Andrea Huang, Grade 10, Chester Hill High School
Finalist in the 'Writers Wanted 2010 Something With Bite' competition
I roused from my slumber; recalled dreaming; but the images raced through my mind, dancing at a speed too rapid to process.
A compelling force urged me to proceed to the window.
The sky was gunmetal, dense with clouds. The smell of iron and soil lingered the air.
In the graveyard overlooking my Victorian house, perched on a fading tombstone, was a little girl. clad in white, with locks of flaxen-yellow hair framing her petite form, humming softly to a hypnotic melody.
Intuitively, she flashed her violet eyes in my direction.
I hurriedly slipped on my sneakers.
When I arrived, there was no figure. Instead, I was greeted by the morning chill.
Slightly disappointed, I trudged back home.
Parked on the porch, was the girl; emanating an ambience of ethereality; unaffected by the cold. Her cherubic features were distorted by the moroseness mingled in her expression.
She tilted her head towards the clearing, and silently sighed.
“Shadow Royse,” I introduced, “you?”
“Chloe Blackwell,” she sang, gliding soundlessly.
My mother used to say all kinds of evil lurked in here. I didn’t believe her,” I continued, playing tour guide.
The further we walked, manoeuvring past the meandering, jagged path; the more I began to doubt my previous conviction. Daylight was obscured by the leviathan canopy of trees, and every reverberation proliferated interminably; producing echoes so eerie and chilling.
Frost began to seep within my core, flooding me with a sense of déjà-vu. My peripheral vision sighted incessant flickers of light, coagulating as we neared the threshold.
Chloe remained unaware of the sinister presence.
They began to coalesce around me. I could feel the burning gazes of the amorphous forms; their feeble whispers; hushed and hurried.
I refused to surrender, and forced my way. The moment I traversed through the imperceptible barrier, the strings imprisoning me, were severed.
Chloe stared dreamily, whilst I stood alongside.
Nearby, I spied wisps of honey-gold hair, lightly tinged with grey, bobbing in-and-out. “Chloe! exclaimed the woman breathlessly, hastening her approach.
Your real name,” entreated Chloe, sensing her soon departure.
‘You already know,” I said, a devilish grin beginning to play across my ashen face. She furrowed her brows; contemplating.
“Think back to this morning,” I prompted.
Her eyes glowed with recognition, but quickly replaced by bloodcurdling fear.
In that instant, she had every reason to.
“Chloe, there’s no-one here, who were you talking to?” inquired the woman, eyeing the immediate vicinities.
“Just a shadow,” I/Chloe breathed.
The clueless woman laughed, shaking off the discrepancy in demeanour.
En route to the open house, I discerned the incongruous tombstone. Its inscription already etched in my mind; a constant aide-rn ernoire, reiterated for the past century and a half.
In life, the forest was your death.
In death, may the forest breathe you life.
One hundred and fifty years ago, I had met the same fate.
I was Sawyer Hoods; Shadow Royse; an anagram.
And now, I am Chloe Blackwell.
I’ve found my green vessel.