ELTHAM HIGH SCHOOL ANTHOLOGY
Ella Pilson 2016 + 18-20
Bottling It In
It’s all too much. I’m bottling everything up and my already severe anxiety has gotten worse. Damn you mum. I don’t want to go to another Counselor. I don’t need to go to another Counselor.
“Hi Iris, I’m your new Counselor. My name is Freda. Nice to meet you.” The woman - Freda grins widely at me.
It’s all too much. The woollen green jumper she’s wearing, the hospitable-white walls and the strong smell of washing detergent.
It makes me sick.
“Hey…..” I mutter. I just want to get this over and done with.
“Let’s have a seat. Tell me, what’s the main problem you’re dealing with?” Freda gestures to two cushioned seats.
I sit down.
“Boys - mostly.” I sigh. Boys boys boys.
It’s always boys.
“In what way?” She asked.
“Some are extremely attractive - but the problem is they’re ‘popular’ and ‘cool’ so they hate me and so it means I’ll never be able to date any of them, ever. Because I’m ugly and basically all of them hate me and my personality is so shit. And sometimes I really try to be nice to them, and sometimes I just can’t help it and I’ll say something stupid or mutter something under my breath or call out something rude to them. And I hate doing that. I really just want to befriend them but…” I burry my face in my hands
“It’s just boys? Boys aren’t that bad…” Freda says
I hear a pen against paper, a sign she’s writing down notes. Damn it. If any of the boys in my class - or anyone I know in general - gets ahold of these, I’m dead.
“It’s not just them. It’s my schoolwork and future and the inevitability of death and all my friends with illnesses - mostly mental, and my fears and my self consciousness and my low self esteem And this fight-like thing I’m having with my friend Tanis.” I feel my nose starting to heat up.
I don’t want to cry.
“Friends with illnesses?” Freda asks
Here we go. “My two best friends, - one has anxiety and the other has cut and has depression. The one with depression - his crush - one of my friends - was anorexic, has cut and has depression. Another friend has - or has had - panic attacks… And the worse one, one of my good friends Joy has Leukemia. And it’s tough as a friend to support her because sometimes I just break down and cry.”
Tears are dripping rapidly, I have to keep sniffling and I bet my eyes are close to being bloodshot red.
“I’m so sorry.” Freda apologies. No you’re not. “What about your fears - you said that helps cause your anxiety and it’d be helpful to know what they are.” she suggests.
Like that’s going to help.
“Mostly rejection. Whether it’s friends or boys it doesn’t matter. Also mostly judgement. And being in an inclosed space with birds, and looking in the mirror at night.” I tell Freda. I’m not really interested in talking about my fears.
“The fight?” She asks. God. Too many questions.
“I’d rather not. But it involves attractive males. I just wish Tanis would know my taste in guys is different from hers.”
“Speaking of boys, do you like anyone right now? What’s he like?”
“His name is Cayden. He has short brown hair, thin eyebrows, almond shaped blue eyes, freckles, a ski-sloped nose, is really tall, really thin. He’s a bit irritating, and in some subjects, quite dumb, but others, he’s really smart. I still have strong - like really strong feelings for him anyway. I just wish he felt the same.” I can’t stop. “Boys are one of the reasons why I listen to so much music and why I love listening to Taylor Swift so much. I guess a song to describe him is This Love by Taylor Swift or Colours by Halsey. But I really miss someone I used to like, his name was Theo. He had sandy blond hair and wild variety of freckles. He was really funny and actually listened to me. I know without hesitation Red is the song I associate with us. Especially the lines ‘Missing him was dark grey all alone / Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you never met / Remembering him comes in flashbacks and echoes / Tell myself it's time now, gotta let go / But moving on from him is impossible / When I still see it all in my head.” I grabbed a tissue. Wiping my nose.
“And if you could say anything to Cayden, what would you?” Freda questions.
“Kimi to futari sugoshita jikan wo, suki kirai mo, amai mo nigai mo, Zenbu matomete taisetsu ni suru yo. That’s what I’d say.”
Freda looked at me, confused.
“What does that mean?”
“It’s Japanese for ‘All the time we spend together, the good and the bad, a bitter-sweet mix. I'm gonna treasure every second of it.’ because the memories of the last boy I liked are fond to me so I’d like Cayden to know I already treasure the memories of him and I will continue to do so and I hope - one day there’ll be memories that are more meaningful.” I rubbed my eyes.
“Well. I hope one day you get to. Anyway. Our time’s up. See you next week, Iris. And try listening to more music if it calms you.” Freda beams at me.
I shrug, getting up and leaving the room.
I guess letting it out was better than bottling it in.
Thousands of years ago, Icarus flew too close to the sun. He was destined to become a god, but his foolishness ended his life before he had the chance.
Lily wasn’t foolish. She was determined to win the competition and become a goddess. It was held to find a human worthy of becoming the god Icarus was going to be. Lily didn’t know how to prepare for such a competition, and the moment she arrived at the arena, she almost regretted it.
