Bolton Shakespeare

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There were many excellent entries in the Bolton Shakespeare contest, however only one could be chosen as the winner. Our staff selected a first place winner and two runners up.


First place: Joshua Booth


After the End

“So I told her, there is only like ten people in the world, how am I going to ask for directions?” said a young man named Kirk. “And another thing, why would she want me to hit the rabid animals? I get tired too!” He slowly slid down the wall he was hiding behind. Ever since the sun decided that it just didn’t like people, the world has never been the same. And another thing, why he decided to take refuge in a school building, he’ll never know. “Nothing good ever comes from this place,” he said. He let out a slow, shaky breath and looked at the small rat beside him. “At least you listen to me and have not ra-” The rat scurried off. “Oh, never mind.” Then, he heard something grunt in the distance. A large, disfigured head peaked around the corner. Kirk was on the other side of the hall looking slowly at the beast, a mutated wolf to be exact. He’d seen a lot of ugly things in his life, but God had to show how those ugly things he saw were actually pretty (compared to this, anyway). At least it didn’t hear him. Then, something squeaked beside him. Kirk looked down at the rat as they made eye contact. “I hate you,” said Kirk, elegantly. “Squeak!” replied the small butthead. “Ah, touché.” Kirk didn’t need to look down the hall to know the beast was lumbering towards him it was a long hallway. Kirk quickly dashed into a classroom across from him. The beast slid on the slick marble as it tried to claw at him. The young man saw he didn’t have anywhere to run. He just had to be on the second floor. He sighed and lifted the wooden bat he had. The mutated animal had regained its footing. It snarled and swiped at him in the enclosed classroom. Kirk rolled under the creature. He struck out with his bat and cracked it across the beasts kneecap. It howled in pain, but retaliated with a quick snap of its jaws. Good thing it only caught the dull end of the bat in its mouth. Kirk continued his assault by ramming his knuckles into the beast’s wet nose. Repeatedly. He took the chance to run out of the classroom and make it to the other end of the hall. He looked behind him to see the animal come out of the classroom, biting off the end of the bat. “Jesus Christ!” Kirk yelled. Turning around, he ran down the stairs and saw the door leading outside. He could feel the eyes of the beast on his body. Kirk ran with all his power through the rest of the hall to the outside world. The beast wouldn’t leave the school. It was its territory. Kirk let out a heave of hot air. “That sucked,” he said. Then, he started walking. He didn’t know where he was going. He didn’t have anything to accomplish. He wanted to do one thing; survive.













Honorary Mentions




Tyra Miller


Once upon a time there was a young kid named Edward. He was a knight in the kingdom. He was still pretty much a boy, but he was so brave and intelligent that, without having to fight anyone at all, he had defeated all his enemies. One day, while riding through the mountains, he came across a small cave. Upon entering it he found it was enormous and inside was an impressive castle so big that he thought the mountain couldn’t be real. That it must have been a façade put in there to hide the castle.

On nearing the castle, Edward heard the sound of voices. Without hesitating, he climbed over the castle walls and followed the voices. “Anybody here?” he asked. “Help us!” came the response from inside, “We’ve been locked in here for years, serving the castle dragon.”

“Dragon?” Edward thought, just before an enormous flying flame almost burnt him alive. Edward spun silently around, and addressed the terrible dragon face to face, “It’s all right dragon. I forgive you for what you just did. You probably didn’t know it was me.”

The dragon was very surprised at words like these. He never expected anyone to stand up to him and certainly not in such a brazen manner.

“Prepare to fight, dwarf! I don’t give a fig who you are!” roared the dragon. “Wait a moment. Well, it’s clear you don’t know who I am. I am the guardian of the Great Crystal Sword!” continued Edward, who –before fighting- was capable of making up all sorts of things. “You well know that sword has killed dozens of ogres and dragons, and if I unsheathe it, it will fly straight into your neck and kill you.”

The dragon had never heard of such a sword, but this frightened him. He certainly didn’t like the sound of something cutting his throat. Edward carried on talking.

