Then and Now

When I was younger I believed in fantasies, now I’ve stopped believing. If they were real and I kept believing, this is what they’d look like…

The soothing sound of the river that’s clear as day, flows through the valley and harmonises with the birds that chirp their morning song. Pouring into the valley is light with a sprinkle of life. Giant sun rays dance down shattering the water into a billion stars that reflect on the river banks. The wind rolls around the sky-scraping mountains, skipping and leaping through the valley. Blazing sun lights the giant balls of fluff that glide over the silky sky. Smoothly, peacefully. Luscious green paves the way through the valley for miles, with little wild patches of pink, blue and purple dotted around like chess pieces on a chess board. An enormous big oak tree with a head full of leaves stands in the heart of the valley. Loud and proud it watches and protects all the little birds and children that come out to play. It’s tranquil and still but yet I’ve never seen anything more alive. From my little hiding spot in the mountain, I can see the village in the distance. Placid and alone, white stone houses glisten in the light. Pockets of freshly pruned red roses climb up the stone walls, standing out like diamonds on a crown. Glass stained windows of the church let out a rainbow of light, shadowing the village into a kaleidoscope of colours. The contagious happiness of the villagers fills the entire valley. The smell of fresh baking and roses explodes in the village, holding hands with the morning chirp making its way around the valley. Nobody knows where to find us. It’s perfect. The only thing that separates us and the world is the little wooden bridge over the river. We’re in our own little bit of heaven. We’re in a fantasy. We’re safe. 

 Suddenly three planes soar low and fast, whistling past my little opening in the mountain. The commotion shakes the entire valley. Huge rumbles echo around the mountains. Big green army trucks roll through the village. Men dressed in black, decorated in weapons, jump out of the trucks.

“BANG BANG BANG” High pitched screams of all the villagers fight the loud gun shots. With all the sound the cold, dark fear of the villagers silences the entire valley.

They’ve been here for days, weeks, maybe months. Time has stopped. The river, now murky and bleeding, holds the dying cries of vanishing souls. The putrid smell of rotting corpse fires a cannonball right to me. Birds don’t chirp anymore. They don’t fly anymore. They don’t come out to play anymore. Alone in the dying heart of the valley stands the big oak tree, silenced by death, the crisp burnt brown leaves slowly start to fall away. With every person that dies, another leaf falls. As for the children… are they dead? hiding? All I know is the sound of their laughter no longer rings through the valley. Gun shots and stone walls crashing to the ground plays constantly on repeat. In my head. In person. I don’t know what is real and what is a nightmare. With all the chaos from the village, the valley has never been more lifeless. More haunted. More silent. More alone. Burned down trees, smashed windows, white stone houses glare with sadness, now weep through the town. Roses have fallen into a blanket on the ground, covering all the hopes and dreams of the villagers that once stood. Faded and enlightened with sadness the grass is decorated with coloured glass from the old church glaring at the mourning casualties. My house isn’t the same, I couldn’t bare look at it for long. It’s broken. Sad. Cold. Grabbing the shotgun off the wall with any bullets I could recover, I don’t let my mind dwell on the thought that I am alone. That everyone is a hostage. Gone. Dead. Dodging all the men drowning in murder, I make my way back to my little hiding spot in the mountain. I want to attack, fight back, tell them to leave but not now, not alone.

Now I’m sat on top of the hill, in my little hiding spot, with blood on my hands. I’m a murderer. I’m a victim. Am I both? The fine line between murder and self-defence is almost impossible for me to see. I shot him before he shot me, watching the light leave his eyes as the gun left his hands. Petrified and cold but empowered all at once I sit alone in the valley that was once filled with life, now a dark corner of the world filled with death and despair. I said, when I grew older, I stopped believing in fantasies. That’s a lie. Safety is a fantasy. You don’t stop believing. Until it’s gone.



  1. Wow! Fantastic start! Look at your sentence starters- you have a lot of “The” in here. Try and vary it with a purpose.


  2. Look for the small grammatical errors.
    Think about sentence lengths- vary them for effect.
    Show the details- bring them to life and make them flow.


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