Monday, November 21, 2016

Incredible Writing From This Term's Short Story Focus

The Auction

9:30pm, Johannesburg, SA.
On the east side of the main city young agents Joe Miller and Zach Branch were contemplating the entrance of a night raid on an auction for illegally poached rhino horns. Joe knew that an entrance through the front gate would be almost impossible, instead through the kitchen door would be smarter. Joe and Zach treaded down the hill slowly, being careful not to be seen, towards the kitchen door.

To their surprise the kitchen door was unlocked and no one was guarding it. They carried on inside, the kitchen smelt and looked 100 years old, obviously it hadn't been used in years. Once again there was no one around. Joe and Zach continued towards the main hall, where the auction was to be held. The main door was locked dropped their shoulders and pounded against the door, with all their might the doors burst open…

No one, the hall was completely abandoned.
Joe was intrigued to find that a lit cigarette was burning on the old stone tiles of the hall. Before Joe had time to think about it, six heavily armed men dropped from suspenders hooked to the roof. They were surrounded. Out of fear Zach leveled his gun towards one of the men and fired a shot...It must have missed the tip of of head by only a centimetre.
This caused a frenzy of rapid fire machine guns firing at Joe and Zach.
Joe dived behind one of the pillars holding up main hall. All of a sudden a deafening scream filled the auction room. Zach had been shot.

Joe gasped as his friend lay lifeless on the floor. There was nothing Joe could do now except get out and call for the police. Without him knowing a hand grabbed Joe by the neck and held him at least two feet above the ground. Joe could feel himself about to pass out. Whack!

As he came to Joe could see a group of tough looking men huddling around him, chanting something like execution...Execution! Joe needed to get out of here quick. A man grabbed Joe and took him towards the guillotine in the center of the room. Joe noticed an open window on the other side of the room was this his chance to escape?

Joe lashed out on his captures and  headed towards the window, the three large men chased after him but Joe was too fast. Joe clambered out the window and sprinted as far away as he could from the Auction house, Joe needed to report back to MI6. Joe knew that Johannesburg airport was only about a kilometre away, he would have to act fast so he could steal one of the planes.

When he arrived at the airport Joe snuck into the cargo room and hid inside a group of suitcases. He was waiting for about half an hour, then finally a man from the airline came to load the baggage onto the plane. In an instant Joe jumped up and out of the bags and took out the man.

Joe stole the man's uniform and wheeled the baggage towards the plane. Another man from the airline was heading towards him, step by step Joe was getting worried that the man wouldn’t recognise him and report him, “Hi, Steve!”, said the man. Joe kept his head down and continued towards the the plane. “Steve?” said the man again, once again Joe kept on walking…

Joe lept onto the plane and walked slowly to the cockpit, being careful not to be noticed. To his luck no one was in the plane yet, so Joe got into the cockpit and started the engine. Staff were going crazy and the air traffic control tower were shouting through the speakers, trying to stop Joe from taking off. The plane sped along the runway until Joe lifted the plane up into the air. Joe switched the coordinates to England and put the plane on autopilot.

It was 3:00am in the morning when Joe felt the plane rumble and shake. He got up and dived into the cockpit. All of a sudden the plane dropped like a rock and plunged into the Atlantic Ocean. There was no escape this time...Joe could feel himself slip away, he was now unconscious slowly sinking deeper into the blue...

By Tom Griffiths

 The Road Trip
Tessa Fermenville walked down the corridor in her black high heeled boots. The school bell had rung, so she was making her way towards the brown, front door. Tessa, was a very self-centered person, In her world, everything was about being popular and having the newest makeup and clothes. She walked outside towards the sunny school garden, she made her way to the fence, where her mother stood waiting with a happy grin on her face.
“Hey sweetie” she said, “how’s your day been?”
“Like always,”  Tessa answered in a bored voice. Her mum kindly handed her her chocolate fudge ice cream.
“Thanks,” answered Tessa.
“By the way, I’ve got a surprise!” said her mum in her happy singsong voice, “Were all going on a family road trip on a campervan!”
“WHAT!” she shrieked “Why do you do this to me you know I hate camping!”
“We’re not camping Tessa, you will be sleeping in a normal bed inside.”
“Like that matters,” she scowled “How long are we going for?”
“One week,” replied her mum.
“WHAT!” she screamed, “Do you know how many parties I’m missing?”

