Inspiring students is the key to improving their writing skills. Creative writing activities encourage students to focus on their strengths and areas of interest while simultaneously working to improve their weaknesses.
Students were asked to write a text, in which they had to include the sentences:
-“After all, this is what life and death is about.”(for 7th, 8th and 9th graders)
-“She listened to the voicemails first and was soon laughing so hard, she was in tears.” (for 10th, 11th and 12th)
There were 22 students who participated in this project.
Rodrigo Garrido, 9º1ª
Would you allege that it is possible to comprehend this entire pleasurable bipolar world, and every single fantasy that has been created in it, only by observing and admiring a small part of it? Do you think that one single place could represent the lunacy; the appealingly treacherous discovers; the pain; the uncomfortably comfortable comfort; the disquieting and
hypocrite refusal of aging and renewing some systems and methods; the mystery of concordance and dissent amongst our society ( the same society we are pointlessly and effortlessly trying to develop and improve) of this endless limited world? If so, could it represent love? Is there some location whose details are suitable in an hypothetical
lionhearted metaphor of life? Well, I’m everything but convinced that, someday, we’ll be able to answer that uneasiness because, to do so, we would have to stop something that keeps on changing each second: love. Firstly, we let ourselves fall in our family’s loving arms. Then, we realize that friends and some rare treasures who sacrifice themselves by being named teachers, are also able to proffer love. Afterwards, our pets make us feel foolish and
reckless for having enchanted us into that brittleness again. Therefore, there are a lot of types of love which transmit divergent feelings. However, surprisingly, love is a constant
throughout life, no matter what happens, no matter what you would like to see happening.
Nevertheless, if we seek hard enough and if we look for the right people, we might conclude that this magical place exists: the ineffably ethereal Havasu Waterfall of the Grand Canyon, near Phoenix, Arizona. In spite of its secrecy, this miraculous piece of Paradise is an indecipherable peculiarity: just like life. Even though it’s located in the hottest city of the
United States, the water keeps on running without drying and its colour, bluer than a smurf, makes contrast with the orange rocks and the green cactus which surround it. Now that
you’re acquainted with the purpose of this text and with its scenery, let’s commence.
Skylar and Matthew had been best friends for seven years at the time. Actually and intriguingly, they met when they were seven, in their fatherland and the stage in which everything becomes giant except ourselves: New York City. That year, they had settled that they would travel to Phoenix, AZ, so they could enjoy their vacation together, alongside their
families. Since they had no need to wake up early and the wish of admiring the sunrise had been neutralized by the annoying fact that it rose at 5am, they would spend uninterrupted nights talking about the novelty which being teens was. Moreover, it was impossible to sleep
with 45 ºC outside. Throughout each day, they acted like no one was around, as if they had travelled entirely alone.
Expectedly, their families and friends started contemplating the possibility that, somehow, they had fallen in love with each other. They totally hadn’t! Yet, that scrutiny made them
consider, or rather imagine, that unthinkable possibility. How would they learn to love each other in a different way, other than the one they had known for seven years? As I said
earlier, it was love changing each second.
Well, someday, it was “Grand Canyon Day”, a day longed for by everyone but them. While their families were having lunch with some friends they had made at the Hyatt Place Phoenix
Downtown Hotel, they found the well cherished Havasu Waterfall, whose constituents were the exact opposite of NYC’s. They really weren’t into getting to know those new friends because their mindsets seemed old-fashioned.Skylar even commented: “They must be teachers!”. Skylar and Matthew’s brains were sophisticated and modern enough to know that if the school system keeps teaching them today exactly like it did yesterday, then it’s robbing their future. So there they lied, talking for hours and listening to music with a volume low enough to hear the water running upon those rocks and between those cactus. The sunset had already began when Matthew thought out loud:
— It’s so strange to think that after all these years, their provocative talk made me consider the hypothe….
— Shut up! Don’t you think that nowadays people die at 25, even though they live until they’re 75? – she interrupted with clear intentions of loving him.
— I do… Are you into being…
— Let’s live then.
And with the American lights reflecting in their eyes and the ethereal waterfall making music, they kissed.
That place really represented love: if the water keeps on running and the sun keeps on rising, love will keep on teaching. They wrote on the soft orange rocks: this moment was just a small drop in the ocean but without it the ocean would be smaller. After all, this is what life and death is all about.
The upside down World
Letícia Bandeira, 9ºD
A parallel universe or another dimension that we could all reach.
Something similar to our reality, but much more obscure, in which people had a dirty appearance and had deeper, black eyes.
So many stories already told…but will they be real?
-This is fake.
-How can you be so sure of that?
-Stories to scare children – who would believe such a story, multi-universes?, I can even believe that but it’s still fake. Lately everyone talks about this seven beyond, the world
similar to ours, some people even told their experiences but I think it’s all clickbait just to get likes.
Violet, my best friend, and I were going to visit a friend of ours who lived in another city, so we decided to go by train. We arrived at the station and in 5 minutes the train arrived, we got in and chose our seats.
It was strange how the train was literally empty but I didn’t mind that much and continued to enjoy the view through the window. Suddenly two little girls get on the train. “Strange, why are they alone?” I thought. The two girls were twins, their hair was short and black, tied in two low ponytails and deep black eyes. I was surprised at the pale skin they had, it was as if they were vampires.
The two girls looked at us, came towards us and sat across from us.
The more I looked at them, I felt like they were looking into my soul. So I decided to go back to looking at the window.
A few minutes passed and we still hadn’t arrived. The sky was the same as before, dark. Darker than usual. Will it be a storm? I thought a million things that could happen but those thoughts were interrupted by someone. The twins.
-Hi, do you want to play a game with us?- ask both at the same time.
I looked at Violet and she looked at me.
-Why not, huh? Okay let’s play- Violet said with a smile.
-Have you heard about the seven beyond?-one of the twins asked. Violet and I nodded.
-Do you believe it?
-I don’t really believe that much, I think it’s more of a children’s story- I said.
-Unlike her I believe it- Violet said.
-ok then, let’s start the game.
I know it might just be my imagination but I think this it won’t go well.
-So each one has a piece of paper, with a pen you both write seven beyond and then write down what was the worst thing you’ve ever done in your life.
The twin gave the papers and we did what they said. After that, the twin told us to close our hands with the paper inside and to wait and see what would happen. Everything was getting weirder, outside the sky was getting darker and darker, close to being black and the sun was no longer visible. My vision started to blur and my senses no longer work, it was as if I had taken some drug. When, everything went dark and silent.
I opened my eyes and realized I had passed out or something like that. I looked to the side and saw Violet sleeping, I looked ahead and saw that the twins weren’t there. I looked around and something was strange, the train looked abandoned, you could see the rust, everything was dirty and empty. I couldn’t see what was going on outside because of the dirty windows but it seemed to be dark.
I rattled Violet to see if she would wake up and luckily she did.
-Alice, what happened?-she asked me, scared.
– I don’t know – I replied.
We got off the train and there was no one. It felt like we were in another world, everything was different and dark as the legend said. The dark sky, what scarier everything. The sun that looked like the moon, white and bright. “How did we get here?” I think.
We started to walk to one side to see if anyone appeared but everything was completely empty. It had been a while since we entered a forest but we got lost, everything looked the same, as if it were a labyrinth. At the bottom of the forest we found something similar to a person, we couldn’t see what it really was but it suddenly fell. We started running towards it when we got close enough, we saw…myself…dead.
– How this is possible?
The theory that it is not possible to have a person like you in the same universe.
If there is. One of the two dies. After all, that’s what life and death is all about
Remeeting of lies
Sara Santos, 8º 5ª
It was a different day from the others: very strange and confusing. It seemed as if had guessed certain forthcoming events in that orphanage. When she was called to the headmaster’s office, she found herself suddenly perplexed as to what it could mean, since girls were only called there when someone came to adopt them or for any reason of bad behaviour.
Catherine was sharp and astute, but no matter how hard she thought she couldn’t come up with a plausible reason why she has been called to meet the headmistress, since she had absolutely no bad behaviour and the chances of them looking to adopt her were almost nil. In fact, within the Good Girls orphanage Catherine was the girl most likely to be adopted as she was a true prodigy. The best student, the best behaved… everything you could ask for. Only it was still hard to believe it.
Catherine has been living at Good Girls for seven years and since then her life had become the same every day, with the same routines. It was then that a lady has taken her there after the accident she and her mother had where only she survived. As her father has abandoned them, she had no one left and her destiny was the orphanage, where she could count on a bed and food, which despite the poor quality was
better than nothing. All that was missing was a family and affection, but despite the lack of all this Cath never gave up and always strived to be what she became, open to countless possibilities to be happier, without losing hope. Now, at fourteen, Cath had her fingers crossed that what awaited her in Headmistress Scarlet’s office would be what she has always hoped for: to live a better life, away from darkness, from pills to manipulate her, from dictatorships, and the chance to shine as a woman since in 1974 it was too difficult for a woman to thrive in East Midlans.
