Annie Mossford

Becky Chatwyn

Claudia Dale

Georgia Wilde


Maddox Akers

Bella Carlton-Bland

Emma Wilkinson

Sarah Zafar


War Dog by Annie Mossford

The mud is up to my chest and I am almost swimming through it. I glance around but he's nowhere to be seen so I just keep moving. I must find him,

My sniffer begins to twitch. It smells ... familiar. Then, somewhere in my head, there's a click and I realise it's him, I bark for joy and slip through the trench as fast as I can. I slither past some man's ankles making him lose his balance but I am gone before I can know whether he fell. I have no idea where I am or where I will end up.

Everywhere looks the same. All I know is that my snout

knows where he is and that is all that matters so I carry on.

When I finally see him, my chest feels like it might explode with the amount my heart is racing. The fact that I ran here probably doesn't help. He takes off his helmet and his face is so covered in mud that anyone else wouldn't be able to recognise him but not me. I know who he is. It's my William. He is beaming more than I have ever seen before, and William isn't the smiling type. After what feels like a lifetime, he finally crouches down and ruffles me under the ear just where I like it. His hands are cold, so cold, but at this moment I don't care.

I follow William as he gets up to go and find some food. After a short slog through the trench, he sits down on a bench next to some other folk then claps his hand against

the bench next to him signaling me to join him. I am so relieved to get off the ground and out of the heavy mud.

I watch William eat his small bread roll and my belly whines for some food. I haven't eaten since I last saw William and God knows how long ago that was. My eyes are pinned on the roll. My mouth slowly opens and thick, gloopy drool falls from my pursing lips. After one final whine, William gives in and throws the rest of it towards me. I leap to catch it in my teeth and as soon as it enters my mouth I swallow. Before I know it it's gone.

Out of gratitude, I jump onto William with my front paws on his shoulders and lick his face. He scrunches up his face and forces me down then laughs with his fellow soldiers and I grin with happiness. Reunited with William and with a slightly fuller belly.

Once we've finished our food and had a gulp of water each, we make our way to a bunker. When we get there, William almost falls in with tiredness. I hop in and snuggle in to William, the side closest to the trench. He feels warmer now. Happier. He rests his hand on my back. I close my eyes and drift off to sleep, together at last.

A Good Boy by Becky Chetwyn

The world around me is so loud, the ground underneath my paws shaking violently every passing second, wet and sticky and clinging to my tangled fur as I skid around, racing after my humans through the exploding world. The air I breathe tastes foul and stale as I pant around the object I’m carrying, inhaling heady smells through my nose that make my head spin and stomach churn. But I carry on through the strange feeling, I plough on through the battle-field even as my lungs protest and wheeze. My jaw aches dully and I clamp down harder on the cold, metallic disc I'm carrying. My humans' leader, the tall man with the hard gaze and harsh, croaky voice told me to fetch. I know what I’m doing, I know what I hold, I know that I must be careful. The taste of it on my tongue is familiar and unpleasant, I do not wish to carry this curse much further. There's something palpable about danger and this disc is the current incarnation. Feeling a growl rumble and stutter within my chest, I chose to ignore the nagging feeling and dash through the frenzy, invisible in the shadow of the fight. But as I draw closer to my destination, I know there is something wrong. In a life where I've only ever known hardship, I've done well avoiding death. But not anymore. If only they had screamed louder.

They told me I was a good boy. They told me to stay. They told me I did good. They told me not to be scared yet here I am quivering on the cold floor whilst silent objects descend and explode around me and my vision begins to blur, blinking in and out. And I'm so very, impossibly scared. I should follow my humans; if I follow my humans, I'll be alright. If I'm helpful and loyal and fast, then I'll be alright. Even when it's loud and I just feel like hiding, when it’s so terrifying that I want to run away, I‘ll be alright. I need my humans. My humans always look out for me. But then sometimes a human will disappear... they don't come back again. I miss those humans. I'll always remember their quiet, sad smiles as they stroke my dark, mangled fur in the dreary darkness of restless nights, their joyous laughs and shouts as I run freely in their wet, small ground- passages and the look of pure, utter relief when I do as I'm told, when I do good and appear in my human’s moment of need. I want to save my humans from the big, loud noises. I need my humans and they need me. I live in a world of terrifying things but for them, I'd do anything. But I can't move. As I lie still in the wake of the bad men and the scary noises, I can’t even stand. And my humans left me. I'm all alone. How did I get here?

