Pen To Print

Click "Enter" to submit the form.

Showcase: Seeking Justice + Broken Pieces + Towards The Light + Meeka And The Moon Baby

Edited by Helen Aitchison

It’s the final Showcase of June and we end with some incredible pieces, bursting with emotion that represent ‘Overcoming’.

First, we have Seeking Justice by Sarah. A moving, powerful piece on resilience and overcoming.

Seeking Justice

Waiting in the witness room, the day was finally here. After nine months and the defendant getting adjournments, adding to anxiety. Nothing about this had been fair. Being a witness may make outsiders think it shouldn’t be as anxiety-provoking, except I wasn’t just any witness. I was the person this had all happened to. This was my life! While my son and I had to leave our home for women’s refuges, he was on bail. Able to be in his home, watch his own TV, have his home comforts, even go to work offshore. There had been no justice in those months.

I tried to make things like the first day at school seem celebrated, and pretended the roof had broken on our house and Bob The Builder and Spiderman were there fixing it, so we couldn’t go back until it was safe. Borrowing clothes for my son from friends until I could get a police escort to collect some belongings. How could somebody who loved us do this?

There were so many people in that witness room, I couldn’t take everyone in: police, social worker, health visitor, my friend — all witnesses. My support worker was with me. We’d entered the building before he arrived. I was scared to leave that room, but knew I had to face him that day. I was told he’d arrived with his stepdad; a magistrate who sat at that court.

As the morning progressed, the sick feeling wasn’t subsiding. I suddenly thought, I must do this! Like ripping off an Elastoplast that had been on skin for nine months. I told my support worker I needed the toilet. I knew we’d have to walk past him. She reassured me she would walk by my side, between his seat and me. My whole body was shaking as  we headed out of the stuffy, busy witness room into the corridor.

I lifted my head, tried to look up and straight ahead; felt his piercing eyes staring at me. Something strange was happening with each step. As nervous and sick as I felt, the act of being confident seemed to settle into my persona. We reached the toilets, and I collapsed through the door. The shaking started again, but I had done it — a feeling of empowerment while still anxious. I prepared myself for the walk back to the witness room. This time, my head was up. I could see him, but continued to walk past with an air of confidence. The feeling dissipated even more; my empowerment had grown.

© Sarah, 2024


Next, an extract from Broken Pieces by Rachel Harrison. This excellent piece shows a vulnerability we can all have, but how other people often give us strength to overcome.

Broken Pieces (Extract)

Zandra was silent for a while, staring at the floor, her thoughts in turmoil. She could barely remember her abduction, but the work they were doing was triggering emotions she hadn’t expected; thoughts she was finding overwhelming. And she’d blamed him.

She looked up and met his eyes. He didn’t deserve her rejection.

“You didn’t order me to help. The only thing compelling me was my own conscience. But afterwards, I blamed you for asking.”

Pendryl nodded understandingly but didn’t interrupt, giving her the space she needed.

“And then, when you’d had to deal with the rescue, the arrests, and all the incoming refugees, you still came to comfort me. I know I shut you out, refused your compassion. You must have been able to sense how I felt about you at that moment.”

She paused, holding her hands out to him, almost in supplication. “Thank you for staying with me, for holding on to me.”

Pendryl edged over, closing the gap between them, and took her hands. “No apology necessary. And I’d do it again, in a heartbeat.”

“Are you still sure you want someone as broken as me?”

He held his arm out, inviting Zandra to lean against him. “You’re not broken.” He brushed a strand of hair that had escaped its braid away from her face, before kissing the top of her head. “And nothing that’s happened this week has changed how I feel about you.”


Pendryl’s next stop was Zandra’s quarters. She beckoned him in.

“I’m on a call with Dad, but he said to invite you in.”

Placing the gift box he was carrying onto a table as he passed, Pendryl followed her to where her father’s image was glaring from the wall-mounted screen.

“The answer is ‘no’.”


“You are not going undercover, and you are not infiltrating the trafficking operation.”

“I can’t do nothing!”

“I’m not asking you to—and you’ve done a lot already. Just leave the infiltration to the experts.”

Her shoulders slumped. “But it is happening?”

“Oh, yes, it most definitely is,” her father assured her. “And they’re very grateful for the information you helped uncover.”

“You’re buttering me up.” She sighed in defeat. “Talk to you later?”

“Of course.”

She turned to Pendryl as her father signed off. “I bet you’re glad you called round now, aren’t you?”

“It appears it was a timely visit,” he replied, ignoring her sarcasm. He handed her the gift box he’d brought with him. “Careful,” he cautioned. “It’s fragile.”

“What’s the occasion?”

“Let’s just call it a ‘because I care’ present.”

Intrigued, Zandra set the box back on the table and lifted the lid. Nestling inside layers of tissue paper was a glass vase. She lifted it out, and the mosaic pieces covering it sparkled in the light.

“It’s beautiful, thank you.” She kept turning it in her hands to see the design.

“It’s a metaphor.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t follow you.”

“The mosaic… what’s it made of?”

“Broken pieces of glass—oh, I see! It’s your answer to my question the other day, about wanting someone as broken as me.”

Pendryl nodded, putting the vase safely back on the table before pulling Zandra into his arms. “Your whole life was shattered, but you picked up the pieces, and have become a mosaic even more beautiful than that vase. I am so incredibly proud of you, and I consider myself privileged to be part of your life.”

