Once upon a time, there lived a young lady named Serena who lived in a tiny shack by the sea, in a small town. Her skin was fair, white like snow and her refined black hair was darker than the night. Nevertheless, her emerald colored eyes have what enticed Sebastian that day. He was mesmerised when he saw her; that moment he fell in love. Little did he know about the blizzard patiently waiting to devour his life.

Behind that perfection, she was carrying a heavy burden. She was cursed by a witch that she would turn into a siren whenever the sun set. Sebastian was luckier – he was born into a wealthy family where he was raised in the palace with a silver spoon in his mouth. Servants would clothe him with white garments and fine linen. He was surrounded by the tenderness of young women for they loved his golden blonde hair and blue, topaz colored eyes.

In the midst of the night sky – where there were no apparent stars but a thief, of which captured the sun’s rays – Serena cast a long shadow. He saw her, wandering upon the sand. But those elegant strides soon disappeared. He could only hear the delicate collision against the velvet like current. Silence. As he turned with regret and wonder, another delicate collision could be heard; little did he know it was her legs pressing against the flowing water of the ocean. her legs would gently disappear into the foams of the ocean, her legs would then miraculously transform into a tail of a fish, and at dawn, she would eventually return back to normal. This was her curse.

Later on, Sebastian found Serena lying unconsciously on the beach naked where she seemed injured. Serena was covered with blood which escalated his anxiety of which he felt despite the lack of familiarity of who she was. He hurriedly carried her in his muscular arms and took her to the palace with him; she needed help. At the time Sebastian had a mixture of emotion, he was feeling overwhelmed but he was also consumed by his inquisitiveness of what had occurred that unforgettable evening the night before when she had vanished into thin air.

As they reached the palace Sebastian yelled for some help. His voice resounded throughout the halls and broke the peace of that morning. After hearing the voice of their master, the servants replaced their melancholy expressions with urgency as they scattered rapidly to their master’s presence. The servants were in shock and their thoughts were filled with confusion. Nonetheless, they covered her shriveled body with robes and wiped the stains of blood that were dotted around her skin. They carried her to a comfortable bed so she could rest.

The rays of the sun awakened Serena in a discreet room. She wondered how she got there. Her eyes moved across the room in the hope that she might have some familiarity but she could only recall the night she was at the beach. Suddenly she heard heavy footsteps coming from the hall which stopped the minute they reached her door. They were whispering but she could not quite understand what they were possibly talking about, but she knew right away through the penetrating tone of their voice it was not something pleasant. Then a man’s voice stood out through the rigorous whispers. She felt safe after hearing a familiar voice but she couldn’t possibly discern who it was. The door opened and there was a man wearing a fine garment smiling enthusiastically as he walked slowly towards her direction. He said “Hello, my name is Sebastian. I found you unconscious this morning near the shore”, Serena did not really know how to respond as she did not expect anyone to save her, the momentary unconsciousness that she had experienced was almost like a daily routine for her. Yet, how could she possibly explain this to him? However in that soundless room, you could hear every beat and thump of her heart the instant their eyes met. Only then did she know that he would be her next…

Serena then noticed that her skin around her arms was beginning peel away and her fins were appearing. Sebastian did not seem to notice as he was so fixated at looking into her eyes, however, he starts to notice a stench – like a dead body decaying. Urgently Serena tried to hide her arms with the sleeves of her robe. Then, she distracted Sebastian by pointing out the window pretending she saw something hideous. Sebastian submissively looked out the window like a faithful pet dog but he thought it was odd as he didn’t seem to see anything.

Serena decided that she would go home. She wanted to stay longer but she couldn’t possibly let Sebastian know what a monster of a person she was. So Serena went home carrying her sorrow on her despairing shoulders. Sebastian, on the other hand, was also feeling dejected and the curve in his smile turned upside down. He felt like he had lost one of his most valuable jewels. While he watched her walk away from the palace he decided to chase her with the hope of meeting her again – one day. Serena could feel her cheeks burn as it reddened liked a full ripe apple as she was flattered and so she agreed to his offer and said that they will meet again at the next full moon. They would meet again at the beach. Their place.

The moment Serena arrived she was overwhelmed with ecstasy. She had once again successfully found her very the last target. She would finally fulfil her destiny of immortality and become human without going through the anguish of old age. The curse that was cast upon her haunted her for years, like a chain attached from which she wanted to break free. The only way out of this misery was to find the one that would willingly surrender his love just for her.

Sebastian was the one.

Without a doubt, he was already in love with her despite being oblivious of her true colours. For the last 200 years, she has been targeting different men so she could achieve the youth and immortality she was looking for. The only cure for the spell that was cast upon her was a man’s true love but unfortunately, Serena failed to acquire this until she met Sebastian. But there was an irony to this curse. She was falling in love. Serena however, valuing youth and immortality over love, patiently waited for the next full moon to come. She prepared the equipment she would need; a golden dagger with a devilish carving of a tail at the handle.

Only when she noticed that her hair was starting to turn white and fall out, did she realise that the remedy she’d been taking was wearing off. So she took her one last shot to the next full moon.