After much more drama, the next morning they headed off. A few hours into the trip, they saw a farm, some horses were standing in groups by the fence chewing some wet, shiny, green grass.
“Hey, let’s have a look at the horses,” exclaimed dad.
“What ever,” added Tessa.
When they finished looking at the horses, they went back to the campervan, and suddenly, as they tried to start the campervan, a disturbing noise filled the air.
“vrmmp, vrrrmpp….” The campervan wasn’t starting!
“Oh great, what we supposed to do now?” scowled Tessa.
“We’ll fix it,” answered her dad.
“How?” she fumed
“By Looking at the engine,” he answered getting a little impatient.
Later, they gave up. It was getting dark, it was cold, and they couldn’t get any water or heat from their broken campervan.
“I just guess we’ll have to go and ask the farmers for help.”
“WHAT!?!?” she screamed “Firstly, road trip, then farming?” she roared,
“We’ll do what we can Tessa,” her parents replied.
“Yeah right,” she added sarcastically.
They walked together towards the farm and asked for water and a place to sleep, the farmers kindly let them sleep in the barn and let them have some bread and jam for dinner.
The next morning after a breakfast of tea and bread, the farmers helped  get their campervan fixed. The family offered the farmers some money for their help and kindness, but they wouldn't take it. Instead they asked for help around the farm. Of Course they said yes, but Tessa was just rudely begging to return home.

That day she met the farmer’s daughter Mary, Tessa  wasn’t sure what to think of her, but she kept a smile on her face and pretended to like her. Tessa worked really hard that day, fixing fences, gardening and feeding the animals. At the end of the day, she realised she had her one, true friend. She no longer needed  makeup or highheels, but what she had always needed, that one thing to make her happy, she had now.

By Marta Perez Benet

The Wishing Well

Amy and Cleo Lynn, were sisters and the best of friends. Well they used to be…

For the past couple of days Cleo had been looking and feeling very sad and reserved. She wouldn’t speak, and she hardly ever smiled. Amy began to get worried. Cleo used to be like Amy’s little ray of sunshine. She used to be bubbly and was always interested in what Amy was doing, she also wanted to hang out with Amy all the time. For the most part Amy found this downright irritating, but now she missed it.
Besides, Amy knew if she didn’t do something, things would go from bad to worse.

The next day, the sun was shining and it looked like things could start to improve. Cleo’s bedroom was on the first floor. As opposed to Amy’s who was up stairs.

Quietly, she crept down the stairs to Cleo’s room. As she reached the door, there was a strange sound coming from inside. Amy pressed her ear softly against the wood and listened. From where Amy was listening, it sounded like crying. She pulled away from the door.

Amy breathed in and knocked, three hard knocks. The crying sound stopped, there was a small sniff and Cleo’s door creaked open slowly. Cleo’s skin was extremely pale and didn’t look very real at all. She was wearing, black track pants and a grey cardigan.
‘Hi Cleo,’ Amy said quietly. Cleo said nothing, she just blinked.
‘Er, I was wondering if you wanted to come with me into the bush. It’s a nice day out there and I was going to go to the creek and see if I could catch some eels. Would you like to come?’ Amy asked wearily. Cleo blinked again.
‘Sure.’ She replied, she backed away and shut the door.
Amy ran up stairs, threw on a pair of dark blue jeans, a white top, and green hoodie.

Ten minutes later, Cleo emerged from the house and met Amy on the front lawn.
‘Hi,’ She said. Cleo smiled a faint smile in reply. Amy nodded in the direction of the bush path. For quite a while they walked in silence, until Cleo broke the silence.
‘I’m just going to go down to the stream to get a few pebbles.’ She said, and took off.
‘Okay,’ Amy called after her.

