The Stranger In The Graveyard
By Poppy Montgomery, Year 8, Bottisham Village College

I walked through the hallway, startled at the greenery that had crept up over the years, hiding this place from sight. It had been ages since I had last visited, so long that despite its location being etched into my brain, it had taken a minute to find. Despite the overgrown state, the beauty of this place still lingered, as well as reminders as to what had once been here. I jumped down the rickety steps until I reached the bottom, where a small stream bubbled as it made its way through the room. Along the river were mounds of dirt, overcome with weeds and grass, but when summer came they would burst into bloom, for the copious amounts of bulbs poking through the undergrowth showed as much.
This had always been a special place for me, especially when I was younger, and it had become my refuge over the years.
It saddened me to see the disrepair that had fallen upon this place, and yet it filled me with hope as I heard birds singing around me. As a child, I had been certain that a ghost lived here, and even now, twenty or so years on, I could still feel the creeping sensation down my spine. I turned, looking up at the great arched windows through which light was streaming in, and shivered. Outside the first traces of spring were appearing, but here it stayed trapped in winter.
I roamed my eyes to the ceiling, where huge beams vaulted overhead. Birds of all kinds stared back at me, not making a sound, listening. I took their lead and, cocking my head to the side, heard the gentle footfall of someone else, not far away. I tensed, for this was my domain, and anyone else was — in my eyes — an intruder. Yet as the footsteps grew closer, still no one appeared, and I started to wonder whether I was going mad. It wouldn’t be the first time. I had been so certain of what I had heard, positive that someone else was going to appear any second. But time passed, and the hands on my watch continued to turn, and slowly, slowly, my breathing returned to normal. Then, out of the blue, a shadow cast over me, coming from the centre of the window itself. In the corner of my eye, I saw a silhouette, perched on the ledge: not doing anything, just watching, waiting. Waiting for what? A million questions blinked through my head, and one had only just formed when another came to take its place. The shadow moved, extending an arm towards me. Instinctively I backed away, and yet the figure wasn’t threatening. It was welcoming, as though extending an invitation. Unsure as to what thought possessed me at that point, I started walking towards the figure, and, walking along the small ledge that used to be part of some decorative pattern, I reached the figure, vanishing away, into the light with her.