Everyone who entered forfeited or died. No one had ever won before. The large oak doors of the arena opened, and Lily stumbled through them with the large group around her. She slipped into a seat on the side and breathed a sigh of relief, she’d passed the first challenge by getting a seat, she just needed to do the rest. Lily bit her lip anxiously and jumped in her seat when she heard a voice beside her.
“Don’t bite your lips, you’ll make them cracked.” Teasingly scolded a male voice.
Lily turned to her right and came face to face with a boy around the same age. He had wavy brown hair and cedar brown eyes. She rolled her eyes and turned away.
“That’s a great name, you’re as beautiful as the flower. Say, do you want to go on an adventure?”
Lily turned back to Matt, glaring. “I’m busy.”
He threw his head back and laughed, before grabbing her wrist and pulling her out of her seat.
Lily yelled in protest, but he was already dragging her out the arena.
Matt continued to run, never letting go of her hand before he reached an old sandstone building.
“Look, Matt. That was my only chance to be forever sixteen. Now next time I can try I’ll be 26 and what if someone in there ends up becoming a god today!” she shouted.
Matt just climbed up a ladder onto the roof of the building.
“Are you coming angel?” he asked.
Lily spluttered in disbelief, her face going red before she followed him up.
She found the taller boy lying down, looking up at the stars, and he turned his head towards her, beckoning for her to join him. And reluctantly, Lily did.
The competition started at 1 am, but by the time Lily had asked Matt the time after they’d been chatting for so long, they realised it was already 5 am.
“Well better to start now than never.” The dark haired boy mumbled to himself as he stood up and began to walk to the edge of the building.
Lily followed, confused.
“You see that boy down there? In the black? I’ll give you twenty if you flirt with him.”
Lily looked down, and while she felt slightly intimidated by the guy, she wasn’t one to back down from a bet and nodded at Matt.
And she flirted with the boy, Matt made a mental note in his head.
Lily climbed back up, a triumphant smile on her face. And once she made her way to Matt’s side, there was a loud rumble of thunder.
“Stand with me, angel. Don’t move,” he whispered, grabbing her hand.
She was confused but focused on how much warmer and bigger his hand was than her own until she felt the force of a strong wind. Trees around them shook, Lily felt like she was going to fly away, but then after some minutes, it ended.
Matt grinned, turning to Lily, patting down her windblown hair.
She looked up at him, laughing before he leant down and kissed her.
Lily was shocked but wasn’t disappointed. Over the last few hours, she’d developed a bit of a crush on him.
And the sun started to rise, the sky more bright and blue. Matt pulled away, smiling.
“You did it.”
“You became a god, angel.”
She stared at him in shock.
“Flirt with death, challenge the thunder, kiss the moon. I’m the god of the moon, and you, angel, you’re the goddess of the sun.”
The Universe Playground
The universe playground was just one small planet of many within the solar system.
Once a place filled with young, screaming kids mixing their cultures, it was now barren. It was one of the smallest planets, without room for any large ships, and only eight small parking spots.
It was a mystery as to how it had been so popular in its prime.
Saui, of the planet Saturn, was not the first to find the universe playground during the Eternity War:
She was one of the last.
Saui was in her lone ship, the gold and cream coloured circular, piece of technology with an oval defence barrier resembling the rings of her home planet.
Food had been scarce for a week now, she was desperate. At this rate, Saui considered landing at Neptune, despite being the enemy, if it at least meant food.
Ruan meowed to her left, his long ears flickering as he complained.
“Soon, Ruan. We’ll have food soon.”
Saui tucked her short, dark hair behind her ear and stared down at the ratar in front of herself, azure blue eyes piercing through the screen with worry.
There! At last!
She jumped in her seat with excitement. On the screen, a tiny planet, only a few hours away, had come into view.
It was near Mars, Neptune’s allies and Saturn’s enemy, but even if this was enemy territory, maybe the locals – if there were any – would be kind enough to let her rest for a day.
“I found us a place, Ruan!” She squealed with excitement.
Saui redirected the circle ship to go on course towards the planet, and laid back with a sigh.
Now, she could rest well.
Saui woke with a start, her hearts beating erratically within her chest.
The ship was heading towards the planet at a hundred thousand kilometres a second, Ruan was screeching with all his might.
She could see the loading docks, seven filled with small spaceships, only one dock remained empty. Saui couldn’t recognise any, except for one that seemed to belong to Saturn’s ally; Jupiter.
Saui let out a sigh of relief, if at least one ally was there, surely they would not attack her.
The ship slowed down as it entered the atmosphere, landing at the empty loading dock.
She gathered her backpack, drink bottle and pet Caüüt, who groaned with much protest, and unlocked the glass front panel to exit onto the planet.
Saui’s greeting was… not how she planned.
Six different people, appearing around her own age, stood in front of the ship, weapons drawn in a fighting position.