“In that case, I want to give you a chance to fight me. Let’s travel to the other side of the world. Over there’s a snow covered mountain, and at the summit there’s a great tower. At the top of the tower, there’s a golden cage where a wizard made this sword. There the sword loses all its power. I’ll be there but will only wait for you for five days.

On saying that, Edward raised a cloud of dust and disappeared. The dragon thought Edward had performed some kind of magic, but he had only hidden in some bushes. Wanting to fight with that impudent knight, the dragon flew out of the cave, towards the other side of the world in a journey which lasted more than a month.

When Edward was sure the dragon was far away, he came out of his hiding place, entered the castle, and set free all the people inside. Some had been missing for many years, and when they returned home everyone praised Edward’s great intelligence. And what about the dragon? Well, can you believe that on the other side of the world there was really a golden cage and a big tower?

Well yes, the dragon squeezed into the cage and couldn’t get out. There he remains, hoping that someone intelligent will one day come and rescue him.



Cameron Turner

I remember the cold night you brought in a pile of logs and a chipmunk jumped off as you lowered your arms. “What do you think you’re doing in here?” you said, as it ran through the living room. It went through the library and stopped at the front door as though it had knew the house well. This would be difficult for anyone to believe, except perhaps as the subject of a poem. Our first week in the house was spent scraping, finding some of the house’s secrets, like wallpaper under wallpaper. In the kitchen, a pattern of white-gold trellises supported purple grapes as big and round as ping-pong balls. When we painted the walls yellow, I thought of the bits of grape that remained underneath and imagined the vine popping though, the way some plants can tenaciously push through anything. The day of the big snow, when you had to shovel the walk and couldn’t find your cap and asked me how to wind a towel so that it would stay on your head-you, in the white towel turban, like a crazy king of snow. People liked the idea of us being together, leaving the city for the country. So many people visited, and the fireplace made all of them want to tell amazing stories; the child who happened to be standing on the right corner when the door of the ice cream truck came open and hundreds of popsicles crashed out; the man standing on the beach, sand sparkling in the sun, one bit glinting more than the rest, stooping to find a diamond ring. Did they talk about amazing things because they thought we’d turn into one of them? Now I think they probably guessed it wouldn’t work. It was as hopeless as giving a child a matched cup and saucer. Remember the night out on the lawn, knee deep in snow, chins pointed at the sky as the wind whirled down all that whiteness? It seemed that the world had been turned upside down, and we were looking into an enormous field of Queen Anne’s lace. Later, headlights off, our car was the first to ride through the newly fallen snow. The world outside the car looked solarized.

You remember it differently. You remember that the cold settled in stages, that small curve of light was shaved from the moon night after night, until you were no longer surprised the sky was black, that the chipmunk ran to hide in the dark, not simply to a door that led to its escape. Our visitors told the same stories people always tell. One night, giving me a lesson in story telling, you said, “Any life will seem dramatic if you omit mention of most of it.”

This, then, for drama: I drove back to that house not long ago. It was April, and Allen had died. In spite of all the visitors, Allen, next door, had been the good friend in bad times. I sat with his wife in their living room, looking out the glass doors to the backyard, and there was Allen’s pool, still covered with black plastic that had been stretched across it for winter. It rained, and as the rain fell, the cover collected more and more water until it finally spilled onto the concrete. When I left that day, I drove past what had been our house. Three or four crocuses were blooming in the front – just a few dots of white, no field of snow. I felt embarrassed for them. They couldn’t compete.

This is a story, told the way you say stories should be told: somebody grew up, fell in love, and spent a winter with her lover in the country. This, of course, is the barest outline, and futile to discuss. It’s as pointless as throwing birdseed on the ground while snow still falls fast. Who expects small things to survive when even the largest get lost? People forget years and remember moments. Seconds and symbols are left to sum things up: the black shroud over the pool. Love, in its shortest form, becomes a word. What I remember about all that time is one winter. The snow. Even now, saying “snow,” my lips move so that they kiss the air.

No mention has been made of the snowplow that seemed always to be there, scraping snow off our narrow road- an artery cleared, though neither of us could have said where the heart was.

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