As she entered the large headmistress’s room decorated as antiquated objects and elements caused darkness to a room with so much light, Cath came across Scarlet, the headmistress and one other woman. Scarlet was in her forties and although very gruff was slender. The other woman also looked forty but showed a delicacy and a kindness such as Cath had never seen before. She was a beautiful, well-groomed woman, with attitude and firmness everything Cath has worked to be. At first glance she seemed the perfect person to take her away from there and help her achieve her dreams only Cath didn’t know about the problems there were at the orphanage in adopting girls. Anyone who wanted to adopt would have to pay an amount that varied depending on the value each child presented, which in her case was quite a
lot. Probably the most valuable of all. Scarlet asked for her a hundred thousand pounds after presenting Catherine as the best girl there, but Elizabeth, the other woman, didn’t have that kind of money and left as quickly as she came in. Despite this she left Cath a paper, which Scarlet didn’t see.
Then Cath went back to her room with no hope of ever getting out of there, but then she read the letter that was encoded and realised that Elizabeth was even bolder than she had thought. In truth Beth knew that the orphanage was illegal and was aware of the conditions they were subjected to. She left the message for Cath not to give up anything, that she has realised her true worth, but had no such amount
to get her out.
The next day, Cath couldn’t believe when she sees a suspicious maid walking down the corridor who abruptly puts her into the trolley she was carrying. After a while, Elizabeth takes her out and explains everything that is going on. In fact, Elizabeth came to get her out of there because she is her mother. When Cath ended up in the orphanage after her mother’s supposed death, she hid until she got rid of the
criminals who were chasing them because of her father, who got on with them and owed their money. Although her father, Thomas ran away and married Evelyn, he did not spare Cath and Beth by running that orphanage, torturing Cath and having Beth chased.
Finally, Beth has spent all those years building revenge which she has now achieved by saving her daughter and denouncing the orphanage. Now the only image Cath could see was her father, his wife and the headmistress going to jail, her new home, life and dreams fulfilled with her mother. After all, this is what life and death is about: unconditional love. No matter what.
Raquel Fung, 11º 4ª
It was half to midnight.
He left his aunt’s beach shack and trudged down the meagre hill to jump into her small boat. The moonlit sea rocked the wooden craft wherein he now lay, and while gazing at the stars above, he felt as though he had found the edge of time. The gentle breeze played with his dark hair and cooled his overheated body, helping him to finally regain his sleepiness.
However, that peace of mind he found was abruptly torn for now the sea raged, tossing and hurling the little boat he held on to for dear life. After a long-lasting battle, the boy lost his grip and when he came to the surface neither boat nor land were in sight.
But suddenly his foot touched something. It felt somewhat rock-like and so he climbed upwards and now stood on the surface of the sea. Hesitantly, he started to walk, finding the water mystically lighting up in tones of cyan and turquoise wherever he stepped. In front of him some tall trees and grass covered the flooded ground. Having nowhere else to go, the curious boy decided to explore.
He strolled around the perimeter of the island, mesmerized by its mysterious beauty when he heard a sweet but muffled melody. Without thinking, he dashed towards it. Wearing a white dress and a shell necklace, a young girl hummed while numbly looking at the sea.
“H-Hello?” he stuttered and she, who hadn’t noticed his presence until then, widened her eyes. The mere tender smile she gave him felt like an invitation for him to sit beside her. Reluctantly, he came closer.
“My name is Honu, what’s yours?” she asked, placing a lock of snowy hair behind her ear.
“I’m Liam.” he answered “Where are we?”.
“Somewhere.” she shrugged.
“Somewhere… where?” he insisted, confused.
She smirked. “Does it really matter?”.
He halted before replying “I guess it doesn’t.” while sitting down beside her.
The two of them gazed ahead, watching the small waves faint melancholically on the shore as he began to feel more serene.
“Why are you here?” she asked with her gaze still fixed on the sea.
“I couldn’t sleep.” he replied, scoffing at the unpredictable turn the night had taken. She chuckled and then stood up stretching her torso with her fingertips pointing at the dark
“C’mon.” she offered her hand. He slowly reached out and took it and hand in hand they ambled along while a haphazard conversation started to occur.
That night everything seemed magical, between giggles and silly dialogues both of them seemed to have enjoyed the stroll across the small island.
“I’ve been waiting for you,” she then said while they both lay gazing at the sky that the sunrise painted with flamboyant tones of red and orange. “I’ve been lonely here, but I’ve finally made a friend.” She put her arms around him, tying the necklace she had been wearing around his neck.
“Don’t forget me”.
Before he could answer a huge wave swallowed him and threw him off the island, a storm rose and the waves crashed, making it hard for him to breathe, until he completely lost his senses.
“Honu!” he shouted, getting up swiftly only to find himself lying on the shore of the beach, the boat still on the sand beside him.
He got up still disorientated and rushed to the shack. It was already about midday and his aunt had left for work but he needed to tell her everything that had happened.
Frantically he called and left countless voicemails explaining the events of the previous night.
Only when afternoon came and her shift at the marine biology institution was over did she take notice of the mayhem on her phone. She listened to the voicemails first and was soon laughing so hard, she was in tears.
She drove back home but once she got there, Liam was nowhere to be seen. She called him and found out he had spent all day on the beach staring at the horizon. She started by saying that it was very likely that he hadn’t even left the beach in the first place. She also mentioned that the day before, she and her colleagues had named a turtle of gigantic dimensions they ‘d spotted “Honu”, which meant “Turtle” in the local language. Besides, the phenomenon of water lighting up was simply bioluminescent plankton.
He hung up the phone but all those rational explanations didn’t satisfy him at all. Was his aunt trying to say that the otherworldly island he’d found was just a turtle of abnormal size? Or insinuating that everything had been a dream?
“Let’s leave it at that.” he sighed with a slight smile, as he looked at the necklace in the palm of his hand.
Waiting and remembering
Inês Gomes, 10º 3ª
After some long, painful minutes of waiting, checking her phone every five, she thought about leaving. Right when she was about to stand up, her phone buzzed in her little black purse she kept to her side. Two voicemails from him and one message from her boss. She listened to the voicemails first and was soon laughing so hard, she was in tears. Angry tears they were. Hot angry tears streaming down her face, burning her skin. In the middle of the restaurant. Everyone was looking at her, with their curious eyes and fancy champagne glasses. She felt like they were toasting to her anguish.
She knew it was going to happen, sooner or later. Even so, it hurt. It really hurt. She was still crying when she got up, arranging her pants, and brushing the tears from her cheeks when she did so. She started walking fast to the restroom, but not fast enough to bring any more attention than the one she was already getting. She heard the waitress that had served her before call “Miss!” after her. Whatever she wanted, that could wait.
She pushed the restroom door open and steadied herself in the basin. While she cleaned her face, removing all the tears that had remained, she thought about the first and last time she had been there. It was mid-august, and they had been hanging out for a little more than a month at the time. He said he wanted to take her on their first “proper date”, even though, in her opinion, they had already been on a lot of “proper dates”. He took her to that restaurant, with its gigantic chandelier that shined her casual clothes, which began to look, at that moment, very unproper.
While leaving the restroom, she wondered if he had done it on purpose. Same place, a completely different story to tell. She got back to her table, finding the bill already there.
She paid for the glass of champagne she drank while waiting and left the place. The street was windy, unlike last time. She remembered how stuffy it was that night, how he had the idea to eat ice cream after, and how she had said yes, even though she didn’t like nor wanted ice cream all that much. It was closed now, mid-february.
She seated on the bench in front of it, the same one they had seated then. She crossed her arms over her white cardigan, his personal favorite, and brought her fingers to the necklace he gave her about a month ago for her birthday. She reached
for her phone and listened to the voicemails a second, a third, a fourth time while looking at the shadow of the tree beside her. The tree wasn’t naked, unlike it should be in the winter, and the leaves and branches were shaking from side to side. She listened to those voicemails so many times she could tell what word he would say next. The tree suddenly went still, and she then turned her phone off abruptly. Her attention
changed to the light coming from the light pole over her. It was blinding her vision, but she didn’t really care. She remembered her boss’ message after some seconds of
looking at it. She turned her phone on again and clicked on the notification. “You’re fired”, it said. She didn’t know what to expect, but that made sense. She put her phone back in her purse and got up from the bench.
She proceeded to walk without any real destination. After a while of wandering around the street, looking at trees and light poles quite similar to the ones next to the bench, she passed in front of the art gallery she worked in. Had worked in. She remembered the first time she had met him, in that gallery. She remembered thinking how incredibly handsome he was. How he had complimented her work, saying how gorgeous the bird she had painted looked, and how she had nodded and smiled politely in a form of saying thanks.
She remembered who had taken him there, the woman who was by his side. Their arms leaked together, the ring on the woman’s finger. She had seen it a dozen times before and realized then that it was put in there by him.The woman smiling next to him. Her boss.
An emotional rollercoaster
João Oliveira, 11º 3ª
Some thoughts just wandered along in his head all day. Jim’s thoughts were enough to distract him from his work. All he could think about was returning home to his wife, Pam.
He was a kind, handsome 30-year-old man, and she was the sweetest, most adorable girl who had fallen in love with him at first sight. That day they were celebrating their first wedding anniversary.
Finally, the clock struck six. No sooner had everyone packed their things than he stormed through the office.
She had returned from a business trip the day before for their anniversary and he was eager to spend some time with her. Life is made up of the best moments and that was one of them.
Just as he was about to leave, the voice of Michael, his boss, echoed down the hallway in a pressing tone.
“Jim, I need you here.”
Jim’s first instinct was to pretend he hadn’t heard him, which quickly proved to be a mistake.
“Jim, get back here right now!” he shouted, clearly annoyed by his attitude.