“Who are you? Who sent you here?” questioned the girl with flowing golden hair.
“My name is Saui Rauio Asi Tsugkiuön, daughter of Madam Sauirrio Tsugkiuön of the planet Saturn. I have come here on my own, as a runaway from the Eternity War.”
“Lower your weapons.”
The six parted, dropping their weapons onto the ground, making way for the person to enter.
Saui recognised the woman at once.
Her deep blue braided hair sat like a clown on her head, stars glistening in her eyes.
Saui bowed, “Your majesty.”
Princess Netaa smiled, bowing back.
“Please, this is no place for formalities.”
She could feel a million questions budding at the tip of her tongue, and before she could think twice, Saui was speaking.
“Why are you here Princess? Surely Neptune needs you? Why aren’t you attacking me?”
She laughed, the white jewel embedded into her forehead glowing.
“I escaped here to avoid being married off to the Prince of Jupiter.”
Saui’s brows furrowed with confusion, Prince Pujitla was a nice man, who cared for his people and planet so dearly.
Netaa came forwards, squeezing Saui’s hand in reassurance.
“He is a good man, but he deserves a type of love I am incapable of feeling.”
She nodded, her eyes wide, and watched as Netaa turned towards the others.
“Though, I do love my people, and my friends. Their names are Maricu, Eliza, Unevo, Ryem, Tiejü and Suran.”
They bowed, before walking over to properly greet Saui.
She noticed how who she assumed to be Eliza and Unevo; an Earthling and Venusling, holding hands, before snapping her attention back up to where Netaa was pointing.
The Universe could be clearly seen from where she stood, no sky present. The ground was covered in overgrown weeds of a whole mix of colours, a large children’s playground could be seen in the distance rusted and gleaming in the starlight, with what appeared to be some sort of housing hiding in the distance even further behind it.
“Saui Rauio Asi Tsugkiuön of Saturn, we welcome you to the Universe Playground.”
The 18th Summer
Salt on my lips, I kiss the air
The sand, a drowsy blanket for my feet
A warm summer breeze tumbling through my hair
Water of the ocean waving in the warm sun
I know that this is it, that soon I will enter the murky sea
Unknown ship named future, a single captain with a compass
Praying for more time, a lack of response to my plea
The sun hiding behind a cloud, too dark to see the path
I’ve spent seventeen years preparing for this,
Seventeen summers, eleven knowing I want to write
It’s not too hard to journey into the abyss,
When even the sun knows the route
I’ll take My life is ever changing, just like the ocean
The sand will guide me in the right direction
As the sun sets, I’m overcome with emotion,
But when the tide comes for me, I know I’ll greet it openly
A love letter to Apollo, his admiration for the god seen in his sunkissed tanned skin, the way he lies in the dewy grass, a melody on his lips as he sings for the girl he sees in his dreams. Icarus wakes early these days, when it is still dark out, to lie in the paddock and watch as a shooting star follows the same path, painting the colours of the sunrise as the day begins. It is in his dreams that he holds the glowing girl, dancing in a glimmering forest Apollo swears is real, her eyes shimmering gold with an underlying sadness as she promises to take Icarus there one day. But as winter stretches further, the days shorter and skies cloudy, Apollo loses [AC1] her spark. Her aura isn’t as warm, her eyes dull, her smile that filled her whole face reduced to nothing but a weak grin. It breaks Icarus’ heart, a mere mortal unable to bring life to his sunshine. And then, the dreams stop. Icarus doesn’t see her despite the village brightening up day by day. He uses this time - the time where Apollo cannot see into his mind - to craft magnificent wings out of a wooden frame with wax, plucking feathers discreetly from chickens to adhere to the structure. It is the night before the first day of spring that Icarus sees her again, holding the golden girl who is brighter than ever, grasping Icarus with a kind of fervency [AC2] almost as if she knew his plan and was scared of its’ result. And when the petals bloom, the bees bouncing around and the smell of Spring in the air, he straps the wings to his arms, his hands shaking, his breath laboured, taking a running start towards the cliff at the edge of the village before leaping, and he gasps. Free falling towards the dark and twisted abyss bellow, before he can coherently register his impending doom and flaps his arms, going up, up, above the building of his hut and the winding trees towards the sun. Towards his sun. Hoping to reach her when he reaches the heat in the centre of the sky. His wings grow weaker, his arms sore from the heat and the exercise and his face morphing [AC3] into horror as the wax begins to melt, and he begins to tumble through the air, too stunned to cry. His love was one-sided it seems. And when he lands, much earlier than he thought, he’s confused to find himself on a chariot, the girl with golden skin and shimmering eyes laughing like the winter bells. And when they finally arrive at the forest, slow dancing in love with the moss squishing between their toes, Apollo whispers her true name - the one holding power over her - in Icarus’ ear, and Icarus, his eyes watery from such a gorgeous promise, whispers his own.