Young writer 2024

The winning entry.

The Glass Elephant by Zoe Lewis

Oh God. Glass is everywhere.

Hesitantly, I bend down to pick up the galaxy of fragments littered across the cracked pavement
but I know, it’s too late. The necklace is gone; crushed under the heel of my boot, scattered
across the floor. No matter how hard I try to rebuild it, the two largest pieces don’t fit together

The last reminder of home I haveā€¦ lost forever.

I am notorious for losing important things: my wallet, an old photograph of my parents, a
wedding ring. However, the necklace wasn’t missing, it had not simply been misplacedā€¦ it had
completely and utterly shattered. How can something so valuable be so delicate?

Scenes of my childhood flash before my eyes as if they were trapped inside the necklace: the old
school, my old friends, our old house. I could even smell the musky odour of my old classroom. It
burnt my nose. If I shut my eyes hard enough, I could even see the fishing boats coming into the
docks where I used to live. My cheeks are damp with tears; the ghost of my old life has finally
come back to torment me and I’m not ready to face it. Like the swimming lessons I used to have
as a kid; no matter how hard I fight to keep my head above the water, I’m sinking deeper and
deeper into the water. My throat closes up as if the air is thick with poison.

Perhaps, the most painful memories of all; the people I left behind. Ellie, Lisa and Anwen - the
three amigos
. Inseparable, until, of course we separated. I gently cradle the glass shards in my
palm, Lisa gave me the necklace for my birthday; a beautiful iridescent elephant pendant
attached to a vibrant gold chain. Guilt gnawed at me; guilt for abandoning my friends, guilt for
breaking the necklace, guilt for leaving home.

I falter towards the general waste bin - the only one in the park - and as I tilt my cupped hands
forward, the elephant tumbles into the dark void until it is completely swallowed by the

The Chair of the judges made the following comments:

An emotive piece that captures all the senses and is impressively written. The first couple of lines are excellent; both concise and expansive, providing a great opening. We are drip fed background on the narrator and the story is well paced. She convinced me throughout of the necklace's symbolism and how while some things can be rebuilt, others can't. A great title, ending and a piece that leaves the reader wanting more.

The other judges commented:

We thoroughly agreed with the Chair. It was an excellent example of "show not tell" and we felt the use of the necklace as a metaphor for saying goodbye to the last remnants of her previous life, was inspired and we agreed that it left the reader wanting more.

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