Mr Tumnus' Leg Story by Michael Wheatley

Mr Tumnus' Leg

'Mr Tumnus' Leg' is another children's story written for Malvern City Council.
This one imagines C.S. Lewis as a child, getting inspiration for The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.

 

Mr Tumnus' Leg

A young C.S. Lewis – or Clive, as his friends knew him – was sat alone in a dark and dreary room in Malvern, happy as could be.

Every second, another click! or clack! of his typewriter became another word on a page, as Clive wrote his story about a lion, a witch and a wardrobe.

Clive’s parents had left him alone, that night, as they went and enjoyed an evening meal.

But Clive was so happy writing his story that this did not bother him at all, for he had all the characters in his head for company.

First, there was the lion, Aslan, who Clive saw whenever he closed his eyes.

Aslan always stood tall and proud before him, with his golden fur the pride of his pride, before he would turn to Clive and roooooaaaarrrrrr!

Clive liked Aslan. Aslan was cool.

Then, there was the witch, evil and cruel, with her tempting treats of Turkish Delight.

And finally, there was a wardrobe. Clive had thought, of course, that a lion and a witch were little use without a wardrobe.

But, sadly, Clive now had more than just a lion, a witch and a wardrobe.

Clive had a problem.

For, when his four heroes, Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy, entered the magical and wonderful world of Narnia, they were met with a creature that was neither magical nor wonderful.

This creature, of course, was a man.

A man named Thomas.

Clive hated Thomas.

He shouldn’t have, for, after all, he had created him. And to hate anyone is an unpleasant feeling indeed.

But, whilst Thomas was there, no more words were coming to Clive, and the clicks! and the clacks! of his typewriter soon clicked! and clacked! no more.

Clive’s heroes should have been entering a world of pure magic. Instead, all they met was Thomas. Grumpy, frumpy, and everything in-between.

Because of Thomas, there was no more wonder in Narnia.

Without wonder, Narnia was nothing.

So Clive had to give up on writing for the time being, and instead looked out of his window.

Above him, he saw the starry night sky sprinkling down snow.

He saw Church Street, lit by gas lamps which burned bright with all the life of a family of fireflies.

And, as fireflies tend to do, one of these lamps seemed to call to Clive. It seemed to ignite a spark of creativity within him which Thomas had long since frozen still.

Now, were Clive’s parents to discover that he, being only twelve years old, had gone out on his own at night would have been disastrous.

That would have been something Clive definitely, definitely, definitely, definitely, definitely should not have done.

But… Clive’s parents had left him alone.

So Clive did the thing he definitely, definitely, definitely, definitely, definitely should not have done. Clive found the courage to go to that gas lamp and save his book.

With a ping! Clive reset his typewriter and looked in the wardrobe for something warm to wear.

Soon, he was dressed from head to toe and back again in a fuzzy, furry fleece, a shaggy scarf, a hairy hat, bushy boots, and had even been poked in the face by a coat hanger.

Now, Clive just had to sneak out of the hotel. So, he pocketed the spare room key, and descended the spiral staircase like a spider clinging to the walls.

The problem was, the hotel receptionist, Mr Nozee, a tall man with an exceptionally long nose.

Mr Nozee watched everyone who came in and everyone who went out, with all the authority his little hat and little bell afforded him.

Whenever he saw anyone: bing!

Whenever he didn’t see anyone: bing!

Even if he was just bored: bing! bing! bing!

Clive had to avoid a bing! at all costs.

But there was no way that Clive was going to be able to escape without a little bit of luck on his side.

Suddenly, just as luck would have it, a large, portly gentleman stood in front of Mr Nozee, blinding him to Clive’s smaller size.

Clive, seizing his opportunity, sprinted out of the lobby.

On the streets of Malvern, the air felt cold, despite Clive’s fuzzy, furry fleece, shaggy scarf, hairy hat and bushy boots. It was so cold, in fact, that Clive had to tuck his gloved hands under his arms to stop himself from shivering.

But, the gas lamp Clive wished for was a hundred feet ahead of him.

And Clive knew he was a quick young man. His one-hundred metre run certificate from school could prove that.

So Clive did what he knew he could do.

With all the speed he could muster, Clive ran, and felt the snow crunch beneath his boots: crunch! crunch! crunch!

One hundred feet later, Clive looked up and saw the gas lamp shining so brightly above him.

