Junior Alleynian 2023


The Many Lights of the Moon

The Escape n “How long left?” I thought to myself as I huddled up next to Ishaan. I don’t know how many of us were here, stuffed in the room. I didn’t know how long I had been here, how many days, how many nights, unknown. As a young Pashtun boy, growing up in a small village in Afghanistan, no-one anticipated that something so grave would happen to a common boy. Ishaan and I had been friends since nursery. Now we were in our final year of primary school. It happened when I was at his house having a sleepover when we heard a car draw up outside his house. His mum ushered us into a dark room and locked the door. “Stay quiet,” she whispered. From the tone in her voice we could tell she knew this car did not contain good fortune. Ishaan sensed it too. She locked the door. We crouched in the room, too scared to move. After what seemed like eternity we finally heard footsteps coming up the stairs. We sighed with relief. Only when the footsteps drew nearer, did Ishaan and I hear that the footsteps were heavy, not his mum’s. A fear overwhelmed us again. We heard a key turn in the lock and we braced ourselves. The door swung open, the light turned on, I braced myself… “Out.” A dark adult, gruff voice bellowed into the room. “I’ll tell them” I heard Ishaan’s mum say. That’s when both of us came out of the room, comforted by her voice. “We are in danger. The Taliban are coming for my husband, Ishaan’s father.” She ushered us out of the house, only time to grab our rucksacks. That was when I got a good look at the man. He was short and stocky, and had a Kalashnikov slung across his back. His breath was full of the vomiting, alcoholic smell. He shoved us onto a black bus, a single weak bulb lighting the whole bus up. We saw that there were lots of other families bunched up together. Four sat on two seats. We found two empty seats at the back of the bus. Ishaan’s mum didn’t board. But before we knew it, the doors had shut and we had hit the road. There was not time to say goodbye.

n Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a sea turtle? Well, hello. Nice to meet you. My name is Tommy, Tommy the Turtle, a Hawksbill Sea Turtle to be accurate. I am fifty-three years old and live in a beautiful turquoise ocean. I swim 1000 miles every year but my first journey from the beach to the sea was the most terrifying I ever had. CRACK, CRACK, CRACK, I woke with a start, the sound of breaking eggshells was deafening. SMASH! I broke through my shiny, soft shell and poked my head out cautiously then my arms and finally my shell. Then I was free on the soft warm sand. Instinct told me to head for the moon and that’s where the ocean will be. “Head for the moon, head for the moon.” I chanted a mantra to calm my fears. I saw the moon, a balloon rising in the sky. I felt vulnerable as I hear the crabs clicking their claws and circling around me. One tried to grab me, but I dodged and dived like a rugby player scoring a try. I ran as fast as I could. Just when I thought I had made it to the ocean, I felt something unusual underneath me, it was hard and cold nothing like the soft, warm sand I had been used to – a road! I had gone terribly wrong. I heard tooting horns and was dazzled by headlights from cars. I looked around me, lights everywhere shone so brightly you would have been able to see them from the moon. Disoriented I tripped off the pavement but managed to cling on precariously. Fortunately, during that fateful night luck was on my side. An adorable monkey came to rescue me. “Hop on, I’ll take you home.” He said kindly. I rode on his back and finally I could see the waves dancing towards the sand. I felt like a bird released from its cage. Freedom! Later I was swimming along joyfully and thought I saw a delicious jellyfish. It was horrifying to discover it was a plastic bag. I choked and coughed and just when I thought I had taken my last butt breath (true fact, we breathe through our bottoms), a delightful dolphin came to my rescue and solemnly said “you will have to get used to this.” I survived. Millions don’t. We are critically endangered mainly due to light and plastic pollution. The future of our oceans depends on YOU!

That’s when I knew what had happened.

I had just managed to doze off when we stopped with a sudden jolt. We all got ushered off the bus, up some plastic stairs. There were about 60 or so people on the bus. I was one of the lucky ones. As Ishaan and I reached the top, we heard screaming. As quick as a flash, I spun around. The bottom half of the staircase had collapsed, sending almost half of the people to their rocky grave. It was a plane. I thought my eyes had deceived me. But they hadn’t. We clambered in. There were no seats. We leant against the wall. The door slammed shut. Our bodies shook and jolted around. Then we were in the air. I don’t remember anything else of the ride. I heard singing. I awoke at once. The door was open. I saw the flag of Germany.

By Tommy, Year 4 (Howard House)

All had gone to plan. We had arrived.

By Tom, Year 6 (Drake House)


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