Tag Archives: young Antiguan and Barbudan writers

A Bright Future for Tomorrow

by Andre J. P. Warner, 21

The quiet crunches of footsteps on the decrepit asphalt echoed in the barren landscape, sparsely occupied by wilted weeds and rundown buildings. Lucas, a lean bronze skinned young man walked towards the coast silently eyeing his destination, his eyes kept low from the blaring sun. His steady pace soon came to a stop as the road took an abrupt plunge into murky waters, filled with detritus. Lucas’s gaze locked on the lone building visible in the distance; partially submerged, with the paint barely reflecting the orange hew it once held. Lucas began to undress for the unpleasant dive he wished to avoid, but with his increase in asthma symptoms, that old hospital was the only place where he could find the Ventolin inhalers he needed. With a grimace and a deep breath, Lucas took his dive.

Steadily swimming, Lucas began to think about what led to the country he lived in being in this state. The answer was simple, it just simply got hotter. Global warming peaked melting the icecaps, elevating sea levels to the point where the sea took 30% of the land. The sea ports, airports, coastline hotels, and all the offshore islands sunk! St Johns, Green Bay, Coolidge and all areas close to the coast along with every beach simply disappeared, so fast were the effects that there was no time to plan for the devastating economic effects. With this new aquatic territory, Sargassum sea-weed flourished, creating many forests around the island inhabited by the most vicious predator, Lionfish. As the kings of the underwater jungle, they destroyed most aquatic wildlife with their indiscriminate feeding. Lucas came back to focus as he reached his destination and began his frantic search, the results were lacking, but the single dosage he found would have to do. Doubling back, he swam to shore for his trek to Scott’s hill where he lived, one of the few decent places left on island.

Lucas approached the base of the hill to his home he heard a sharp crunch, lifting his leg he saw the source, a brown shell. Staring at the shattered remains of the shell he recalled the past behind them. The April of 2008 was the day when the first infestation of the Giant African Snail was identified, a small patch in Jolly Hill. A manageable infestation but due to mismanagement the invasion spread, in the eyes of the public and the government they were not that important. The farmers were the first to complain, then a few communities, but the masses did not complain; after all it wasn’t their properties. Then the businesses started complaining; the government put up a few initiatives and even put a bounty on snails, but who wanted to pick up nasty snails in hot sun for only five dollars a bag? As time passed they spread like the slow stream of water on the dinner table, you only noticed when it’s dripping on your lap. The nation was flooded; the government still dragged their feet even when the tourists complained. The snails were seen and ignored until disaster truly struck. In November 2020 the corona virus hit the nation, one that could not even properly fend off Dengue fever. The initial cases were contained but, an unknown fact was that the snails were perfect vector for both dengue and the corona virus. Within the bodies of the snails these viruses fused to create, the Krylan virus. The discovery of this virus was at a point which it was too late; a mortality rate of 55% devastated the island and Antigua was quarantined from the rest of the world. The government in desperation released the strongest toxin possible in an attempt to quell the outbreak, this did yield results but also destroyed local species and biodiversity. Between the deadly virus and the now barren land Antigua was evacuated, with a small group of villagers including Lucas’s grandparents.

The thought of the injustice of his ruined nation ignited a fire in Lucas. “You selfish bastards,” he yelled. The politicians and tycoons who profited from pollution, ignoring the consequences. “Those impudent worthle-” it was at this moment Ben realized he could no longer hear himself. With his simmering passion rapidly cooling, he was able to come to the realization that his mike was…off? Eager to return to his speech, Ben rapidly tapped the power button; his futile efforts led to the realization that he had been muted! A rising heat was felt in his cheeks as a slight blush was formed as he slowly raised his head and looked at his audience who had been forgotten in his fervor. There were variety of expressions to be seen, with half of the viewing audience shocked. The expression on his principal’s face was that of restrained anger, who had warned him not to embarrass his institution with “foolishness”. Faces of resentment were worn by the minister who had expected to be praised, not criticized. Visages of amusement and barely restrained laughter adorned the faces of all his classmates. Lastly was resignation in the face of his teacher who begged him not to ‘overdo’. In the corner of his eye Ben spotted a waving hand signaling him to leave, facing the crowd he quickly said “thank you” and strutted off stage. Passing the shocked speaker of ceremonies, on his way to the exit Ben heard her sputter out “T-that was Mr. Ben Mascal and his piece titled ‘A Bright Future for Tomorrow.’ I-I want to thank you all once again for coming out to our sustainable development awards program, here at the parliament building”. The voice faded as Ben left with the knowledge that he was clearly suspended, but with a small smile on his face with the feeling of his message being heard. Staring over the cityscape, with the ocean reflecting the Sun’s glow on his face Ben whispered “it might just be a bright future after-all.”