With his hand outstretched, Clive followed the gentle curve of the gas lamp as it arched itself over like a snake. Then, he looked at his own wrist and saw the fur of his coat.

Suddenly, he thought he knew a way to bring warmth back to the icy world of Narnia.

So, with a crunch! crunch! crunch! Clive sprinted back to the lobby.

With a bing! bing! bing! Clive raced past Mr Nozee and climbed up the staircase.

With a ping! he reset his typewriter.

And then with clicks! and clacks! Clive was writing once more.

Now, when Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy entered the wonder of Narnia, they saw a gas lamp shining as brightly as the one outside Clive’s window.

And they no longer met a man named Thomas, either.

They met a fawn named Mr Tumnus.

Whereas Thomas had been grumpy and frumpy, Mr Tumnus was warm and welcoming, with his legs all hairy and beary.

Now, Narnia seemed wonderful once more. And, just at that moment, the door to Clive’s room opened and in walked his parents to ask him how his book was coming along.

With a smile on his face, Clive answered:

“Wonderful.”


In A Short Skirt And Tights Poem by Michael Wheatley

in a short skirt and tights.

'in a short skirt and tights' is a queer poem critiquing transphobic violence.
It plays with poetic form and the concept of naming in order to dissolve distinguishable gender behaviour.

in a short skirt and tights.

____ applies lipstick with precision;
onyx, in calligraphy;
lips, puckered and pushed out,
____ looks in the mirror, sees only herself.

____‘s skirt, snug around her hips;
her tights, taut against her flesh.
Shielded. Safeguarded. They make her.

____ walks through the town
and sees the night life dying. The club,
a beacon, beckons the wolves: whistling
while they wait.

____‘s skirt, snug around her hips;
her tights, taut against her flesh.
Threat. Target. They make her.

The wolves see ____
in a short skirt and tights.
The wolves pounce
on a short skirt and tights.

The club still shines, backlighting  ____.
She walks home bare-
foot. In each trembling hand, a heel.

____ returns home and looks in the mirror.
She sees only himself
in a short skirt and tights.


The Great Race Story by Michael Wheatley

The Great Race

'The Great Race' is a children's story written during my internship for Malvern City Council.
It was inspired by the local history of the Morgan Cars (with a little creative licence).

 

The Great Race

“3… 2… 1… Go!”

With the wave of a flag, they were off.

Five drivers. Five cars.

All of them determined to be Number One.

At the back, there was Sebastian Speedy, followed shortly in front by Ryan Rapid and then none other than Taylor Swift herself.

Then, of course, leading in first place was Alexander Zoom.

Everybody had expected Zoom would win.

He always won.

The annual race across the Malvern Hills, and the frankly ginormous trophy that came with it, was all but guaranteed to be won, again, by Mr Alexander Zoom.

But this year there was a new driver.

A driver who, as if by magic, was right behind Alexander Zoom on every twist and turn, every bend and bow of the track.

This driver was Morgan Morganson: a young man whose very name seemed to be a joke, but who was determined to be taken very, very seriously.

At only eighteen years old, Morgan was barely allowed to drive, let alone take part in this great race.

But he had trained all his life for this one, specific moment.

For this one, specific race.

From when he was just three years old, steering his blue toy car across that glorious finish line. That blue toy car he would eventually outgrow…

To when he was seven, and his father let him sit on his lap in the car, hands on the steering wheel, pretending it was him in control…

To later on at fourteen, when he built his own soapbox car out of discarded wood, unused boxes, and whatever knickknacks he could find…

To ten minutes later when he crashed it into a bush…

To that glorious day at fifteen when he built that soapbox car all over again, and won the village race.

All of these moments had led to now.

Morgan Morganson riding neck and neck against Alexander Zoom.

The road was straight, for now at least. A brief moment of peace before they zigged and zagged again.

Through his car window, Morgan could see Alexander Zoom in all his pompous glory.

His excessively groomed moustache which curved at the ends like Dick Dastardly.

His frankly unnecessary golden driving gloves and matching goggles.

All his frankly ginormous trophies which he kept in the back seats, secure in their seatbelts.

Even their cars were opposites.
Zoom’s with a fancy gold paint-job, brand new engine which gave a mighty purrrr and a spoiler shooting straight into the sky.

