One spellbinding story has been chosen from more than 100 entries as the winner of our Halloween story writing competition.
Talented Tilly McIntosh, from Woodhouse, has scooped the top prize in our spooky story contest that got youngsters across the city to decide Joanne’s fate by penning 250 words of petrifying prose.
The 11-year-old Ralph Thoresby High School pupil’s well-written tale stood out from the rest with its vivid description and emotive storyline.
Nicola Furbisher, managing editor of the YEP, said: “It has been brilliant to see the wealth of writing talent budding young writers in Leeds have through this competition.
“The standard of entries was incredibly high this year, so we’d like to thank Tilly and the rest of the writers for their fantastically frightful contributions.”
This year’s competition was open to children aged 16 and under. The top prize was a meal for four at the Handmade Burger Co in the White Rose Shopping Centre in Leeds.
Esther McIntosh, Tilly’s mum, said: “She will be over the moon that she has won. It makes me feel really proud. She’ll just be so chuffed.”
It was already dark when Joanne headed home. For some reason all the street lights had suddenly gone off and all around her was pitch black.
Oh why did I leave it so late, she thought with a shiver, especially as it was Halloween.
She knew it was time. The whispers always began with a low, beckoning hush. It gradually grew to a threatening buzz; like a thousand bees were caught in her hair. A car drove past. The glaring headlights dazzled her momentarily. They reflected the water on the rough, pot-holed, road surface. The darkness only seemed to bring the street more alive and the monsters that lurk with it; the cells.
Sirens sounded. Slowly they began to chant “Joanne, we don’t stop we only grow.” “Joanne, JOANNE!!!” She woke with start and met her mother’s eyes, staring intently. She embraced her immediately, careful not to touch her bare scalp. She knew she hated it. Instead she delicately stroked the one remaining tuft.
Joanne had always been afraid of going to sleep; worried she’d lose her. The nightmares had been going on a long time. To avoid the whispers - reminders of what she knew was going to happen, but had to deny to keep herself sane - she deprived herself of sleep, but it made no difference. “Joanne, you can’t escape us.” Wherever she went, they followed and her mother’s illness got worse.
Her mother was forced to go to hospital and Joanne visited every day. They both had grown incredibly tired and as Joanne rested at her bedside, she took her hand. Joanne already knew what was happening “don’t leave me” she cried. A silent tear ran down her pale skin.
“It’s OK,” her mother murmured “everything gets better when you fall asleep.”