Michael Fitzalan LowSq


Teaching Creative Writing to Imaginative Minds by Michael Fitzalan

The Stormy Day

Setting: In the woods

Characters: Ben and Tom

Beginning: Ben and Tom are playing in the woods

Middle: A storm comes and the seek shelter.

End: They find a cottage to shelter in.

Above the woods, the sky was a gloomy grey curtain, and the sun was hiding. Wisps of morning mist snaked through the landscape like lost souls. Winter had stripped the leaves form the trees, leaving dark skeletons that swayed creaked like masts on an old ships On the ground, was thick blanket of leaves. Chirping birds greeted the breaking dawn, the whistling wind carried a smell of putrefying leaf litter, mouldy mushrooms and rotting wood. In the distance, cumulus clouds were gathering like an advancing army, their dark bellies threatening rain.

“Can we stop for a bit? I’ve got a stitch,” pleaded Ben, panting loudly as he gripped his left flank.

“Of course,” agreed Tom readily, trying to catch his breath before keeping out of Ben’s reach as he had for half an hour already.

A drop of rainwater fell on Tom’s head. Looking up he noticed that the storm clouds had rolled in overhead, and he could feel the wind growing stronger and stronger. Howling through the tall trees, the wind seemed icier than ever. Suddenly, the heavens opened and there was a downpour. Next, there was a flash of lightning and a rumble of thunder followed soon after. Fortunately, their rain jackets shielded most of their bodies from the driving rain, they wore wellington boots, but their jeans were soaked.

“Oh, look at that cosy cottage!” exclaimed Ben, seeing a building out of the corner of his eye and staggering slowly towards it.

“Let’s try and shelter there!” cried Tom, following him like a shadow.

Although the cottage seemed very old, it had been, freshly painted and looked well-maintained. Its glistening gravel path led to a brown, wooden door. Puddles, like shards of broken mirror reflected the sombre skies above as the boys trudged towards the dry cottage. Feeling relieved that they would soon be out of the rain, Ben could not wait to feel the heat of a fire. Imagining drinking hot chocolate, Tom traipsed towards their sanctuary.
Knocking on the door, they were greeted by the owner who beckoned them inside and ushered them into the sitting room.

Inside there was a comfortable couch and two armchairs arranged around a roaring fire, with flames flickering and dancing in the grate as the logs crackled noisily. Emanating heat, the fierce fire soon warmed the two boys, and they felt the chill in their bones fading away. Overhead, they could hear the drumming of the rain on thatch and the splattering of rain on the windows. In the fields, the grass was trembling, and the hedges quivered as the storm raged. Coseted in warmth, the two boys sipped their hot chocolate, their hands wrapped around the steaming mugs.

The Story

Magic Umbrella

Setting: In London in autumn.

Characters: Mark and Tom

Beginning: Mark and Tom are leaving for school.

Middle: It starts to rain, and they see an umbrella on a park bench.

End: The umbrella makes their wishes come true.

Striking seven times, big Ben’s bong echoed through the air and a red, double decker bus swept past the apartment building. Above the streets, the sky was a gloomy, grey curtain and on the horizon, cumulus clouds gathered like an advancing army, their darks bellies threatening rain. Already, the roads were being flooded with cars while wisps of morning mist snaked through the trees in the park like lost souls. Chirping birds announced another day’s arrival and the smell of diesel fumes filled the air. Sweeping through tall trees, the wind was icy cold.

Crunching his cereal, Crunchy Nut cornflakes, Mark miserably observed the gathering storm while Tom was obsessed with wolfing waffles down before Mark could get any. Smearing them with honey, he stuffed them in his mouth as his younger brother stared out of the window despondently.

“We’re going to get soaked,” observed Mark, still staring at the sombre skies, “it will be like having a shower out there!”

“I’m wearing welling, I’m not going out there in my brand-new shoes,” insisted Tom truculently as he swiped another waffle off the pile and starting munching most of it in one bite.

Later, as they walked through the park to take a shortcut to school, a drop of rain fell on Marks head.

“Was that rain?” asked Mark perplexed, touching his hair.

Suddenly, the skies opened, and the rain pelted down on the two boys. Out of the corner of his eye, Tom spotted a discarded umbrella on the park bench, and beckoning Mark, he raced over towards it, his brother following him like a shadow, both boys moving as silently as smoke were let down by their boot soles splashing on the wet tarmac. Forming quickly puddles appeared, looking like shards of broken mirror reflecting the sombre skies above and providing a lake for ants.

Breathlessly, arriving at the bench, Mark was panting, his heart hammering in his chest and his pulse racing. Already Tom had hold of the umbrella.

“I’m so cold, I wish I was warmer,” complained Tom.

Suddenly a draught of hot air issued form the canopy of the umbrella, drying Tom’s clothes almost immediately. Gasping in shock, Tom was impressed and ushered his brother underneath where all his clothes became dry.

“We need a taxi to take us to school,” mumbled Mark, sarcastically.

Suddenly, they were in hybrid taxi heading for school. The umbrella was truly magic like a genie granting them wishes and they decided not to tell anyone about their magic umbrella.
















Michael Fitzalan’s first novel gained cult status and here are some others: Waterwitch was a hit with those who have ever sailed; two brothers battle storms and Spanish support for the Malvinas in an attempt to meet up with their girlfriends in Ibiza. They have to get from The Algarve to Ibiza, all very straightforward until engine failure and storms threaten to sink all their plans. The Taint Gallery tells the story of a modern Romeo and Juliet; the story is set in Cheslea and Fulham, not Verona, nevertheless, it is a doomed relationship. The book was shunned by big publishers for its highly charged and graphic sexual content and the small publisher who produced the book folded, copies are rare. A reprint is planned for its twentieth anniversary next year; it is still as pertinent and shocking today as it was back in 1996. Switch is an amazing mixture of Franz Kafka realism yet it reads like a Raymond Chandler thriller. Joe Ederer falls for a French girl but he is recovering from being dumped by his English girlfriend. A fish out of water in London, he chases her home only to be rejected. He hooks up with a suffocating drug addict and that is when his nightmares begin. Major Bruton’s Safari is the story of innocents abroad; a family invited to celebrate the coronation of the Kabaka of Buganda become indoctrinated into the ways of Africa. With an acerbic observer on hand, the family experience the warmth and ways of Uganda that help them to understand themselves a little better. IPG – Innocent Proven Guilty is about a teacher, Philip Hayward whose brother sold their shared flat and ran off to America with the proceeds. Philip bumps into his brother’s ex-girlfriend and she tells him his brother is back. Racing to the address she gave him, he arrives to find his brother with a knife in his back. As he leaves, his shoes leave bloody footprints and the police come looking for him. Carom – Finn McHugh and his team take on a swindler and smuggler, Didier, who is depraved in so many ways. They know he is smuggling art and drugs; he must be stopped before others take him out. The Cubans, want him dead, Finn wants to break the smuggling ring. Who will win? Remember the Fifth November – Guy Fawkes was innocent, Catesby was a broken man who brought his children up in the Anglican faith, yet Robert Cecil arranged for them to be portrayed as terrible villains. With a spy service second to none and with moles everywhere how could someone hatch a plot like this and fail to be discovered? The answer, they could not. Read the truth! One – Bullying does not go on anymore in schools. I would not bet on it. Weep as you read the terrible story of a school bully and the misery he dispenses to all the boys. Then, cheer as one of his victims takes revenge. Take a trip to a prep school in a time when kids built tree houses, danced and swung on Tarzan ropes!

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