By competition winner, Faaiqa.

The Outreach Team recently ran a competition asking students in years 7-9 in one of our Partner Schools to write a short story. We are pleased to announce that the winner of the competition is Faaiqa with “Trembling”. Please enjoy Faaiqa’s short story below.

Someone was about to see if anyone was hiding but then a sudden knock came from the door. Sophie’s sweat started to trickle from the tip of her head. Sophie’s son possessed a rusty key in the palm of his hand.  Several hours had passed, scouring this unknown territory; a waste of time until he found this reward, this trophy. With the eagerness of an archaeologist rubbed away the encrusted dirt until his grimy fingers revealed two words, ‘Find me’.

The instant he stepped foot into the house again, all five of his senses mixed in the uniqueness of the Manor. The tobacco smoke crawled up into his nostrils, and the irritating sound of creaking rung his eardrums as he pounded the wooden floorboards searching for hidden curiosities.

His mother had sunk into poverty since her husband had died in The Great War.  A hardworking and intelligent woman, she was fortunate to have been given the position of a housekeeper by the owners of Petunia Manor whilst they were travelling. Her son, a nine year old, short for his age but fearless never the less, was delirious to find himself free to roam the many botanical gardens, orchards and wilderness surrounding the Manor and play to his heart’s content within the walls of the comforting house.

Traversing the many corridors, the boy wandered into a room, yet undiscovered, and looked over its impressive paintings with elaborate frames which looked to him centuries old. Someone tapped him on the back – it was a delicate touch, more that of a child than an adult, but surely not his mother’s. There it was again, a gentle nudge, undoubtedly real, for he felt fingernails pierce his shirt.

The girl moved! He could swear on it. She seemed to be clawing at his hand-why? He spread out his palm: of course, the key! She smiled but her eyes were bulging with hunger as she beckoned him hypnotically to come forward. The girl pointed eagerly to the lock in the door behind her; as he slid the key into it, a huge wave of light flooded out of the painting, muffling him and his screams for his help.

“Son?” his mother called to him. No response. “Son?” All day she had searched every inch of the house in desperation before she remembered the deserted corridor of rooms the owners of the house had told her not to disturb. Her heart pounded as she retraced the boy’s foot prints on the creaky floorboards. On entering the room, her eyes followed the footprints leading curiously up to the gloomy picture of the girl; she recoiled in horror as her eyes caught the scene before her. The girl’s pale hand rested on the shoulder of a new companion, one that was not meant to be there… her son.