The Lights

By Claudia Schreuder. Claudia, 13, lives in Letchworth, UK. She is a student at St Francis' College. Please read her article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

This is the missing jigsaw piece of my puzzle, but somehow I feel nothing. I just feel an emptiness larger than before the day that I woke up and discovered the two people I called Mum and Dad weren’t really that at all. I thought this visit would cure me, soothe me, but somehow it has filled me with more confusion than ever before.

How can that be?

I feel intimidated, overwhelmed. The lights are too bright, buildings too tall, heart too shattered to ever forgive, never enough to call the unspoken woman of 14 years Mum. Such a strong word, Mum, stronger than the glow of the screens advertising Chanel and Dior, reminding me of my Mum at home in London, flat number 13, collapsing on her ruffled bed in sobs, for fear of losing her only daughter.


I want to go back to Mum and Dad and Rufus my dog. I keep reminding myself “I am home”, but I have always been terrible at convincing myself. I just want to run, run from my fear, run from the woman, run from myself, run from the lights. The lights strike daggers through my heart and stop me from escaping.

One call away.

One call away from Annie, begging for her to take me away, away from this………place, away from my “Mum”, away from the lights. I have to choke back my tears or else I know I will cry. I remember what my Mum had taught me whenever I’m nervous or upset, to take deep breaths and think of a place I’d rather be. I know exactly where I’d rather be and I burst into tears, my shoulders sagging and my head in my hands.

Just a cup of tea.

And a chat and then I can go home. I just have questions I need answering, hearts that need mending and lights that need to be switched off.

30 comments on “The Lights

  1. Nicola on

    It’s crazy that this was written by a 13 year old!! Such a captivating piece – I wish there was more! Very talented and I definitely think Claudia has found her calling.

  2. Kate Marshman on

    Such eloquent prose. I was captivated from the beginning.

    I, too, am adopted and can feel the author’s conflicted emotions, and her desire to be back home, safe, with mum, dad and Rufus.

    All the best Claudia. You have talent beyond your years and I look forward to reading more of your literary work in the future.

  3. kim Schreuder Horn on

    Wonderful piece of mature and descriptive writing … well done Claudia, I was captivated from the start and felt the conflicted emotions and pain of the narrator.

  4. Evelyn on

    What a gripping story, I just want to know more. How wonderfully the author connects with the reader you wouldn’t be able to tell if a 13 year old had written or a gsce student. Mind seriously blown! Wish you all the best luck with the competition!

  5. Vicky Bryan on

    I found the bravery in this story very captivating, as the narrator refuses to shy away from what she doesn’t know. She faces her problems and does what it takes to find out answers to all of the questions that she has had building up over a long period of time. This is a very emotional and realistic piece of writing, demonstrating the confusion that one would feel in such a situation. This is very well-written! Fantastic!

  6. Chrystine on

    Claudia has written about her pain with great clarity.
    The writing brings us, the readers along on her journey. A real feeling deep in my gut made me realise just how powerful this writing is. Well done Claudia .

  7. Alison Webb on

    Captivating from the first word. I could feel the emotion and the turmoil. An excellent piece. I want to turn the next page of the story.


  8. Jarvis Hayman on

    How very maturely written for a 13 year old. Well constructed, good command of the English language. Full of suspense and leaves you wishing there was more to get to the root of the mystery.

  9. Sarah-Jane Phillips on

    Oh. Wow! I couldn’t believe I was reading the words of a 13 year old. What an astounding piece of writing well beyond your years. Well done, and good luck. You must continue writing and watch where it takes you.

  10. Josefine jönsson on

    I am thrilled you keep writing these amazing stories and hope that many people get to read them! I also want to read more.

  11. Sue Graham on

    What an intuitive & captivating piece of writing showing such maturity beyond her years. Well done Claudia, the emotions were palpable & captured my right from the start


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