ABOUT the story: “The exploration of a young man in a now dystopian Antigua ravaged by climate change and its effects. This piece was inspired by my own ‘what if’ scenarios and the award sub-heading.” This story won the 18 to 35 age category and the Imagine a Future/Climate Change themed prize, and tied for the main prize in the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize 2020 Challenge.

Andre hs

ABOUT the author: Antiguan writer with a passion for reading and the literary arts…also fond of chess and hiking. Warner is one of five 2018 Wadadli Pen honourable mentions.

ABOUT prizes won:

Each winner is also set to receive a certificate, a selection of books from The Best of Books Bookstore and cultural items from the Cultural Development Division – Antigua and Barbuda.

Prizes – Patrons:

Winner 18 – 35 –
EC$200 and a signed copy of London RocksBrenda Lee Browne; dinner for 2 – Hermitage Bay; signed copy of Musical Youth (hard cover edition) by Joanne C. Hillhouse

Winner ‘Imagine a Future’ Climate Change Theme – 
EC$500 – Juneth Webson (businesswoman and writer – Milo’s First Winter)

Main Prize Winner (tied) – 

EC$500 – Frank B. Armstrong; free eye exam – Paradise Vision Center; US$250 worth of books – Sean Lyons; journal – Just Write journal by Brenda Lee Browne (Just Write); name emblazoned on The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Alstyne Allen Memorial Challenge plaque – The Best of Books

For the full breakdown of ‘who won what’, if not linked, use the site’s search feature.

ABOUT Wadadli Pen: The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize launched in 2004 with a writing Challenge that continues 16 years later. It is Wadadli Pen’s pilot project, in keeping with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, encouraging  writers (and visual artists) in Antigua and Barbuda (35 years and younger) to create a piece on any topic, within a Caribbean aesthetic. In 2020, there was also an Imagine a Future climate change challenge. To support the work of Wadadli Pen, contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

 

Please respect the author’s copyright. If you share, excerpt, credit, and link back; do not republish without permission nor without crediting.

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Tom, the Ninja Crab

by Cheyanne Darroux, 11, Golden Grove Primary

It was a clear, still night and the moon shone so brightly through the waters that Tom, the crab couldn’t sleep.

Suddenly he saw a beautiful sight. A bright red light moved along the shore and threw down into the water, a long flame. Being a curious crab, Tom swam towards the shore and met the light as it stopped over a rock. There underneath the light lay six great salmon looking at the flame with their great, googly eyes, waggling their tails as if they were pleased with it.

Tom climbed on the rock to look at this wonderful light. He heard a voice say ‘Forget the rules. We have to sell the salmon to make a living’.

Another voice said ‘If we do that the Animal Safety Control will arrest us. We are breaking the law. We can only hunt two animals per week or else spend 52 years in prison.’

‘I am willing to risk it. The money is worth it.’

Tom saw two men scoop up the salmon, put them in a cooler and roar away in their boat.

Tom jumped off the rock and followed the boat to see what they would do with the salmon.

The men stopped the boat and ran up on the sand to a shack.

Tom jumped out of the water, clacking his claws ‘I am Tom the Ninja crab. Let the salmon go. Hi-eee —’

Instead they caught him mid-air and put him in the cooler with the salmon.

‘Don’t worry’, Tom said to the whimpering salmon. ‘I will save you. We will not stay in this cooler forever. Wait for me. I am coming back’.

Using his claws, Tom punched a hole in the cooler and jumped over the edge of the boat into the water. He surfaced and saw the men talking on a cell phone. A taxi pulled up. They jumped in, with the cooler still talking on a cell phone’

Tom was tired, but then he felt a tap on the back of his shell and before he knew it he was flying in the air, held tightly in the beak of a frigate bird.

‘My name is Freddy and you saved me once from being cooked by a group of boys. I can still remember one of them crying in pain from you pinching his nose. Hold on.’

