Grandma and Her Secrets

By Grace Dibb. Grace, 13, lives in Pontefract, UK. She is a student at Ackworth School. Please read her article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

Silence. I tapped my fingers on the countr. It was a very old make: barely floating above the ground. Shifting on my seat, I cleared my throat, breaking my Grandma from her stare. Why was she so entranced by this one?

“Sorry Pips, I didn’t mean to stare that long,” she said. But she still had that sad look in her eyes. Even though she smiled, it was like she had seen something. Something bad. I peeked over at the screen on her phone. All I could see on it was green. An unusual colour…different from the many shades of white, grey and blue. Sitting back, I cleared my throat, just about to ask a question when she interrupted me. “A tree” she whispered. “FINDING RESULTS FOR TREE” the familiar unfamiliar robotic voice of Nevtar said. She came round the corner, her face flashing a faint pink.

“No Nevtar, it’s fine we don’t want that, bye…”

BYE MISS SHADREW,” she hummed out, back to her pod.

“A tree?” I asked when Nevtar had gone. Grandma turned her screen round. I gasped. I didn’t know much about this thing that stood on the screen, but I did know that it was against the Cers to ever speak about things with green attached to them. In our learning pods we didn’t get told much about them, just shown a picture with a big red cross. If the Certalent decided to check through phones of the Dome occupants then Grandma would be executed. Full stop.

“Grandma… you can’t… what is this?” I stammered.

“A tree in the last park. Before it was Fletted. The bark, it was so real. So fresh. You could scratch your hand if you rubbed it too hard. Nature. Not Nayfure. Nature. It was the world as it was supposed to be, not made of metals and plastics and glass. It wasn’t illegal to smuggle air. You breathed it in all the time. And when you looked through a window you didn’t have to wear masks or goggles!”

I looked at the picture again. It wasn’t like the parks here. There was no dome covering it. No Certalent soldiers making sure you didn’t shout, laugh too loud or run about. It didn’t look to me like there were children lined up to go to the slides, then 60 seconds on the swings, finally ending with a climb to the top of the frame and back down within 80 seconds.

There was no routine about this tree. All the leaves sort of grew where they liked. The swing was made of wood, it looked like. Wood. The material that you saw in bomb-proof glass in the Great History Museum. I was stunned to silence. This…this tall creature was so beautiful. It had an effect on you that drew you in. Just standing there. The tree. Everything about it was fresh; the colours, the shape and even the name felt somewhat refreshing on the tongue.

I couldn’t understand, why would anyone want to get rid of it?

Was it alive? Did it scream when they dropped Flett on it?

Suddenly I realised.

“Was that in the upland Grandma?” I said. I checked that Nevtar wasn’t around to eavesdrop. “In the…outside?” I whispered, almost choking.

“Before the war, we all lived in the upland. In small houses made of stone, brick and sometimes wood,” She talked of it so confidently. Like a murderer talking casually about her victims. Who would ever want to destroy a world that looked like it was so beautiful?

“I’m going to get a drink.” I eventually announced. Down the short, white corridor was the kitchen. Everything was in its place, tidy. Nevtar. I pressed the button for cold and water came out of the small nozzle. I took a sip and contemplated. What was the motivation behind my Grandma’s explanation of the tree? And how on earth did she have a picture?

When I walked back down to the living room something caught my attention. A faint buzz… I turned around and saw her. Nevtar, her light flashing. She was ‘on’. I heard the glass hit the tile floor; I saw the water spilling out of the cup. I noticed my grandma notice Nevtar.

I stared into her eyes. They were black. Cold. The eyes of a spy.

And suddenly I remembered.


BANG! BANG! They thumped on the door.


But we couldn’t hear them, because we were running down the back exit of Dome 275.

22 comments on “Grandma and Her Secrets

  1. S Bootyman on

    Wow – I’m hooked! What happened to get the world to that point – what happens next? The descriptions vividly paint a frightening possible future. Well done!

  2. Carol Whelpton on

    Thought-provoking and futuristic – rather scary – particularly the words about stealing air from such a young person.

  3. Lucy on

    Well done Grace!! What an amazing use of devices all put into one incredible piece of writing. Definitely stands out from the crowd! Amazing!

  4. Kathleen Richards on

    Such talent!
    Wow! Well done Grace.
    I hope you go on to achieve great things with your writing skills. I have no doubt at all you will.

  5. Ali Boucher on

    What I liked about this piece was how it was so restrained about its use of objects and references from the YA dystopian genre. All the references didn’t vie for narrative attention – they were small, logical details that gave you enough of a clue to identify and construct the new environment, without attempting to dominate the story.

  6. Jennifer Dillon on

    I was mesmerised by her words,absolutely mesmerised. If only ALL world leaders could read this and listen,really listen to what this young lady is saying. Unfortunately, I fear that the way things are going this may well be our future. Wonderful,thought provoking writing Grace. I look forward to reading your first novel ,well done.

  7. Carol Whelpton on

    A fantastic piece of work Grace. Very forward thinking and will hopefully make people think about how we need to protect our world before we are all living in the kind of future you wrote about.

  8. Sue Sheppard on

    Nevtar, who/what is this thing, person or place that glows need to know more! Have they destroyed our world as we know it, how did YOU come to be there? So many questions! Can you save us from extinction?
    A very good piece of writing Grace, looking forward to reading the next chapter.

  9. Linda Armstrong on

    Sharp, clever and gripping – a great piece of writing. What next? Where next? How will it end for all of us? Keep writing Grace!

  10. Liz on

    This is an original and intriguing piece of writing that has so much depth to it that I wanted to read it many times in order to appreciate every detail. Congratulations!


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