With a long and reluctant sigh, he turned around, only to see the rosy face of a small, spirited man looking at him in the eye.
“I’ve just received some paperwork. I need your help,” Michael said.
“Seems it’ll be enough to keep me busy for the night. Let me just grab a quick coffee from the conference room. I’ll be right back.”
He certainly would, but with good reason to go home soon. After making two cups of coffee, he relunctantly poured one on his Oxford shirt.
He then took a deep breath, and opened Michael’s office door.
“Oh dear! I got my shirt all wet,” he said right away.
“Oh, for God’s sake, Jim,” he continued in a lowered tone,” I think I have one in the closet”.
In a split second, Jim faked a stumble and deliberately spilled the other cup on his trousers.
“What can I say? Slippery floors,” Michael was still processing the moment, “ I have to go now and wash this off”, Jim said as he was leaving the room.
Finally, he was outside. He hurried to his car and drove off. He his wife to see how she was doing. No answer. So, he sent her a voicemail.
“Hey honey,” he began. “I have been meaning to call you all day.” After a brief pause he continued, “You will not believe what just happened to me”. He then proceeded to fill her
in on what had just happened.
“You should have seen his face.Well, I am going home now. I can’t wait to… –
Unfortunately, he didn’t finish his sentence. The collision was enough to knock him unconscious.
Pam was in the kitchen preparing everything for dinner. They had not had any time to themselves since her departure the week before.
A pleasant aroma from a burning candle filled the room. Gentle rays of sunlight fell seemingly through the window slightly wa
rming up her skin. She missed his tender touch.
Outside, the serenity of the auburn sun, the pale pink hues, and the rich light that shone from the ends of the sky to the last grain of sand in the ocean was gradually replaced by
the approaching darkness.
With a weary sigh, while holding her belly with her hand, she went to the living room to call him. She found that she had three voicemails and a missed call.
She listened to the voicemails first and soon found herself laughing so hard that she was in tears. It really was a funny story.
She had no idea what fate would do to her plans.
Then suddenly his words broke up by a deafening disturbance. All she could hear were stuttering noises and falling shrapnel. Hot tears streamed down her face as she
squeezed her eyelids, hoping the tears would stop. Her choppy breathing and watery eyes continued for quite a while. She sat motionless.
Those tears of joy and pleasure were now replaced by ones of fear and anxiety. Worst case scenarios flooded her head. Her whole world had come apart at seams.
True love draws a fine line between excitement and fear. At that very moment, she received a call from the local hospital, to which she immediately drove to.
She saw him lying there, unconscious. Fortunately, according to the doctors he would be fine and should wake up in a few hours.
She sat down next to him, their faces lit up by the single lamp in the room. And that’s how they spent their night. Talking. Somehow smiling at each other. Life is made up of the best moments, and despite everything, this really was one of them.
Texts by all the other participants
8th and 9th graders
Maria Carmo Neves, 8ºA
When you’re a kid you dream of being a teenager .You dream of independence and being able to be free and to have responsibilities but let’s be honest, when you’re a kid everything is exciting and that’s what makes it so hard to leave that part of you to become a teenager. Once you’re thirteen you are officially a teenager and in the first months nothing changes. You feel the same way as you always felt but as your body is going through physical and mental changes you start to feel different and start questioning yourself. Suddenly everything is a big deal the way you look, how you talk,how you think,it seems that now you actually
woke up to the real world.
In school is where you grow up the most because you are surrounded by kids of your age who are going through the same changes as you but no one talks about how difficult it is
handling new emotions. I don’t know why but are we embarrassed? We are going through the same thing but I guess we all have to keep some kind of posture so we don’t look stupid by sharing our emotions.It’s weird how you can’t show that your sad or that your going through something without someone making fun of you.
So you feel very alone you can’t tell your parents because you feel that they won’t understand you,and besides you have now responsibilities so you don’t have time to tell them what you feel.Those emotions start to come more often you start to feel depressed,you have no motivation,you just want to be alone.You know that is normal to feel that way because of hormones but you just want to disappear.
You get scared of how strong those emotions are, you don’t know how to control them and they become stronger as you don’t talk to anyone and that’s one of the big problems of being a teenager.Everyone tells to enjoy these years before you go to college but the pressure to make everything nice and clean and to not get in trouble and being just a normal human being is exhausting.
One of the most stressful things about being a teenager is school and your academic path.When you’re a kid you want to be so many things and it seems easy to achieve them but once you start to grow up and realize that’s much more difficult than it seems.You eventually have to start thinking about it,were do you want to go or which course is interesting and will i like this. Will I have a future based on this subject?
Everyone tells you to apply yourself to study so you get a good future so you can have a house, a family and make good money.And you see people going to medicine or becoming lawyers and scientists and then there you are,you don’t know what to do with your life.You feel lost. Its so stressful to become someone in life,because there’s no plan if everything goes wrong, What if you decide to go one way but you’re not enjoying it?You just wasted a few years where you could be doing something else.
I also feel that nowadays the subject that you choose can be very underestimated because everybody wants to be a doctor because it’s such a difficult path but in the end it’s worth every sacrifice and it gives a lot of financial opportunities,but what if I want to pursue arts?You can’t compare being a doctor with being a painter or something else. There will always be someone judging you by your choice.And i think that is very stressful and a lot of pressure to put on just a fifteen year old when he has to choose which course he wants to go to in high school.
I think that being a teenager has made me realize who i really am but there’s still a lot I don’t know and maybe i will never know,Its weird because talking from experience i was not
prepared for what i went through i used to wake up sad but in a couple hours later i was happy and laughing and that was so confusing. I know that these mood swings are normal for
a teenager like me but I’m still getting used to it and I’m only have two years of experience but after all this is what life and death is about.
Because there won’t be another life
Beatriz Antunes, 8º1ª
Between four walls and an immense darkness, there she was, expressing her pain through heavy tears that fell down her face into the light rose sheet. They were tears full of anguish
that fell quickly, soon replaced by others.
So she gave up. Gave up of waiting every night, motionless, hoping for a better tomorrow,because as soon as she faced the vast sea in front of her, sooner she’d be floating in its dark waters, lost in an infinite sleep.
Because the only question was, how would she light up a world as dark with such little time in it? Because every century, year, month, week, day, hour, minute, second, people come and go.
Because now we can have the world, and, just like that, lose it all.
Because every minute that we waste by just existing, will be the minute that we’ll beg for at the very end.
There are always more reasons to live than to die, and when the heart stops because we want it to, we go from victim to guilty, guilty for cutting all our chances of happiness in this world.
No one said it was gonna be easy, but no one authorized you to give up either.
Life is the hardest puzzle to solve, a puzzle that we know what’s gonna look like when finished, because we know that someday, sooner or later, we’re all gonna die, but only us
can decide how to build it, where to start, and how long it’ll take us to finish it.
After all, this is what life and death is about.
Though there are certain words that never leave our minds, keeping us from moving forward and evolving.
For this girl, they were looks, personality, love and dreams.
She didn’t even know what she looked like, too afraid to look in a mirror, because when she actually looked in the mirror, all she could see were imperfections, even though she was perfect in her own way.
Every trace, every pound we gained is our history forming, it’s who we are.
Don’t let society make you a copy of everyone else!
More tears formed, but this time they were proud ones, because that was her.
Sometimes people judge the way we react, criticizing us, but what they don’t know is that that attitude comes from pain, not from us, and that’s how the girl felt.
Hold on to the ones that help you carry your pain, because at the end of the day, they are the only ones that know that you’re not who you act like, and will be strong enough to hold
I know it’s hard living with what feels like more than one person inside you, but don’t blame yourselves for not being your “perfect you”, that’s not you, that’s the irrational part of the human being, and it lives inside all of us.
A tear fell, but none followed her.
For her, love was equal to pain.
But truly, love is the process of filling a hole in our hearts, a lonely rose in the desert. Don’t blame love, blame those who can’t love you. What truly hurts is giving every piece of you to
someone and not getting anything back.
Unreciprocated love is bad, but not letting go is much worse.
Our time will come, we will all find that someone who will love us as we are, but meanwhile, enjoy the little romances until you find your forever.
No tears fell.
Her life was too short to accomplish all her dreams, but there were ones she was too afraid to even try.
Some of our dreams depend on people’s opinions, because some won’t be enough to praise who we most want to make proud.
But if we spend our whole lives living off of people’s approval, we’ll never do anything for us nor be truly happy.
People can talk, but we have the right to decide for ourselves. The ones that truly love us will be proud whichever our decision might be.
Follow your dreams, we only have one life to make them come true, and don’t let fear crip in.
I’d love to make everybody know, and fully comprehend, that after this, it’s over, no bonus time, but I can’t.
So I’m just gonna tell you that everytime you fall, you’ll only get back up stronger. Trace your path, and don’t forget any piece of this puzzle of life, because they’re all needed for the final results.
I hope to talk to you again, but if I don’t, that your tears transform into rain drops.
The girl that finally got out
Gabriela Zózimo, 8º1ª
“Life is defined as the condition that separates animals and plants from inorganic matter, but life is much more. For us to be truly alive, we need to feel. Pain, joy, those feelings are what keep us human. Because we can live a hundred years in numbness, void, or we can live thirty years, and make the best of them. Take risks.” I woke up with these words in my mind, thoughts about nothing and everything flooding my brain.
