Where Shadows Fall is a spine-tingling collection of ghost stories written by young adults aged 12+. We're delighted to announce our winner is Holly Moore (15) from Lincolnshire with her story 'As Cold as Ice'. Holly has won the complete set of The Spooks Series by Joseph Delaney, thanks to our friends at Random House - happy reading!
Lucy wakes in a stream, the cold water gushing over her body. Her white dress, torn and sodden, hangs around her. Her raven-black hair is matted and sticks to her pale face. She cannot remember.
She rises slowly, her body like lead. Wolves howl in the distance. The moon, bright and defiant, gives off an eerie glow in the thick darkness around her.
The air is cold, like death. She trudges through the water to the bank. Her house is not far, she thought. Wandering through the empty streets, snowflakes begin to fall as soft as a newborn lamb's bleat. Weird, thought Lucy, it's the middle of August.
She sees the warm glow coming from her house at the end of the lane. The ground is hard and rough beneath her bare feet. In front of her home sits a police car. Bold and majestic, guarding the door.
Lucy runs to the front door and strangely it is unlocked. Bursting into the living room, she sees the two strangers but they are wearing suits, not uniforms.
'It's been six months, Mrs Jacobs. I'm afraid by this point it is very unlikely your daughter... ' His voice breaks. His brown eyes are sad and pained.
'It is unlikely Lucy will ever be found,' he paused, 'alive.'
Lucy's mother looks tired and empty. Her father is solid and unmoving. A family destroyed by grief.
'But I'm standing right in front of you,' Lucy shouted.
But no one could hear her.
© Holly Moore (15)
Congratulations to our two runners-up, Michael Blake (12) from Essex and Olivia Dixon (15) from Suffolk, who each win a Staedtler home office set and a set of Triplus fineliners!
When Detective Steve Samson arrived at the farm nothing was out of place, it was quiet for a pig farm.
He knocked on the farmer's door. There was no answer. He tried the handle and the door swung open. Steve stepped inside the hallway. Nothing seemed out of place.
As he entered the kitchen, he noticed something odd. There were muddy hoof prints leading out of the kitchen. Puzzled, he followed them back to the pig pen where all of the pigs were asleep.
He stood and watched the pigs for a moment, holding his nose against the stench. Unable to hold his nose any longer, Steve began to walk away but then he smelt something familiar, a sickly sweet smell. Blood. He ran back.
He looked around the pig pen where he noticed the peculiar colour of the sty. It was a murky red. Do pigs eat blood? That's when he noticed that one pig was still awake, chewing away at something. He moved around the pen to see closer. It was like any other pig, pink and fat, but he felt something terribly wrong. It was the way it stared at him, not just a blank stare but a stare that picked away at your soul. It had an intelligence he'd never encountered before, not in any criminal. It was alive, sharp. Dark.
That's when he noticed it, the thing that the pig was tearing into. It was long, pink and meaty.
It was an arm!
© Michael Blake (12)
When you'd been dead as long as Alice had, life tended to become less and less important to you. You soon became immune to the emotions you'd once felt: fear, anger, love, loss. You were left with a sort of numbness, as if the veil of death had wrapped you in an impenetrable bubble.
That was why as Alice drifted through the graves, she didn't shed a single tear when she saw that her mother had forgotten to place any flowers by her headstone; just as she'd forgotten for the past thirty years. Or perhaps she'd just buried the memory of Alice along with the young girl's body, entombed whilst wearing her favourite white dress with the little daisies on the hem.
That was why as Alice wandered through the playground of her old school, children skipping around her in their youth, she felt no remorse as the large oak tree she used to climb, toppled over in what parents would call a 'freak accident,' crushing the innocent lives beneath it.
Alice didn't think of herself as a monster for what she'd done, because she didn't think at all. The hum of life that once surrounded her became more and more distant, day by day. It was why she didn't cringe away as the blood of her childhood best friend slowly soaked into her favourite white dress with the little daisies on the hem, her throat neatly slit with a kitchen knife.
And for ever Alice will wander, growing emptier by the second.
© Olivia Dixon (15)
Thank you to everyone who entered, we look forward to reading more of your hair-raising tales in the future!