

Paper Cups and Pottery

by Amanda Higgin Xanda and I are meeting up in first week, perched on the steps of the Martyrs’ Monument with our takeaway paper cups in hand, making the most of the transitory British sunshine. In an effort to turn the conversation away from the looming threat of my Prelims, Xanda ventures the extracurricular line of […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

A Common Problem

by Amanda Higgin Xanda and I are queuing for the Ladies’ during the interval of the Rocky Horror Show (which is no longer showing at New Theatre, I’m afraid, but here’s a tip for if you ever see it: you’d think wearing more clothes than everyone else would make you feel less vulnerable, but if […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

Watching Night Fall

by Amanda Higgin Xanda and I sit in the window seat of the cafe, watching Oxford as it slips into darkness. People below are barely distinguishable coats laden with bags as they scuttle through the damp streets towards some dry, artificially lit haven. Some dusks are beautiful blends of mystery and sunset blush; tonight is […]

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