Write Stuff Guernsey Literary Festival

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Second prize

Deluded Illusion

By Tim Geraint Ap Sion
Year 9, Elizabeth College

Billy stood there in as much pink and make-up as he had ever been in before. He stared down the barrel of the lens. He was obsessed. Not a day went past when he wasn’t testing new clothes and make-up. He posed, then would freeze for a few seconds before the flash blinded him. Even after the photo he would pause, a rabbit in headlights. He would gingerly uncross his legs and bounce towards the camera. Behind it he would crouch down then view the picture through the screen on the back. He wouldn’t stop until it was perfect. One photo after another, and another, and even more. But the routine would never change, the way he placed and positioned himself on the wooden stool, the way he formed his lips. Everything had to be just the way he saw it on Instagram.

That night, after dinner, he lay calmly flat on his back gazing upwards at his ceiling fantasizing about the impossible dream to mimic one for one the male models he idolizes on the web. No matter how hard he tried, his deluded vision wasn’t anything compared to his raw photographs in real life. Slowly, he began to understand the dream wasn’t achievable to a struggling, young schoolboy without the assistance and aid from photoshop.

Before going to bed, he vigorously washed away his mask of make-up and freed himself from the box social media had him trapped in. The multi-colored water soothed through the sink hole, hoisting and clawing down all the un-wanted hatred and envy with it. Billy mentally felt the puppet strings snap off him and the weight had now been raised off him, but sadly he imagined it would be placed on someone else nearby.

He had now been freed from the mask.

Listen to the story read by Neal Layton

Guernsey Literary Festival · Deluded Illusion

Judge’s comments - Neal Layton

Lots of descriptive writing pushes this story along to a positive conclusion for its character. I thought it an interesting creative exploration of the effect of social media on those growing up in the digital age. Well done.
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