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The Branford Boase Award for

Henrietta Branford Writing Competition 2016 - winning stories


Trip to the Future

by Isabelle Mills, aged 12 years,

 

A kingdom suffering under selfish rule. A world living without colour…

I closed my eyes. I breathed out slowly. I emptied my mind. Then it started happening; my mind raced in a blur of rainbow colour and I could feel myself falling down, down, down the blue tunnel. Diamond-white stars shot past me and I laughed at the exhilarating rush of it all. Bump! I still hadn’t got the hang of landing gracefully. I squinted as my eyes adjusted to the white light. People marched in simultaneous procession around me. Their clothing was all the same; just plain old… black. Everything was blindingly white. It was just like I’d seen in my vision!

“Halt in the name of the king!” an armed officer blocked my path.

“Um, is something wrong?”

“Why aren’t you wearing black?” he barked.

“I’m not from here,” I replied innocently.

“Not from here! Ha ha! The whole world is under King Claudius’ rule. You’re coming with me!” he yanked my arm and dragged me across the white square.

“What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?” I protested. I personally thought my stripy rainbow tights and floral dress looked quirky. I guess not.

“Only the King can wear colour!” he spat. We walked (well I was dragged) through another square. It was almost identical to the last one: florist, school, shop and flats. The people walking around looked so bored and upset; I don’t think that life was always like this for them. After what seemed like hours, we cut through a park. The grass was (yep, you guessed it) white. “Oy!” the officer yelled at a dog walker. “No pets outside by order of King Claudius! What? NO PETS! I said- oh never mind! I’m going to sort that man out. I’ll tie you to this tree.” Great. I sighed.

“Got caught wearing colour, eh?” a man smiled at me. He was wearing black but he had a paintbrush tucked behind one ear.

“Are you allowed to paint?” I gasped.

“I am employed by King Claudius as his personal painter,” he rolled his eyes, “but you could say I’m lucky. At least I get to do something creative and colourful for a living.” He propped down a chair and began to paint.

“So why doesn’t the King allow anything colourful?” I frowned.

“Well... King Claudius was the son of the great King Johnathan. He strongly believed that everyone was equal and when King Claudius became King, everyone missed King Johnathan. Claudius was filled with rage and commanded that no one must wear colour except for him. He takes his jealousy out on the people.”

“Maybe I can help,” I wondered.

“And how would you do that?” he gave me a crooked smile.

“Well…”

The officer came running back and pulled off the ropes. “Goodbye painter!” I called back as I was hurried out of the park. He waved with a paintbrush still in his hand.

I felt my jaw drop. Towering above me was the brightest palace I’d ever seen. Encrusted with rare gemstones, the palace sparkled like the stars. Over a wall made entirely from roses, a fountain bubbled and splashed in the centre of the garden. Little blue birds chirped to each other and swooped through the sky over the acres of lush grass and enchanting flowers. A girl with long blonde curls and a blossom-pink dress was sat on the edge of the fountain, gazing sadly at the fish lazily swimming through the water. The officer was busy talking to a guard so I climbed over the wall.

“Hello,” I smiled.

“Who are you?” she jumped up, looking startled.

“Ellie.”

“My name’s Felicity.”

“What’s wrong? Are you being held prisoner? King Claudius is horrible!”

“Actually, I’m the Princess,” she mumbled.

“Oh! I’m sorry, your dad is um, a great King,” I said lamely.

“No, it’s ok, I hate the way he runs the Kingdom too. I hate looking out of the window to see a land so dull. I know my dad hates it too but he’s just so angry all the time,” she muttered.

“Can I tell you a secret?”

“Ok.”

“I’m from the past,” I announced. Her eyes widened like saucers, “and I could help you show the King that the world should be in colour again.”

“Let’s do it!”

“HOW DARE YOU!” a voice boomed. I was stood in the grand hall of the palace with Felicity by my side. My heart pounded. “Why are you wearing COLOUR?”

“Your Majesty,” Felicity curtseyed nervously,” we have come to beg you to let us have colour again.”

“Please, my name is Ellie. Where I come from, everyone has colour. In fact, we take it for granted how beautiful it is to wake up every morning and see all the shades of the rainbow around us.,” I said hopefully.

“HOW DARE YOU TELL ME I’M WRONG!” he growled.

“Dad, I miss how it used to be,” Felicity said in a small voice. His eyes grew wide. I pleaded that he would listen. His face turned purple in anger. He opened his mouth to yell but then…

Suddenly, I heard a quiet fizzing noise. Then all of a sudden it got louder and louder and louder! “Yes!” I leaped in the air with joy. My plan was working! The painter from the park sprinted up the steps into the hall.

“Did you do it?” I gasped.

“Yes! Come see!” he whooped. We all raced out of the grand hall and I saw the King’s jaw drop. The painter’s marvellous fireworks exploded multi-coloured paint, splattering the bland streets and buildings. People laughed and yelled at the beautiful, colourful sight. One lady started rolling on the ground making paint angels!

“Don’t you see, Dad? Everything is better and happier when it is colourful!” Felicity sang.

“This is amazing!” a man shook the King’s hand.

“Incredible, Your Majesty. Never seen anything like it!”

The King beamed as he was wrongly congratulated by loads of his people. I held my breath- this was it.

“I have something to say,” the King grinned,” I am sorry for all the years I have treated you like you were worthless. This is my way to change that. From now on, every year we will have a Festival of Fireworks to mark the day colour and happiness was restored to the land!” The cheers were deafening. Tears of joy streamed down Felicity’s cheeks and I profusely thanked the painter for his incredible work.

“I am afraid I have to go back to my home now,” I sighed.

“But how can we ever repay you?” the King asked.

“Seeing everyone happy again is my reward,” I smiled. Once again, I closed my eyes and emptied my mind, and the electric blue tunnel reappeared.

“Where have you been all day, Potter?”

“Trip to Hogwarts?”

I was back in the classroom once again but for once not even my classmates could bother me.

“Colour’s a magical thing, isn’t it?” I grinned, and as I skipped away into the playground I looked down at my shoes and saw that they were covered in paint.

Josie Davies  |  Devon Davies |  Elsie Leiper  |  Isabelle Mills  |  Jessica Wood  |  David Wright

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