About five minutes later there was a loud scream!
‘Cleo? Are you there? Cleo!’
Amy ran in the direction of where Cleo had gone. As she approached, she saw him…
A man dressed in all black strode quickly away.
Amy yelled and yelled at him, but it was if she wasn’t even there.

He looked oddly familiar.

She started running and running until she smashed into something. All she saw was the path ahead of her. Although she couldn’t go any further. She side stepped until she could walk forward again. Then all of a sudden she fell, she thudded downwards, then she landed face down on something hard. It felt like wood. She blinked, what she saw before her wasn’t the path in the bush. It was the landing at the bottom of the stairs.
What? She thought.
Amy stood up, and ran down the hall, to Cleo’s bedroom.
She went into her room but Cleo wasn’t there. Amy had a terrible thought. What if what she had dreamed, turned into a reality?

Throwing on her coat, Amy ripped the door open and ran up into the bush track. She tried as hard as she could to remember exactly what had happened in her dream. She came to the part of the bush path where Cleo had left her to go get some pebbles. Then she heard the ear piercing scream.

This time Amy was able to run where she wanted to run before. Then she saw him, he was running this time away from whatever had happened.
Amy saw his prints in the mud from his large clumpy boots. She followed them back until she found Cleo.
‘No, Cleo,’ Amy whispered. Cleo was lying down by the stream, blood trickling out of her torso.
‘This can’t be…’ Amy’s voice trailed off, there was the odd ‘Cleo,’ between weeps.

Amy picked Cleo up, and took her down to the wishing well on their front lawn. She looked around to see if there was anyone about, but there was no one. Holding Cleo in her tight grasp, then whispered in her ear, ‘I’m so, so sorry Cleo,’ Then let her go down the well. Cleo once told her, when she died that’s where she wanted to go.

The next morning, Amy’s parents weren’t even asking about Cleo or where she was.
All Amy heard her mother say to her father was, ‘I’m glad you took care of Cleo when you did,’ Then she winked.

By Charlotte McFarlane

The night everything fell apart

As the inky black sky was thrown over like a blanket, the stars came out of hiding to watch the earth crumble. Cracks formed and houses were torn down into the damp soil.
I ran.
Lungs breathing heavily.
Heart pumping.
Hitting the ground with the soles of my feet. Walls collapsing behind me. Dreaming of leaving the nightmare I was living in. I wished I could transform into a majestic owl and flap my wing and fly away.
Leave the world.
Be free.

Brought back into reality by bricks been thrown by the earth, threatening to hit my head. Dashing through I kept moving. Jumping bricks and ruins like hurdles, I moved headway. Instantly, I came to a standstill.
My family.
How could I have forgotten them?
Turning back, I felt anxious.  One million thoughts had a running race in my head. The winner was death. They had to be dead. As soon as I thought that,  tears like rain drops rolled down my pale cheeks. They fell onto the floor, becoming camouflage with the other water droplets.

Then I saw them.
All of them.
Dad with his usual shirt, checked, and his creamy light yellow jumper over. Mum with her shiny, rich black leather handbag, and her outfit she normally would wear for work, quite formal, it was a pale suit. Aiden, with his scruffy band t-shirt, his dark hair was covering his left eye, like usual. His headphones were jammed around his neck. Lillian, her ginger hair, falling neatly, resting on her shoulders. Her pale pink dress with a blue satin ribbon, danced in the wind. Baby Sapphire, saffie for short, was clinging tightly to mum like a monkey. Her curly, dirty blond hair, constructed into pigtails.
I keep running. The closer I got, I realised. They were grey, almost transparent.