Questions kept being asked, answers never coming. I had been thinking the night before, until I realized that it wasn’t worth it. Life would move on, wounds would be healed and scars from my battles would appear. And I was actually able to snap myself out of the spiraling numbness that I had been in. I realized that I was wasting the few time I had by just standing there, every day in the same place, waiting for them to go away. So I stopped. I left my house, and I went to a park. I sat below a tall tree, and I thought, and came to the conclusion that I had to start living. I couldn’t be stuck in the
past, I couldn’t obsess with the future, I had to focus on the present. I got home and turned on my TV and there I was, headline as always, rumors about me so untrue and cruel, but I had stopped caring. I had spent too many days, too many nights, not getting out of that house, fearing them. So I left it and went into the public eye, ready for all the world to finally see me again. Not gonna lie, it was scary as hell, but it was worth it. I smiled to myself and thought “I made it. I actually made it. I’m out!”. Every day for that week, I went to the same park, and I just thought. About all the people out there dying, every second, someone blinking for the last time, and how I was lucky to be here, and how I had to savour and appreciate and just be grateful for every minute on this Earth.
Because while I was actually happy for the first time since in months, I realized that even though I made mistakes, I was an actual good person. And yes, I made mistakes, I’m not gonna deny that, but everybody does. And the more often you fall, the stronger you become. And that is what life and death is about. You get used to falling, but you don’t stay on the ground, you get up. Because even though you are hurt and even though you’re tired, you’re also aware that every time you get up you’re closer to the top. Closer to being the best version of yourself, the one that you dreamed of since you were a little kid, the perfect one. And with these thoughts, I once again fell asleep.
I woke up the next day feeling as if something was missing, and then I realized that what was missing was that sad painful feeling. It was hard to think that I was so used to
being sad that when I felt happy, it just felt too good to be true. I put my headphones on and I just started crying. Not sad tears, but happy tears, because I was finally free! I had been living in a cage for so long that it just felt surreal to be outside! And I went to the beach and ran. Ran for my life. While I was running, tears started running down my face, but they were freeing tears, because I had accepted my faith and my reality, and I was gonna make the best game with the cards that I’d been dealt. Those salty tears felt good, liberating. I reminded myself of how much I had, all the people that loved me, and I realized that at the end of the day those are the ones that matter. And I ran to the water, the wind on my face, and as I dove, my tears mixed with the salty sea water, I knew in that moment that I had finally found peace. Because I wasn’t happy nor sad, I was just calm and relaxed because I finally felt free of my own mental prison. My sentence was over, and I could live now. And let me tell you, that is the best feeling in the whole damn world.
Daniela Codinha, 8º4ª
Fear. What a strong word. It can have so many meanings. Danger, threat, insecurity… Insecurities about ourselves, because everyone always has something to comment about. And those comments, sometimes jokes, are the ones who make us overthink about everything. About our eyes, nose, mouth, eyebrows, eyelashes, hair, thighs, stomach, shoulders, arms, hands and mainly our acts and personality. Words have a huge impact on our minds. They break us down.
That’s when I realized that we must be careful with who we trust. Have true and fake people in our lives. People who teach us a lesson that many have yet to learn. So, being careful with who you trust is the best thing you should do. Don’t keep your secrets in a random box that you don’t have the key to, that if it falls to the ground, it will open easily an let all your secrets escape. Trust your secrets in a box, which has codes, padlocks and keys. Those are reliable and won’t judge or insult you.
Insults are such a horrible thing but nowadays so ordinary. We all say what we shouldn’t sometimes, unintentionally. Meanwhile, there are people with the purpose of hurting and injuring. Who have the intention of leaving someone thinking about those words. But unfortunately, a single bad joke can change someone’s life. They can even laugh at the joke at that moment because it is “joking”, but later, look at themselves in the mirror thinking about what they’ve heard. Thinking if it is true or not. If it was an actual joke or were supposed to mean something else. Those people will always be insecure and hate something about themselves. Just because someone, once, made a joke. It is a cycle, a snowball.
While there are people who have a giant ego, who think they’re perfect and make no mistakes, there are others who are the complete opposite. Because they once were exposed to the societal “standard body” or personality, that made them search for it, look at it and then look at themselves. Realizing that something is not “standard”. After that, go to school, job or any other place comparing other people’s body, face or even someone’s personality to theirs. When realizing they aren’t standard, they’ll try to pretend to be someone they’re not, putting on a mask. But one shouldn’t have to pretend to be someone they are not. So, I took that terrible mask which held the real me. My true way of being. The person my friends admire for being herself, for not having any fears and regardless of people’s opinions. Someone who’s insecure will never feel completely loved again.
From the moment you start loving someone, should keep in mind that you’ll lose them someday and somehow. If you truly love them, it won’t be easy at all. Doesn’t matter the way you lose them, just enjoy it while you have that chance. If you know for sure that you’re loved, good. If you don’t, don’t start feeling like you are. If you do, you’ll end up hurt. When someone makes you feel loved, they’ll probably disappoint you.They’ll tell you they love you and then, suddenly, won’t. People don’t understand they’re messing up with one’s thoughts, feelings and insecurities.
You can lose someone in many ways. Moving to another place, having a fight or passing away… which is the worst of all. People can also pass away many ways. They can have bad health issues, have an accident or even commit suicide. That’s why you shouldn’t go to bed while you’re mad at someone, when you had a fight or something.
Because you don’t know if they’ll be here tomorrow. Life is unpredictable. They might even be smiling every day and making jokes about everything, but sometimes that’s just
a fake smile. A lot of people pretend to be fine, telling everyone they’re “ok” but they’re not. Some of them have bad issues at home, at school or at work, but sill put on a smile and pretend. Something that’s actually really common nowadays, is people hurting themselves to release the pain they have inside them, which is not good. Just like Joker,
a character from DC Comics, said: “I do not live in darkness, darkness lives in me”.
After all, this is what life and death is about.
The incredible story about everyone
Gabriela Gonçalves, 8º4ª
It`s hard to describe death, and automatically, life. Everyone has a different opinion about the right and wrong thing to do, and that`s one of the biggest dilemmas of life. You can feel emotions, sensations, and energy during your life, but that doesn’t mean you are doing the best for you or being the best of you. Because the right thing to do is follow your heart and do what is best for YOU, and not for the others.
Human beings still don’t know a lot about life and death. Once, Fernando Pessoa said: “If after I die someone wants to write my biograph, there is nothing simpler. I have only two dates: the one I was born and the one I die. All the others, between, are mine.” In a different point of view, Tolstoy proved in “The Death of Ivan Ilych” that life is made of experiences and a life not lived is not worth it. He also said a phrase that makes every human think, “I will cease to exist, and what happens after?”, he answered “Nothing”.
So let`s think about the idea of a personality, who doesn`t need a name, a gender, or characteristics. They “was” born in the middle class, good parents, good life, good place to call home and with all somebody would need to be perfect. And that is it, “PERFECT”, impossible, right? They “starts” school and interacting with society. Everything is going perfect, because even when people are just worried with high grades and useless things, they “is” doing great.
Before they “starts” adulthood, they passed a strange phase, adolescence. It can be a difficult period, where you start discovering what you want to be and do for the rest of your life. Scaring. They passed toward just like everyone did. And that is the thing, I know that you thought I would tell you the same story about a boring person who didn`t live and at the end regret about it. But you know what, I won`t. That personality will be more.
After facing a difficult part of life, they will become better. They will expend their horizons. Because if we stop to think, everyone had that phase which is adventure and unpredictable. So that is exactly what they will do. They will get out of home and give space to crazy ideas, they will make mistakes, they will follow in love by the wrong and the right person, they will be and do whatever they want.
They will grow and become a successful person, and not just professionally but also personally. They will feel the best that life can give. Everyone around will try to put they into boxes, which is an unreachable decision. They will reject it. An impressible achievement, which just a not real person could deal with it.
Still growing… And love comes up to that person`s life. They will find a person who complete them, it is what some people call soulmate. They will live, feel love. Those two will choose each other, accept each other. They will feel emotions that everyone one deserves to feel, but only few have that opportunity. Congratulations! They are lucky people.
Love makes part of life. It is the most incredible filling that someone can have. It`s curious how it can move people around the world, how it opens people`s eyes and at the
same time closes it. Some people live it intensively, and by one side it can be the best thing in the world, by other, it can be painful. Painful, because it is out of our control. If something bad happens, it will be the worst thing possible. But if something good happens it will be indescribably good.
They will do a wedding to commit with each other, to say the truth no matter what, to verbalize their love to each other, to embrace their bond. Together, they will choose to be and love each other everyday of the rest of their lives. It will be difficult, but they will do their best.
They continued their life changing, loving, forgiving, trying, creating… But life is not forever. The person they choose to marry will die. Humans still don`t know how to overcome grief, it is not easy, but it is possible. If we accept and mentalize that is not a bad thing, it will be easier, still not simple, but better.
After all, this is what life and death is about. Feeling everything that comes to you.Is about finding what makes you comfortable, and the most important, finding people who makes you feel unstoppable. Because that way, even when death comes, you will be ready, you did everything you could. So live and feel every moment of your life.
Maria Inês Ramos, 8º4ª
I woke up to that sound again. The sound of glass breaking. “I don’t want to hear a word from you!” I hear my dad shouting from the living room. They’re fighting again and me? I’m exhausted.
