Welcome to the European Writing Contest!
The European Home Office is happy and proud to announce our second first European Writing Contest! Unlike the previous attempt, we promise we’ll deliver an ending with actual awards to the contestants and a full showcase of every work we’ll receive. As the last time, this contest will be open to participants from other regions too! But now, let’s delve into how this will work!
The Final Showcase is finally here! Take a look!
Welcome to the European Writing Contest Final Showcase!
The European Home Office is finally ready to present you the European Writing Contest Final Showcase! Here you can see all the works issued and their authors! Lastly, you look at our panel of winners, all selected by our awesome judges! What are your waiting? Let's delve into this fine array of works!
Tears of fear, you will no longer have to spill,
The passing of time will no longer leave you affright.
Deafening whispers I will silence, fearless dread I will smite,
The macabre dance of the world I shall end, so you will
Softly rest your head on the pillow tonight.
No longer shall the merchants sing their unhallowed rite
Of profit and plunder of the poorest souls, until
The passing of time will no longer leave you affright.
No longer shall the drunken fulfil their twisted delight
In their rowdy taverns, wherein silenceI will instil,
Softly rest your head on the pillow tonight.
Disquiet, the masses will no longer within you incite,
For their breaths down your neck, I will still,
The passing of time will no longer leave you affright.
Hush, my love, I have heard yoursilent cries for respite,
Dry your tears, my child, your desperate pleas I will fulfil,
Softly rest your head on the pillow tonight,
The passing of time will no longer leave you affright.
No burdens carried or stress to bestow
But here we are in real life’s dread,
together we stand and together we bled
We’ll make it through adversity
Through life's endless perversity
The darkness grows to plague the skies
But lo, how love defeats demise
In all adversity lives chance
A chance to move forth and advance
To love thy neighbor as thy kins
Is truly how all peace begins’
So listen forth and listen well
We’re not alone, we’re not in hell
Reach out to those who love you so
And solidarity shall grow
Oh lord, our god, please show us peace
In times where grief just does not cease
To all who loved, to all who lost
We’re not alone, we’ve not exhaust
~Peace and blessings be upon thee
by St Scarlett
Down in a world of the deepest darkness a solitary creature sat perched upon a sharp, burgundy rock observing the sights that stretched out before her. Gazing past the pits of endlessly burning red flame, her vision rested upon a lake of deep red. She chuckled to herself as she watched the wretched figures trapped within the liquid, thrashing about looking for any way out of their predicament.
A sudden sound made her look down, a pale and twisted skeleton of a man climbing slowly up her rock, moaning desperately as he reached out to her. An unsettlingly wide grin spread across her face, two long fangs pointing out as she stared down into his terrified grey eyes, long strands of violet hair twisting around her fingers as she watched him. She allowed him to get closer, gently extending her hand to him, waiting for him to reach back. He stared at her soft lilac skin, feeling somewhat comforted by her beauty but trying his best not to look at her horrifying expression. Just as he thought he could finally grab her a burst of blazingly hot purple flame exploded from her lips, completely engulfing him and causing him to lose his grip as he screamed in abject pain.
The demon cackled as his burning body tumbled away into the ravine below, disappearing into the darkness. Large leathery wings stretched out from her back as she leapt from her perch, descending down in pursuit. Nearing the bottom her wings flapped gracefully as she landed gently on her feet, the fabric of her long flowing dress sweeping up the dust below her. “Time to get up!” She giggled, stood over the poor man who lay quivering before her, his skin blackened, his hair still smouldering with deep purple smoke. With difficulty he was able to stand and turned away from her, his head bowed as he began to trudge in the direction she had pointed.
Another creature stood waiting, in his hand a shining silver trident. “Hurry up!” He shouted at the man as he passed, “you’ve got an appointment to keep”. The man’s sobs slowly faded as he walked further away down the ravine. When he was gone the male demon approached his colleague, his slicked back silver hair glistening under the flame-light. He tugged at his stumpy beard as he looked her up and down, “You still taking care of that jerk from Florida?”
She nodded enthusiastically in response, “Of course,” she grinned at him “not like I’ve got anything better to do. The guy’ll be with us within the hour!” She giggled and twirled, winking at him, “Best get back to work Markus.”
He grunted and gave a half smile, “I don’t need you telling me what to do Dee, I’m the boss around here.”
She shrugged and laughed, “Could’ve fooled me.”
