The door slams and the darkness moves closer, everywhere you look fear is lurking and depression is devouring your mind. You descend the creaking wooden stairs, some illuminated by the cold moon casting its ghostly rays down to earth. You reach for the light switch, for a moment the room is bathed in glorious light, then it disappears with a click and the darkness comes flooding back.

Back up the stairs you climb, back to the spare room, you sit on the bed and turn on the TV but it won't work, nor will the radio. You pick up the telephone and dial and there is nothing, maybe Andrea is out, so you dial again, this time Peter must be out. Then just as you are about to phone your grandma the phone goes dead.

You lie in a large, shadowy bed and soon you fall asleep. A few hours later you wake and go over to the window. The night is at its peak, cloaking all the buildings in a dark veil. The TV still doesn't work, why hasn't your mum come home, something in the back of your mind is trying to tell you something but it doesn't seem to make sense. You try and phone your mum but there is no answer.

There is a noise like a window smashing and you turn round with a start, it must have been from next door. You try and go back to sleep, after a few minutes you are fast asleep. You dream of a graveyard, you come up to a gravestone and you read the name, no, it can't be. You scream and jump out of bed, still half asleep.

"No! No! Nooooooo!"

A man rushes in, it is your father. He puts his arms around you.

"What's the matter? I wasn't out for long."

"Why hasn't mum come home yet?" you ask, no longer dreaming.

"Come on son, you know that mum will never come home again, she died 10 years ago." You wish you were still dreaming.

Robert Attar,13, Wembley.


Once a man called Fred lived and he hated animals and just loved to see them dead. So when he was able to get a job he became a taxidermist. When the young lad had stuffed his first animal he was full of happiness. It had been a fox but he was not sad but happy. So he carried on that way until he had stuffed 4,000. The last one he stuffed was a turtle. They live long. But one night the stuffed animals decided to get their own back. While the man was asleep, they stuffed him instead. Every one of the animals helped. So then they were happy.

Ellen Jamieson, 8, London.

The Children's Story is open to children under 16. Stories must be no longer than 400 words. Please send entries with a self-addressed envelope to The Children's Story, Section Two, 'Independent', One Canada Square, London, E14 5DL.