My name is Hope, and I live in a little town far away from the city. Ironically, my life isn’t hopeful at all. Living in this asphyxiating place makes me sick to my stomach, but I can’t
really change it for the better. At least not now.
I slowly walk into the living room, ignoring the shouting and crying from my parents, and open the fridge. I see a few leftovers from three days ago and some bottles of yogurt.
Yogurt’s good enough. I pick up some clothes I left on the dirty gray couch, and bring them to my bathroom, still drinking my yogurt. I have a mirror in this bathroom which belonged to my uncle, for some reason. It’s dirty, or is it just my tired pale face? My hair looks messy and oily but I don’t care enough to brush it. I walk out of my small house, glaring secretly at my parents, preparing myself for a new day.
This town has never made me feel comfortable. Everything’s so dirty and depressing, except for this one pub that’s open all night. I guess it’s the only thing that can make the people here happy, even if it’s just for an hour.
Crap, I’m late. Maybe this sounds weird, but I always try to make it in time for school, perhaps to keep a bit of sanity. A rock decided to be on my way and because I was in such a
rush and I tripped. I rolled down this little hill while probably looking like a cartoon character, and bumped into something. Or someone?
-Are you alright?- The mysterious person said.
They turned around and stopped all of my thoughts. Wow. I thought everyone in this town was old and ugly, but I guess I was wrong.
Her skin is dark and smooth, and her hair? Curly and messy, but not my type of messy. A good messy. Her gaze is peaceful, but at the same time fun.-I’m okay, don’t know how though.- She laughs. Wow.
-My name is Sunny.- Her name fits her too well, unlike me.
-So what are you doing out here? I’m guessing you didn’t awkwardly trip.
-Ah, I’m actually running away.
I didn’t expect that at all. Thought she would be looking for flowers or something. I admire her, even though I have no idea why and what she’s running away from. I want to get out of this crappy place too.
-Want to come with me?- She asked.
This girl keeps surprising me. I want to go with her even though we just met. I want to escape the trashy world I live in. But I can’t just make this decision now, right? What about
school? What about my parents?
No, I have to go. I need to live.
I drop my dumb school backpack. Don’t want it anymore.
We start walking silently. This is a part of my town I had no idea existed. It’s full of plants and small insects, it smells nice. Reminds me of my early childhood.
-Why do you want to go with me anyway?- She asks.
-Oh… Okay, I guess I’ll go ahead and say it. My whole life has been a mess. My parents fight every day, I feel dirty, useless and stupid constantly and I feel the need to change this. I
don’t care if it’s just for a bit, I want to feel alive.
She smiles, but it doesn’t feel exactly happy. Makes sense considering what I just told her.
-Since we’re gonna do this, can I know your motives too? Not to be intrusive or anything.
-I’ve lived in an orphanage since I was born. My parents put me there because they knew they wouldn’t be able to take care of me, so basically my whole childhood’s been sad and
empty. I’ve never seen anything other than this town and ever since my 10th birthday I’ve wanted to see more, so I escaped the orphanage today. I want to do this. If I can’t feel
anything more than what I’ve felt ‘till now then what’s the point? After all, this is what life and death is about.
Listening to Sunny was pretty therapeutic, honestly. Now we’ll continue to walk towards the future. Towards our new life.
Tomás Esteves, 8º5ª
According to the Ancient Chinese philosophy, the Yin-Yang represents the good and the bad, represents the balance in ich aspect of the universe and this can apply in multiple ways. The Yin represents the moon, while the Yang represents the son. The Yin can also be the winter, the female, the intuitive one, the dark, but no matter what it is there will always be the Yang to counterbalance the Yin and no matter how different are their appearances, Yin and Yang are not complete opposites.
One thing we know is that the Yin-Yang also represents Life and Death and that brings us to the beginning of life, the simple cell.
A cell is a small life form, it’s fundamental to life itself, it adapts over the millennia, it adapts to the environment around him but eventually the form of life we know will always die or take another form, like Lavoisier once said “Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed” in this case, everything adapts in different ways.
When a living being dies the fungi will transform the organic matter to inorganic matter and then the plants use the inorganic matter to form organic matter and the food chain
continues until they die, it’s a cycle. And if we take a close look at nature, what do we see?
Many say nature is peace and the humankind is provoking Chaos, but in fact, nature is the balance between two or more things, like for example when we look at the elements water, earth, fire, and air the 4 elements, the fundamental base of life itself, they’re in us and around us. Ich element as its opposite water is the opposite of fire and earth is the opposite of air. Water can connect with the earth to make plants, life, or even mud it can also connect with air to make clouds and rain, but it can’t connect with fire, and one can’t exist with the other, and the same goes for the air, for example, it can connect with water and fire, making lightning, but it cannot connect with earth because it’s his opposite, but one thing we can´t forget is that they’re not complete opposites, because if they were complete opposites, they couldn’t life with each other and in this case one can’t exist without the other.
I once a heard a person saying that the true nature of things is chaos, and you might think that is peace, but the truth is that they’re both a part of nature, they are the true nature of things, peace, and chaos balance each other, and from my point of view that is the true nature of things, but what is our influence in this world?
The truth is that, some say, we make the world a better place and others thing we only do damage to the environment for example, but we haven’t done any good for this world, we only did bad things, and now you’re probably saying to yourself That’s not true, but it is. The only good we did was for ourselves, everything we’ve built or done was for our own benefit, everything we do helps us but most of the time it just causes destruction along the way and by now you’re trying to prove me wrong, and you might say and when we help animals or plant trees, yes those were good actions but we did that mostly to fix our mistakes, to correct the destruction we have caused.
This is what we do, there’s a balance, we disturb it and then try to fix it and end up causing more destruction, after all, this is what life and death is about.
The lesson we need to learn is that there will always be a natural balance between chaos and peace and the more we try to intervein by destroying or even trying to fix it, it will only cause more damage to the natural order of things, life will always die at some point trying to stop it, it’s like trying to stop a moving car the only thing we can do is life a good life not warming the ones around Ous but helping the ones that will come after Ous.
My love letter to you
Tainá Morais, 9ºD
The moon was shining, abandoned by the starts, standing in the dark of a long night, not even
the lights of the streets could help it, the moon was all alone, like me, I thought.
In that moment, I got deceived by death. It looked so calm, peaceful, so simple. All I had to do
was swing forward and fall, yet I couldn’t do it, a part of me wanted to stay. What a shame, was
I a coward or a survivor? Neither both seemed enough to make me feel satisfied with myself.
Thank you, my love, for saving me when I was at my worst, “did you know butterflies can’t see
their own wings? They don’t have any idea of how wonderful and alluring they are! But still, their
lives have so much meaning, might you be a butterfly?”
With basic words you made me live for more time, and maybe if I could see you again then, I
wouldn’t have to be here, catching a cold, crying for nonsense. But the real problem is, I can still
hear your voice
-Wait, can you? Really? I always knew you were special!
I can see you by me side right now
-Because I am silly! Don’t you recognise me?
Why? Why you? Your heart made mine feel bad because of how pure and lovable it was, you
made my world colourful, talking to you was my goal of the day! In class, it was impossible to be
concentrated, you should know how much you can affect someone’s life, only the thought of
your smile when seeing my grades motivated me, even if you didn’t. No matter what, I always
had to do better, to be enough for you, not because I disliked myself, but I think you’re so good,
and I’m nothing, nothing like you.
-Ow cute, I’ll teach my secret, I think of you every day, that’s just how I’m always so cheerful!
Together we laughed, shared a kiss, and cried, due to bitter people and because of the love we
had for each other, the feeling of being betrayed, humiliated, worst, played almost killed me.
-Sorry about that, I should have warned you
However, I don’t regret anything! You were the best thing that has ever happened to me.
-I wish you’ve had told me this before
Me too, why do the best people, leave so soon?
-When you’re in a garden, which flower do you pick first?
The most beautiful one…I get it now
-Although, if you really have the desire to die, then what about a lover’s suicide?
I felt him grabbing my hips, pulling me to the edge, surprised I shout:
-Hold on?! You can’t….you’re not even
-Just kidding! -He interrupted, laughing and gently landing me on the bridge
-You don’t need the comfort of any lie, I am perfectly settled that you know that I am no longer
here physically, as I would like to be
I wasn’t that aware, is this what they call the stages of grief?
-You have to let me go, it’s the only way to move on, can you promise me something?
-Live, so you can remember me, our conversations, the time we spent running away from our
problems like little kids
Of course, I will
-Thank you, by the way, I’m so glad you finally told your feelings towards me, It’s like receiving a
living love letter!
Even if you’re not really here, did these words touch your true heart?
-They did, now it’s when we say goodbye
Yes, a proper farewell. He started walking to the edge, stretching his arms to the moon smiling
-Bye bye! My little butterfly
And he fell, blowing a kiss, disappearing into the air.
I’m burning everyday, everyone is, the invisible scars we have on our bodies represent our sins,
and they’re a part of us, but even so, I will do my best to live, for him. Because the connections
I’ve made with everyone I have a passion for, are now the meaning of my whole existence, after
all, this is what life and death is about, isn’t it? He’s my star, even though he’s dead, he still
shines with the brightest light! I’m grateful, that he still is, my first lover of April.
