Thursday, 30 June 2011

The Story SO FAR CHPS 1-9


“We shouldn’t be here”
The sudden voice in my head made me jump.
“What do you mean Dan?”
“Come on Amy our third cousin doing a reading our neighbour saying a prayer mum and dad would have wanted to keep it family and friends”
“It is family and friends”
“I mean close family and friends”

I wanted to argue but Dan was right. Even the priest was from a different parish. As they started to lower the coffins into the ground I could feel tears swell up in my eyes and before I could wipe them away they spilled over my eye lids and in a cascaded down my cheeks. I looked up at the sky there were no clouds out. The day seemed too nice to be the date for a funeral. Although the heat was sweltering I felt cold and empty. As I glanced around and saw grave stones as far as the eye could see I wondered how many other children had stood here and watched as there loved ones were lowered into the ground. Everyone started to turn around to leave. A man in a black formal suit of about middle age with a boyish face and some scruffy stubble covering his face approached Dan and I he looked as if he could be hollow inside his face showed absolutely no emotion.

“I’m so sorry for your loss we’ll give you a ride back “the man continued gesturing to a women standing near a concrete angel over a grave” we’ll be taking you back to your house were you will sleep for tonight and then you can pack. Well be dropping you to the air port tomorrow morning”

We were going off to live with our aunt over in Ireland. We didn’t want to leave our house but our grandparents had died and our dad was an only child we had to go over to Ireland we had no choice in the matter. We climbed into the social workers car. It was an old Mercedes with a cracked wing mirrior, all the seats were thread bear and inside it smelt like wet dog. The women had a pointy chin, glasses way to big for her face and an up turned nose. Her face was pale and she wore a black cardigan over an over sized blouse with an olive green skirt. As she clambered into the front seat I could see that she had something that looked like cat hairs on her back.

These people seemed like the worst possible people to work as social workers. As Dan and I got into the car I glanced across at him he was holding a tissue out to me I hadn’t noticed but I was still crying. I took the tissue gratefully and wiped my eyes. Although dans face gave nothing away I went inside his mind and it was full of grief.

Our house was only a five minute drive from the graveyard. But with the awkward silence in the car it might as well of been fifty minutes away. It was the summer holidays so all of the kids on our road were out playing outside. I suddenly remembered when I had been told about our parent’s death.

I had been up the road hanging out with my friends having a laugh when a police car drove by I don’t know why but I couldn’t tear my eyes away from it maybe it was that it didn’t have its siren on or it might have been that it was going surprisingly slow as soon as it stopped outside our house I ran to it leaving my friend shouting behind me Dan answered the door the police officer spoke I saw dans face crumple. I delved into his mind and replayed the police officers words I stopped dead in my tracks.

The police officer glanced over at me I fell to the ground not wanting to move my parents were dead I would never see them again. The police officer ran over to me. I was brought to the doctors but they said that it was all just shock.
We pulled into the drive way. I didn’t sleep all night and the plane was delayed. Dan and I had to wait around for five hours in departures I was reading a book but the words seemed to refuse to focus.

When we finally arrived it Ireland it was thirty-five past four.


Chapter 2 – DANIEL by Ellen

The car doors slammed, the gravel crunched as we walked up to the huge stone house which lay ahead of us. Aunt Lucinda turned the key in the lock and opened a large rusty door. We stepped inside.

As we looked around it was clear that the house hadn’t been redecorated in years, the wall paper was peeling from the walls, the furniture was so worn it looked as if had come from a landfill and there were giant portraits of old Irish ancestors glaring down at us on the walls. Aunt Lucinda led us down the hall, pointing at the different rooms as she went. There was a library full of battered old hardback books with giant wheelie ladders to get to them. There was a parlour with a drink cabinet which looked as if the only thing it ever had in it was sherry. I could tell because the doors had fallen off and it had bottle after bottle of sherry.