Shivers were sent down my spine as their gloomy, fear filled eyes laid upon me.
I had never seen a ghost. But like they say, there is a first time for everything.
As I looked closer I realised that they were walking towards me. Cold and wet, tired and exhausted I made my way along the path, out lined by rubble, towards them.
I was scared.
I reached out to touch them.
Expressionless, they stared at me.
Inches away, my hand stretched out. Frail and uncertain, I passed through her body. I came out the other side and fell to my knees.
Everything stopped, everything a statue all around me.
Frozen in time.
I saw my body, lying there. Drifting away into the wind.
Don't forget me.
Never forget me…

By Millie Watkins

Island of the Heir

Icy wind is slashing at my face and the rain is dancing its evil dance on my head as I try to gather my bearings. Wet sand is stuck between my toes, working its way up my ankles. A shrill cry echoed in the mist. I turn around slowly, frozen with fear. No one is there. I am alone. The towering trees behind me reveal no clues to where I might be. Darkness engulfs me and I fall into a deep slumber. Waves are washing around me, the taste of bitter salt in my mouth. Death is an option. It has been an option ever since I awoke on this island. What is there to live for? The surface of the water is glistening above me, my lungs bursting, screaming for air. Slowly, I can feel myself slipping away towards the underworld, my life is flashing before my eyes. Blackness surrounds me, death itself is right in front of me, beckoning me forward.

I am awoken by a dark figure standing over me. His robes dragging along the ground behind him. He doesn’t say a word. Handing me a slip of paper, he turns abruptly and walks away into the trees. Holding the parchment up to the light, all I can see is scribbly writing. “The end is near, the thing you need to escape is fear. Hidden behind the chamber doors, it will be hard and that’s for sure. One more thing is needed here, and that thing is my island's heir. He will be the one to lead the way, down to our rippling bay. You have a day, do not delay.”

Turning sharply, I spin on my heels and step into the forest. Feet blistered and bleeding, I stagger onward to find the islands heir. The sky is growing dark. I have been out all night, and it doesn’t look like I’m going to be arriving anytime soon. Rain is pounding in my ears. I’m not sure if the liquid trickling down my face is rain or tears. Sleep is beckoning me like a moon to a wolf. The last thing I see before my eyes shut is that hooded figure, pointing North…
6 hours. I had let 6 hours pass. Drenched in sweat, tears and rain I am no closer to finding the heir than I was 6 hours ago. My head is throbbing and I am up to the point where I could just collapse. Leaves are crunching underfoot. I am not alone. The Man. He is here. One bony finger emerges from his cloak, and once again, pointing North. I don’t know what it is. But something inside me just clicks. Turning around, I redirect myself and start heading North. How could I have been so stupid. What a waste of 8 hours. 16 to go.

Bang! A spark shot up into the sky, illuminating what seemed to be a large iron door. It wasn’t there before?! Cautiously approaching the door, as if it was a lion about to pounce, I grasp the handle. Slowly entering the dark, cavernous entrance a musky odor filled the narrow hallway. With each step I take it adds to the weight of doubt on my shoulders. The dusty ground is hard under my feet, as through unbreakable. With dirt in my eyes it is becoming harder and harder to see through the darkness. This is probably why I ran headfirst into yet another iron door, but this time with a passcode… It can’t be. They wouldn’t. But it is worth a try. I type into the keypad, Islandsheir. A soft click can be heard from deep inside the doors iron depths. With one hand on the handle, I turn it slowly, hoping for a miracle. The door opens…

I step inside, waiting for what was yet to come. Suddenly the only light left in the room was cut off, leaving me in pitch blackness. A voice echoed along the dingy cellar. “What comes next will need a clue, not to many but just a few. Go along the cellar hall, what comes next is sure to enthrall. Go around the crystal ball, get past this and winner takes all. Next challenge is a battle of your strength, I have to warn you it will be intense. Get past these you will find the heir, deep down in my iron liar. 7 hours you have left, use them well or lose the rest”. Do what it says, the voice in my head mutters. It’s the only way you will ever get out of here. Treading carefully down the endless hallway. A flame suddenly flickers to life revealing a disco ball gleaming up above. Slowly, if by magic, it starts spinning faster and faster. A spotlight was switched on, beaming up at the disco ball. But instead of it sending rays of glittering light it sent burning, blood red lasers. Stepping back so that my toes don’t get burnt to a crisp, I have to organise a plan.