‘Follow that taxi, Freddy!’ cried Tom.

Freddy followed the taxi until it stopped at the St. John’s market. He landed just outside the Market Street entrance and gently lowered Tom onto the ground. Then he rose into the air and flew off into the night.

‘Thank you, Freddy!’ cried Tom.

The two men jumped out of the taxi with the cooler. They placed it on a table and started to shout ‘Come buy your salmon. Fresh from the sea!’

Tom leapt on the table and the people screamed and started running. One lady pushed over the cooler and the salmon fell into a bucket of water, that was luckily near the table.

‘Halt in the name of the law!’

A woman and a man in Animal Safety Patrol uniform grabbed the men and handcuffed them. They put the salmon back into the cooler.

‘You get these little guys back into the water,’ said the man. ‘and I will take these men to the station.’

Tom followed the woman across the street, through the fish stalls and heard the splash.

Satisfied he jumped and as he swam away, he began to sing.

I am Tom, the ninja Crab
Don’t mess with me
Don’t trouble my friends
Or I’ll deal with you
You don’t know when

‘HI-EEE-YAH!’

ABOUT the story: “My story is about a crab who fights on behalf of the creatures with his karate and his wit. My story is inspired by my father, who is a fisherman and who takes me, my brother, and sister out on the sea.” This work of fiction is winner of the 7-12 age category of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize 2020 Challenge. It also tied for the main prize – the first tie in the history of Wadadli Pen – making Cheyanne the first 12 and younger winner to claim the main prize.

ABOUT the author: Cheyanne sails, plays pan, and reads and writes stories. Her literary skills have been honed as a member of Quality Generation, the children’s auxiliary of the Vibrant Faith Ministries.

ABOUT prizes won:

Each winner is also set to receive a certificate, a selection of books from The Best of Books Bookstore and cultural items from the Cultural Development Division – Antigua and Barbuda.

Age Category Prizes – Patrons:

Winner – 7 to 12 –
EC$250 – Photogenesis; books (3) – Cindy’s Bookstore 

Main Prize Winner (tied) –
EC$500 – anonymous; free eye exam – Paradise Vision Center; US$250 worth of books sponsored by – Sean Lyons; custom-made journal – Jane Seagull; name emblazoned on The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Alstyne Allen Memorial Challenge plaque – sponsored by The Best of Books

For the full breakdown of ‘who won what’, if not linked (yet), use the site’s search feature.

ABOUT Wadadli Pen: The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize launched in 2004 with a writing Challenge that continues 16 years later. It is Wadadli Pen’s pilot project, in keeping with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, encouraging  writers (and visual artists) in Antigua and Barbuda (35 years and younger) to create a piece on any topic, within a Caribbean aesthetic. In 2020, there was also an Imagine a Future climate change challenge. To support the work of Wadadli Pen, contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

Please respect the author’s copyright. If you share, excerpt, credit, and link back; do not republish without permission nor without crediting.

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The John Bull Effect

by Judah Christian, 13, Antigua Grammar School

Every day at break, Miles and Tony would steal Tyler’s lunch money, and give him a ‘wedgie’ whenever he approached the urinal. His ritual was to go through classes ignoring the bullies, while in Science class visualizing his enhanced super costume. The more he thought about it, the more his plans were coming together. He drew a sketch of a suit made of banana leaves and ‘crocus’ bag, with a mask made from a cattle’s skull with a blue, red, yellow and black design. The clap whip would be hidden away in the hand of the suit, similar to what Peter Parker, Spiderman, had. All this he securely guarded in his private blue and red journal.

“Yes! That’s how I’m going to spend my summer!” Tyler exclaimed, forgetting he was in Mr Frederick’s class.

“Tyler! No, that is not an element on the periodic table!” berated Mr Frederick, the Science teacher. “As  a matter of fact, I think you need to let your classmates know HOW you’re going to spend your summer!” continued the teacher.

The class erupted with laughter.

This reminded Tyler of the first time he had to repeat his ‘golden text’ in front of the congregation at St. Morbid’s Cathedral. Sigh. As he staggered to the front of the lab, he faced his classmates and froze. For the next three hundred seconds, not a tick of the clock passed by without him hearing it. Every second. Tick. Tock. No one can know about his plans for the summer. No one. Suddenly, a prefect rushed into the class, and told Mr Frederick that he was needed urgently at the office. At the same time came the familiar ‘brrrrringgg’ to signify the end of the class.