Markus grunted again and walked away, mumbles of not wanting to deal with her malarkey escaping under his breath.
Dee extended her wings, about to take flight when something caught her eye. A hint of gold shimmered further down the canyon. The demon approached cautiously, the colours catching her eye seemed out of place as if something wasn’t right. A small gasp of air escaped her as she glanced down at a pile of bright white fabric, a gentle glow being emitted from within its folds. Dee carefully pressed the toe of her shoe against the mysterious object, gently shaking it. A quiet groan caused her to physically jump back, but something drew her towards it once more. Crouching down she reached out and rolled the fabric over, revealing a pale face surrounded by golden hair, glowing as bright as the moon on a clear night. Dee had to shield her eyes, “What…” she muttered, “you’re not from around here are you?” She looked up, nobody else seemed to have noticed this mysterious being.
The curious demon took the glowing girl in her arms and finally spread her wings, flying quickly to the dingy stone hole she called her home. Laying her guest down she sat nearby, cautiously and curiously waiting for something, anything to happen. “Sorry Markus but the assignment can wait…”
Hearing the slightest little sound Dee perked up and moved closer to the sleeping visitor. Suddenly she found her gaze met, two shimmering blue eyes looking right into her own, curiously searching for some semblance of a soul but finding nothing. “Where am I?” her voice was light but also intimidating, an unnatural echo accompanying her words.
“Hmm, probably best I don’t say”, Dee smiled at the girl, there was something about her that lured her in, a sort of warm feeling that she’d never felt before.
The blue-eyed woman sat up and looked around the small cavern, it was lined with jagged rocks and decorated with what looked like bones and dried up entrails, she shuddered as thoughts of danger filled her mind. “Would you kindly show me the way out?”
Dee shook her head, “I don’t think you’d get very far if I did…”
She seemed unsatisfied with her answer, springing to her feet and glaring at Dee. But then she began to wobble and tumbled down to the floor face first with a mangled scream. Dee giggled “Told you. Hey look, I don’t know who or what you are but you clearly don’t belong here. So chill out for a bit and let me help you get back on your feet.” She laughed again, “Literally.”
The woman rolled over and scowled at her before sighing and allowing herself to be helped back onto the bed.
“The name’s Dee by the way, what should I call you.” She gave her most genuine smile but it wasn’t all too convincing.
“My name is Archangel Astridelia.” Her voice had softened somewhat.
“Can I call you Astrid?” Dee giggled at the angel’s somewhat irked expression.
“Well not re-“
“Great! Don’t worry Astrid, you’ve only damaged a leg and a wing from what I could see, shouldn’t take too long to heal… In the mean-time maybe we can learn something from one another.” She patted the angel on the head which only seemed to annoy her more, though she remained silent, “Oh I have to get back to work now so we’ll catch up later. Don’t go anywhere!”
“Where do you work?” Astrid suddenly broke her silence.
Dee sighed, “I said we’d catch up later… I can sum it up for you though, I take the doomed souls of bad people and bring them here where they are tortured for eternity” she smiled.
Astrid seemed to shudder slightly, how could she take something so… horrific and make it sound so sweet, she was like a child somehow able to appear cute and innocent whilst being obsessed with torturing small animals.
“Guy I’m after right now, let an alligator loose in a school playground.” She chuckled, “Classic Florida… Anyway I’ll be back in like an hour, see ya!” And with that she was gone.
Dee was a little worried she’d return to an empty home but to her great surprise the Angel was still waiting for her, though she supposed that made sense given the girl’s condition. The two talked for what seemed like hours, the angel said she had no memories of how she had ended up here but had heard rumours of fallen angels in the past. Dee nodded, “Our leader was a fallen angel once upon a time… I’m not gonna let it happen to you though.”
Astrid frowned, “I’m not sure that’s your authority… Why would you care anyway? I would just be another colleague to lighten your load.”
The demon laughed, “You wouldn’t last five minutes down here, don’t worry I’ll make sure you get home.” Astrid sensed something different about this creature, it was almost as if she didn’t fit in a world like this, why was she really so eager to help?
“Do you only go to the human world to kill people?” Astrid questioned.
Dee nodded, “Yup.”
“Isn’t that… difficult?” She grimaced slightly, imagining having to take so many lives.
“Why would it be difficult?” Dee seemed genuinely confused by the question.