© Rachel Harrison, 2024

Connect with Rachel on Facebook:, Instagram: and via her website:


Towards The Light is our third piece. The raw emotion, the emancipation, the strength, all caught my breath.

Towards The Light

It’s just strange. I’m fleeing with the kids, but he’s ‘helping’ me move. I’ve packed the basics. We need to get out while he’s still loved up. It’s the first time he’s admitted to there being someone. I must run towards the light while I can. Keep smiling. Keep pacifying. We’re almost done, almost out. Slowly, gently, quietly. Before he realises he’s lost me. That he’s let me get away. After all these years of trapping me inside the movable cage of his control.

Just keep going. Keep moving. Quietly. Don’t annoy him. Don’t let him realise this is the start of the end. It’ll take a long time but I’ll overcome this. I’m taking back control of my life. I’m a shadow of my former self, gradually worn down over the years by the insidious poison fed to my psyche daily. I will be strong and independent again. He will do nothing more to me now.

© Ursula Hepburn, 2024


The final piece for June’s Showcase is by Glynis Reed. Her beautiful descriptions and strength of love, immersed me in the story.

Meeka And The Moon Baby

Meeka saw Mam by the window again. Saw her hair fall in a dark curtain. Saw her perch on the sill and wind the snow globe. Meeka listened intently, as if for the first time, to Mam’s favourite, Song To The Moon, and thought she could see the dreams in Mam’s eyes. Meeka thought about the words: shadow, moon and the falling snow, twinkling in the crystal globe. Her head hurt, like there was a carrier bag full of sweets fighting for room in there. Or, like someone was squeezing her skull and pushing up the small bones of her cheeks. Drawing her hand from under the blanket, she touched the skin beneath her lower lashes. She liked the comfort of heat, the slight warmth generated by her fingertips. She smoothed her fingers over her eye sockets and whispered, “A fairy touch, the touch Mam had.”

Mam had been wearing a blue dress, with clouds for sleeves and crisp clean piping etched the tiny Peter-Pan collar. The dress brought out the red in Mam’s hair, a glinting kind of red that came in a tube, and suited Mam’s delicate skin. Mam looked like a crimson ship on a happy sea. That was when they’d lived in Marmoset Terrace, two minutes from Scooter Park, and 709 steps from Clackington Bay. Meeka had run ahead on their daily trips, through the heavy green gates, past people with bowling ball heads. Past the pet cemetery and the ancient leper coffins. Past the pavilion and the weed-clogged stream, till she was at the top of the bank, whizzing past the peahens and ducks, gathering pace and hurtling down to the swings, banana slide, and teapot lid.

Meeka was careless then, in the days of the park and Mam’s blue dress. Now, if Mam came back, said her going away was an accident and that she’d never ever go away again, Meeka would make sure she stayed. Never let her out of her sight.

Sometimes, when Meeka woke in the night, Mam would be there, perched on the sill. Just her outline, but enough so Meeka could go over the familiar details, colour in what she couldn’t see. Meeka would sleep fitfully, dream of colours: frosted blood for Mam’s hair and brows, petrel and yellow for her cheekbones, pulverized strawberry for the splayed, mashed mess of her mouth. Meeka would feel Dad smoothing her hair. He’d tell her there was nothing to worry about, that he was just a hair’s breadth and a whisper away.

Mam went on a sunny day. The kind of day when the clouds roll back in the sky, when the soil smells of starlings and globs of toad-spit festoon the tall grasses. There was an expression Dad used, “Going through the motions,” and on Mam’s dreamy days, Meeka fancied that’s what Mam was doing. She’d be there, shaking Meeka awake, drawing back the bug-eyed curtains, darting downstairs and making breakfast. She’d send Meeka to the bathroom, tell her to wash her neck. Tell her not to be afraid of soap and water, that a child needs to be clean. Mam was the only person she’d seen with luminous skin, or hands that felt like talcum powder and left smidgens of silver in their wake. Meeka called Mam the Moon Lady. And Mam called Meeka her Moon Baby.

She always came back; only that day she didn’t. Meeka waited at the garden gate, picked moss and tiny red creatures from the pointed fence. An ice-cream cat came along, snuck along the black-eyed pansies, purred, and stood on her foot. People passed, eyeing the child. Meeka played a game: when the sun reaches the apple tree. When the sun fills each corner of the neighbours’ window. She recited the prayer again, studied the goose bumps on her arm: three hairs past a freckle, four hairs past a freckle. Dad’s familiar figure strode along the road. She registered it must be near seven o’clock, the time he arrived home from work. He smiled, waved, his face dropped. His jacket went around her shoulders. He moved his mouth but didn’t speak. Meeka looked past him, focused on the chimney pots, watched them darken, limp and lurch along the buckled road.

© Glynis Reed, 2024


If you’d like to see your writing appear in the Write On! Showcase, please submit your short stories, poetry or novel extracts to:

Read Issue 21 online here or find it in libraries and other outlets. You can see previous editions of our magazines here

Hear extracts from Showcase in our podcast. Write On! Audio. Find us on all major podcast platforms, including Apple and Google Podcasts and Spotify. Type Pen to Print into your browser and look for our logo or find us on Spotify for Pocasters.


If you or someone you know has been affected by issues covered in our pages, please see the relevant link below for ​information, advice and support​:

Advice & Support