Skip links
Crown and a castle on a purple background

My five-year-old self

For our creative writing competition this, we partnered with Welland Park Academy and asked the young people to submit entries responding to the following briefs:

  • “If you were to set up home on the moon, what would you bring with you, and what would you miss?”
  • “Write a story about your 5-year-old self meeting your current self”.

This entry is by Niamh Whelan.

I opened my eyes, heavy with exhaustion after the effort of attempting to arrive here at all. It seemed so exciting at first… but I didn’t understand the mental strain it would take. This was my final attempt. After this, I’m skint.

Nothing was defined, all fuzzy around the edges. A shrill scream, and I leapt up, instantly knowing what was happening. That’s what they train you for: fear, awe, curiosity. Mostly fear.

Her eyes were wide, lips drawn over gap-toothed teeth in terror. I waited for another scream – it never came. She stood up, and I saw the sheer, shimmering fabric of a pink princess dress. “Are you my fairy godmother?” she asked, voice sweet like sugar cubes.

I cleared my throat, my own voice far deeper. I glanced at my outfit: the mandatory clothing for those attempting the course. All black, a fit that’s not skin-tight and not oversized. I supposed it’s to prevent confusion, especially if you chose to travel to the 1800s.

“ARE FAIRY GODMOTHERS SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE THE PRINCESS?”

“Uhm,” I held a hand to my forehead, “Yes. Yes I am.” Reassurance.

She beamed rays of sun. “Oh, really?! Are you really?” She seemed perfect to me; her grasp of trust so vague I got the sense it would get her in trouble. “Are fairy godmothers supposed to look like the princess?” She pursed her lips, thinking deeply.

I froze. She wasn’t supposed to make that connection. “What?”

“You look like me.” She faced a mirror on the opposite wall. She was just like me, really – dark hair, moles in the same places. “We’re twins!”

Her expression was once again curious. “Why’re you here… now?”

“I actually came…” I smiled my warmest smile, “to see you.”

I hesitated – what if she didn’t understand? Then she grinned back. These long months of training, hard work. It could’ve meant nothing.

“Could you tell me about yourself?”

“Okay. What’s your name?”

NOTHING WAS DEFINED, ALL FUZZY AROUND THE EDGES. A SHRILL SCREAM, AND I LEAPT UP, INSTANTLY KNOWING WHAT WAS HAPPENING.

I searched the room for something I could distract her with: rose-coloured walls, toys and clothes across the floor, pictures of her. Of me. It was so familiar. But then, I gave in. “The same as yours, princess.”

Then she looked at me in a way that I held her hand a little tighter. I never wanted to leave – leave her to be consumed by the world like I was. But I had to leave. I could only wish she’d remember me.

Our other winning entries

Leave a comment

Explore
Drag