Texts by all the other participants
10th, 11th and 12th graders
A Different Detective
Rahul Prengi, 10º2ª
Henry was in his office, sitting on his chair, watching his betas
(1) swimming, when suddenly, Morning came in.
– Good morning, Henry.
– Ms. Morning, why are you bothering me? Do we have any new cases or do you just don’t have anything to do?!
– Ah, he hasn’t arrived yet.
– Oh, ok… Don’t you think I’m a good actor?
– Well, yeah but maybe try to speak with more arrogance, like even the betas are still swimming just like nothing happened.
– Really?! What do you want the fishes to do?! That they start flying?!
– You know… No, just forget it.
Morning, seeing Henry nervous, goes near him and kisses him.
– Morning, that felt really good.
– Well I know what you need when you need it.
– Oh it’s like that. So you know what I need right now?
– Unfortunately, yes.
She heads to shelves, grabs the only file and gives it to him. He opens the file and starts reading his notes.
– Milk is accused of killing his wife with a hammer and claims to be innocent. No fingerprints were found on the hammer that means that he was wearing gloves, what suggests that the murder was planned. The accusation is bought (proof: the papers that are in the file) and the judge already knows about it, that’s why she asked to investigate.
– Where do you think Milk is?
– He must be coming.
After 30 minutes, Milk arrived at Henry’s office. Opened the door and got in the building with the right foot.
– Good morning, Mr. Milk. Detective Henry is waiting in that room.
– Good morning, I’m sorry for the delay but the bus didn’t arrive so I came on foot.
– You don’t have to apologise to me. It’s not me who has been waiting for your arrival for more than 30 minutes.
Not knowing what to say to her, he decided to go to the room, but on his way he was interrupted by Morning, who said that it’ll be better if she went first.
She opens the door and says:
– Good morning, detective Henry.
– Ms. Morning, why are you bothering me? Do we have any new cases or our friend finally arrived or maybe you just
don’t have anything to do!?
– Sorry to bother you detective, but Mr. Milkshake… Ah, I’m sorry, Mr. Milk has arrived.
– Ok, call him and go home.
She went outside the building and Milk entered the room.
– Good morning, have a seat.
– Good morning. I will go directly to the point…
– Let me guess you want to bribe me, on the way if I don’t investigate, the case will be dropped and you and your
girlfriend can go to the Bahamas, right? – interrupts
– Well, yeah, it’s literally that. Ten thousand dollars and you are free to go everywhere.
Henry starts laughing. Milk don’t knowing the reason for Henry’s laugh, decided to laugh. Henry, seeing that bastard
laughing, changed his happy face to a serious face, opened his desk drawer and grabbed something. Milk was getting stressed when he noticed Henry grab something, so he decided to increase his offer. Henry, hearing that, he took out a cigar from the drawer, then asked if he could smoke. Hearing the answer he pulled out a match from his pocket and lit it by sliding it against the wall, then lit his cigar and started smoking.
– Do you know who I am?
– You are a detective.
Henry takes a deep breath and continues:
– I don’t think that we’ll come to an agreement so…
– No, no thirty thousand dollars.- interrupts
Henry starts to get more and more angry.
– M. Milk, do you know me?
Milk starts to sweat and becomes increasingly nervous.
Then Henry decides to pull out a knife from his pocket, gets up, walks towards Milk and sits next to him.
– M. Milk before coming here, you must have heard some stories about me, right?
– So you must know the story of this knife.
– Yes… People say that when you lose a case you kill the suspect, even knowing that the facts show that they are
– Yes. I presume you must know why I do it.
– People say that…
Milk spent more than 20 minutes telling that funny fake story, until Henry threatened him with the knife and made him confess otherwise he would be dead, his money would go to the government and his son would go to jail for Milk’s crimes. While they were talking, Morning was recording everything they were saying. After Milk stopped confessing, Morning sent the sound recorded by voicemail to his mother, the judge.
The judge sent a message to Henry saying that she appreciated his involvement in that case. Then she listened to
the voicemails first and was soon laughing so hard, she was in tears.
(1) It’a a species of freshwater fish.
Inês Ínsua, 10º4ª
Kate ran home that day.
The rain poured softly on the ground, like gentle tears. It had been an exhausting day at work, days like this one felt almost unreal, sometimes.
But yet, there she was! Dancing between all those umbrellas (if only she had brought one), sliding and skipping the grey streets.
The sky was the darkest shade of coal, when she finally made it home. Roses street, number 62, right next to the old yellow bakery, that everyday, at 7am, oppened it’s woden doors, releasing a sweet and cozy aroma that never failed to invade her small appartment, in the second floor.
As she made it through the front door, she could fell the warmth of the house, the now sticky shirt, that hugged her body,unconfortably wet. It made her realize she was freezing.
Her cheeks burned due to the icy soft wind outside and she was soaked down to her socks. For a moment, she felt like crying, but then quickly made it to the bedroom to get a change of clothes.
It was almost 11pm. Kate looked trough the window and sighed. Almost all the people were gone, she could see two black umbrellas in the distance, it made her wonder if one of them was Jeremy, finally taking a small break from work to get home a bit earlier to see her.
That’s when a thought flashed trough her mind, she got up from the dark red armchair and raced to the door, in an almost childish way, The old stairs to the attic smelled like mold and creecked loudly under her clumsy feet.
The yellow light flicked a few times, before poorly illuminating the place. When she was little, she used to come up there everytime she was feeling down, to look at the old picture
books and cardboard boxes, filled with memories. She skealed in joy, it was almost like she could smell the sweet schocolate from her mother’s fudge cakes…
It was impossible to tell for how much time she had been there, exploring the old canvas with unfinished paintings, when something got her attention: it was her old smartphone in the corner of a box filled with lacy fabrics, It was almost like new! Kate carefully picked it up, like it was an old artefact, and let go of an excitited squeak when it turned on. That’s when a notification popped up: “You have one unread voicemail message from: Evelyn”.
Her eyes widdened, she listened to the voicemail first and was soon laughing so hard, she was in tears.
“Dear Peachy,” it said “I know you’re not much of a technology girl, but I hope one day you come across this. I’m very sorry for letting you know so late my dear, but I didn’t want you to suffer, you tend to be every dramatic sometimes. So if you’re listening, then the illness probably got the better of me. Wherever I am righ now, I want you to know I’m thinking of you. I hope you finally got an umbrella, every winter you borowed mine! I bet you’re soaked to your bones!” it made Kate giggle, she hadn’t heard her mother’s voice in almost three years. “You must have married Jeremy already, oh! What I would give to have been to your wedding! I hope you had you hair done properly! It was always tangled. I hope you are happy right now, I’m sure you are, you have always been so strong! I’m sending loads of kisses to you and your father!” Kate didn’t know how feel at this point, there were tears rolling down her cheecks, but they weren’t sad tears! She kept laughing softly, her mother always always knew how to cheer her up. “Oh!” She jumped in surprise, as she had tought the message was over. “Here’s my recipe of chocolate fudge cake, you never wrote it down, but I’m sure you miss it: …”
That’s when she heard the keys from down stairs, followed by a raspy voice: “Katelyn, I’m home!”, Jeremy had arrived. “I’ll be right downstairs!” she yelled back.
Before leaving the attic, she picked up the phone and recorded a message herself: “Hi mom! Just wanted to let you know that I followed your advice: I have an umbrella now, and I never forget to keep tea around the house! Me and Jeremy are doing well and I finally graduated. You were right, I do miss your cake, but I miss you the most.” she felt silly. As she was going downstairs, she looked at a mirror and she could have sworn to see her mother’s face staring right back at her. Everyone said she pulled after her. Kate smilled.
The next morning she left the house. She was holding an umbrella.
Beatriz Xavier, 10º7ª
Everytime she felt like this she would go to her office.About what she´s feeling,well we cannot talk about it.She cannot talk about it.The feeling she never welcomed and never
send way.It cannot be described better than a melancholic and heart break.”Who broke her heart?” they ask.Time.
About that nurting office, there was nothing special about it beside all of her thoughts hided in his walls. A small simple desk near to the window where she spends her nights writting
in her old type machine driking her coffee and smoking her usual paramont pack, sometimes Cammel, giving dramatic breaths in the cigarette with the same misanthropy of her morning cigarettes on the balcony.In front of the beautiful desk there was a big bookshelf full of the moldy classics, Vitor Hugo, Vladimir Nabokov, Garcia Marquez, some of her favorites that once in while she would pick up and read during
breakfast. Also already mencionned,that big window with the most beautiful view to one of the milion alleys full of gondoliers in the capital of Vêneto. Every morning she would wake up and spy gondoliers and their clients lifes. For years she secretly loved the gondolier that used to take her home after her work at the library. She knew he never loved her and much probably he would not even recognize her face after six years of boat rides.Every morning she would go out of her house to be exaclty at 6 on the door.He was always punctual. Every day the gondolier crossed the corner and appeared just as she left the house. It turns out that she came to realize that it consumed her and became sick. No word was exchanged during these trips to the library. She summed up smoking her cigarette nervously while resisting that platonic love.On her last trip on that gondola she decided to say goodbye with a letter:
“wherever my river takes me it will always be in this gondola that I will feel happy to whoever my river takes me it will always be in you that I will think.