The lasers all go from left to right at the same time which leaves me around 2 seconds to get across the room and dodge the red hot lasers at the end. I will have to time this perfectly. 3… 2… 1… and GO!! Lasers seem to be everywhere all at once, casting a blood red glow on my face. I have no time. The lasers are swarming back. Leaping, I crash onto the other side of the room, gasping for breath. I am alive. But there is still a piercing pain down my arm. Looking down, I can see the blood trickling down my left forearm. “Congratulations”, he echos in the same raspy voice. “You have made it this far, but the next will be truly bizarre”. Once again, I am plunged into darkness. The only thing I can see is another door at the end of the passageway.

This wasn’t any disco ball. The walls were lined with rows and rows of men, all armed with a bow and arrow. Unfortunately for them, they forgot to clean away an old cardboard box in the corner. Putting it over my head, I run across the room. Arrows are flying, soaring across the room. I reach the end of the room, but the struggle is not over yet. Redirecting themselves they point their arrows towards me once again. But the joke's on them. I throw open the door and bolt inside, not yet knowing what awaits me.

In the middle of the room stands a man. Not just any man. I know who he is. The man, standing right right in front of me is the island's heir. “Follow me”, he begs, “please”. I look at my watch. We have 10 minutes. He grabs my arm and pulls me towards a door at the back of the room. The cold wind outside sends a shiver down my spine. We run through the towering trees together. 5 minutes left. Leaves are floating down with the breeze. 4 minutes. We are almost at the edge of the bay. 3 minutes. I can hear the sound of the ocean. 2 minutes. I can feel the sand between my toes. 1 minute. “You must leave now”, he whispers into my hair. I step back, the waves washing around my feet. Everything goes black.

Sitting up in bed, I look around. I am in my bedroom. My ordinary bedroom. Did it ever happen? Was it all a dream? Rolling over, I look at my alarm clock, 6:34am Monday. Groaning, I get out of bed and go to my mirror. Everything is as it should be. But something catches my eye. A large scar, down my left forearm…

By Lily Sambrooke

The Helicopter

The burning helicopter was still burning hot.
There was shrapnel everywhere.
John woke up to intense pain, it was torture, in his head. Where, am I?  What happened?  were some of the thousands thoughts rushing through his head. But whenever he tried to grasp a memory to answer them it slipped away into the empty abyss.
He got up feeling pain caused by lying in the white cold snow for however long. Footprints or anything to signify anyone was here was his only priority but it proved to be futile.
There was one thing he found, a weather map dated to 6/1/2012 it showed clear weather everywhere. But then again he could not remember the date. Why was I here?. His head started to hurt again. He looked at what he was wearing. What is this? I this the sort of stuff I wear? He couldn’t remember. I can’t pilot a helicopter. At least I don’t think I can. This might be a dream? he thought But I can’t remember anything before I would've fallen asleep. He kept  looking.
The helicopter stopped burning so he went inside. It wasn't a very big helicopter a storm could’ve easily brought it down. How did I know that? . He found a pair of shoes. He had shoes on, so whose were these. He checked the size of his shoes to the pair of shoes in the helicopter. They were smaller. They couldn’t of been a spare pair. There was a radio on. The radio presenter spoke “it has been a few days since the new year and the year is officially two thousand and Shhhhhhhh” It then cut out. He went into the cockpit. He found a manual with the Australian Helicopter Group written on the front. Australia didn’t have much snow but all he could see outside was snow. He opened a cupboard labelled “food”. He got out a food pack and got out of the helicopter.
The shrapnel was gone. It wasn't snowing. How could this happen? John mulled over in his head while he walked down the mountain. He was walking along until he slipped on a root and painfully fell down to a flat. He got up and crawled over to the edge, he looked down. He saw the helicopter, below him. How is this possible? His head felt like it was going to explode. What is happening? Am I going mad? He pondered whether to kill him self to end the pain. But he straightened up and opened up the food pack. After eating he decided to have a lie down.
Beep beep beep. He woke up there were faces above him. “Where am I?” he asked they responded
“you're in hospital you had quite a fall, you cracked your skull”. They conversed for quite a while. But eventually he asked
”what happened to the helicopter?”
“what helicopter?”

