Scroll down for our talented runners up for July 2013: The School.
The School by Ayaan, age 15 (247 words)
January 24th, 1978
The battered plaque beneath The School read – ‘Nurturing the evil minds of tomorrow’. It was unsettling to think how much something could be altered in such a short space of time. The clouds that floated freely about the school were darker than usual today – their gazes held something more than malice, something far greater than contented evil swam in their midsts.
I carried on strolling past the weeds that had grown uncontrollably to the Trial Room. The air was thick with heat and I found it difficult to muster enough energy to complete a spell that could transport me a few feet to where the room was located. I braved the humidity and a few minutes later, found myself standing as a statue would do in front of the Founders of The School – Jameson, Smith, Wakefield and Horin. Their gazes scorched my pale skin although, strangely, they had their eyes covered.
Step forward Jimmy, spoke a union of bellowing voices. I willed my feet to move and thankfully, they obliged.
You are hereby sentenced to seclusion for a total of five thousand years for your incompetence and willingness to sacrifice the secrets of The School. Do you have anything you wish to say to combat our sentence?
I shook my head only a fraction before they each took off the cloths covering their eyes and turned me into something far worse than I could have imagined; they turned me to stone.
Ayaan, age 15
The School by Isabella, age 14 (214 words)
My heart was beating furiously in my chest as I stared at the muddle of letters and numbers littering the page in front of me. My brain was trying desperately to make sense of the mess I was reading, and the strain of it was already making my head throb.
‘Find the root of a square of 441?’
No, that can’t be it.
5 minutes have passed and I’ve done little more than write my name.
How can I do this? How can I do the same things as everyone else when I have such a huge disadvantage?
It’s not fair, this is too hard for me.
I need help; I can’t do this on my own.
But I have to.
They won’t help me, they can’t, and even if they could they still wouldn’t.
I’m not ‘smart’. I’m destined to fail. So why should they help when it won’t do any good?
I’m all alone in this. I have to do it perfectly or I’ll never amount to anything, and yet I’m allowed no help.
I’m so scared. My entire future depends on these exams and I have to do well. I’m under so much pressure.
It’s too much.
I can’t do it.
Isabella, age 14
The School by James, age 15 (243 words)
It was a mysterious cold atmosphere on a Sunday afternoon. The school was standing in the middle of nowhere looking very scary in the dark. No one went to this school; the only things that went in this school were bats. They got in from the top of the school because there was a small air vent. It always seemed to rain over the school and lighting and thunder.
There was teacher called Mr Orange who used to work at the school, he is dead now. Between me and you Mr Orange actually turned orange because he drowned in orange paint. The school is now believed to be haunted.
The moment I stepped in to the school there was can of old orange paint still in the corner where the teacher got killed. There was graffiti on the wall in orange paint, it looked really eerie and there was a cold shiver down my spine. I entered the school because it was a dare from my friends. It was pitch black in the school because all the windows were boarded up. Suddenly there was a loud echo that made me jump out of my skin what are you doing here boy?!
I stood there and panicked and froze. I saw a shadow walking towards me and I cried “Help”
GET ME OUT OF HERE.
I ran went back past the paint and flew out the front door. Could it have been Mr Orange…?
James, age 15
The School by Kate, age not given (245 words)
“Unfortunately, as you may be aware, Danielle has been found dead.” Mrs Humphrey began gravely. A silence descended over the classroom. Then, some girls began to cry. “None of them noticed her when she was alive” Rosie thought bitterly as she stood, reaching for the newspaper in her teacher’s hand. She read:
14-Year-Old Girl Murdered in Sheffield
On 2nd January 2013, Danielle Porter was found dead in an empty car park. From forensic investigation, it is clear that she was severely beaten. However, it is unlikely that she died from these injuries. It is believed that she became unconscious and froze to death.
Danielle attended Queen’s High School and the headmistress described her as a “gentle girl”. Her mother stated that she felt “appalled at such cruelty”. Both parents appeared highly distressed.
The circumstances of her death are still uncertain. Her parents have claimed that they were not at home that night, planning to return to Danielle the following morning. It seems she was attacked on her journey home from school. In her bag, jumpers and school equipment were found with the blanket that her mother says “she took everywhere”.
Rosie had read enough. Only she noticed that Danielle was always covered in bruises. Only she saw the insincerity of her abusive parents’ remarks. Only she knew that Danielle often fled to the car park, using jumpers for a bed. Only she understood. Now she knew that only one school mattered- The School of Life.
Kate, age not given
The School by Liam, age 16 (246 words)
The hallways were cold, they always were. My clothes were ragged, I hadn’t changed in days; why would I, there were more important things to do. My torch illuminated the path in front of me, specs of dust danced in the light, as graceful as ballet dancers but as haunting as the eldritch chill that ripped through the building. All I could hear was my own breathing. It had been five years since IT happened; and so here I was in the building that had once been like a second home, searching for something to help my new home last.
I opened the door to the old biology class room, the room smelled of ash and brick dust. Some of the local boys from the town had decided to get some payback for the perceived wrongs that they had suffered at the hands of the teachers; luckily for me they hadn’t destroyed the text books. Nobody seemed to realise the gravity of the situation when it began, when the scavenging started people had gone for the usual things: the TV’s, the phones, the laptops. No one had gone for the books, more the shame for them. The books inside in the school contained so much knowledge: how to start and put out a fire, how to clean water, how to grow vegetables, what foods were best for energy; once these things were trivia know they were essential knowledge. And as I have learnt, knowledge is power.
Liam, age 16
The School by Mansi, age 13 (241 words)
The School loomed ahead of me, exerting its dominance. It was old, but its majestic demeanour had not faded in the least. It made itself very clear that I was unimportant to it, just another person to walk through its halls.