The Last Flight - The Story of a Canary by Claudia Dale 

I awake to the jerky movement of my cage being picked up. An old- looking man stares blankly ahead as his heavy metal boots thump against the ground. His helmet is lopsided and a cigar rests in his teeth. His grubby hand grips my cage tightly. I notice a slight limp in his walk as he carries me along. I let out a high-pitched whistle and he mutters something to himself. He carries me along for a few minutes wearing the same blank expression on his wrinkled face. I am guessing all the things he could be thinking of when I realise that we have come to a stop. We have halted on a patch of dry mud at a pitch-black opening. The man fumbles in his pocket and eventually pulls out a small key. He sticks it in the door of my cage and wiggles it around until the door slowly creaks open. His chubby finger sticks into my cage and tenderly strokes my wing. 

“Go on birdie, go on,” he coaxes in a gravelly voice, now attempting to edge me out. I hook my talons around the edge before releasing them and flying into the air. As soon as I step out, I remember how good it feels to be free. I do a couple of loop the loops which make the old man chuckle. He sticks the side of his hand out and allows me to land on it and nibble at his fingertips. “Go on now little birdie, off you go, in there,” he softly shakes his hand to try and get me to go. I glance at the dark opening warily. He seems to understand. “It's ok little birdie. Don't be frightened,” He looks at me with kind eyes and I am comforted. I hop off his hand and, with one last look at him, fly into the tunnel. My wings stretch out beside me as I twist and turn through the gaps, singing joyfully. I see him stumble in after me and notice him jolt as a loud boom echoes in the distance. I fly higher still singing, louder than I have in a long time. I notice the man looking up at me and I do a graceful twirl. “Little show off aren't you,” he grins at me. I am just about to set off into a loop the loop when I feel a burning in my eyes. My singing lulls and I drop a little lower. I feel my heart thumping faster and I start to pant for breath. My head spins and my heart feels as if it is going to burst out of my chest. I try to flap my wings, but they barely move. I am panicking as I feel myself dropping; the more I try to fight, the faster I fall. It has gone silent: no bombs, no distant yells. The last thing I see is the ground and the man stood over me with fear in his tender eyes.

Flying for my Life by Georgia Wilde 

I heard the creak of the metal wired door as it slowly opened. Cautiously, I flew off the hard cage floor into the open air, passing the small audience who had gathered to set us free. I looked to my left and I saw my companion Molly flying with me; together we flew off northwest trying to reach the sanctuary of home.

The calm breeze propelled us forwards doubling our speed, but despite this we were still over half way out. The serene atmosphere was abruptly disturbed by a strange noise and shouting in a language I could not understand. Small round objects bombarded us at pace causing us to lose sight of each other. I recognized the sound as I had been trained to, it was machine gun fire. I wanted to fly off but the sheer terror made me unable to change paths and I kept on flying in a straight line.

Straight ahead I caught a glimpse of Molly, dodging the bullets I accelerated towards her but when I reached where she had been, she was gone. I looked down and I saw the silhouette of my friend lying on the ground below. My heart sank, many a friend had gone never to return but I never thought it would be her. At that moment I knew I had to carry on alone or I would suffer the same fate as my friend.

What seemed like an age later the heavy firing had stopped and I carried on over the bleak hills into the treacherous battle zone ahead. The whispering breeze was the only sound I had to comfort me on the long path to safety.

Coming into the final leg I saw soldiers down below, this time they were speaking in a language I understood. I could see my landing spot in the horizon and I thought all was well but suddenly as before the soldiers started firing. A bullet hit my leg causing an agonizing pain like no other I felt. I tried to continue but my leg was weighing me down. Using all the strength I had I managed to preserve dodging the bullets that were fired at me.

I saw the meeting spot below and dropped into the waiting hands of my trainer Captain Williams. He spoke to me with a soft compassionate tone and took the message of my leg. He passed it onto a soldier he called Private Thompson, he was a small skinny boy who looked no older than 18. A look of triumph spread across his face then mine. The pain stopped hurting, I did it and I was home.