It was the night of the full moon and at the same place where they first met. In his eyes she was the most beautiful jewel he had ever seen in his entire life, she was wearing a white long dress, glistening like a diamond. Sebastian slowly walked toward her. She realised how fine looking he was. Could she do what she needed to do? Sebastian filled the empty spaces between her hands with his and Serena could feel her throb once again but she ignored it and instead she focused and what she desired the most.

Beauty and youth.

Serena lead the way towards the sea; without even realising Sebastian was already sinking at the deepest end of the cave as Serena dragged Sebastian down to a cave under the sea.

As they got to the cave, it was bizarre, macabre even. At the centre, there was a table made out of stones where Serena laid Sebastian down. She took the dagger that she hid in the pocket of her dress where she attempted to aim at Sebastian’s heart. Her desire to become human, immortal, beautiful and young was stronger which surpassed whatever attraction she felt for Sebastian. So she aimed straight at his heart and stabbed him in desperation. She took the chalice that was on the counter and she collected the blood that was dripping off the table. She began to drink the bittersweet blood. Despite her hideous smirk, her misery failed to conceal itself. She had killed one she loved. She would be alone forever. And that I suppose, is the real curse.


Abortion should be banned at all costs

Abortion. It has always been a hot topic that causes controversy, brought to light through the recent debate in Northern Ireland. Some officials have recommended for a legalisation of abortion in certain circumstances; for instance, abortion is allowed if the foetus has a lethal abnormality. In my opinion, I highly disagree with this recommendation and think abortion should never have even been considered to be legalised. Yet, as a 21st-century woman, this opinion is viewed as highly controversial; anti-feminist even. We live in a generation where almost anything is possible. As time goes by we learn and improve, which is why there is a high probability that abortion is not the only solution to society’s difficulties.

Regarding the recent issue in Northern Ireland, some women are seeking approval for abortion because of rape, incest or serious malformation of a foetus. This is indeed a severe incident and I empathise entirely with this appalling situation. Obviously, this issue is not an easy one; the solution is not obvious. However, as a woman I believe we have other options besides abortion. The grief and anger should not be thrown at the child. If we take a chance by accepting the child we might learn to love the child – it could be the joy that will cure the pain that they have been put through.

Abortion is the process of terminating a pregnancy. It leads to the death of an unborn baby. One in three women between the ages of their 20-24 years old will have an abortion in the UK. These women are old enough to be responsible for the journey of motherhood and yet they choose the path where their conclusion is abortion.

Now wait” I hear you cry “what about if a woman who was raped and she was unwilling to carry the child that will remind her of the nightmare!” Let us always remember this: the child is not at fault and they don’t deserve to take the blame for a mistake they didn’t do. There is always a rainbow after a storm; the child could be a blessing in disguise, your bundle of joy. Although there are explanations as to why victims would want to proceed with abortion in my point opinion it is not right to sacrifice a pristine child’s life for another person’s desire. Abortion is not the only key to the door you want to unlock there are other options and people should not decide on abortion from the offset.

Many religious leaders still don’t approve with the legalisation of abortion in other countries because it is something that should not be easily authorised. We do not have any right to do so because we create life. But we were not the ones who gave life. Why do we choose who we can deliberately kill? A foetus is still a human being that is entirely feeble, fragile and faultless. Around the world young women and girls are easily deciding on abortion which they shouldn’t be as there are far better options. There are a lot of couples that can’t have the opportunity to have children. By giving the child up for adoption rather than abortion could also help couple such as these. Think about it – you could turn a mistake into a gift.

In the UK, each year about 200,000 abortions is carried out which also means the same amount of innocent lives are lost. Take Lucy Barker. At the age of 21 she had an abortion due to financial difficulties. She wanted to graduate and get a good degree. However, she was careless with her partner as they were lax with using protection and they had unprotected sex like so many University students. It was their choice to have unprotected sex. They were consenting adults and, therefore, they should have been adult enough to take responsibility for their actions. Therefore, they are at fault for doing so and they should be accountable for their own mistakes. They have their own free will and they are at an age where they are capable of making the right decision in a dilemma yet they took the wrong resolution–abortion.

Hold on.” I’m listening “what if the mother’s life is in danger and the child may have the disability when it’s born?” I suppose from some people’s perspective they would agree to this circumstance as it could save the mother’s life and also could prevent the child from suffering as well. Again, this reminds us that there is no easy answer. But life is full of surprises; we don’t know what the future holds. Technologies progress all the time and we discover different treatments to illnesses that we assumed we would be incapable of curing. When my Uncle was born with down-syndrome in the 1950s, the nurse pronounced he would never be anything more than a ‘vegetable’. What if my grandmother had aborted him? He would never have grown up to be the wonderful person that he is.

Think again: should we allow abortion in our society? From my perspective, we need to reflect on our actions and consider how we handle our decisions. In my opinion, the government in Northern Ireland needs to think carefully about legalising abortion. I understand that this is not a simple area of science and morality, in fact, it somewhere where science and morality seem to clash. There is no easy answer. But each and every one of us deserves to live our lives to the full. Everyone demands a chance at life, no matter how bleak that might seem from the offset.