7 December 2020

The Sudden Writing Prize Winner – Raphail Spartalis for ‘Little Apocalypse’

Little Apocalypse

The light from above was bright and full and covered our soft amber floor in incredible rays of dancing white, glinting and gleaming as it caught the bubbling water at odd angles.

The pool always took on an air of tranquillity at the early hours of the morning; the crabs were still asleep, their big, red, craggy shells resting under rocks or nestled into the sand like hidden treasure; the fish were silently patrolling the perimeter like little soldiers, darting this way and that in an orderly chaos I could never quite comprehend; the star fish and the corals and the sea sponges were slumbering lazily on beds of sand and rock, sunning themselves for the day ahead. And who could blame them? This was the perfect hour.

But perfect cannot last forever.

You always heard them before you saw them– the hands. Their muffled cries, hideous and sinister, pierced the silence like a knife, warning you to swim and hide or suffer the consequences. They come every day (or at least every day I have known) to torment us.

The first fleshy maul pressed its way into our home with the blunt force of a small tsunami, sending water in every direction as swirling currents swept around the pool, shifting silt and sand and everything else. It had begun. Other hands followed suit as they poked and fingered and clawed their way around, ripping out rocks and throwing off those who clung to them. I have always been too small to hold my own in strong waters, and so was at the mercy of the hand’s torrents as they thrashed me about, sweeping in and out of the chaos like a yo-yo. Powerless. Defenceless. Irrelevant.

When finally the dark light came and ushered the hands away with more noisy murmurs, the carnage stopped. I looked around. The pool was tranquil once more. In time the sand will settle and the water will calm, and by morning all will be as it once was. Ready again, for the hands above.


Raphail Spartalis is a first-year Creative Writing student at the University of Adelaide. He is an emerging writer having developed a number of creative pieces in the past, though nothing professionally published at this stage. He’s also had his one-act play, “The Natural Selector”, developed and performed as a cold read at the State Theatre Company of South Australia as part of their annual Young Playwrights Award. He mainly writes genre fiction, primarily in the fields of science-fiction and fantasy.

The Sudden Writing Prize was co-judged by AAWP and Voiceworks.