Future Writers 2023 Winner

The Birds Are Gone


I watched them leave in a flurry of feathers as they rose up from the gold and burning red trees. In the sky they were music to everyone’s eyes, moving in a choreographed melody.


The birds flew through the developing canvas of the dawn as if their wings were quills, painting the sky with buoyant hues. Their wings have always been the colour of my dreams and give me a memory to lift me off the ground when I need it. The bird’s aerobatics have always astonished me, I suppose it’s because their carefree talent echoes the joy of nature.


They know where their journey will take them, and so do I. They’re flying to Africa with its warm and expansive deserts, to be hugged by the dazzling light of the sun with its golden arms outstretched. I bid them a temporary farewell, and will pick up this journal upon their return.



The birds are back! I first knew they were back when I heard the birdsong, the laughter of my feathered friends. It feels so nice to finally be able to listen to the melody again – rising, swooping, resting – just as the birds do. Every movement that is natural to them is reflected in their tune, and that is truly gorgeous, and I don’t know how I manage to cope without it, even for short periods of time.


Sometimes I just like to close my eyes and imagine their sweet trills to be colours, painting stairs in the same way grapevines grow – this way and that – in a beautiful chaos that isn’t quite random. I feel as it my heartbeat is a steady drum to their melody and I sink into the moment, and allow myself to climb those rainbow stairs.


Most importantly to me, birds serve as a reminder that even in the midst of chaos and change, there is still beauty and wonder to be found in the world.




Ava stares as the words she had written almost twenty years ago, her eyes welling up with tears. She clutched the book tightly, her fingers starting to turn white. That was her final entry, yet she felt something burning inside her, telling her to write more. She sat down amongst the boxes and pulled a pen out from her pocket.


Ava inhales sharply.


She flicked through the book one last time before putting pen to paper.



The last time I added to this I was fifteen and felt like I had nothing to figure out, nature was my refuge, and I thought everyone felt the same way. Clearly they didn’t.


It all started a week after that last entry, a “climate crisis” was declared, but it only made humans more selfish. We cut down more trees, mined for more oil, and allowed corporations to run rampant.


Governments were too fussed with making high-tech bunkers for us than saving the wildlife and nourishing the planet, so everything started dying. I mean, they’ve made animatronic versions, so all good, right?


Wrong. Human nature made my worst fear come true.


The birds are gone.

By Katie Jones

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