After the parlour there was a giant hall with a small dusty old table in the middle of it. There were a few dusty old chairs around it. “And this is the dining room” announced Aunt Lucinda. “Um, well the house is very ....charming? Yes, charming and I don’t mean to seem pushy but where are Daniel’s and my bedroom?” said Amy awkwardly. “I heard that you two are very close, too close if you ask me, so I will put you in separate rooms so that you are........more comfortable in your own space. Amy, your room is the first on the left and Daniel, yours is the forth on the right”. Aunt Lucinda pulled two old keys from her pocket “Here you two go now run along”.

I stared around my room. It was just like the rest of the house, cold and unwelcoming. Why did Aunt Lucinda want to put me and Amy in different rooms? It didn’t make any diferences to her, did it? Something was telling me that Amy didn’t like her room either.

My room had a large four-poster bed with a faded rose bed cover, the canopy on top of it was ripped and the bedside table was propped up with books to stop it falling over. There was a large oak wardrobe with people’s names engraved on it and inside it there was one coat hanger and some mothball.

My room was horrible. I don’t know how I am ever going to make this dusty old place feel like home. I started to unpack my suitcase, I dumped my clothes in the wardrobe and then took out my framed picture of the family I sat on the bed and stared at it. It had been a lovely summer’s day on the beach when we had gone to Boston and got a picnic.

The picture was of us all smiling, Mom had her arms wrapped around me and Dad had his arms around Amy. The sun was shining and we were all so happy. Suddenly a loud bell interrupted my thoughts and a heard Aunt Lucinda shouting the word lunchtime. I placed the photo on my bedside table and shoved my suitcase under my bed. I walked over to the door and opened it. Amy was just going out of her room as I locked the door after me; I shouted her name and walked down the hall to her.

As she looked up I could see tears in her piercing green eyes, “What’s wrong Amy?” I said putting my arm around her. “You were thinking about Mom and Dad weren’t you? I could just feel it. I don’t know how so don’t ask me but I just could. Daniel, how could we have gone from living in a classy New York villa to living in a dirty old house where most of the toilets don’t work?” she sobbed “I don’t know Amy but we just have to deal with it. Now come on Aunt Lucinda will be looking for us”.

We sat down to plate of steaming Ox tongue and brussel sprouts with a glass of lumpy milk. Suddenly I wasn’t feeling hungry any more. Aunt Lucinda sat with us but she didn’t have our disgusting meal in front of her, instead she had a ham and cheese sandwich and lemonade.

“How come you’re having that Aunt Lucinda?” I said through gritted teeth.
“I thought Americans liked Ox tongue and milk, don’t they?” she said with a smile digging into her sandwich.
“It wouldn’t be our favourite meal” said Amy quietly; Aunt Lucinda laughed “well of course not, I don’t know whose it would be! I simply thought that you children would have got enough of that crappy type food when you lived in America. Your parent spoiled you far too much so maybe it was for the best that they died in that house fire.”

I jumped up “House fire! I thought it was a car crash!” Aunt Lucinda looked startled by my sudden outburst, she quickly collected our plates “Why yes, car crash is what I meant, I was thinking of someone else. Lunch is over so you can go outside and no snooping around the house.” And with that she walked out of the dining room and down the hall.

Amy looked at me “What was that all about?” she said standing up and walking out. As I followed her I noticed Aunt Lucinda walking franticly around the parlour on the phone with a glass of sherry in her hand. “Come on Amy, let’s do some snooping around” I whispered.


Chapter 3 - AMY - by Ciara

I am speaking to Aunt Lucinda and she begins to babble on about what rooms I could and could not enter. This bored me so I zone out and start to think about what room I will pick. Finally she says “ Feel free to look around now that the rules have been laid down”.

I run up the stairs as soon as she finishes - I can't wait to see what my new house is like! I decide to start from the top and work my way down. I am suprised to find some doors locked and trap doors everywhere............. definitely not my ideal house! There isn't even a window without a cobweb preventing you from opening it.