“Well, people have so much value, even some of the bad ones, surely being the one to bring an end to a life that’s potentially spanned decades can’t be easy.”
“Value” Dee cackled, “Humans are weak and evil, and yet they call us the evils ones just for giving them what they deserve.”
Astrid did not press further, it seemed this demon had already made up her biased mind on humans and could not see any benefits to sparing their lives.
The two spent many hours together and learned a lot about each other’s world, though neither seemed keen on visiting. Within a matter of days Astrid had fully healed and was ready to return to her home. As she stood by the entrance to Dee’s gave, the demon stood close behind her, “See you around Astrid, you know what? I’m actually going to miss you.” Dee gave a feeble wave and for a short, sweet moment her eyes even seemed a little damp. The angel waved back and gazed out of the entrance, her huge feathered wings extending as she prepared to take flight. Dee couldn’t help but feel envious, Astrid’s wings looked so soft and glowed so bright, her own were twisted and ugly, little more than flaps of skin. Astrid took a deep breath, coughing slightly as the smell of sulphur filled her nostrils, she couldn’t wait to leave this wretched place, and yet something made her pause.
Turning to look at the demon she saw such a sad look upon her face, she hadn’t been joking about missing the angel. She called out to Dee, her wings folding as she stepped towards her, “Actually I think I have one more thing to do before I go.”
“What’s that?” Dee seemed to perk up slightly.
“I just realised I never thanked you Dee, not properly.” She placed a hand on the demon’s shoulder.
“You did say thank you.” Dee didn’t understand, Astrid had seemed so desperate to leave before now.
“I fell all the way down here and when I was discovered by a demon she could have left me here to become something I would hate, she could have killed me and gained another soul to torture… but she didn’t, she took care of me and she’s helped me return home, a simple thank you isn’t enough.” She smiled sweetly at Dee who gave a wobbly but genuine smile in return.
“Right. What did you have in mind?” Dee’s head tilted slightly, completely at a loss.
The angel turned and waved her hand at the cave’s entrance, a bright golden ring of sparks forming around its edges, each one moving around the hole’s circumference at a great pace. The air in the middle began to quiver and shake before bursting into a bright white light, when the light faded the view through the entrance had changed. No longer the fiery pits of a terrible world but a sunny green field. “You can just open portals to the human world wherever!?” Dee laughed and jumped with excitement.
“Not exactly, there’s a complicated process, if I could open them wherever and whenever I would not have been stuck down here with you after all.” Astrid wasn’t telling Dee everything there was to tell but it didn’t matter. Following the angel through the portal Dee felt the sunlight on her face, she loved how it burned, “I want to go there some day.”
“Where?” Astrid looked around but couldn’t see what she meant.
Dee pointed at the sun which brought forth a laugh from Astrid, “Let’s start small, there’s things down here I wish to show you first”.
Astrid took Dee across the field where they happened across a small family of five. They were sat out on a chequered rug upon the grass, a mother, a father and three children of varying ages. The mother was singing a beautiful song to her baby boy whilst the father was handing out various sandwiches to the two older girls. “What are they doing?” Dee was still unsure of what Astrid’s purpose was.
“Enjoying each other’s company.” Astrid smiled.
“But why?” Dee frowned.
“Because they love each other Dee. Have you never enjoyed someone’s company just for the sake of it?” She smirked slightly as Dee though about it.
“Well no… Down there we all just sort of tolerate each other… Oh!” She practically jumped out of her skin, “You! I enjoyed your company, which was a surprise to be perfectly honest, especially considering the world you come from.”
“It’s really not a bad place Dee.” Astrid smiled, pleased that the demon had understood her.
“Maybe for you…” Dee folded her arms.
“I have more, follow me.” The angel took flight and the demon followed her.
The pair came across a tall building with hot orange flames in every window, thick black smoke billowing out and up into the clear blue sky. Dee cackled, “Now this is more like it!” the orange firelight flickered in contrast against her purple irises as she enjoyed the heat lapping at her skin. Astrid shook her head, “Not the point Dee.” She extended a finger and pointed to a ladder leaning against one of the windows. Climbing down it a man with a bright yellow helmet and brown fireproof clothing, he was holding a small bundle in his arms, muffled wails emerging from within it. Just below him a man and a woman in similar outfits were wrapping blankets around a woman and a teenager, their faces were blackened and they seemed quite shaken up. Dee looked from one face to another and finally to Astrid, “Why?”