Love, Io Jane”
She became a mirone. She felt that nothing moved her. Romeo had his juliet,Clyde had his Bonnie to give his life for but no one ever would be willing to do it for her and after so much time, she decided to live other´s passions. She would write about romeos and juliets that pass by her window creating the most wonderful and romantic love stories. It was
comic.She had never shared her love with anyone,but she knew it so well. She had the habillity to minutely describe what was missing in her life,to describe a feeling that many
know but cannot put it down in words.She never keeps this drafts.Religiously, at 5 pm every day after her third camel and after much thought about the novel she had written this
time, she throws it into the temperate waters with gondoliers. But she could never dream that gondoliers pick up the crumpled sheets of paper, from the dirty waters of the canals
and declaim the novels written on them, madly in love with their unknown author. Io Jane.That was the only thing they knew about her.
Alessandro was in love with this Io Jane too.He loved her since the first ride he gave her to the library.Since then,he would wake up early just to be the man that would take her to her destiny. He never had the courage to come back to that street after their last ride together. He spent his nights writing melodies about her on his piano and crying because she didnt loved her anymore.But the rumours about the misterious poet were know by gondolier, and as soon as he put his eyes of one of those stories he recognized the name Io jane. In fact Io Jane was not Io Jane. Io jane was an alias that she used to
use. Fantine,thats was her name.
Alessandro collected all of her stories and poems.Since that day he read them over and over.increasingly consumed than in the previous reading, in an act of despair and suffocation planned minutely a tragic end.In his old atic he recorded a voicenote to Io Jane. It started with a beautiful melody played by him and then his voice:
“Io jane,my misterious love,
Your fire hair burns my soul
and your look while you smoked your cigarette dares me.
I wont love anyone else,promise me you´ll meet me tomorrow in heaven”.
She listened to the voicemails first and was soon laughing so hard, she was in tears.
And as he asked,next morning,she was in heaven with him.
Rafael Carvalho, 10º 7ª
– So you’ve finally woken up.
Charlotte was confused, the last thing she could remember was the front glass of her car shattering. Now she was somewhere dark but she could see everything like it was
– Don’t worry too much about where you are, everything is okay. Tell me, what do you remember about yesterday?
– Wait who are you? Give me a good reason for me to talk about myself.
– Oh, you’re right, where are my manners? To put it simply, I’m God, but not your god nor any other human god. You died in a car crash yesterday and now you’re in the Void. Not many get here, so congratulations, Ms. Charlotte Smith.
Charlotte started to get dizzy with all this new information. Dead, she was dead but it didn’t feel like it, or at least not what she thought dying would feel like.
– Ms. Charlotte, you did well. Being an enemy of the Federation isn’t easy but stillyou held up for quite some time. I’m giving you a second chance, but you will have to do something for me. You’ll have to save your daughter. There is only one way to save her, you will have one chance. Goodluck.
– How can I…?
Everything went dark for several minutes until she woke up on her bed. It was the 27thof April and it was 6 AM.
That bastard, he gave her a second chance but didn’t give her the answer even though he knew it. She had lost her daughter that day but she couldn’t protect her herself from
the Federation, if she did, she would certainly die and her daughter probably wouldn’t last any longer. The only solution she could think of was sending her to the countryside to her parents, far away from the city and its dangers.
She woke up her daughter and packed the most important things and went to her car. On her way to her parents’ house, she started looking back in her decisions, choosing her path as a journalist and trying to post messages against the government made it so that the Federation looked into her life and started following her, her life has been living hell since then. Many of her allies have either been killed or disappeared, she was scared of them, they called from time to time, always saying that it was one of her last chances and that she had to delete everything and never to mess with them again but she always ignored it.
– I was so dumb. – She mumbled to herself – Why did I ignore them all this time?
But this was no use now, they needed to get as far away from the capital as possible and after try to leave the country.
When they got there, she instantly told her parents about the Federation and how they were trying to get her. They told her that they could stay there for as long as they needed but they would need to lay low for a while.
They did just fine for a couple weeks but in the 14th of May, she woke up to 2 missed calls. When she listened to the voicemails first and was soon laughing so hard, she was in tears. They had located her and were finally coming for her, there was no way to survive this. It was at that time that she saw some shadows outside and a window breaking, after a few seconds she had 3 men standing in front of her with rifles.
– Never mess with the Federation!
She woke up, dizzy and with fear. Charlotte already knew what was waiting for her when she got up.
– I said one chance, right?
– Why didn’t you give me the solution, you said there was one solution to all this didn’t you? If you’re God, shouldn’t you have helped me in that moment?
– Do you honestly think God exists? Please don’t make me laugh, seeing you and your family fall one by one was satisfying enough.
– Then how did I go back then?
– You still don’t understand… Let me explain, I’m not a god nor a demon, I’m Chronos, I wait for the dead to come and give them hope. You weren’t going back to the past; this was just an illusion for my own entertainment and there wasn’t any solution. Your species is truly obsessed with going back in time and changing outcomes. You were but a puppet in my play, a really interesting one I must say, I’ll probably make one just like you. Goodnight sweetie, playtime is over!
Ladies and gentleman, take your seats and be ready for the next show, the puppets are waiting.
Alex and the oh so Great Funky presence
Sara Hespanha, 11º8ª
They didn’t think it could happen, despite all the stories they heard and read, they had always either dismissed it as fiction, exaggeration or at least as something they would personally
never go through. Looking back at it was almost funny how oblivious Alex had been.
To be fair, it’s not like most people would believe it either, if in the same situation. Alex in all of their cleverness and overachieving, was truly just a socially inept dork who liked to project on fictional characters and their adventures, never once wanting to partake in one of their own, so just to reiterate they shouldn’t be blamed for not understanding what was happening sooner.
It all started in the beginning of the school year, they were so excited to be reunited with their friends that at first they didn’t even notice the peculiar things that would happen around them and when they finally did, well it was almost embarrassingly late. By the time Alex had realized that the weird noises they heard at night weren’t just caused by the wind or particularly playful racoons and that the weird grunt like sounds that kept being sent to them by either calls, that
they stopped answering, or by voicemails from unknown numbers were going on for too long to just being mistakes or pranks, because to be honest none of their mischievous friends, although renowned pranksters, were patient enough organize to such intricate plans without being able to receive the sweet sweet reward of their work the reaction of their bamboozled victim.
Upon that realization Alex thought that the best course of action would be to share their concerns with their friends, and of course with the group as aforementioned very invested in
pranks thought Alex was just trying to pull one of their own. Kori was the most skeptical of the group demanding to hear the audio proof and so she listened to the voicemails first and was soon laughing so hard, she was in tears, she couldn’t believe her friend was putting so much effort into a prank, she was almost if you can believe it proud, her amazing influence was finally starting to rub onto Alex, or so she believed.
Alex wouldn’t say they were surprised their friends thought it was a joke, if they were in the group’s shoes they would probably have a hard time trusting the veracity of the story. Strange nocturnal noises, weird calls and the most concerning one yet an overwhelming feeling of a weird aura or mythical creature that couldn’t seem to leave Alex alone. For a while there they truly believed the possibility that they were going mad.
And then out of nowhere during exams season it all stopped, as if it never happened to begin with, and for the better or the better or the worst Alex accepted that option, however
uninteresting that was, it still was far more comforting than the thought of having had a creepy stalker that got tired after a while.
And so time continued to pass, no holier than thou presence in sight, or in feeling, truly if it wasn’t for Ali’s somewhat regular mentioning of the stalker demon prank Alex would have probably forgotten the whole ordeal.
That’s also why they´re having such an inability to accept their current situation, why the heck would it reappear now in the final term of their senior year, Alex could rationalize it in their junior year after all it’s not totally uncommon for seniors to pull that type if stunt on their underclassmen, it was however very unlikely, not to mention moronic, to pull a prank on a senior, someone who’s already stressed out enough with college entrance exams and graduation.
Not even Kori the self Goddess of mischief would do something so inconsiderate. So yeah it’s fair to say they were becoming annoyed, irritated and even a little paranoid because of their current predicament.
The most recent event that came from the resurrection of their most beloved unidentified being was finally proving to Kori, and to themselves if they are being totally honest. It had been a pretty normal day, Dames, yes they had named the ominous presence that followed them, Alex was actually quite surprised that Damian’s presence was barely noticeable that was of course until late in the night where the noises got louder than ever, the unsettling feeling was overwhelming, lights became fickle and if Alex wasn’t scared shitless at that moment they would most likely take the time to reminisce on Kori’s shocked expression and probably serve them a well deserved “told you so”, but then when what in a good movie/ story would be considered the climax, just like previously it all stopped.
Heart of Stone
Patrícia Rebelo, 11º8ª
“I just can’t understand why she would do this! Even yesterday we were singing that song…Smells Like Teen Spirit, a Kurt Cobain song.” Ainsley said to her father with tears in her eyes. He stood there in silence so she decided to tell him what happened.
Ainsley knew things weren’t perfect. Since her dad moved away to his new home, her mother hasn’t been the same. Yes of course they still sing their favourite songs and dance to the music on the radio or on their Spotify playlist, but she doesn’t seem as happy as before. Now she spends less time with her friends or talking to her daughter and more time working
or taking long walks at night. Countless sleepless nights for both of them, one because of God knows what, and for Ainsley because she was worried about Candace.