I walked inside the large oak doors, and was greeted by a pale, stick-thin woman with greasy blonde hair. Her smile was a little too wide, and looked odd on her small face. “This way, Yvette Green.”
I followed her, passing classrooms and lockers. There were students milling around the place, each one as pale as the woman I was following, their smiles toothy and strange, unnaturally red lips framing it. They all leered at me menacingly; one boy leaned forward, his breath smelling like rotting meat, and whispered “Welcome,” in a breathy yet amused voice.
A terrible sense of unease was settling through my stomach. There didn’t seem to be one normal person among them.
I was led to the headmistresses office. The door creaked as I opened it, and inside she sat at her desk, grinning at me maniacally.
“Welcome to The School, Yvette,” she said, her words strained and yet laughing. “I do hope you enjoy your stay.”
Her smile widened a fraction, and I spun and opened the door, my head screaming DANGER!
But they were there, advancing on me in a stilted wave, creepy grins etched onto on each of their faces.
I was trapped.
Mansi, age 13
The School by Molly, age 15 (243 words)
Funnily enough, I used to absolutely despise school.
The teachers with their breath that stank of coffee and their voices that droaned on and on and on until you almost felt as if you’d been put in a trance. They’d hover by you as you continued your work and tried to forget that their beady eyes were watching you sharply, before they dived towards you to scribble all over the rows of elaborate neat writing with their red pens to circle all the small grammar and spelling mistakes. They would scowl at you whenever your eyes drifted away from them and stop the entire class to shout at you if you were doodling or whispering to a friend beside you. The way they’d collect homework with a sly smile on their faces, waiting for the unfortunate person who had forgotten and would have to stay in after school to be lectured even further. The way after the bell had rung, they’d watch us stonily and remind us that the bell was their notice and not ours, therefore we needed to stay in the classroom until every single question was answered with a huge unnecessary paragraph. The way they’d keep everybody behind when some idiot disrupted the entire class, and give a hypocritical 10-minute rant about how we wasted time in lessons.
And as I stood in front of the whiteboard, I wondered if any of my students felt the same way about me.
Molly, age 15
The School by OreOfe, age 12 (246 words)
In our school, up is down – literally. The moment I moved here I knew nothing would be the same again. And not just because it was forty storeys tall and looked as if a rainbow had puked all the way down it. Inside were trap doors, psycho teachers, absolutely no lessons at all and animals running wild – and I’m not talking about the students. You could say the place was actually more of a vacation home than an education centre, which made me really question their teaching methods completely. But I’m not complaining or anything, the place is super fun. Especially as we hardly learn anything.
Though sometimes, I feel like the colourful smiles of each care taker and student are just a cover up. Hiding a bigger secret stored in the heart of the school.
As I come to school each day and try to keep self-aware instead of being brain washed like all these other nut jobs, I notice abnormal things. Day by day there’s another gloomy student roaming around the building when yesterday they were just as crazy as everyone else. I thought it was a mere coincidence – maybe there was a virus going around. But the population of these kind of people just keep growing and eclipsing The School. No one notices.
Until I found the door.
There, strapped to a metal chair was my best friend Eric. A helmet connected to a tube, sucking things out his brain. I couldn’t speak.
OreOfe, age 12
The School by Ros, age 13 (266 words)
Another scorching hot day at our school. I look down at my watch – early… I curse softly under my breath, as I swing the rusty iron gate open, leading to the school. At least if I am late, I can avoid the “popular” girls, the school bullies, and the people who will inevitably be fighting behind the bike shed. My heart starts to pump, and I begin to sweat. “Not a school; a prison,” I mutter quietly, as I approach the dirty tarmac playground. I pass the broken swing and the muddy slide, and let out a long groan. Between me and the door are the fighters, clearly in search of a participator. I spin, and start to run. Too late. A hand roughly grabs my shirt collar, and I can feel hot breath on the back of my neck. I am thrust towards the bike shed, and then they roll up their torn, dirty sleeves. We are attracting a crowd. Not a small one. To my dismay, I feel a tear trickle down my cheek.
“Wimp!” cries an onlooker, and everybody laughs. I imagine I must be a very deep shade of crimson. Still ten minutes until the bell we go. The gang leader spots me checking the time.
“Saved by the bell? I don’t think so!” I don’t have time to think before I feel a big blow to the back of my head, followed by a searing pain. My vision starts to blur as I hear faint laughter echoing through my head. And that just about sums up life at my “school.”
Ros, age 13
The School by Laura, age 11 (236 words)
It’s behind me; I can hear its haggard breathing with each stride it takes. Long claws scratch at the ground, pushing its body forward as it takes another swipe at me.
I feel the coldness as it rips my calf, leaving blood running wild down my leg. Grimacing, I dart round the nearest corner. Even in the depths of the night I see where I can hide from the black demon that’s advancing on me. My school.
The outline of the building grazes the dark night, streetlights border the edges of the entrance – that is where I head. The doors will be locked, but I’m going there anyway. My P.E teacher taught me how to be the best at long distance, yet, despite me slowing, a stitch crawls across my side, a parasite intent on taking over.
Four-hundred metres and I thicken the strand of hope I’m dangling from. Three-hundred and the knife edge extends. Two-hundred and I’ve pulled myself up the cliff. One-hundred and I’m nearly safe!
I spin round and stare at the demon: its penetrating eyes stare right through me, its furry black chest ripples with each breath and its long metallic claws curve at the edges. It lunges at me as I crash through a window. Bits of glass embedding themselves in my stomach and arms are my reward for getting to safety.
My last lesson: never walk the nights alone.
Laura, age 11