“Why what Dee?” Astrid frowned.
“They’re saving them from that fire? Why not just leave them?” Dee’s expression was both inquisitive and pained.
“Because that’s a horrible way to die Dee, you should know that, you use the same technique to bring suffering to humans every day.” Astrid replied.
Dee nodded, “Yes but these people are risking their own lives doing it, it seems backwards to me.”
“It’s called kindness Dee, did you not make sacrifices of your own to take care of me?” She grinned at the demon who gasped in response.
“Oh! Yes! I actually got done for slacking, I have to clean out the human-grinders for the next century, but it was worth it to learn about you.”
“Exactly… Human grinders?” Astrid grimaced slightly.
“Don’t worry about it.” Dee grinned.
“I have one last thing to show you Dee.” The angel took flight again, taking Dee this time to a school playground.
Dee watched as children ran to and fro, laughing and shouting, chasing each other, playing sports or just running for the sake of it. Dee put a hand to her chin, “I get it, these children enjoy each other’s company… and make sacrifices for one another.” She pointed to a child who was dividing up a bag of sweets between his friends.
“Mhm, very good.” Astrid nodded, “But more importantly they’re having fun, they’re experiencing joy, maybe an emotion you were not too aware of until recently.”
Dee laughed, “Oh no, I know what joy is, it’s what I feel every time one of those wretched souls thinks it can escape, only to be caught permanently in my fiery traps.” A wide grin spread across her face. Astrid shook her head, “That’s not joy. How did you feel when I opened that portal for you, allowed you to come here and see these things without having to take a life?”
Dee thought for a moment, “Yeah I suppose that was a little different… Good different.”
“Exactly” Astrid smiled a very warm smile, “I sense something different in you Dee, perhaps that’s why you saved me, you’re not like the others, you have the capacity for so much more. Have you never felt that yourself?”
Dee though for a moment, “Well I have always enjoyed my job… but I have often hoped there might be more for me out there, I don’t want to slave away torturing people forever but that’s just how it is… for all of eternity.”
“It doesn’t have to be Dee, no other demon would have given me the time of day, let alone learned anything from me. Let me test my theory.” Astrid held out a hand to the demon, it seemed to sparkle slightly.
Cautiously taking her hand Dee suddenly felt very warm and tingly, the light of the sun giving a much more pleasant feeling than before as it fell against her face. A gently pulsating feeling began in her chest, causing her to clutch a now very pale white hand to it with a gasp. “W-what happened?”
“I’ve given you the gift of humanity Dee, temporarily of course.”
“What’s this in my chest?” She looked back up at Astrid.
“That’s your heart Dee” the angel grinned, “Don’t worry that’s how its supposed to feel.”
“Humans really have to put up with this thumping all day long?” Dee seemed a little disgusted as she pulled a strand of her now black hair out of her face.
“You learn to tune it out.” Astrid laughed, “Now go, talk to someone.” She pointed towards a woman with a pram, stood just outside the school’s gate, awaiting the end of day bell to ring.
Dee nervously approached the woman, unsure of what to say or do. “Um… Hello… there!”
The woman looked up and smiled warmly at her, “Hi young lady, how can I help you?”
“Help me?” Dee’s brow furrowed. “Why would you want to help me?”
“Why wouldn’t I dear?” The woman chuckled at the strange girl, “I thought that’s why you came over to see me.”
Dee laughed, “Oh right. Well no… I don’t need help. I just wanted to say hello.”
The woman smiled, “Well in that case, it’s nice to meet you, my name is Emily.” She held out a hand to Dee who remembered Astrid’s similar gesture and took the hand, waiting for something to happen. Emily seemed confused as her hand was clasped by the beaming girl, eventually forcing the shake herself. “…And what is your name?”
“Dee.” She let go, disappointed that nothing had seemed to happen.
“That’s a sweet name.” Emily looked back at her pram, “My daughter’s called Diana, it’s a little similar” Dee approached the pram and looked into it, a tiny little face blinked back at her and gurgled. Dee felt something else new as she looked at the baby, she’d seen a lot today but never this close.
“A tiny little human… She’s kinda…” Dee didn’t know the word to use.
“Cute? Yeah she’s the spitting image of her father.” Emily smiled, looking back to Dee, “You want to hold her?”
