Christmas, what a wonderful time of the year. Or is it? Presents, food, family and Santa. Santa... Ever wonder why it’s spelt like Satan? Well, let me tell you...
Angelina looked out of the window, looked at all the people rushing about. Looked at all the Christmas lights twinkling like a thousand stars. Looked at all the families holding hands and laughing gleefully.
But no-one looked at her; no-one held her hand. Angelina had never had a family, not once had someone held her hand. As she sat by the window she longed for someone to love her.
She’d never known her parents, had been in a care home all her life. She hadn’t known anything other than boisterous children stealing her belongings and laughing at her.
But she’d show them. She’d show them that she was not a laughing matter. She was going to catch Santa on tape tonight. For the past week she’d been pleading with her carer to let her borrow the home’s video camera.
Now she’d got it, she could catch him on tape.
She slowly slid away from the window, not wanting the perfect image of a normal life to disappear. She crept across the floor, her feet gently touching the cold wooden planks.
Once she made it to the side of her bed, she did a dramatic dive into the fluffy duvet on top. She cuddled down into her bed feeling warm and snug, before slowly drifting off to sleep.
As a six-year-old girl, Angelina had always wondered how Santa got everywhere, delivered everyone’s presents, all in one night.
That night Angelina never got her answer, but instead found out something quite different.
As the great oak grandfather clock in the hallway struck twelve, Angelina woke up.
She kept her eyes tightly closed. She didn’t want to see Santa until she looked at her tape. She heard something heavy, like footsteps... Yes! Footsteps! Thump! Thump! They were coming closer. Thump! Thump!
Excitement surged through her body. Thump! Thump!
Just one peek, that’s all she wanted. Thump! Thump!
She opened her eyes, too excited with anticipation. Her eyes spun round the room. Once and then twice.
Nothing. No Santa, nobody. Absolutely nothing. Thump! Thump!
She turned to the direction of the sound, nothing. Thump! Thump!
The sound was growing closer, getting nearer.
Getting ready to swallow her up. She gave a little squeal like a small frightened animal and disappeared under the duvet. She breathed quietly, not wanting, whatever the sound was, to find her. Thump! Thump!
The sound was right next to her bed. Silence.
Then a sliver of cold air passed over her. Her hair stood on end and her body shivered.
Something was there, she knew it, and it wasn’t Santa. She closed her eyes tightly, not wanting to open them. She curled up into a tight ball and whimpered.
In the morning, Angelina was found still in that position. It took several days until she opened her eyes and moved. No-one ever found the camera.
It was Christmas Eve seven years later, and Angelina had finally found a nice little family to adopt her and was getting ready to leave the care home for good.
Before she left her room, on her bed, was a camera with a note saying “from Santa”. She picked up the camera.
Carefully and slowly she pressed the play button, dreading what she would see.
The video showed little Angelina in her bedroom, waking up to a sound. Thump! Thump! There was the sound.
But there was nothing there, like on the night. Just a sound, it gave her chills just looking at it, but it was just a sound. Nothing, probably just the boiler or something.
As Angelina left the room, the door closed automatically behind her and, as she left the rather old and grey care home, the grandfather clock struck twelve.
A dark sinister shadow lingered by her window. Looking out at the girl.
So next Christmas eve, when you are all tucked in and warm, just think, what is walking across your floor?
Ghost story competition runner-up in the 15-and-under category Amelia Pope-Small was really excited when she found out that Antony Costa had done a reading of her story.
The 14-year-old from Horndean came second with her entry, simply named Santa.
‘I just kind of entered hoping I would get somewhere,’ she says.
‘I did it because I just like writing anyway, and I thought I could maybe get it in The News.
‘I only found that I enjoyed writing a few years ago. I was doing a lot of it at school to be honest.
‘I showed my ghost story to my English teacher, my mum and one of my friends and they said it was really good.’
‘It is great that it is going to go in the paper.’
This was just one of her current creative efforts.
‘Well I am trying to write a story at the moment; it is at 3,000 words as it stands but it is going to be longer.
‘It is called The Park – it is a love story but it is kind of a tragedy as well.’
Part of her success was due to the twist at the end of the tale. Amelia says that it didn’t take her long to think up.
‘I think it is from watching too much Doctor Who,’ she jokes.
When she is older, Amelia would like to either pursue a career as a writer or bring other people’s stories to life as an actor. She caught the acting bug after playing Titania in a Year Six production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.