Tag Archives: Writers Assemble

ROOM 42 ( by Susan McCartney )


The fog crept on kitten-cat paws

A comforting grey blanket

Holding a hint Of frost and coal dust

‘Bye Mam. See you later.’

Maggie, 17, might have called

Closing the door

heading for her last shift

at National Filling Factory No 1

Tuesday, 5th December, 1916

The fog, tiger-like

padded around Barnbow

A yellow miasma

engorged with TNT and cordite,

Staining skin entering lungs and livers

tapping sulphurous claws

on doors, windows

Widows Of Filling Factory No 1 watching

Waiting For the inevitable

Then,,10.27 pm

With a monster roar

It came

Earth and ear shattering

with screams

Scattered limbs,

hisses of scalding water running scarlet

Plumes of toxic fumes

and the smell of blood

The fog sucked it in

that scene designed by Dante.

Then satisfied with its carnage,

It turned yellow eyes

towards the city

whilst those remaining

picked up the pieces

Of Room 42

By Susan McCartney

Foot Note: The explosion, in Room 42 of the munitions factory at Barnbow, took the lives of 35 girls and women. Many more died later of shock, their injuries, and TNT poisoning. Some unidentified. They were nicknamed the ‘Canaries’ because of their yellow skin – chemicals having entered their livers. It was a foggy night. A veil of secrecy was drawn over the dreadful event. The full facts remain shrouded. Even now. Maggie Barker, 17, from Kippax. A victim.

(This is original work presented at Writers Assemble who meet fortnightly at The Junction Pub,Castleford,West Yorkshire.The group is a community development project of Destiny Poets)

Visible (by Jade Thomas)


And he said it never happened…

However, she still felt a sharp pinch in the pit of her stomach, her pupils widened. The back of her neck began to sweat.Thoughts consumed her entire body and for once, her memories of another women enlarged.

How could she forget? How could she forgive?The love of her life could not cause her any pain. She knew he was dedicated to his work as much as he was to her. He amended his past and gave her anything her heart desired.

So why did he glance more than once that summer’s day and patted the neighbour’s pretty shoulder when she came home claiming she had been fired?

How could she have been so visionless? How could she have been gullible?

Are these thoughts all a coincidence or now has she become more visible?

He made a beautiful vow, her husband caressed her into his arms, the same places she always felt protected. “She is jealous”! He justified.

She stared with her blue eyes at the sparkle in her wedding ring, she felt disconnected.Her hopes and dreams shattered into a million pieces while she felt their first kiss on her lips. Once again the magical power of feeling in love.

She could still hear his voice through the pounding of her heartbeat. His declaration of undying love would always be with her but now would never be enough.

Suddenly, her mind was screaming aloud and nothing in the entire world mattered anymore. Unforgiving images came flooding into her perfect life.

She could not handle the pressure of her soul darkening; she clenched the sharpest kitchen blade that hung down symmetrically to their family portrait.

She was no longer a person with a conscience or even a human being; she was no longer a beloved wife.