BACK TO SCHOOL: Caligo – a short story by Daniel Selwood

Daniel Selwood is a student at The Hive College who has been involved in our LOCAL AMBASSADORS programme, as well as contributing to our BACK TO SCHOOL pages for his college.

A gifted prose writer and a veracious reader, Erdington Local is proud to help support and develop Daniel’s writing.

She was beautiful. She had long dark hair, a dress of midnight blue, and high heels that added inches onto her already formidable height.

Domnic Darkly felt underdressed, even in his best shirt. He hadn’t combed his hair in weeks and as a result it looked like something left in a spin dryer too long. His glasses were round, and he was becoming more and more aware of how dirty they were.

“Domnic?” she asked. Her accent was unplaceable, like every voice in the world stewed up and served.

“Yes,” said Domnic, in his West Country drawl, marred and bitten at for living in Birmingham for so long.

She stepped back. Domnic stepped in. The hall smelt familiar – like childhoods and happiness. As Domnic admired the collection of leather-bound books, her soft but strong hands grabbed his cheekbones with their death-pale fingers.

“You look just like your photos, darling, like a tough ‘n’ teak mountain man…” she whispered, and ran her tongue like a red slug over her purple lips.

“You didn’t send any pictures,” said Domnic, nervous then calm. “And I don’t know why – because you’re…” his eyes lingered on her chest, “you’re beautiful…”

“Thank you, my liebchen,” she said, and walked like a film star into her cavernous kitchen. “Would you like water, or wine?” she asked.

“Erm, water,” said Domnic. Stone statues of unrecognised Greek gods were visible through the kitchen window – dressed in real cowls. He thought he recognised some of them from a news report, something to do with back packers who were acting stupid and vanished.

“Erm, Caligo?” he asked – her name, an unusual name, one that sounded like a wine. “Where did you say you were from, again, sorry?”

She winced, then slid back into herself. “All o’fer, really mois fleur,” she said. “I, er, ‘ow-dja-say, treaded the boards…”

“You were an actress?” asked Domnic.

Water thundered into a glass. Caligo looked at him, “Pardon? Oh yes – actress, yes…” She put the glass of water into Domnic’s hand, and whilst he wasn’t looking mixed a fine line of powder into his drink.

“You look good for fifty,” said Domnic, feeling more assured. He was forty-five and obvious with it; a mix of alcohol in the ‘80s, ciggies and drugs in the ‘90s, and an attempt to settle down in the ‘00s. Caligo was charismatic. Caligo was cool. All he had was the look of a humanised gorilla, a twenty something daughter who ran off to Malaga with her girlfriend, and a wife who set fire to his clothes before chucking him out. The words, “you can stay with Calligraphy or whatever her name is…” echoed round his memories, that, and the smell of charred cotton.

“I have the kiss of life,” she laughed. “Now drink up my love… and we’ll see my garden.” She smiled without out showing teeth.

It was the last thing he remembered.

Domnic woke up outside. Cold. Naked. He couldn’t place where he was or when he’d arrived… just a jump, like a dream. But he’d seen those statues before – the one with chiselled cheekbones, the thin seedy one, the round one, too.

“Nice, isn’t it?” she asked. It was. Wherever it was. He couldn’t remember his name.

“I love this place,” she drooled. “I bought it in 1920…”

“19… but it’s 2024!” cried Domnic.

“Oh, mon chéri. I have long life. I am – er, ‘ow you say it? Vampire,” cackled Caligo, as Domnic placed his hand over his neck.

Caligo looked at him and laughed so hard a dog barked a few streets away, then went quiet. “I don’t suck blood, I kiss… and drain the life from my darling, wunderbar boyfriends.”

She leaned in and placed her lips firmly on his. It felt dangerous, yet pleasant. He didn’t fight. Her breath tasted sweet, and rich, like the zest of orange on a dense, dark cake.

Domnic turned to stone. His face was wonderfully wistful. Caligo lifted Domnic and placed him in line. She draped him in a toga before going inside – the sun was rising…

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The Hive College is part of the Erdington Local BACK TO SCHOOL programme, working together to celebrate school life from staffroom to classroom.

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BACK TO SCHOOL: Students from The Hive College invited for special dinner at Chung Ying Cantonese Restaurant

Words & pics by The Hive College

Last week Live 2 students from The Hive College were invited to a special dinner at Chung Ying Cantonese Restaurant in Birmingham.

It was a great experience for the students, some of whom have never been to a restaurant before! It also provided them with the opportunity to practise the skills they focus on in college, and to help them prepare for adulthood.

Speaking about their experience, the students gave a message of thanks for the kind hearted staff at Chung Ying. They told: “Thank you for having us at the restaurant and thank you to all the staff. Thank you for the free food and drink it was fun trying to use the chop sticks. Thank you for letting us take some back for one of our friends.

“The food was amazing; thank you for that and thank you for refilling our drinks. it was nice meeting you, we hope we see you again. From Live 2.”

Recently graded as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, The Hive College uses field trips and experiences outside the classroom to help prepare their students for adulthood.

The visit to Chung Ying allowed them to all choose what they wanted from the menu and place an order with the waiter. And of course, it was a chance to socialise and have fun with their friends.

A spokesperson from The Hive College added: “We are extremely grateful to Will and his team at Chung Ying for their generosity and making us all feel really welcome.”

For more on The Hive College visit:

For more on Chung Ying Cantonese Restaurant visit:

The Hive College is part of the Erdington Local BACK TO SCHOOL programme, working together to celebrate school life from staffroom to classroom.

To find out more about going BACK TO SCHOOL with Erdington Local please email:


BACK TO SCHOOL: The Hive College students visit Kier Highways

Words & pics supplied by The Hive College

This morning we travelled to Kier Highways.

At Kier, they led us to a big entry point where trucks come and go – so we had to be careful of oncoming vehicles. We then geared up with PPE (helmet, gloves, and a hi-vis). After that, we used a weed killer but there was water in it.

Next, we saw the truck that grits the road with salt when its slippery.
Next, we watched a demonstration of how to paint a road with road directions.
After the demonstration, some of the students did some road painting with sand.

After that, we walked into an office and went to a meeting room and we listened to a presentation about what Kier was all about and all the different sectors that all the employees operate in. While in the meeting room, the employees talked about the entry requirements and the experience that you need to get the job.

The Kier employees talked about the history of Kier; it’s going to be 100 years since the company started in 4 years time. We were thrilled with excitement as they gave each of us some goody bags and in the goody bags was a bottle and a notebook.

After they showed us to a warehouse where all the boxes with the road signs get placed, and after they take the road signs out of the box, they get flattened by a machine.

All around it was a great day.

For more on The Hive College visit  

The Hive College is part of the Erdington Local BACK TO SCHOOL programme, working together to celebrate school life from staffroom to classroom.

To find out more about going BACK TO SCHOOL please email: