Jo-anne, or Jo as people tended to call her, was not a tall girl by anyone’s standards and not the most beautiful, breath-taking one either. In fact, she had a tomato shaped face with a small nose, freckles, unruly black hair, plump cheeks and was a few inches below average height. In fact, the only remarkable thing about this un-remarkable girl was her emerald green eyes. Everybody admitted they were beautiful.
So, our story starts here in Jo’s rather small home in her cramped bedroom. Her bed filled half the room and the other half consisted of a wardrobe, a toy box and a cluttered desk. The floor had a toy here, a necklace there and an essay under your feet. Suddenly, the old oak door flew open with a rather loud creak of protest and Jo all but leapt into the room, quickly skipping over things on the floor. She collapsed onto her black spinning chair by her desk.
Her school bag was tossed across the room (which isn’t that amazing considering how small the room is) and right onto her sky blue bedspread with a baby pink love heart on it. Jo’s hair was, as usual pulled back into a messy ponytail with tufts of hair poking out here and there. Jo’s eyes scanned the room with a look of boredom in them, which was common for Jo. A deathly silence filled the room except for the occasional moan of the floor creaking as someone stepped on it or the clanking of pots coming from the kitchen.
Shrilly, Jo’s phone rang in her tattered and faded denim jean pocket and her hand shot into her pocket and flipped open the phone in a matter of seconds. “Hello?” Her voice was soft and casual. Her expression was bored and was quickly changed to fear. She hung up the phone and shook her head to rid herself of the soft breathing, which had come from the phone and the one word. Kill.
Desperate to distract herself she scanned her desk and noticed an envelope with an emerald the size of a golf ball resting on it. Her heart thumped and her hand reached out for the envelope. She read the letter curiously.
Protect the emerald, without it the world shall perish,
Life as we know it will vanish,
And will be replaced with

Grade 8 math’s was, there is no other word to describe it, absolutely boring. Jo’s foot tapped impatiently on the hard wooden floor. The teacher’s voice was like a broken record, droning on and on and on. Heather’s, Jo’s only friend, eyes slid shut and like a robot shutting down her body slumped and her head fell to the desk with a rather loud and echoing bang. The teacher continued to talk.
A groan of exasperation left Jo. When the bell went, Jo hurried to Heather’s side and shook her awake. Heather and Jo headed outside together. “Hey babes, where did you get that emerald?” Heather asked suddenly, breaking the silence that had enveloped them. Jo felt her body seize up but she forced herself to smile. “Mum bought it for me.” She explained smoothly, running a finger through her wild black hair.
Out of nowhere, as usual, Heather’s two friends Georgia and Jessie appeared and they pushed Jo away so they could stand with Heather. Jo felt frustration crack through her body. Her glare pierced into Georgia, and then Jessie and she felt a warm tingly feeling run through her spine. The emerald resting in the hollow of her neck grew ice cold and suddenly, the world froze. Everything took on a strange, bluish tinge.
Jo ignored the initial shock that came with freezing the world and stormed over to Georgia. She said harshly to Georgia and Jessie, “Leave me and Heather alone.” The anger vanished and the world began to move again as if someone had hit the play button on a remote. Everyone continued his or her chatter. Jo realized that only she knew the world had frozen. “Awesome.” She muttered. Georgia and Jessie suddenly, were walking away from Heather. Jo was shocked and then a smile appeared on her face, a smile that lit it up like the sun.

“See ya Jo!” Heather called and she stepped on the gas, speeding off in her red BMW. Jo grinned when she felt a strange, magnetic pull towards the old forest. The necklace was tingling. She felt her feet walking towards the forest and like a defenseless robot she was yanked and jostled towards the forest.
The pull vanished suddenly and she found herself in a small clearing, the grass was green and luscious with purple flowers dotting along it. The trees made it feel private and special. In the middle of the clearing was a diamond birdbath looking thing. Except it was empty and had a little hole in it. A hole the size of a golf ball. Jo’s hand clutched around her emerald and feeling eyes bore into her she whirled around.
She was face to face with a tall man with ugly, mud brown eyes and a nasty smile. “Goodbye, Jo.” He said. Jo knew that if she deposited the emerald in the hole, everything would be all right. Just as she leapt towards the diamond birdbath, he lurched for her. His hand grabbed the back of her shirt and yanked her towards him. The last thing Jo saw, was a gnarled face twisted with evil, the last thing she tasted was salty tears on her tongue, the last thing she smelt was blood pouring from her chest, the last thing she heard was a loud, blood curdling scream.

But, the last thing she felt was death, breathing down her spine.

FOLLOW US was established in 1997, and since then we have successfully completed numerous short story and poetry competitions and publications.
We receive an overwhelming positive feedback each year from the teachers, parents and students who have involvement in these competitions and publications, and we will continue to strive to attain this level of excellence with each competition we hold.


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