Dee shook her head and stepped back, this was becoming too much, “I-I don’t know about that, I’m not exactly great with… people.”
“Don’t be so silly” Emily picked her child up and gently bounced the baby in her arms as she continued to gurgle. “Here,” she held Diana out to Dee.
Dee looked back at Astrid, stood just a few paces behind her, it seemed she was invisible to Emily, the angel gave a gesturing nod. Gently Dee took the baby and held her in her arms, their eyes met as the baby gurgled. She could feel such life in the child, the warmth emanating from her, the tiny little heart gently beating inside, it’s pulse matching her own. “This is… different.”
“Never held a baby before?”
Dee shook her head, “I feel like if you knew me personally, you wouldn’t be so quick to let me do this.”
Emily laughed, “Oh don’t be so silly Dee, I don’t just hand my child to anybody I meet… I don’t know why but I just feel like I can trust you with her.”
Dee looked up at her, how could such a thing ever be said about a demon?
The serenity was broken when Diana suddenly burst into tears, causing Dee to panic, “Oh! What have I done?!” She thrust the baby back to her mother, “I told you! I’m not supposed to be doing things like this!” She turned and fled back to the angel, “Take me home, now!”
“Dee, relax! She was just-“ Astrid tried to calm her
“Now!” There was a real fire in her eyes and despite her now human form Astrid felt a real sense of terror as the demon stomped her foot in anger.
Emily looked on in confusion as she placed a bottle in Diana’s mouth, “Strange girl… As for you, young lady, you could have picked a better moment to ask for food.” She scowled at the baby before chuckling, “Oh well…”
The angel and the demon stood in Dee’s cave, the demon gently pulling at her purple hair, nervously twisting it round her fingers. “I-I don’t know what you’re trying to do to me but it stops now, go home and never c-come back.” She was staring at the floor, avoiding Astrid’s gaze. The angel sighed in frustration, “You just had to-“
“Go!” Dee screamed at her, flames flickering like a tongue between her jaws. The angel backed away and sighed, “Such potential...” Before spreading her wings wide and rocketing upwards, finally returning to her home.
Soon after Dee’s routine returned to normal, but something wasn’t right. She never felt any pleasure in hearing the screams of victims or whilst claiming the life of even the worst criminal. Her thoughts were consumed with her experience of meeting Astrid and the humans. As fire burned endlessly around her she thought of the warmth she had felt, Astrid’s hand in hers, the sun on her face, the small baby in her arms. Now she felt the flames for what they truly were, soulless and painful, as they caused her to suffer she knew how the humans they consumed must feel.
“Dee!” Markus approached her as she leant against a wall, half-heartedly blowing flames at the passing prisoners. “You’re supposed to be roasting them! Not lightly toasting them!” He hurled his trident which imbedded itself in the wall inches from her head, she did not flinch, did not even look up at him. “Dee! Listen to me! Have you seen the state of those grinders? Pick up the pace or I’ll toss you in them too!”
She looked up at him, “What’s the point?”
“What do you mean, ‘what’s the bloody point!’” He stomped his foot at her, “Do your damn job!”
She laughed at his rage, “You’re so funny when you’re angry Marky.”
He stiffened, “Dee I’m warning you.” He snarled at her.
She stood up and moaned, “Urgh fine! Just give me something more interesting to do…”
“That’s more like it,” He stood straight and fixed his tie, “I’ve got a soul for you to claim, don’t mess this up.” He thrust a small card into her hand and marched off.
She looked at the crumpled piece of paper, “Callum Summers… Royal Melbourne Hospital… Grattan Street… Victoria… yada yada..” With a sigh she headed begrudgingly to the gateway. The large portal stood before her, a red liquid-like substance spinning rapidly inside it as gentle groans and creaks echoed out from destinations unknown. “Melbourne, Australia!” As she said the words the portal’s spinning liquid began to wobble and twist until an image slowly formed inside, stepping through she found herself in the human realm once more, though this time she was invisible and there wasn’t an ounce of fun to be had. Stood in the middle of a busy street she closed her eyes as cars drove unknowingly through her body, listening to the sounds of car horns honking and people shouting at one another.
The hospital was easy to find a large steel point emerging from the side formed the entrance, with the words ‘Royal Melbourne Hospital’ stamped proudly upon it. It reminded her of the rocks back home. Heading inside she picked up one of the nurses’ clipboards and flicked through it, “Summers, Summers, Summers…” She frowned unable to find a Calum Summers, “Was he just trying to get rid of me?” She thought to herself, “Here’s a Charlotte Summers… Well it’s a start, Ward 19.” Arriving at the ward she found Charlotte Summers’ bed but the woman herself was nowhere to be found.
