Teddy’s Tale

Written by Sparky


We imagine this is exactly what Ted would do. Do not push that button, Ted. Image // Universal Pictures

I remember how it all ended. The story is almost legendary amongst what remains of my people. The noise, the smoke, the endless crush. But it all came later; this is how it begins.

In the centre of our planet was a machine and it ran the day-to-day business of the whole planet, ensuring the globe kept spinning, the sea had its tides and the volcanoes acted as they should. The machine even regulated night and day for those deep in the heart of the planet. Those at the heart of the machine acted as gods, controlling the fate of all who lived on the surface world. One youth of this tribe of stewards was responsible for our fall, unintentionally of course. His name is inscribed into our minds yet never spoken, lest we bring his fate on us once more.

He had a small teddy bear, handed down from father to son over generations. The ticking that emanated from its heart was a reminder of how even simple things could be enriched with technology. This bear had kept the boy company over the years when his father had to watch over the machine, in order to ensure its constant upkeep. They shared conversations of the past, of the hopes and dreams the two shared. But the bear longed to return to the surface world he originated from, before the time of control.

They went everywhere together, the boy and his bear, walking alongside the other. Their footsteps silent, the clockwork inside the bear’s chest the only sign of actual life between them. They had explored the machine’s various rooms and corridors over the lonely years; they knew every inch of their home. As a new day broke inside the machine, the bear seemed sadder than usual; he looked out on the complex with his dull, vacant stare. Between him and the boy there was an unspoken bond, they could almost read the other’s thoughts. That particular morning, the boy knew the bear wanted to explore again, to get closer to the machine than they ever been allowed before.

They got to the door outside the heart of the machine. The door that would allow those who entered the power to control an entire planet. The bear looked at it with a sigh as the control was set above the reach of either him or the boy.

The boy waved the bear toward him – he didn’t want to be caught here, he wasn’t allowed. The bear plodded along after him, silently calculating the best way to get into that room. He would get that opportunity sooner than he realised. The door slid open on its brass hinges to the slightest hiss of steam, and the bear hesitated then turned. It was open, the steward’s shadow retreating down the hallway. So the furry dog-eared bear hurried.

He only just made it inside, his little legs barely making it over the threshold before the door shut behind him. He walked to the large brass console in front of him and scrambled up between the chair and the panels. Looking out over the endless buttons and levers, his eyes fell on the wall of screens fizzing to life in front of him. And, in that moment, he remembered what it was like to breathe pure air, feel the warmth on his wool as the sunlight bathed him in its glow. If he could cry, a tear would have formed in the corner of his eye. He took a few small steps and reached down to flip open the protective cover on the centre button. The big red button. The big red button that read “Do Not Press”. The bear raised one paw and gathered as much force as he could and brought it to bear on that button. Alarms rang out across the complex and scenes of destruction began to fill every screen in front of him. The end had come, all because of a bear’s resentment at losing the freedom he once enjoyed.

The machine exploded in a giant fireball, consuming the bear within its inescapable heat, yet before it did, he smiled and whispered one last word.


Sparky’s short fiction was inspired by an earlier Half Hour Challenge and written for our Inkwell forum. It’s an interesting piece that covers the idea of freedom and how one small change can become a catalyst for much bigger consequences. Sure it’s cliché and it screams to the “Lost” TV series fans, but buttons do come with consequences, they are just smaller in reality. If you enjoyed Sparky’s piece, make sure you check out his beautiful poem, “I Wish“. 



Do we sometimes like posts that aren’t even worth liking any more? Image // K.Sayer

Written by Elanor Rose


We love through likes

furtive dawn messages

hidden in plain sight

like graffiti on London Bridge

or gum stuck under the seat

you say hello and though

there are no discussions of code

I have learnt to decipher

this open invitation

and most graciously I accept.


Perhaps if we knew God

we’d sing the same hymns

we’d walk the same pace

and we’d always shoot

arrows from the same place

but instead we’re content

to see names side by side

in passing and by chance

letters embraced by

the thrill of the chase.