By: Luke Thompson

Things That Disappear in the Night

Stumbling through the woods she heard his breath, ragged and torn, as he ran ahead of her. Branches snapped and leaves crackled underfoot. The mist rolled in. The night was cold and she could see her breath crystallising in the air. All of a sudden a bloodcurdling scream pierced the silence. Ryan… she thought. There was no one else around for at least 10 miles. She froze in her tracks, her blood pumping. The high sound was abruptly cut off. Silence returned. Breaking into a run she darted forward. Heart racing, breath quickening she broke through the trees into a clearing. In the middle there was a hole. A deep, dark hole. She dropped to her knees.
“No no,” she whispered shaking her head. “Please God no.” She scrabbled around with her hands but found nothing except some puce pink earthworms, which she flung aside. Mist closed in around her blotting out the inky black sky lit up only by stars. Bone dry leaves the shape of hands were scattered around her as if trying to reach out and grab her delicate, pale skin.  Her arms hung limply at her sides.
Wind whipped around her face, dancing with her hair, tugging at her hand as if asking her to a dance. Salty tears ran down her face. She lay down on the ground and curled up onto a ball, still crying. Her phone beeped and buzzed but she ignored it. Owls hooted in the distance. Her eyelids became heavy and sleep smothered her like a blanket.

As she came to her senses she heard someone calling her name in the distance.
“Opal, Opal!”
She opened her eyes and looked at the silhouette in the distance. Their figure was blurred. She sat up and looked closer, her eyes widened. Seeing her lying down the figure raced over.
“Opal there you are. Where have you been? I’ve texting you all night. Your parents are worried.”
“No It can’t be. No no.” She murmured, backing away.
”Opal.” He whispered. “It’s me… Ryan.” She screamed. “Calm down Opal, It's ok.” He tried to grab her arm. She screamed louder.
“It’s not you don’t lie to me.” She yelled, more tears streaming down her face. “I was chasing you.” She was hiccuping. “ You died!” He looked at her.
“Opal.” He said confused. “I never came into the woods last night.”

Emma Littlefair

Mike Anderson

As I take a step forward, the dry leaves of the forest floor crunch beneath my feet and I lift my torch a little higher. The torchlight casts an eerie, faint amber glow onto the trees around me, as they sway gently in the slight breeze, their branches reaching out for me like bony hands. I look up to the sky. A few twinkling stars have already appeared. Alex should be here now. He called me last night to meet him in the woods at seven thirty. My watch tells me it’s seven thirtyfive.
I have absolutely no idea why he wanted to meet me here, especially he hates the woods, and everything is more creepy at night. I try to recall what he said on the phone, ‘Hi James, can you meet me in the woods tomorrow night at seven thirty? I’ll meet you at that place near the clearing where we built that hut ages ago.’
‘OK - but why?’
‘There’s something I want to show you. It’s a surprise.’
That was strange of Alex because he never calls me. I don’t even know if I’ve ever given him my number. He called my home phone but fortunately, neither my mother nor father had answered the phone, for they would have never approved me going to the woods at night. In fact, it was rather hard slipping out of the house. I had half convinced my parents that I was having an early night and went to bed at quarter past seven. I had slipped out of my bedroom window and landed clumsily onto the damp grass.
An owl hoots somewhere nearby which brings me back to my senses. Just, as I am going to turn back and return home, a fiery light in the distance between the trees catches my attention. I move forward into the trees and spy a forest clearing. Watching from between the trees, my heart is thumping loudly against my ribs.
A man with blonde hair and a short beard is lying on the ground on fire. The roaring flames are rising higher and higher and I am afraid they will start reaching the trees. I stand rooted to the spot, my eyes wide with fear and terror, a hand on my thumping heart. I don’t know what to do. I can feel the heat of the flames. I should run. Run away and call someone for help. How long has this man been burning to death? Who set him on fire? Just as I am about to run for my life, I catch a glimpse of what the man was wearing. A dark T-shirt, a pair of jeans with a huge hole on the left knee, and a pair of old purple shoes with its sole peeling off.
I recognise those shoes. And those old jeans with the huge hole on the left knee. And the dark T-shirt. They belong to Mike Anderson. And this means, Mike Anderson is on fire. Mike is my dad’s client. My Dad runs a car company. My Father is always complaining Mike is never dressed well and needs a new pair of pants and shoes. I agree. He always wears that same outfit. That’s how I recognised him quite distinctly.
Suddenly, I feel cold. The hair on the back of my necks rises, my arms are covered in goosebumps and a shiver runs down my spine. And then I run. I’m sprinting through the forest as fast as I can, sweat sliding down my face, running past the towering trees, feeling the branches scratch my arms. I have never run this fast in my life. Arriving home quickly, I climb effortlessly through the window and into bed. I pull the covers right over my head and stay there forever.