The agitated teacher said, “Class dismissed! Tyler, you better make sure you have that summer plan ready for our next session!”

“Okay, sir!” Tyler responded, breathing a sigh of relief.

Later that evening, Tyler began to put more plans in place to include getting his neighbour, Mr John Bailey, a mass builder, to help him with his suit. He would approach his grandfather, about helping out at the farm, so that he could master the art of donkey-back riding. Once in place, Tyler was focused on his revenge on Miles and Tony.

That summer, while most teenaged boys were involved in Fifa, girls, camps, or carnival preparations, Tyler was busy making his suit and preparing to deliver the John Bull Effect. By the end of summer, he was ready. He kept Mr Bailey’s mantra in his head, “Na mek nobady tek advantage ah you!”. For sure, Miles and Tony had it coming.

On the first day of school after the summer break, Tyler was just waiting for the perfect moment to catch the bullies. He could not wait for the dismissal. When the last bell rang, he ran all the way home, changed quickly into his suit, got the donkey, and melted into his private ecological dwelling. As soon as Miles and Tony passed, he sent spiraling shivers down both their spines with the clap whip. As they tried to run away, he quickly caught up with them on the donkey and showered their backs with even more lashes from the clap whip. He stopped when he realized that he could easily kill or brutally injure the two boys. So, he snapped a quick photo of them on his Samsung Galaxy S9+. Turning his donkey, in the opposite direction, he hurriedly rode away, leaving both Miles and Tony sobbing and nursing welts from their lashes.

The bullies’ reign of terror came to an abrupt end, because Tyler had posted their photo as a meme on Instagram, “The John Bull Effect”.

ABOUT the story: How a boy used his Caribbean folklore and 21st century technology to fight against bullying. (It) was inspired by Judah’s drive to see wrongdoers brought to justice. Interwoven in this short story are elements of his love for Spiderman, justice specifically anti-bullying, Antiguan history and culture, and social media. His hope is that his story would appeal to readers all ages. This work of fiction is honourable mention in the 13-17 age category of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize 2020 Challenge.

ABOUT the author: Judah is passionate about sports, especially football, nature, cars, and technology. Additionally, Judah is an active participant of the Vibrant Faith Ministries’ youth group, where he is trained to be a well-rounded citizen. He lives with his parents and sister in Golden Grove New Extension. Judah is a returning Wadadli Pen finalist – he was a promising writer in 2015 and  second placed in the 12 and younger age category in 2016.

ABOUT prizes won:

Prizes – Patrons:

EC$100 – Lawrence Jardine (founder and technical director of the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Enlightenment Academy); Signed copy of Musical Youth 2nd edition (paperback) by Joanne C. Hillhouse

Each winner is also set to receive a certificate, a selection of books from The Best of Books Bookstore and cultural items from the Cultural Development Division – Antigua and Barbuda.

For the full breakdown of ‘who won what’, if not linked (yet), use the site’s search feature.

ABOUT Wadadli Pen: The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize launched in 2004 with a writing Challenge that continues 16 years later. It is Wadadli Pen’s pilot project, in keeping with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, encouraging  writers (and visual artists) in Antigua and Barbuda (35 years and younger) to create a piece on any topic, within a Caribbean aesthetic. In 2020, there was also an Imagine a Future climate change challenge. To support the work of Wadadli Pen, contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

Please respect the author’s copyright. If you share, excerpt, credit, and link back; do not republish without permission nor without crediting.

Leave a comment

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The Fabled Truth

by Aria-Rose Browne, 14, St. Anthony’s Secondary School

You hear stories of Duppies, River Mumma and Lajabless. Stories told throughout Caribbean islands for generations. Luckily for you, that’s all they are, tales to frighten family and friends. Lore to taunt and jeer. Myths to outgrow and not believe in. Not for me, for now, the year is 3045 and those ‘Legends’ that you used to mock are my living hell. They pivot every island into anguish and despair, engulfing them in darkness leaving nothing behind – and my home is next…

I fled from the great anarchy that troubled my village. The screams of tortured souls echoed throughout. Everywhere one turned, the creatures of the dark, the monsters of your stories would be stalking, ready to feast. The blood curdling screams of their victims swallowed whole, even after the demons had left, continued a cacophony in our heads. The survivors argued in Patois, paranoid and on edge from the tragic events that had taken place. Children clung to mothers, tears streaming down their faces whilst their mothers struggled to remain strong in moments of peril.

