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Wicked Young Writers

Ryedale School were fortunate enough to have three fantastic finalists in this year’s ‘Wicked Young Writers’ Award: Imogen Coutts, Megan Degazon and Harry Coldbeck.

Young Writers: Imogen Coutts, Harry Coldbeck, Megan Degazon

Imogen Coutts, Harry Coldbeck, Megan Degazon

They were whittled down from thousands upon thousands of entries and clearly blew the judges away with their dystopian short stories. Two of our finalists made the journey down to London where they were commended in the speeches from the judges on the quality of writing from Ryedale School.



They were one of only two schools to have so many writers in the finals!

Well done to our finalists!

You can read their entries below:

Harry ColbeckMegan DegazonImogen Coutts

Bad Dreams

Britain, 2049.

Loud, artificial noise pulsated between the walls of Rick Shawcross’ apartment, it was 7:30 and he had 20 minutes to get to work. As he turned to nudge awake his partner, he saw her side of the bed empty. However, his concerns were soon swept away by the vague sound of movement in the kitchen. It was unusual for his wife to get up early, especially on a Monday, nevertheless he turned his mind towards getting dressed. After sliding lazily into a cheap black suit, he made his way to the kitchen to find Shauna sat at the table with a frightened expression. “Why you up so early?” he asked in worry.

“Bad dreams” Shauna replied hesitantly, “you know there’s been more terrorist attacks across the country, well I dreamt that they came to Brighton a-an-an-and they killed e-everyone, it’s terrifying Rick! How am I meant t-t-to sleep knowing there are these horrible people out there that w-w-want to kill us?”

“We’ll be fine, the Government has increased taxes to fund the fight back against the terrorists, and there are cameras and microphones everywhere. The best way for us to stay safe is to just do exactly what we’re told, the Prime Minister said the victims of the terrorist attacks are often those who are out after curfew time. If anything we should be more concerned about global warming.” Said Rick soothingly.

“Global warming! That’s another thing we have to worry about, all we do is live in fear.”

“Yes but like I said,” Rick was becoming agitated by his wife’s anxiety, “the Government is doing its best to stop the problems. Are you questioning democracy? The definition of democracy is keeping peace and normality by any means necessary. Look it up if you want. Think about it, have you ever seen or experienced a terrorist attack?”


“Have you ever noticed a change in water level at the beach?”


“Is it warmer than it used to be?”

“Not at all.”

Rick smiled, “there you see, isn’t that enough proof that the Government is dealing with these problems well. Right got to go, see you later.” Shauna almost said ‘that doesn’t make sense’ but remembered the Government was probably listening, and she didn’t want to question the Government because after all she was safer when she did as she was told.

The solitary fan spun on the ceiling, I watched its steady movements in a trance, the rhythm of its turns played over and over inside my head.


A fly; where had that come from? It buzzed, bashing against the walls, desperately trying to escape. It paused as it landed on my knee, it seemed to look around with its alien eyes. I heard flies can taste through their feet somewhere. Probably in one of my lessons. I wonder what I taste like.

Then it started to buzz again. No no no!

I lashed out.

It wiggled around on the floor after I hit it. Its desperate buzzes cut through my thoughts as it struggled to cling onto life.

I put it out of its pain.

Then I noticed the fan again.

I sighed nothing I could do about that. It was one of those days where it was sticky with heat; where ice lollies melt on the ground and your skin adopts a sweaty shine.

That’s the kind of sticky it was. Not that I’d seen any ice-lollies. Or anybody else with sweaty skin. Dr.Wilson says I’m the only one who sweats here. It seems hard to believe.

I sat in my room, breathing heavily under the relentless gaze of the burning sun. I look at my window.

Sometimes, if I’m lucky enough, I can jump high enough to see blue skies and clouds. I imagine being outside. The smells, the sounds, but Dr.Wilson says it’s not safe out there. For me anyway. All the characters in my books are normal so they can go outside. If I go out I’ll get ill. She says I’m not protected and they have tried to protect me. Countless times I wake up from operations and I see surgeons’ baffled look on their faces. That’s why I’m special. That’s why I’m kept in my room.

So I’m given the best life they can give me under the circumstances. I have food, water and clean air. I have an education and apparently I excel in most things. Most importantly I am given my protection. They give me books, stories, this is all I’m allowed to have that comes from outside. I am happy. Not in the way my characters in my books are but unlike them, I have different priorities. Reading is my favourite activity. I like fact books and especially story books. One of my favourite stories is The Elephant Man. I read the script for the film. I feel connected to him in a way I can never quite describe. I enjoy history books. I like the history of medicine best. Once, hundreds of years ago, everyone was like me. Now with new technology, doctors are able to cure ugliness, shyness, and every sort of phobia and illness. After years of adapting, humans have created the perfect version of them. Everyone is equal.

Apart from me.

Dr.Wilson is my guardian I guess. She has always been there for me since I was born, my parents died before I could spend any time with them. She was the one who called me Eve. She says I am Eve the outsider. Or rather insider. If I go out I will scare everyone.

That’s because I’m different. Not mentally, I’m not mad. But the way I look. I am the mutation. I have gone against the genetic changes whilst I was in the womb and have rejected all vaccinations to prevent me from catching diseases. My body and way of thinking cannot be altered. Whilst everyone is intelligent and flawless, I’m just me.

That’s why I have never been outside. That’s why I’m alone.

Pretty Equals Dumb

Tropical sunlight filtered in, the harsh glare hitting any object in its path. Gazing out I longed for home, someone was watching and flicked the view to night time. Clearly tropical is too interesting and that’s not allowed.

Yet another white shirt walked past, they all look the same, just like clones. I know I’m lucky, Lord knows I’ve been told enough times, but I don’t feel it. Being here it’s just like a prison. I turn to my beautiful companions to see if they feel the same way, clearly they don’t. Looks like I’ve landed neck deep in morons.

For the 66th time today (trust me I’ve counted) I wonder what I’m doing here. I know I’m here because I’m a handsome daughter of the UNAC (United Nations of America China) or that’s what the form said anyway. I’ll admit I’m suspicious of the ‘Government’; I have been ever since they took Benny. I mean sure he came back but more like mum, pretty but dumb.

Thank god I’m like dad beautiful but I still have my wits about me. Everyone is beautiful these days, apparently in the old days before the war with China, some people were handsome and some weren’t. Imagine that, everyone fighting over their looks, now everyone is born pretty and equal.

My thought train comes to a halt; the most intimidatingly beautiful person has just walked into the atrium. Her power radiates around the room. Even the idiots could feel it and by the time she was upon us we were all staring at her. She slowly walked down the line of us, obviously assessing us. She pointed me out and another boy and told us to follow her.

As I was collecting my stuff a girl kneeled down and said “I don’t know why she picked you, I’m far prettier”

I laughed “Go back to your village they’ll be missing their idiot” Someone else clearly found me funny as the boy who had also been picked snorted, and said “Jamie” with a wink.

“Alexandra” I smiled back. Genuinely happy for the first time today, looks like my new partner in crime is 100% not a moron. You can tell by the sparkle in his eyes, Benny and Mum don’t have that.

Following our mystery power women I caught only a few words, they were “You two are going to be the face of the new generation” The rest I missed, I was so caught up in the fact that I had just realised who she looked like, she looks exactly like Benny. The newer version.

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