The next night, I’m lying in my bed, staring at the ceiling. For some reason, I did not tell my Father about Mike. I really think I should. When dad came home from work today, he didn’t say anything. Strange. Another thing is that Alex has been acting extremely strange at school today. He did not talk to me, play with me, or even look at me. I am about to drift off to sleep, when I remember I need to close my blinds. I drag myself out of bed and walk over to the window. Suddenly, I see a figure outside my house in the front lawn standing motionless. Something about it makes me feel uneasy. I look closer. Then I scream. Mike Anderson is standing in my front garden, outside my house. What? I saw him burning to death yesterday. And he was dead. No one in hell could survive after being on fire. I blink. And then he’s gone. Vanished.  At the moment I’m feeling about ten times more scared than yesterday. Closing my blinds, I clamber into bed. Just like yesterday, I dive under the covers and stay like that the whole night, trembling.

When I arrive home from school the next day, I see a note on the mat of the front door. I bend down and pick it up:

James - meet me in the woods at 7:30. Same place. I need you to see something.

Oh no. What does he want? He wasn’t there when I went to the woods the other night. I don’t really want to go because I doubt he’d be there. But something makes me go.

It’s seven twenty five, and before I know it, I’m running through the woods, past the trees reaching out for me, the dry leaves crunching beneath my feet. I stop at the forest clearing, panting, a small, misty cloud of vapour coming from my mouth as I breathe deeply.
Mike Anderson is sprawled on his back on the forest floor. Something makes me go rushing over to him. As I see him up close, I recoil with a yell. He is really badly burned. In fact, he is no longer recognisable. He just looks like a black figure. Charred and blackened, his blonde hair is no longer visible, his clothes are torn and the colour of charcoal, and the only large patch of visible flesh, is a dark brown. The only part of Mike that wasn’t so burnt and scorched was his old purple shoes, now the soles had properly peeled off. Blood seeps out from a huge cut on his forehead, pooling onto the ground. My eyes follow a trail of trickling blood and then I see it, written in his own blood:

Look what you have done. I will get revenge. Better watch out I am coming to get you.

I feel terrified. Is this message supposed to be for me?
Suddenly, black clouds sprawl across the sky, a lightning bolt flickers and then the downpour begins. The rain pours down upon me and I sprint back home.

By the time I climb into my bedroom from my window, I am soaked from head to foot, my hair plastered to my face, water dripping onto the carpet. I turn around to close my window. Suddenly, I see a figure standing motionless in the rain. As a thunder bolt flashes, the light of it flickers eerily upon the figure’s face for a fraction of a second, and I immediately recognise Mike Anderson. This time he is glaring at me through narrowed eyes, fists clenched at his sides. Is he angry at me? I blink. And then he’s disappeared.

I’m in bed now, curled under my blankets, feeling scared. Just like the other nights, I stay under the covers for the whole night.

