We have  had a fantastic response to the third week of our Creative Writing Competition and for our final week have joint winners in our Published Category. Congratulations to all our winners! And don't forget ahead of Halloween next week we need your help.
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1. Jen Herron with her poem ‘What We See in the Dark ’.





Glassy eyes beg for light,

shadows twist in speckled mist,

an iris breathes in, out, in, out.

The hook rack distorts, sprouts legs,

writhes on the panel door. Can it

climb walls, clamber ceilings, creep

and crawl into drooping, open mouths?


On the handle hangs a tie, looped

like a noose. Its twisted fibres

thicken in shade, swaying this way

and that way, as tired lids flicker and

fumble for facts. Across the dresser;

a serpentine belt with glinting buckle,

squints like a shiny-capped copperhead,

its scythed tongue whispering possibly

within the hiss of the wind.


The back chair has sprung a hump,

it hunches in the corner, its lumps

convulse and ripple in dark debris,

dull specks that dart in obscurity.

At the edge of the bed glides a

grey gloom grimacing in air.

Eyes closed, head turned, teeth clamped,

my chest feels what sense ignores,

the suffocating weight of nothing at all.

2. Anthony Kelly with his story ‘The Hill’.


Philip Marshall walked the hills, that’s what he did.

He was a member of various hill walking groups, he’d joined Meetup  and went on foraging weekends.

However most days he went out alone, he found the company of other humans grating and although he could stomach people. He often felt emotionally crippled afterwards.

He was tall and thin, a civil servant and he liked to think he was witty, however his humour was too glib and smart really for others too like.

Humour is subjective and the trick is really not to joke at members of your own company but rather to joke about others, ideally people you don’t know as too avoid personal slights and injury.

Philip however had no idea nor care for boundaries.

Social isolation was inevitable one for him rather than a behavioural one adopted for the greater good.

With the Pandemic and the travel limitations imposed he stepped up his walking to get his exercise in.

He roamed the outer reaches of West Dublin, beyond Tallaght and roamed the woods and hiking trails creeping ever closer to the Wicklow border.

He found a rocky trail that went upwards away from the road near the Border and the Kippure mountain.

The area was full of managed forests and huge swathes had been cut recently. The ground was torn up, roots and broken trunks screamed vertically out of the ground like sinking ships. The trees and roots were grey and looked like broken statues.

The trail went up, a little rough and long but easy for an experienced hiker like him. He heard a series of noises, like gunshots or muffled explosions and he looked around.

He knew there was an Irish Army training base nearby, how exciting. He doubted he’d see any explosions but then again once you were on an adventure, anything could happen.

He wondered if hikers ever randomly walked onto firing ranges and were blown up by artillery or grenades.

It might be very hard to find the bodies, he thought.


He thought about some of his work colleagues and thought, maybe he had a way to kill them all.

He took a break by a severed tree trunk along the watery trail. It looked hardly frequented, very rough in places. This area was scantly visited.

Looking back towards Dublin he saw the Blessington lakes. Shimmering in the distance the water had the appearing of Aluminium cooking foil, but not the shiny side, the dull one.

The clouds rolled like tumble weeds across the sky and rays of light like huge fingers pushed away the clouds. Mist and rain rolled over from the north west.

It was a beautiful sight to be sure, even looking over the devastation of fallen trees.

He felt a slight pain in his belly, it hurt so much he bent over and without looking around for other travellers he pulled down his trousers and relived himself on the side of the track.

He wiped himself with some cool moist wipes and disposed of them in a dog poo bag and carefully hid the soiled wipes in a corner of his backpack.

He continued on plodding up the hill to the sound of distant gunfire and an orchestra of grenades exploding in the distance.

He had an urge to see the men and women lined up, preparing to toss their grenades, the short sprints, the coiled toss and release.

He could see the grenades sailing through the air spinning and the the climax as they imploded, exploded and the noise reverberated about the valley. The jostling recruits would be overcome by an orgiastic sense of accomplishment.

He wished he could photograph all these moments, especially the queuing. Then again queuing with grenades probably wasn’t a good idea.

Accident’s could happen, what if you were standing too close to an inept grenadier and you were caught in an explosion with friends.

Philip left the thought there, he would never be there, more for his own shyness and fear than for any other reason.

The path it curved and descended down the mountain again.

He backtracked and saw a new pathway going up through the cloudline to the summit.

Clambering over boulders, he traced a rougher steeper path.

He fell, picked himself up and carried on.

He didn’t notice his phone had fallen from an unclosed pocket as he fell.

He hardly used it.

For Philip the phone was a phone, or a best a clock, rather than the uber functional devices that they had become, so app full.

Philip reached the crest of the Seefin mountain and saw in the distance Seefengan, both had passage graves on top, built in the stone age, burial sites with astrological significance.

The world was littered from Japan to Sardinia to Eire with ancient sites. He saw rocks to the east and thought the ruins an entrance to an ancient treasure hoard.

Walking through deeper bracken, He fell, into a cave.

Lit by spidery threads of light he saw his legs were broken, hairline fractures, bones broke the skin below the knees.

Around the floor of the cave was a multitude of animal bones and larger ones picked clean by dust and time.

A figure sat naked almost mummified on a stone throne, looking at him, Philip screamed with pain, he couldn’t find his phone.

He sniffled with tears, they seem to echo, he looked to the corpse then, it had moved, it sniffed too, sniffed for his blood.

It moved closer, slowly, it had a child’s form, slim, pale, fey with a crown of gold, jewellery of feather’s and bones.

It reached out long fingered spectral hand to his blooded knees and tasted them.

The creature spoke eloquently, some ancient Gaelic tongue and dragged him deep in the hill, through tunnels beneath the mountain. He passed others in cells.

He was taken to a hall and there, all were dressed for dinner.


The End