A couple of days before everything went down, Ainsley was discussing with her mother the reason why she wasn’t studying as hard as before. “I’m just unmotivated!” Ainsley said. Candace was obviously worried about this statement, she was afraid her daughter would fall into the same pit she was already in. Thoughts came rushing through her head “Is this my fault? Did I pull her into this?”. Due to her mothers overthinking a fight began between the the two of them and it only ended when Ansley yelled “I’m done with you!” and went to her room banging the door. Candace was devastated, and didn’t even close her eyes that night. Days went by and slowly things were coming back to normal, but they always felt unsure to Ainsley. Were they really at peace with each other or were they faking everything?
Unfortunately, the day before destiny played a trick on Ainsley, she and her mother fought again, and this time was even worse. Names were called, screams were shouted and hearts were broken. They didn’t exchange a word that day, it was too much rage accumulated to even think about looking at each other.
Then finally that horrific day arrived. It started as a normal morning. Ainsley and her mother woke up and took a shower, each one in a different place of the house. At 7:25 a.m., breakfast time, Candace was making pancakes to apologise when Ainsley walked in. ”I don’t want none of your stupid food!” she said. Candace replied with a sweet “Honeycomb, I’m sorry, c’mon let’s talk about this?”. She was ignored. Her little one quickly packed her school bag and slammed the door behind her, heading to school without looking back.
Candace stood there impassive and cold.
The day was going as usual for Ainsley, Maths and Chemistry went ok but she really didn’t get much out of Biology. It’s lunch break and her phone rings. It’s her mother. “She must
want to apologise… You know what, I don’t care!” Ainsley thinks to herself.
Hours went by and when she looked at her phone she rolled her eyes “13 missed calls from Mom <3” “7 messages from Mom <3”.
Ainsley was finally on her last break before the final class, so she decided to pick up her phone and listen to what her mother had to say. She listened to the voicemails first and was soon laughing so hard, she was in tears.The world disappeared for a moment and she felt like falling into the abyss. “What does this mean? Is she okay?” Ainsley was ready to go home and talk to her mother when a teacher stopped her and said that she had a call.
“Hello? Is this Ainsley?” She confirmed with tears in her eyes “Ainsley I’m sorry to inform you…” and right there she heard what she feared the most. Her heart stopped.
The girl began to run like she never did before, heading to her father’s. It’s cold up in the hills. “I just can’t understand why she would do this![…]” right where we started. Her father stood in silence in front of her. “You know what dad?! I know you were always a man of few words, but it’s hard not hearing a word coming from your mouth today”. Silence kept filling the air. The hills can be so cold.”I can’t do this anymore, I give up!” Tears start running down Ainsley’s face, watering the earth.
“Today, more than ever, it’s hurting me not only your heart of stone… You always had it whether I liked it or not. Today it’s hurting me even more that all of you is cold grey granite.
Just a name and some dates with the memory of you”.
Guilherme Veiga, 11º 10ª
It’s evening, in an apartment somewhere in Florence, Italy. A young man and a young woman, by the window listen to an old, slightly degraded, vinyl that they bought in a second hand fair near the Arno river, while studying Philosophy of Art.
While they are enjoying their vinyl, their friends are partying next door. The young man and the young woman needed space, they needed to breathe, get some fresh air. Although the party started 2 hours before, the intrusive and repetitive songs that were being played next door wouldn’t stop before 3 a.m, and both knew it, however sharing headphones with each other cleared their heads from the externals noises. They enjoy their friends company, but witnessed too many parties in the last few weeks. It was the end of the last term, they were focused in working hard to achieve their final goals. Although both distracted.
The young man, known as Cesare had a vast world of interests. Cesare, hazel hair, beautiful big brown eyes, with slightly tanned skin, from Palermo. Cesare wanted to study Sociology, Latin, Painting, but he also had his mind in music and the young woman he shares interests and spends his time with, Ginevra. Ginevra, a gorgeous blonde intellect with ginger spots, shinny and detailed greenish and grey eyes, from Mendrisio. Passionate about literature and all different kinds of art forms. They shared interests in everything and really got well with each other.
Currently were discussing about the vinyl they finished listening while you were reading the context of this story. Daydream Nation, a long play disc from 1988, by the authorship of Sonic Youth, an interesting and ambitious alternative band. Ginevra and Cesare listened to the whole album together without saying a word until the end. In the end both came to an agreement, as always.
They were magnified, but one song in specific, Teen Age Riot, the first song on the album, was highlighted from the start on their ears. This song meant relatability lyrically to both of them, but also sonically. The crispy and noisy, but catchy nature of the song amazed both Ginevra and Cesare.
As much as both enjoyed the listen of the album, their minds forgot about it and were only focused on the song and on each others eyes. Cesare looked into Ginevra’s soul, and so did she. He quickly puts another disc nervously, almost scratching the vinyl, now playing the classic album Solitude by Billie Holiday. The night ends after many other jazz records played, while both looking through the window and at each other. It ends after Cesare runs away and says goodbye to
Ginevra. She worries about him.
The day after he skips classes, but at the end of the day tells her what happened. He sent her 2 voicemails:
-“Hey, Ginevra. I’m sorry for yesterday. You made me nervous and blush so I ran away. Although today was a different reason, I felt a bit shameful about yesterday .” “Today I had an accident, my little brother stuck in my mouth one of his toys and fed it to me so my organism had an interesting
reaction. I was all day at the bathroom of the hospital hahaha”.
She listened to the voicemails first and was soon laughing so hard, she was in tears. She decided to give him a visit and bring him his favourite snacks, still laughing but thinking about what he said.
She interpreted the way he wanted her to, so later that day she decided to also make a move.
They never stopped sharing their interests to each other, however, from the present on, in a more passionate, dedicated, and intimate way.
Mars, a new home?
Dilan Prengi, 12º4ª
When Imani entered the room, everyone else had already stood up for her. Sure, she was the president, but she was also a ‘she’ and had African origins.
This doesn’t seem like a normal day, for us beginning-of-the-21st-century people. Things have changed a bit. Nonetheless, was it needed to reach that point, in the first place?
The third conference on Mars 2064 was taking place. At this conference, almost every representative of each country was there, and everyone else was present- I mean, those who survived…
– Hello, everyone!- greeted the 40-year-old president- First, I want to remind you of your importance, because together we can save our planet! Since we evacuated from our beloved home and settled on this new planet, things have been different from what I read in history books, ebooks or even podcasts. Earth was undoubtedly the best planet in the entire universe. We couldn’t have asked for more than that “pale blue dot”…
– Sure, Ms President, “mistakes were made”- blatantly interrupted the British representative, to attenuate human wrongdoings- but we must move on and be grateful for what we have today.
– Right, all of us know exactly how it turned out, so we don’t need the nitty details about it- frightenedly replied the South African representative.
This debate kept going for at least one hour, but a consensus was not reached. We don’t need to set a trial to judge the criminals! In fact, who would be the judge? Humans themselves!? Or perhaps Fate!?
In the following hour, they discussed a hot topic, the Savages: people who remained on Earth after the evacuation, some of which suffered from mutations due to radiation exposure. Most representatives argued they should be eliminated because “they are not humans”. The President, on the other hand, and somehandfuls of people argued otherwise. She mentioned the European settlers who did
the same to the natives even after centuries of discrimination. “Therefore we mustn’t make the same mistakes.”
After the conference, she turned on the computer and started doing her endless tasks. She listened to the voicemails first and was soon laughing so hard, she was in tears.
“Congratulations Swahili representative for becoming elected the president in the second conference we held this year. You truly deserved that spot. I’m sure your words have inspired everyone. But I still don’t understand why you have spoken about human-made disasters and still give credit to those Savages on Earth. I mean, they don’t even know how to read and we can’t negotiate with them. I propose we end them and reestablish the planet as it once was. And we can also get
to live normal lives”. If she could turn back in time, she would just delete it right away,as some part of her died just from listening and laughing at it.
From both the conference and from what she heard in the voicemails, Imani concluded the representatives were all, in her words, “incompetent”, so sheorganised a small debate just with the citizens.
– Does anyone have any solution to prevent Earth from getting worse?- she started.
– I’m Aastik, an Indian scientist, and I insist everyone gets to know the truth about our planet, first- intervened the sixty-year-old polyglot.
The president nodded
– More than ¾ of life on planet Earth has been wiped out due to violent wars and poor resource management not to mention climate change. Less than 5% of human life survived. Both planets were on collapse- said the scientist.
The debate went just perfect and this scientist alongside others showed a video to all living humans. The Red Planet’s government also got a new prime minister and advisor.
Some months passed and the scientist kept doing research and studying new ways to solve Earth’s problems so humans could go back to the Blue Planet, reverting all damage caused in the process. He found just one way: to communicate through time using a drone to be sent to around 2050, when things got ugly. “Would it work?”, anxiously asked the president, “Have ‘Imani’ and everything will be fine. I’m also having faith, just as my name suggests: it means, who has faith in God, in Hindi so we are a faithful duo, although in different languages”- said the scientist.
The president was the one to communicate and she was pretty straightforward: she first showed the video and warned them to take action on that day. Besides, she almost felt like slapping every single governor at the time, for their arrogant and lavish lives, was a good enough solution, as she didn’t read or hear any of that in any of her fonts of information.
The Blue Planet eventually got bluer and greener. If time travel isn’t a possibility in the future are we deemed to self-annihilation.
The texts reproduced here are the originals. There may, therefore, be small errors that, on purpose, were not corrected by the jury.