Aunt Lucinda shouts up saying I am not allowed into the cellar. Aunt Lucinda doesn't
know me too well, this means she doesn't know that when someone tells me not to do something I will most likely end up doing it anyway. I must find a way into the cellar as she must be hiding something there.

I peep into every room that was unlocked - not one room was bright, had a computer or even a television in it! The wallpaper is peeling off the walls and so is the paint. The ceilings are high in every room and the windows are small. I can't help thinking why Aunt Lucinda bought this place. I mean really, I understand some people like to collect antiques but a house is a bit much.

Each room has the same atmosphere, all unlived in, except for one. Aunt
Lucinda's room has a big window (sort of like the rose window in gothic
churches) - she even has a few paintings hanging on the walls. Daniel and
I decide to share a room as we are twins after all. From our window even
though small, you can see for miles around....Hill after hill after is
definitely a change of scenery, something to get used to I guess. I place
my bags on my bed and decide to look around downstairs.

I am in the kitchen and start to look for some food, there isn't any.
The fridge - empty, the cupboards - empty, the freezer - empty, nothing except for stack loads of crackerbread. I've never heard of them so I put them back.
I search for Aunt Lucinda but she is nowhere to be seen.

I never heard her say 'goodbye' or 'I am going out' so she must be in this house
somewhere! I give up looking for her about ten minutes later. I begin to
shout when she comes out from the cellar. She says “ What is the fuss all
about?” I reply saying I was hungry and that doesn't go down too well.
She shouts for ages and then she finally says “ I will go to the shops in
the morning, now go to bed, it's already half past ten”.

I run up the stairs and try to find a towel, of course there's none so I
go back downstairs to find the hot press. I find a fluffy pink towel on the
stairs on my way down so Aunt Lucinda must of heard me shouting at
Daniel to find me one. I try to find her to say 'thank you' but yet again she
has disappeared! I run back upstairs and run a nice hot bath.

I get in and stay in the bath for an hour reading my favourite book “Breaking Dawn”.
After my bath I dry my hair and go to find a socket for my laptop charger.
Of course there isn't one in my room but there's plenty on the landing.
I plug my charger into a socket and to my amazement there is WiFi in the house - maybe there's a computer in the cellar or maybe it's a cinema.

The ideas in my head keep on growing. Of course I go on Facebook straight away and see if anyone is online. I completely forget about the time difference, so only one of my friends is online and that's only because she is in London at the moment. We speak for around twenty minutes and then she has to go. I went into Daniel who was still up reading and we start to talk about if we liked it here or not. I say that I don't like it here but apparently I always judge a book by its cover. Daniel says he doesn't know yet, but so far it has been ok.

We then walk downstairs only to find the fridge, freezer and cupboards all stocked up. I instantly run up to the fridge to find choclate and milk. All I need now is hot chocolate, biscuits and a kettle. I find some hot chocolate and make some for myself. Daniel is useless and this kind of stuff so I make him some coffee and a sandwich. I don't know why helikes coffee all of a sudden but it must be one of his many phases.

The house isn't nice at night, it gets really dark and the creaks on the
floorboards freak me out. I run up the stairs as a self defence instinct
thinking someone other than Daniel is following me. I have to go back
down as I left my cell phone on the table. As I leave the kitchen there is
a “meow” behind me. I squeeze my face in terror even though I know it
couldn't possibly be a person.

I run up the stairs squealing franticly and Daniel runs towards me to see if I was OK. He calms me down eventually and I send him downstairs to see what it was. He comes back up telling me there's nothing there but I know I heard a “meow” - I just know it!

I go back down with him and I hear it again! This time so does he.... I let
out a loud scream and Aunt Lucinda comes down waving her hands
in the air, she does not look good with bed hair! She gives out so much I
just zone out again. This time I don't daydream but I talk to Daniel (in
our heads) - he attempts to calm me down but it doesn't work. What kind
of a woman doesn't tell people she owns a cat or even worse what if it
isn't hers? She finishes off her rant with a “Get to bed now or I will
ground you until school starts!”