She sighed deeply and stamped her feet, “Dammit! Curse my stupid life…” She flopped onto the bed and held her hands to her face. As she rolled onto her side to curl up and forget about everything, another clipboard caught her eye. “Patient information?” She grabbed it and sat on the edge of the bed, flicking through, “Charlotte Summers… 25… female… pregnant!” She cheered realising who Callum Summers was, before a horrible feeling came over her, the feeling of something grabbing her organs and dragging them down as far as they would go, she felt almost as if she would be pulled through the Earth’s crust to its core. “Callum is her unborn baby…” She began to sob loudly as she realised what she’d been sent here to do, collapsing onto her knees on the cold polished floor, the clipboard clattering down beside her. “I can’t…” She continued to sob before throwing back her head and screaming “I can’t! I won’t! Don’t make me do this!”
After collapsing once more into a pool of her tears she felt a hand on her back, “Are you alright?” Looking up through her tears she saw the rough shape of a blonde woman staring down at her, “You can see me?”
“Of course I can, you’re the reason I’m here.” The voice had a familiar echo to it.
Rubbing her eyes, the vision became clear as she saw two blue eyes staring back at her, “Astrid?”
“That’s Archangel Astridelia to you.” Astrid chuckled, reaching a hand down and pulling Dee to her feet.
The demon’s tears of misery turned to those of joy as she threw her arms around the angel and hugged her tight, “I’m sorry Astrid! I’m so sorry, please take me away from all this, I want to feel love and warmth and joy! I want to feel like I’m part of somebody’s family… I can’t go back!”
Astrid gently stroked her back, “You don’t have to go back there Dee, I’m here to finally repay you for all that you did for me.”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t be better than I am, I was born a monster.” Dee sobbed, her tears soaking into Astrid’s glowing robes.
“Better than you are? Dee you are already so wonderful; I’ve never seen a demon cry before.” Astrid said soothingly.
Dee shook her head, “I’m far from wonderful, that baby hated me, I’m not fit for caring for humanity.”
Astrid rolled her eyes, “Dee the baby wanted to be fed, it wasn’t unhappy with you in the slightest. And I know you know that, you need to stop using it as an excuse for your apparent monstrosity.”
“I need proof that I’m not a monster, otherwise… I am truly worthless in every world.” Dee stepped back from Astrid and dried her eyes.
“You want proof Dee? Well… how about this? That baby’s still going to die.” She held out her hand to the demon once more, “Go to him.”
Dee took her hand and felt that same pulsing in her chest, that same warmth on and under her skin, she was human once more.
In the operating theatre alarms were going off as doctors rushed about, “That baby’s got seconds!” one shouted, “Clarke do something!” Another doctor rushed over with a sharp cutting tool in her hand, “This is going to be tricky!”
She struggled for a moment, “The chord is too close to the neck, I can’t get it without risking incision.”
“Dammit” the first doctor dabbed his head with a handkerchief, “I’ve never lost a baby, I’m not starting now.”
The double doors suddenly swung open and another doctor entered, pulling on gloves as she approached the table, “Stand aside boys and girls!” She giggled, grabbing the cutting tool from Dr Clarke.
“Hey! You can’t just- Who the hell are you?” She grabbed at the tool but missed.
“Now isn’t that just the question?” The new doctor winked through her goggles, her purple-blue eyes shimmering under the bright warm lights.
The other doctors stepped back, as if they knew somehow she could do it, an instinctive trust.
Dee gently moved the tool close to the chord wrapped around the infant’s neck, she was shaking slightly, trusting herself far less than any of the people who surrounded her. A glowing hand appeared on her shoulder, “Just follow your heart.”
Dee nodded, “Heart, right.” Moving the blades around the chord a gentle snipping sound broke the tense silence in the room, the chord rapidly falling away from the baby as doctors rushed in and picked it up. Dee trembled in anticipation as they performed CPR on the new-born, waiting for something, for just one sign of life, “Come on Callum…”
“Waaa!” A shrill cry broke through the air as the baby began to cry, followed quickly by a collective sigh of relief and a rowdy cheer.