Elanor Rose’s ‘Messages’ is an interesting poem questioning our daily routines on social networks. You may check your smart phone every morning when you wake and scroll through the latest news on Facebook, Twitter, or the recent photographs of your best friend’s flowers on Instagram. You may like someone’s status, or add them as a friend/follow them on social networks, but do you stop and say hi when walking along the same street? Too often are we like passing ships in the night in stark daylight. But on the flip side, we’re now closer than ever. And Elanor’s poem really hits this nail on the head – and we love it. If you liked Elanor’s poetry, check out some of her others too, such as ‘Sheffield Steel‘ and ‘Video‘. Also, Happy Birthday, Elanor! Have a great day. 

The Servant

Written by Terrestris Veritas


The Idle Servant by Nicolaes Maes Image // vispix.com

You were always better than me – more elegant, more sophisticated. You would say that I looked ‘dashing’ in my dark Italian suit, ‘sleek’ in my shiny black shoes and ‘ready for war’ in my white servant’s gloves. I remember how you gave me my orders, never harsh, always calm and sincere. You were always more polite than all the others, thanking me for my deeds, summoning me with a soft call, rather than a harsh snap of your fingers. You were concerned for me, always tending to my wounds, regardless of whether I deserved it or not. I remember how you once stayed behind for me, fearing not for your life but for mine.

My fellows always scorned how you cared, how I was your favourite. Often, they spoke out against you, but ceased their protests once they saw my power. They were always jealous of how I was never beaten, never punished. They didn’t understand my motives, telling me that I forgot myself and lost my purpose. But they were the ones who lost themselves.

My freedom mattered to you and that was your downfall. You always left me to myself if you foresaw no reason for me to be near. Because of my power, I was your only servant, your only protector and your only friend. Or so you thought.

I heard your call, felt your terror. My response was swift and instantaneous, as was the norm. But as quick as it was, I was still too late to help. Your body lay limp by the fireside, your killer strode away, expecting no challenge. I didn’t simply challenge him, I slew him where he stood. You deserved vengeance, you deserved peace and you deserved the fate you got.

Everyone said I had gone soft, fallen for a primitive human. You were a gracious person, but unlike the others, unlike those incompetents, I never lost sight of my goal. I never let hate cloud my judgement. For when you died, I was truly free. And dead you are: as it should be.

Written on behalf of the Half Hour Challenge’s theme Servant earlier this year, Terrestris’s piece certainly gives us the chills. Maybe it’s just that last line, or the strange voice of the narrator, but it feels eerie. The servant finally has his freedom, though it may not be how he ever expected to attain it. If you liked Terra’s work, feel free to check out ‘Lost in Transit‘ and ‘Umbra‘.



Some birds fly solo, other like to stick with family. Image // US Fish and Wildlife Service

Written by Rae-Chan

When I was a child I wanted wings like an angel.
I wanted to fly through the sky like a bird.
Wings grant freedom, something I’d craved for so long.
When I was a child, I wanted wings.
I wanted to fly away from my problems and fears.
I wanted to fly so high into the air that nothing could ever reach me.
I wanted to escape into the clouds where I wouldn’t have to be afraid.
I heard stories about beautiful angels that would watch over and protect me.
But none ever seemed to be there.
I couldn’t wait for my guardian angel to notice me.
I had to make my own wings.
I had to be my own angel.
When I was a child, I wanted wings like an angel.
Now that I’m not, I’ve realized I never needed wings.
I just needed the strength to take the first jump into the sky.
I don’t need wings to fly.I don’t need wings to fly.

I don’t need wings to fly.

What we love about Rae-Chan’s “Wings” is how freedom is represented so wonderfully. While many of us have freedom, children are often trapped by their parents rules, while adults are trapped by society’s rules. We long for the day those wings will be rewarded to us. Yet what we don’t realise is exactly Rae-Chan’s end message; we can fly high without them. If you loved “Wings”, make sure you check out Rae-Chan’s poem, “An Ode to Low Self-Esteem“.