I've been here only twenty four hours and she is already bossing
me around like she is my Mum! She asks if we understand and then walks
back upstairs. I miss my parents so much! I always felt protected around
them! I run upstairs and get into my pyjamas, hop into bed and read for
hours. At two in the morning Daniel comes over and asks if I am OK.
He comforts me and tells me it's going to be fine. He falls asleep beside me which is not fun as he is very tall nd I can't move him. I read for
another while and then I start to think about what has just happened to

My parents have died and I have attended their funeral, I have packed up my life in America ...I have said goodbye to all my friends, I have moved to Ireland ... I have had to come and live with my aunt and I am officially an orphan! I will have to get used to my aunt, get used to this country, get used to this house and most importantly keep Daniel by my side at all times!

I will start school in fall so I hope my life we start to feel normal
as I will be around people my own age and will have a chance to make
new friends. I don't know yet if I will be attending a girls' school or a
mixed school. Hopefully it will be a mixed school so I will know at least
one person.

I turn off my light ready for what tomorrow will bring and I have a chance
to dream about what my life will be like. I am going to like this place-
it will just take some getting used to. Hopefully Aunt Lucinda will warm
up a bit and will actually show some hospitality to us tomorrow.


CHAPTER 4 Daniel- by Luan Riddell

Daniel was aware of crows screeching outside his bedroom window but didn’t feel like waking up. The dramatic way in which his life had changed in the past few days came down on him like a wave, only a few days ago he was waking up to have breakfast with his parents in his house in Boston and then planning the day from there but now he wasn’t really sure where he was, somwhere, deep in the Irish countryside with his creepy Aunt in a worn down house.

He took time to take in his surroundings, Aunt Lucinda didn’t seem to have taken time to clean the place, there was grime and dust covering the windows and cobwebs in the corners, there were stained patches on the wooden floorboards and paint peeling of the walls. The room was very bare apart from a bed and wardrobe. He saw his bag open on a chair with clothes spilling out of it, he pulled some clothes out and went of to look for his twin.

She wasn’t in her room and it took him a while to find the kitchen as the house was bigger on the inside then outside, he saw her eating a bowl of what looked like cornflakes, she aknowledged him by giving a nod of her head. The kitchen had a weird smell to it,it smelt of washing up liquid. He tore cuphoards apart looking for cereal, he found his bowl spoon and cornflakes but the milk looked and tasted, as he found out later, completely different to American milk, it tasted sweet and sugary.

The two of them just sat there looking at the empty bowls neither breaking the silence but eventually Amy did, “how did you sleep?” I guess I slept ok, how did you sleep?” Daniel mumbled.
“Didn’t get a wink of sleep with aunt Lucinda shouting down her cell phone,” “she’s locked herself in again today, told me to go have look aroud the village with you.”

“Great idea, I want out of this creepy house, how does she even bare to live here on her own?”
“Mabye she likes living on her own”
“ In the end we know nothing about her.” Amy stated.
“Whatever” Daniel mumbled, “doesn’t make up for us not seeing her our whole lives” I’d say she would have come to Boston or us to go to Ireland”
“Come on lets go, I need some fresh air.”
She said there were bikes in the shed we could use to cycle to the nearby village” Amy said.

As Daniel walked to the shed to collect the bikes with Amy he couldn’t help thinking of his parents, why did they have to die? He felt anger seething up through him and tried to forget what he was thinking about by looking around, the house and garden looked gloomy like a graveyard of somesort. It had nothing welcoming about it and the trees looked dark and slanted.

He saw his breath in cold rasps as he briskly walked to catch up with Amy, he wondered why it was so cold on a summer morning “Amy” he yelled, she was at the shed already leaving him to catch up. “What time is it?” Daniel asked as Amy hauled the bikes out of the shed. The two bikes looked like scraps of rusted junk crammed together. Daniel was tossed one with no paint apart from some white streaks and Amy got the red one which had a broken brake handle, both were mountain bikes “It’s nearly eleven” she finally said.

