Ciara Conway from VI form has written a story as practice for her coming Leaving Certificate Paper I. It is one of several short stories which feature in our book Outside the Frame, which will be published shortly (it's currently at the printers). Full details about it early next week. Meanwhile, here is Ciara's story. It starts:
The narrow winding pathway that led to the house was exactly as Maria had remembered it. How many times had she run along it as a child, panting, her heart exploding with the stories and memories of each day. She stopped the car before the last bend. She was longing for this moment. She wanted to be that child again, the way she had been before things had changed, before her head had forever become swamped with confusion and sadness. She reached out to touch the soft honeysuckles, their scent flooding the car like the memories which were spinning through her mind.
The house came into view the second the car turned the bend. Her first thoughts were how unfamiliarly small it seemed. It had loomed in her memory but now its modesty somehow calmed her. The whitewash her father had always maintained was a layer of grey, patches of flakes hanging down sadly. The roof was beaten, the chimney slightly crocked and the shutters battered. Age and neglect had come to inhabit her childhood home. Yet the summer growth of willows and wild roses decorating the house facade gave it colour and some of its former dignity.
Click here for the full story.