‘When All Hope is Lost’ by Eddie Jones, Year 9, Thomas Clarkson Academy

The forest is serene as they stroll through it, all five of them hand in hand. They laugh, chuckle, and joke with one another; a group of close friends enjoying the calm breeze of the woodland. They appreciate being surrounded by a peaceful environment. The wind swept through their hair and garments, messing with their innocence. The group continues going, their boots crunching against the forest floor with quiet, repetitive thuds. As they continue to walk, dusk gives way to night, with the sky enveloped in black ink and the stars beginning to glimmer in deep black.

After a little moment, the group pauses to glance around. An unsettling silence enveloped them. Something was observing, but what? The group stays close together, their hearts throbbing in their throats in an unrhythmic thudding of fear for what is next. Their eyes frantically searched the forest’s exterior. Suddenly… one is seized, and they shriek in terror as they are carried by the darkness. In their fright, the group begins to run away, everyone going in their own route. A terrible decision…

The tall, lanky boy in the group is fleeing for his life, a sudden thudding trailing after him. His hair stands on edge as he skids on the woodland floor, scrambling up swiftly to make his escape… too late for that.

The youngster is abruptly grabbed and forcibly pushed on the woodland floor, blood trickling down his pale face; his cries of pain do nothing to halt it. The violent movements continue, as he is pushed against the ground, blood and tears welling up in his eyes, and his consciousness fades and returns. His breathing laboured as he fought valiantly to stay breathing; he can feel the blood trailing down his face as the beating eventually stops; he tries to stand up, but all is futile as he feels his mind slipping away. Goodnight, Asher.

The girl in the group hurries by, turning away from her now-deceased companion; she must escape, she believes, because she is too young to die like this. Her sprinting is frenzied, as her hair flies in the wind, pushing past trees, vines, and bushes. Her gaze scans the region surrounding the trees, but all is pointless. Death cannot be seen with the naked eye… she is suddenly hauled forward by her hair, slammed into a tree, and twirled as if in a dance.

Being shoved and span into the trees, her blood left on them, her neck twisted in vines that slowly choke her as they tighten around her, the blood gushing out of her brain like a river. Goodnight, Adalin. May you sleep peacefully.

The darkness engulfs the globe in death because it cannot be stopped. Death will always come, regardless of how young or old they are. What a shame. But, nevertheless, you will eventually be able to rest in the afterlife. Goodnight to all, and may death be peaceful.