I survey the scene and as survivors try hard to pry their eyes from the wreckage, they huddle together in circles of rice. Suddenly, the Witch Doctor’s voice boomed, steering everyone’s focus to her. Before this day the Witch Doctor was shunned, nobody wanting to form fool with obeah, but that seemed long forgotten as the villagers searched for answers. The Witch Doctor’s voice bellowed, “Pour ova rice, turn ova’ yuh shirt and kneel before God. Demons are amongst us,” she pauses and looks upwards, basking in the last golden rays of the sun before it being over cast by a red haze. She jumps frantically, “Beware, the Soucouyant masquerades in deception!” The Witch Doctor ran and disappeared into the forest, chanting. Everyone paused not knowing what to say, her nonsensical words lingering in the wind, only heightening our fears.

I decide to break the silence, “Everyone, we need to move.  I know you’re all scared but I know how to outsmart these demons. Follow me. I know where safety resides.”
“Why should we follow you?” chimed a man.

“Because the same thing happened to my old home. I have already seen the golden sun go red, the white sands turn black and red haze swallowing everything. You should follow me as I am the only one who made it out alive.”

The man fell quiet and with no further objections, I led them to the forest.

As we venture further into the dark, we decide to take a rest since we were exhausted. We settle in a clearing and as we set up camp, we hear one of the villagers proclaim the sight of a river. Before I can get one word in, the rest of the town’s people follow him like a herd of sheep. I run to them, I can hear its calls in the wind, River Mumma is near.

“Quick, everyone, close your eyes!” Most heeded my warning, whilst some stayed stubborn as a mule.

An eerie silence drifted in the darkness, followed by desperate pleas for help, “No, no…,” their voices rich with fear until the river drowns them out. By the time our eyes become readjusted to the light, the river is uneasingly still, stealing some of our friends with it.
The next few days were the same, monsters preyed on us, waiting hungrily for their time. It was Lajabless luring men with her beauty and Rounce playing a game of cat and mouse, toying with his victims. He loved giving us nightmares, filling every night with dread. His antics made us…. more paranoid, to say the least. I warned them all of Lajabless’s seduction, to not let their lustful desires cloud their common sense. As to whom carried deaf ears, Lajabless left them deaf, blind and six feet under. At the dawn of the next day, Rounce tailed us. I told them to fight Rounce with sticks and only count aloud to one and no higher.

Well, the dammed souls were curious.

If the count was greater than one, then that was the number of Rounce that came to fight. There is only so much a stick can do against multiple Rounce and with that, we lost a few more people.

As only four of us remain, spirits are low as we continue through the forest. We cut through the thickets of the forest, and see a familiar face.

The Witch Doctor was making a fire. We joined her. “I’m assuming from your lack of numbers you have encountered the Soucouyant.”

“What’s that?” inquired one of the village folks.

She replied, “You didn’t tell them? The Soucouyant is a demon who sheds its human flesh, turns to a ball of fire and feasts on its vicitm’s bloo-.”

“Why scare them with that nonsense!” I shout.

“It’s not nonsense for the Soucouyant hides amongst us, but luckily ‘e ‘fraid salt and love fi count rice.” She continued, “Would you like some rice?” She throws a few grains of rice on the ground.

“I’m good. Rice is not for me,” I say, not prying my eyes off the rice. I snap out of it and murmur, “I think it’s best we head to bed.”

She looks at me as if wanting to say something but thinks better of it. Then we all lie down and drift into darkness.

The red sun beams on me as I change back into my skin and wipe blood away from my mouth. “The Witch Doctor almost had me, luckily nobody too quick fi believe a hag throwing rice. She was by far the tastiest.” I walk around my blood drained victims and smile to myself, “I never lied, I did see the sun go red and the sands turn black. Y’all shoulda listen to the Witch when she told you I was here.”

With that I was on my way to the next village to continue our game, “Ah mi name Soucouyant.”

ABOUT the story: The Fabled Truth was inspired by “Caribbean folklore and my interest in mythology.” This work of fiction is third placed in the 13-17 age category of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize 2020 Challenge.