“You did it! I have no idea who you are but you just saved a life!” The male doctor slapped her firmly on the back, almost knocking her over but she felt great, beaming from ear to ear!
Leaving the theatre, she removed her mask and screamed a happy scream, “I did it Astrid! I actually saved someone’s life! I didn’t kill someone for once!”
Astrid chuckled, “There’s true goodness within you Dee, do you believe me now?”
Dee nodded, “I think I just might Astrid.”
Astrid smiled warmly and took Dee’s hand, “Then I believe it’s time you received my thanks.” With a wave of her free hand a ring of sparks appeared before the pair, the air in the middle sparking into a bright white light before fading and revealing a new image on the other side.
Glancing through Dee saw a shining world, huge palaces in white and gold stood above polished gemstone roads, shining in every colour of the rainbow as wispy clouds gently slid across them. Astrid placed a leg inside the portal, gesturing for Dee to follow, “Welcome home Dee.”
“Wait.” Dee looked with concern to Astrid’s inquisitive face, before her expression changed to a joking smile, “Will I get wings like yours?”
Astrid laughed, “Dee, from now on, you will get anything your heart desires.” Together the pair stepped through the gateway and disappeared as it spun closed behind them.
Nearly 11 months ago, the world stopped turning. Thousands didn’t realize the enemy within. It soon spread across the world, infecting hundreds of thousands to millions of people. This year has been the worst year of this century, with it being 100 years since the 1920 Spanish influenza virus that killed 500 million people worldwide. This month has been the craziest, with new cases arriving every day. Thousands of families still mourn to this day, thinking of a brighter future for themselves and others. Maybe that hope is coming true, with advances in medicine, scientists across the US and the world have been developing a new vaccine so that elderly and young children are safe from a dangerous virus. When this virus is over, families will rejoice and celebrate the end of a trail of death left by the virus and the world will start turning again. Politics, conspiracies, and other controversies won’t hold us back to grasp the future we will promise to give. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s is around the corner, so celebrate the holidays with your families and friends and say cheers to a brighter future.
by Wessex and Cornwall
It’s a funny world we live in. To say that things have been difficult recently for us all is an understatement at least. This past year has been a scar on our memory that will take a long time to fade. But it is important to remember though, it will fade. We will see our grandparents and parents again. We will go to the pub and hug our friends again. We will be together again.
We have lost a lot but we have gained a lot too. That first hug will be all the sweeter, knowing how much we have longed for it. That first step through your loved ones’ front doors will be all the better, knowing how important they are to us and how dearly we missed them.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel, coming sooner than many of us dared to dream of. The world we knew will soon come back and I can’t wait for that to happen.
I only hope that the would will be a kinder and better world, where we come together to celebrate each other in all of our beautiful diversity. A world where we cherish the time we spend together and stand up for the victory of love over hate.
I don’t need to hope for the old world to return. I know that will happen.
My hope is for the new world to come. And that is what I’ve got my fingers crossed for.
by South St Maarten
The light, shining down from above.
It's dawn, and over the distant hill the outermost edge of a familiar friend comes faintly into view.
The sun. Hello sun.
The flowers look up towards it, in full bloom.
The stillness of the forest is suddenly broken. The clouds, fast approach, their greyness unwelcome but powerful. The birds flee. Thunder. Lightning. Rain. The distant hill fades from view. So sudden. So abrupt.
I feel the rain tap my head. One drop. Two. Three. Four.
The water reaches every inch of my body until my soul is indeed wet too.
I look for the storm to get better, but progressively this storm worsens.
Yet... one hour, seemingly a lifetime afterwards, it passes.
Suddenly, a new forest emerges.
The sun is back.
The distant hill reappears
The leaves have become a brilliant shade of green. I walk over to one.
The storm has passed, but water droplets remain.
All they the aspens, pines, and small bushes have made their triumphant return too.
Occasionally a tree has fallen. I sit on one, and let dow my legs into the clear, crips water of a mountain brook.
I look at that distant hill once again. I've seen it thrice before, but this time I really see it. I see it. It's painfully beautiful in a way I never noticed before.
The forest is the same forest as before the storm, but a bit different. Only now do I realize, the forest might be different - for the better.
The birds sing louder. The brook runs cleaner. The trees reach upwards towards the heavens in a way they never have before. And in my heart I gain a small appreciation for that dreadful storm, for it temporarily made everything worse, and permanently made everything better.
by Democratic Republic of Eiria
With chains around my neck.
