A Christmas To Remember by Jake Brown, aged 12

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But Dad!’ Daniel shouted.

His annoying sister muttered under her breath: ‘I told you so.’

Lucy always got Daniel into trouble. Sometimes she just wanted to, other times because he had actually done something wrong.

A Christmas To Remember

A Christmas To Remember

This was one of the times she just wanted to see dad shout.

Lucy had smashed, on purpose, her Frozen DVD and blamed Daniel. As a result Daniel was sent up to his room and told to stay there unless he needed the toilet.

Lucy had been really smart this time. She purposefully told dad about the DVD after tea so she wouldn’t see Daniel until the next morning.

This was usual in the Flynn household. Well, it had been ever since Daniel and Lucy’s mum died.

Daniel sat on his chair, looking out of the window at all the other kids playing in the snow outside, making snowmen, playing snowballs or sledging up and down the road.

He gazed up his narrow street and saw all the amazing variety of lights and decorations people had put up to celebrate the best time of the year.

After looking up and down his street (like numerous times before), he pulled himself up, wandered slowly to the other side of his room and flopped down on to his bed, which was beginning to break because of the amount of times he had been sent up to his room and either jumped on his bed angrily or got bored and seen if he could do a front flip over it (he couldn’t).

It was not until he lay down that he realised how easy it was to fall asleep. But he had forgotten something – his diary.

He saved himself from the brink of sleep and stumbled over to his desk.

He reached up to the light and pressed the button to turn it on. It began to flash and he remembered he had to press it twice to turn it to constant light mode.

He began to scribble down an extract in his diary.

‘Dear diary,

Today, my horrible sister, who I swear is some kind of evil genius who wants to get me into trouble, lied to my dad again, so he shouted at me.

I am here now, writing my diary, in my room, yet again. I just wish they were never born. Daniel signing out.’

He realised he had been a bit harsh, ripped out the page with extreme force and chucked it into his ‘Big Incinerator Net’, in other words BIN.

He flopped back on to his bed, sighed heavily and went to sleep.

The next day, Daniel awoke to the sound of his alarm clock. He reached to the side of his bed and smashed it into silence.

He groggily got out of bed, got dressed, undid the door and went downstairs to discover that Santa apparently hadn’t been for him or his sister.

He yelled upstairs to dad, but it was no use, nothing could wake him up.

Daniel crept up the stairs to his sister’s room to check on her, but she wasn’t there.

He began to wonder where his sister or dad were.

Maybe they had got up early to make a snowman.

He pulled open the front door, but apart from two snowmen it was deserted.

He dressed up in warm clothes and stepped out of the front door.

It was after a few steps that his foot slipped and he thudded to the ground.

‘Butt,’ he muttered.

After his recovery, he continued to walk round to his neighbours to see if anyone was home.

He rang the doorbell and heard its distant echo in the house.

After waiting a few minutes, he gave up. His heart was beginning to thump in his chest. What was going on?

He ran to another front door and pressed the doorbell, passing a grotesque snowman in the garden.

The result was the same. Nothing

Gasping for breath, he staggered over to a lamppost and leaned against it. He glanced down the street and, to his mounting horror, realised that every house was dark and the world was silent.

Only his footprints pierced the pureness of the snow.

With a heavy heart, Daniel stomped through the snow back to his house.

The children must have been busy yesterday, he thought. Every house had at least one snowman in the garden.

As he passed the next snowman, Daniel noticed with a snort of laughter that this one looked exactly like the nutty older girl up the street.

He looked for her name in the abyss of his mind. Irene! That was it. The resemblance was striking, he smiled to himself.

Even in a world where only he existed, a snowmen had made the day better.

Until, that was, the snowman’s head turned, just a fraction, and the glittery eyes turned to him.

Daniel’s laughter died in his throat and he stumbled away, turned and raced for the safety of his house.

He flew in through the open front door and slammed it behind him. Then he leaned against it, sobbing in horror.

His frantic heartbeat pounded in his head.

Daniel tried desperately to calm himself, taking deep breaths.

He sunk his head between his knees and waited for the bitter end.

There was a sliding hiss from the other side of the door and then, to his surprise, the doorbell rang.

He stood up on trembling legs and opened the door.

A snowman stood there, carrot nose glinting in the sunlight.

A wooden twig lifted up and pointed at Daniel, black eyes staring lifelessly for a moment.

‘Do you want to build a snowman?’ it asked.

JAKE BROWN

Jake Brown is the ghost story competition winner in the 15-and-under-category with his entry A Christmas To Remember.

The 12-year-old from Havant, who goes to Crookhorn College, penned his spooky tale all in one sitting after being inspired by other ghost stories.

He said: ‘it just came to me at the time and I decided to go with it.

‘I like writing a lot, but I don’t tend to write that many stories so I’m pretty happy to win as it’s not something I do quite regularly.

‘English is my favourite subject and I guess I just wanted to give it my best shot.’

Jake’s tale follows a scary encounter for a boy named Daniel, who soon encounters a world of spooky snowmen after complaining about his sister in his diary.

He said: ‘I had never written a ghost story before, but It was quite easy once you got into it.’

Jake is a big fan of author Anthony Horowitz, often reading his bestselling Alex Rider series.

He wins a £50 book voucher to spend at The Hayling Island Bookshop.

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