Aria_Rose Browne (2)

ABOUT the author: Her passion is writing, and she also enjoys music and theatre arts.

ABOUT prizes won:

Prizes – Patrons:

EC$150 – Lawrence Jardine (founder and technical director of the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Enlightenment Academy); Bath and Body gift package – Juneth Webson (businesswoman and writer – Milo’s First Winter); signed copy of Musical Youth (hard cover edition) by Joanne C. Hillhouse

Each winner is also set to receive a certificate, a selection of books from The Best of Books Bookstore and cultural items from the Cultural Development Division – Antigua and Barbuda.

For the full breakdown of ‘who won what’, if not linked (yet), use the site’s search feature.

ABOUT Wadadli Pen: The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize launched in 2004 with a writing Challenge that continues 16 years later. It is Wadadli Pen’s pilot project, in keeping with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, encouraging  writers (and visual artists) in Antigua and Barbuda (35 years and younger) to create a piece on any topic, within a Caribbean aesthetic. In 2020, there was also an Imagine a Future climate change challenge. To support the work of Wadadli Pen, contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

Please respect the author’s copyright. If you share, excerpt, credit, and link back; do not republish without permission nor without crediting.

 

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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen 2020, Wadadli Pen News

The Beast of Barbados

by William Henderson, 17, St. Anthony’s Secondary School

THE NIGHT was preternaturally quiet. Not a breath of wind sighed among the trees. Not a creature stirred, and the silence was consuming. It seemed as if all sound had been stolen from the world. There I sat at my bedroom window in the pitch dark – lest the beast find me in the light – watching and waiting for a sign.

It was when the clock struck midnight – the witching hour – that all sound came flooding back to the world, like a river bursting though a dam. Thunder rolled, trees swayed in the gales that came from nowhere, bats screeched, dogs howled eerily, and everything came back to life. The silence was the deep breath before the plunge; the return of sound was the point of no return, when the beast was coming and the only thing to do now was defend yourself. And it always happened at midnight.

This unnamed abomination of nature had been hunting me here on the island of Barbados ever since I was little, and only my grandmother and I were capable of seeing it; which made it even more dangerous.

Family legend claims that centuries ago, an ancestor of my father stole treasure from a pirate who docked in Barbados to wait out a storm. The beast was born from a pirate’s desire for revenge, to ensure that no one ever enjoyed the stolen riches. This beast has reckoned with my family ever since and has been attributed as the cause of the tragic ends met by the members of my lineage.

It had almost killed me multiple times, and my life had only been spared by some grace of God.  In those days I had been nothing more than a little child, and I was scared to death of the creature; I was impotent and weak.

The last time I had seen the beast was eight years ago, when I was only ten years old. That was also the last time it had failed to kill me, and the time I had actually managed to harm it. It had kept its distance since then, afraid of the fighter that was growing inside me. But little did it know that while it bode its time, I only grew stronger and more fearless. I did not forgive it, and I most certainly did not forget it. Now, eight years later, it returned for one final showdown. But there were two differences this time around; I wasn’t a little kid anymore, and the beast was no longer the only one out for blood.

I peered outside. It was stormy, but there wasn’t any sign of the beast yet. But I knew it was coming. I looked down at the long dagger I held in my hand; the hilt was comfortable and wrapped in leather, the blade was everlastingly sharp and still stained from when I had sliced the hide of the beast eight years ago.

My grandmother had given it to me as she lay on her deathbed. She told me that it had hunted her too. But she had escaped and kept it at bay by showing no fear.

As a young boy facing an ancient horror, that was no easy task. But when I at last wounded the beast after I managed to find the courage to seek it out on one cold, stormy night in the woods behind my house, a warrior awoke inside me, and the beast could feel it; and it was frightened by it. It was so frightened, in fact, that it had stayed away for eight years, either hoping that I would grow weak and forget about it, or hoping that it would grow strong enough to kill me without resistance.

As I looked out the window into the dark night, I had a sudden feeling that the beast wouldn’t come to me. It wanted me to go to it. Perhaps it figured that if it were going to die, it would do it on its own terms.

I soon found myself walking through the thick, high woods behind my house, the dagger in my hand reflecting the moonlight. I could almost sense the beast’s discomfort; the hunter had become the hunted. But I did not let my guard down no matter what. I hadn’t come this far and fought so hard to be brought down by some cunning trick.