It’s the weekend today and I’ve just finished eating lunch when the phone rings.
‘I’ll get it’ , I say quickly to my Mother, jumping off my chair to reach the phone. I feel like it might be Alex. And I’m right.
‘Hi James’ , Alex says.
‘Hi’ , I say. I bet five bucks that he’s going to ask me to meet him in the woods again. I’m prepared to say no because he’s asked me twice now and he never came. But Alex asks me something else;
‘Can you come to my house?’
‘Er … OK. When?’
‘Um, right now.’
‘Why?’ , I question curiously.
‘There is something really strange and gross I want you to see’ , Alex replies oddly.
‘OK. I’ll be there in a minute.’
I hang up. I tell my mum that I’m heading to Alex’s home. He lives three houses down from me so it’s a quick walk.
When I open my front door I suddenly recall our conversation. There was something strange about Alex’s voice. It sounded very different to what he usually talks like. It almost sounded as if he was talking in a false high voice.
When I arrive at Alex’s house the front door is open. I step inside. The house seems strangely quiet and still.
‘Hello?’ , I call. There’s no answer. Everything seems like it's holding its breath. I step into the living room.
Lying on the ground, drenched in blood is Alex. I bend down to feel his heart. Nothing.
Alex is dead.

By Chloe Bothwell

The Hole

Eerie silence filled the air. Thomas, a cheerful seventeen year old boy was running through the woods, as always. Rain poured down onto his body, he was wet with sweat and rain. Fog and darkness was closing in around him.
Thomas had to fight against the weather. The sky was full of rain so Thomas didn’t know where he was going. Thomas kept going forward and saw a figure of a girl in the distance. Teresa, Thomas thought, as he was catching up to her. Thomas loved Teresa, everyone did. Not just because she had beautiful pearly white skin, or because she had short black silky hair and gorgeous dark blue eyes. Everyone loved Teresa because she was smart, funny, and because she is the nicest person anybody has ever met.
“Tom” Teresa said turning around to face Thomas.
“Hi Teresa” Thomas answered a bit surprised, “What are you doing out here?”
“You should go back home is not safe out here” Teresa demanded, ignoring Thomas’ question.
“Well Teresa if it isn’t safe out here you should go back home with me” Thomas said, already holding Teresa’s hand.
“Go home!” Teresa shouted, pulling her hand away from Thomas’.
Thomas turned around with heaps of emotions running up and down his mind. It was hard for Thomas to run away from Teresa, he really liked her, but when she shouted at him his heart broke into a million pieces. He ran. Thomas ran as hard as he could, far away from Teresa. Suddenly Thomas tripped on the trunk of a fallen tree.
“Where am I?” Thomas wondered almost in a whisper, feeling around the walls that enclosed him. The walls were sticky and felt like mud, the floor was rather different to the walls because it was rough and it was full of rocks. Thomas was tired and he could feel all the cuts he had in his hands and back. He went to sleep.
On the next morning, barking could be heard in the distance. In a matter of minutes a dog appeared and fell on top of Thomas. Thomas recognized the dog, it belonged to his eighty year old neighbor. “Max,” Thomas shouted at the dog and patted his leg so  Max could sit on top of his legs. “Ok Max, we have to find a way to get out of here,” Thomas said to the dog even though it was weird. Sun entered through a hole in the highest part of the wall. “How will we ever escape from here?” Thomas wondered to himself.
Three days had passed since Thomas had fallen into “The room” and two since Max. Thomas’ throat was dry and he could see that Max also needed some water.
Water was an issue.
Thomas was a very hydrated boy, he always drunk water everywhere he went. Food wasn’t so much of an issue, Thomas didn’t eat much but he did needed to eat something.
On the fourth day a miracle happened according  to Thomas. When Thomas woke up the wall, which the hole was in, had a ladder attached to it. After Thomas had grabbed Max from the rocky floor he started to climb up the ladder. Thomas poked his head out of the hole and let  Max climb out. When Thomas and Max had finally escaped from the hole, Thomas noticed a girl standing in front of him. It was Teresa. Teresa pulled a gun out of her back pocket and shot. A loud scream echoed through the forest and suddenly stopped. Thomas was dead.

By Francisca Zaballa

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