‘Shadows of Silence’ by Maya Petrova, Year 10, Thomas Clarkson Academy

As the final sounds of laughing faded into the night, I found myself alone on the dimly illuminated street. The vivid city glow had faded, leaving an unsettling calm punctuated only by the distant hum of passing cars. I felt content while wrapped in the warmth of my jacket. Little did I know, the peace was about to break. My senses heightened, and a vague dread crept in. Shadows moved ominously, sending a shiver down my spine. The crackle of footsteps behind me startled me, and the distant cry of a stray dog sent shivers down my spine.

My heart raced. ‘creakkk’ My entire body jumped at the scary sound. I twisted it all around to see what beast was following me. But there was nothing there. I carried on walking. ‘AHHHHH!’ I scream in terror. Something swung at me, and my entire body was shoved. Not knowing what to do, I fled into the neighboring woodland. I’m not sure what was chasing me.

My excitement surged as I ran, my pulse beating and each breath a desperate gasp for air. The creature’s deep screams resonated through the dense jungle, motivating me to push my legs faster and harder. Bursting into a clearing, I noticed a lovely, old home hidden among the woods. As I lurched towards it, I felt a rush of relief. With shaky hands, I pushed open the creaking door and entered. Despite the chill, I felt strangely warm. But I couldn’t shake the sensation of being watched. It was a two-room cottage with a kitchen, living room and bathroom.

The concept that worried me the most was that I still had no idea what it was. Was it a person, an animal, or a supernatural being? I couldn’t believe it; things like this only happen in horror films. The howling stopped, and everything went silent. I expected to be relieved, but fear overtook me instead. Where does the beast hide? My first thought was to wait until daylight, then depart. However, survival seemed questionable. ‘BANG,’ “What was that?” I screamed. I had nowhere to run. I leaped inside the restroom, expecting to be safe.

The ground abruptly fell. “AHHHHH!”I never saw it coming. I was cautiously inspecting the abandoned cottage when the floor underneath me gave way with a painful lurch. I fell into the darkness, the air rushing past my ears as I tumbled downward, landing with a bone-jarring bang. Panic gripped my chest as I realised I was trapped underground in a pit. The air was heavy with the aroma of earth and decay, and as I jumped to my feet, my heart hammered in my breast, each beat a desperate call for help. Was this the plan all along? I could hear the beast slowly approaching me. I did not want to be here, I could feel every bone in my body begin to shudder with utter hopelessness, was this it? “NOOOO HELP!”