I stopped at last in a large glade where the light of the moon and the stars poured down in silver beams. The dark forest surrounded me like an impenetrable wall of night. I didn’t need to go any further. The beast was near.

“Show yourself!” I commanded. “It’s time to end this.”

From the perpetual blackness before me, the beast emerged in all its grotesque, feline glory; eyes as black as bottomless pits, rows of jagged teeth stained with the blood of the innocent, a tiger-like body rippling with lean muscle, long, untamed claws and silky black fur, and a hide which still bore the scar of when my dagger made its mark eight years ago.

The beast looked at me – perhaps it was wondering why I had come to kill it in my pajamas – but then its eyes wandered down to the dagger in my hand, and I could almost smell its fear. With a surge of confidence, I brandished my bloodstained weapon menacingly and charged forward with a fearsome battle roar.

The battle ended swiftly. Once I was no longer afraid, there was only so much that it could do to me. I didn’t leave the battle unscathed; I would forever bear the scars of that battle. But I gained the upper hand, and after a great struggle, I pierced the beast’s heart. The fire in its eyes died, and at last, the beast, which had hunted my forbearers and me for so long, was no more.

ABOUT the story: “I visited Barbados (last summer), and this story is inspired by that visit…Just being in this wonderful island made me feel inspired and creative and led me to write this story.”  This work of fiction is second placed in the 13-17 age category of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize 2020 Challenge.

ABOUT the author:

ABOUT prizes won:

Prizes – Patrons:

EC$200 – Lawrence Jardine (founder and technical director of the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Enlightenment Academy); signed copy of Musical Youth (hard cover edition) by Joanne C. Hillhouse

Each winner is also set to receive a certificate, a selection of books from The Best of Books Bookstore and cultural items from the Cultural Development Division – Antigua and Barbuda.

For the full breakdown of ‘who won what’, if not linked (yet), use the site’s search feature.

ABOUT Wadadli Pen: The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize launched in 2004 with a writing Challenge that continues 16 years later. It is Wadadli Pen’s pilot project, in keeping with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, encouraging  writers (and visual artists) in Antigua and Barbuda (35 years and younger) to create a piece on any topic, within a Caribbean aesthetic. In 2020, there was also an Imagine a Future climate change challenge. To support the work of Wadadli Pen, contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

Please respect the author’s copyright. If you share, excerpt, credit, and link back; do not republish without permission nor without crediting.

Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen 2020, Wadadli Pen News

A Mermaid

by Zaniah Pigott, 12, Island Academy

The wind whistled as Marie slowly crept across the soft, thick sand of
the Johnson Point beach. The young female walked across the moonlit bay. She
had discretely ventured away from the crowded beach party to this peaceful
beach haven. Her mind crowded with thought as she continued down the pale
sandy shores.

Marie intently listened to the various noises surrounding her. The
faraway bop of the birthday party’s pop music, hermit crabs scuttling across
the sand and the gentle crash of the waves on the rocks. Marie enjoyed the
soothing sounds while immersing in the noises  around her.

Soon she had found a spot of soft, clear sand where the young girl sat
cheerfully. Her fingers brushed across the grainy sand, feeling small, smooth
shells as she passed each section. While the crescent shaped moon floated
tranquilly across the starry sky. Marie looked on in awe!

Finally Marie’s eyes settled on the shimmering sea. The water was navy
blue in colour and glistened in the moon’s light. Miniature waves crashed at
the shore making faint relaxing noises. Tropical fish darted playfully through
the water. Everything truly seemed lost in time!

Suddenly, the magnificent view was disrupted by a large head that
popped out of the refreshing water. Then came a petite torso. The mysterious
figure seemed to be a woman but Marie’s thoughts changed when the
“woman” had completely exited the bright blue water.

The unknown figure had a scaly tale with beautiful violet fins. The small
scales shone in the moonlight and her long fins playfully lapped the salty sea
water. She had faded purple skin and had small violet fins sprouting from her
dainty arms. The woman wore an orange starfish bracelet and had lilac coloured
irises. Her hair was as black as coal and the creature had sap green seaweed
strewn in her wavy wet hair. The mysterious woman shocked Marie.

Slowly an idea dawned on her. The “woman” was a mystical mermaid!

