Do you want to be seriously impressed? In that case, read the prize-winning entries for the short-story writing competition recently run by the English department. 100 words? Theme: Trapped? No problem for these three authors.
Lauren, Year 13, KS5 winner
The Haunting of Immortality
I am a Roman statue. My milky white eyes are opaque but all-seeing. Bloodless fingers stretch out in front of me, reaching for the ever-changing mortality outside this smooth, marble skin. Your world is constantly reinventing itself, dying and creating and dying again, but I am eternal. Spindly cracks web across my arms, ready to splinter at even the most gentle caress. I live in a delicate balance: immortality is mine, but one touch is all it takes to crumble. What is eternity, if it is spent alone?
Sanaa, Year 11, KS4 winner
Smoke. The prevalent fog, numbing all senses. My lungs overflow with the fumes, so thick, so black, I cannot see nor feel anything. The smog grows inside, choking me, taking over, yet my heavy breathing is drowned out by the overwhelming aroma. The bright lights blind me, burn me, use my hair as a wick. No one will ever understand. I must enflame them, only then will they realise the agonising pain, how it feels to be trapped within the four walls, enclosed with no windows or doors, no way out. With disparaging guilt, I will set their candles alight.
Sophie, Year 7, KS3 winner
I shivered, my fur still sleek and matted from the water. Thoughts cascaded through my head like rushing water. All the things Haru said about life outside the Pool. The old penguin had once lived in the place called w-i-l-d; he had described fishing, everlasting ice and his colony. As I had been born into a life of pointing and staring from the no-beaks, it was hard to imagine this utopia. Everything I was led to believe felt like a lie. Even the ice beneath me felt strange and unfamiliar. This was the first ever time I had felt trapped.