As the tyrant pulled and dragged and tugged,
Me on the mighty trek.
For I did not walk this road by will,
Or follow their trail by choice.
The ideas that the tyrants instilled,
Left me with no voice.
Though I was beaten, bruised, and harmed,
Hopeless I was not.
For there were people that the tyrant disarmed,
But there were those they never caught.
You ask "How can you be so hopeful?
When things look dark and blue?".
It's because even though your times are stressful,
There is something you can do.
You must be there for others,
No matter the cost or price.
Because even if you're not a fighter,
You can help by being nice.
Whatever tyrant is in your life,
You must let your friends aid you.
Because when they are chained and face such strife,
You can help them too.
So no matter what they do today,
Hope is never done.
Because the moment we help each other on our way,
Is the moment we have won.
by Podzol Party
Choral: *Aaaaah* *Uuuuh* *Ooooh*
Look, both the moon and sun are back!
Choral: *Aaaaah* *Uuuuh* *Ooooh*
by Yakko World
E iría a casa como buen hijo
Ese día empezó normalmente
Normal en las caras de mi gente
Mas con una enmienda en el congreso
Que me liberaría de un peso
Era un día, corriente y normal
Por esperanza todos en el bar
Se votó el Estatut de nacion
Y en mi dicha se aprobó la moción
Salud nuestra autonomía!
Salud esperanza bien nacida!
Si no hubiera luchado
Yo nada hubiera logrado
Salud por el sueño anexorado!
Winners and Awards
Last but not least, here are our winners! Let's take a moment to thank our awesome judges: Yahlia, Republic of Satherland and The New Nordic Union! Finally, we want to thank all the authors that have written and submitted the marvelous pieces of writing we have seen! Thannk you all :3
But now, here are the winners:
Heartbeat of a Fallen Angel by St Scarlett!
The Award for the Best Foreign Writing goes to...
Struggle and Hope by Democratic Republic of Eiria!
The Award for the Most Original Story goes to...
Si Más Quería, Menos Cedían by Yakko World!
The Award for the Best Character goes to...
The Parental Figure/Narrator from Rest Your Head, My Child by Daarwyrth!
The Award for the Best Setting goes to...
Colorado Forest by South St Maarten!
The Award for the Best Poem goes to...
Glory to All by Falvaard!
When will it start and when will it finish?
The contest will start on November 24th. Contestants then have 20 days to submit your work until the deadline on December 14th 18:00 GMT+1. Then, on December 24th January 13th unless any major after some issues and delays occurred, we will did release a full showcase of all the submissions and announce the various award winners.
What kind of work do we want?
It can be anything: a poem, a short story, or even a brief essay; you just have to stick to the theme: Hope. Given the times in which we are living, we’d like to give positive vibes to everyone and try to look at a brighter future rather than to a gloomy present, so let us hear your most vibrant visions!
How can you participate?
Just send your work to Regnum Italiae, either by telegram on NationStates or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, as a text document within the time frame provided. You can use whichever format you prefer, but we think that either a PDF or Word file, or a Google document link may be more convenient and appropriate. Once the submission time is ended, Regnum Italiae will blind and pass the submissions to the judges.
Rules and Requirements
Apart from the theme, there are some generals rules to make your work valid for our contest:
Write in English. Don’t worry if you are not proficient with English, we won’t take grammar into account for the awards.
Keep it PG-13. So that everyone, regardless of age, can read it.
Keep it of a reasonable length. Generally speaking, do not exceed 3000 words, as we need to read all the works we receive in a reasonable timespan.
Don’t reveal your authorship. To keep the judges as impartial as possible.
Avoid plagiarism. Obviously, don’t try to copy the work of others.
Submit one work only. To be fair to everyone, multiple submissions are not allowed.
Finally, being a resident in Europe or not changes the awards you can win. To be considered a European participant you must either:
Have a WA nation in Europe,
Have an Order of Europe recognition, or
Have an active account on Europe’s Forum.
Judges and Awards
Our super-professional and mega-competent panel of judges is made up of some very well known members of our community:
The New Nordic Union, WA Undersecretary;
Our judges will evaluate your submission and select the winners of our various awards such as: Overall Best, Best European Writing, Best Foreign Writing, Most Original Story, Best Character(s), Best Setting, and more!