A toothy smile appeared across Marie’s face. She had seen something
miraculous but as soon as the beautiful mermaid had appeared, she disappeared.
Now alone she sat in the moonlight. The wonderful sight
had been lost and the triumphant look on Marie’s face quickly slipped away.

Marie shifted on the sand and made complete focus on the area of the
tremendous discovery. Her eyes shone at the very thought of seeing a
mermaid. There she remained, her head even more clouded with thoughts;
even more reluctant to return to the loud crowded party. Never to tell a soul
about her discovery.

 

ABOUT the story: A girl goes exploring on the beach. She finds a mermaid. “My inspiration for this story was the beautiful waters around Antigua and Barbuda. I decided to set the scene on a Johnson’s Point beach because this is a village that is very dear to my heart. During school holidays my family and I would always spend our days there, camping and frolicking in the seawater and on the sand. Johnson’s Point village and the surrounding beaches are places  that always get my creative juices flowing and that is why I love writing about them. Another inspiration for this story is Greek Mythology. I am completely fascinated with mythological stories, especially ones about mermaids. Which is why I love to write and draw these figures and imagine what they would look like in real life.” This work of fiction is third placed in the 7-12 age category of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize 2020 Challenge.

ABOUT the author: “I enjoy visual arts, reading, and writing short stories. My favourite sport is tennis which I play for fun with my friends during the week. I absolutely love animals; especially cats and that is why I try to volunteer at PAAWS when I can.  Last year, I came second in the Grade 6 National Assessment and this year I intend to keep striving towards my personal and academic goals.”

ABOUT prizes won:

Prizes – Patrons:

Books (3) – Cindy’s Bookstore ; signed copy of Musical Youth 2nd edition (paperback) and With Grace (paperback) by Joanne C. Hillhouse

Each winner is also set to receive a certificate, a selection of books from The Best of Books Bookstore and cultural items from the Cultural Development Division – Antigua and Barbuda.

For the full breakdown of ‘who won what’, if not linked (yet), use the site’s search feature.

ABOUT Wadadli Pen: The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize launched in 2004 with a writing Challenge that continues 16 years later. It is Wadadli Pen’s pilot project, in keeping with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, encouraging  writers (and visual artists) in Antigua and Barbuda (35 years and younger) to create a piece on any topic, within a Caribbean aesthetic. In 2020, there was also an Imagine a Future climate change challenge. To support the work of Wadadli Pen, contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

Please respect the author’s copyright. If you share, excerpt, credit, and link back; do not republish without permission nor without crediting.

 

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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen 2020, Wadadli Pen News

My Favourite Dish

by Ciara Thomas, 10, Sunnydale School

I’m a little girl,
And I am fat,
I can tell you my favourite food did that,
It’s not because I’m greedy.

Some of it comes from my genes,
Even though I’m a little chubby,
I am still a queen.

KFC is not my favourite food,
Even though I eat it,
Not chicken and chips nor hamburger,
Or pizza and definitely not shawarma.

My favourite foods takes me back
to my roots,
This is no lie, I’m telling the truth.

I had to dig out of the backyard,
And break the coconut which is quite hard,
I take them to mama,
And said, please make me some ducana.

With the chop-up and saltfish,
Cause mama that is my
Favourite dish.

ABOUT the poem: This poem ranked second in the 7-12 age category of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize 2020 Challenge.

ABOUT prizes won:

Prizes – Patrons:

Books (3) – Cindy’s Bookstore ; copy of  Antigua My Antigua – Barbara Arrindell; US$50 for gift certificate for books – Friends of Antigua Public Library (NY)

Each winner is also set to receive a certificate, a selection of books from The Best of Books Bookstore and cultural items from the Cultural Development Division – Antigua and Barbuda.

For the full breakdown of ‘who won what’, if not linked (yet), use the site’s search feature.

ABOUT Wadadli Pen: The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize launched in 2004 with a writing Challenge that continues 16 years later. It is Wadadli Pen’s pilot project, in keeping with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, encouraging  writers (and visual artists) in Antigua and Barbuda (35 years and younger) to create a piece on any topic, within a Caribbean aesthetic. In 2020, there was also an Imagine a Future climate change challenge. To support the work of Wadadli Pen, contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

Please respect the author’s copyright. If you share, excerpt, credit, and link back; do not republish without permission nor without crediting.

Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen 2020, Wadadli Pen News