Then there was Morgan’s; a hand-me-down from his father. The wheels starting to wobble. The paint starting to peel. A car which didn’t purr as much as meow.

But Morgan had faith in himself. And his skill had carried him to second place already.

Taylor Swift and Ryan Rapid were a short way back now, whilst Sebastian Speedy was nowhere to be seen.

And Morgan, slowly but surely, was catching Alexander Zoom.

They curved to the left. Then to the right. Left again. Right again. Left. Right. So far left that they ended up going right.

At every turn, it seemed Zoom was destined to leave Morgan in his dust.

But at every turn, Morgan clung on.

That lead, however, was in jeopardy, as Morgan knew that the next part of the race was the hardest.

The dreaded Malvern Hills Horror.

The 720 degree spiral which only the greatest of drivers could tame.

Morgan could see Zoom was slowly starting to creep ahead of himself, as the Horror got closer and closer.

But he was going too fast. Morgan was sure of it.

The Horror would eat him up and spit him back out again with the speed that Zoom was travelling at.

So Morgan slammed on his brakes, and took the turns as gently as he needed, not worrying about the competition.

Ryan Rapid was long gone now, and even Taylor Swift had little chance of catching up.

Morgan just had to trust that he had made the right decision, and that slow and steady truly would win this race.

90 degrees.

180.

270.

360.

Morgan was dizzy already, but still he went on.

450.

540.

630.

Round and around and around he went.

Until, finally, 720 degrees, and Morgan had defeated the Malvern Hills Horror.

With that morning’s breakfast rising fast in his stomach, Morgan shot out onto the strait of the road ahead.

He saw the zebra chequered flag of the finish line.

And there was nobody in front of him. Nobody there to stop him from winning that frankly ginormous trophy.

Morgan looked to his left, and saw Alexander Zoom, his car head-first in a bush.

Furious, Alexander Zoom stamped up and down, screaming “The Horror! The Horror!”

Then, he kicked the wheel of his own car, and with a high pitched squeal, clung on to his now injured foot.

Morgan couldn’t help but laugh a little.

And then, Morgan had won.

He burst through that finish line with all the pride and determination of a winner.

A few minutes later, Taylor Swift finished second, Ryan Rapid in third, and Sebastian Speedy snailed along into fourth.

Alexander Zoom, meanwhile, had to walk across the finish line in last place.

Soon enough, Morgan was on a pedestal, struggling to support the weight of his frankly ginormous trophy.

And it seemed the whole of Malvern had gathered to celebrate his victory.

Then, Morgan spotted his father, right at the front of the crowd, and drew him into a hug.

From his pocket, Morgan’s father withdrew that toy blue car Morgan had raced as a child.

“Guess you won’t be needing this anymore,” he said.


Saint Abigail Poem by Michael Wheatley

Saint Abigail

This dream-like poem was inspired by the story of Saint Abigail.
Hope you enjoy.

 

Saint Abigail

From her cracked skull, honey;
the bees flee the workhouse,
burrow themselves into the mistress' shawl
and hang a basket from their collective arm.
A coachman waits to take them away,
and they glide under the guise of an all-human being.
Where to? he asks, and the horses are whipped,
tears blinked back by a dozen long lashes.

In the city the bees walk free,
with shrouded face of flesh in motion, of a thousand wings;
but their sound still haunts them;
the sound of what they used to be.


Bang! Bang!

'Bang! Bang!' is a protest poem about gun crime in America.
Hope you enjoy (as much as one can)!

Bang! Bang!

Bang! Bang!
cries America.
Bang! Bang!
America cries.
Bang! Bang!
cries America,
prayers to God,
guns to sky.
Bang! Bang!
cries America,
protect me
from others'
protection.
Bang! Bang!
cries America,
not the guns,
another
deflection.
Bang! Bang!
cries America,
guns in hands,
lust in eyes.
Bang! Bang!
cries America.
Bang! Bang!
America cries.
Bang! Bang!
cries America,
it's not the gun
that kills.
Bang! Bang!
cries America,
aim their scopes
at the mentally ill.
Bang! Bang!
cries America,
war abroad,
war at home.
Bang! Bang!
cries America,
war on guns
and national pride.
Bang! Bang!
cries America.
Bang! Bang!
America cries.
Another school.
Another shooting.
Bang! Bang!
America cries.

I'd love to hear what you guys think! Leave a comment down below and I'll get back to you soon.