He looked up and saw crows perched on the trees with thick grey clouds behind “I think it rained last night” Daniel mumbled to himself while looking at the droplets of dew on the grass, which gave it a nice shinyness , but realised that he was talking to thin air as Amy was already cycling through the long grass .
What Daniel could not help noticing was that in the Irish countryside there seemed to be endless rows of hedgess.

They cycled on down the road for what felt like half an hour, he was feeling the sensation of being trapped, didn’t see a single car come up or down the road. Eventually they arrived at a turning into Bally Rosscoe village. He knew that his twin was having trouble keeping emotion from showing, her body was so stiff that she looked as if she was trying to cause herself pain . They got of their bikes and wheeled them down the road towards what seemed like the smallest village the world had to offer, even Amy showed a little shock on her face, the place had a short road leading up a short hill with a few houses on either side. To their right was a worn playground, swings just hanging on by threads.

For Daniel this was somthing that he never would imagine seeing in his lifetime, he was so used to seeing mazes of concrete towers and streets packed till midnight, and at lively neighbourhoods. The place was empty apart from the bald man in the leather jacket sitting on a bench reading a book in the deserted park.

Amy threw her bike down on the ground and went off exploring the little ghost town, “ you just gonna leave your bike here?” Daniel asked.
“Who do you think wants to take it?” Amy said, besides the bikes are worn away and won’t work much longer.

As they walked deeper into the little village it opened up into a courtyard , they saw grocers, sweet shops, hardware shops, a pub with pink paint peeling off and a small church at the end of the street.
“What exactly did Aunt Lucinda want us to see in this place?” Daniel said while turning around in a circle.
“Not sure she just told me as I was trying to find the kitchen that we should go and explore the town and mix with the locals,” she was also going on about how much work she had to do” she added.

They walked to the centre of the town, which was had a stone circle with a huge grey obelisk in the centre aiming towards the sky, it was the only thing in the village that wasn’t falling apart, it had some old foreign language on it that was slightly faded.
“ Think it could be Irish ?” Amy asked while leaning in to take a better look, “ gaeilge, isn’t it?”
“Nah. Wouldn’t say the Irish would use Roman numerals”.

He saw Amy’s expression ease as she was getting a little less tense. Daniel looked behind him and saw the bald man who had been reading in the park earlier walk up the road looking at them intently until Daniel turned around, the man quickly looked the other way and picked up his pace.

“ Excuse me.....” Daniel shouted but just as he was about to ask the man why there was no one else about the doors to the church spread wide open and a stream of kids ran out screaming and yelling happy to be out in the fresh air, their parents trying to get control of them. It seemed that the whole village was religious, apart from the bald man, wait until they find out we’re not religious. As people exited the church most seemed to notice them and turned away as if they were scared. Some of the older men and women looked at them and gave them scornful looks avoiding them as much as possible.
“ I guess, by a look they know we’re not religious ” Daniel said laughing at his own joke, Amy gave him that” are you stupid?” look and then walked after the kids into the sweet shop which had a crooked painted sign saying OL FIG’S SHOP.

The shop at first glance was big, not as big as the ones in Boston.It seemed to stretch on for ever, as they walked through kids were pleading to their Moms for sweeets but as we came in everyone went quite and pushed themselves to the sides of the narrow shop to let us through. This must be what famous people feel like Daniel thought to himself, he saw the confusion on his sister’s face as she was probably thinking what he was, his sister paused at a shelf to his left, “which one do you want?”
“ Don’t feel like eating” Daniel said, the cornflakes had made him sick to the stomach.
Amy grabbed a random bar and went to the counter, the girl at the counter barely noticed them, just mumbled” eighty cent”. She looked to be in her twentys with blond hair and too much makeup and was texting intently on her iphone, this made Daniel think of his own iphone as he started rumaging through his pockets. He’d take pictures of this little village and his friends would laugh at the fact that it actually existed.
“ Why is everyone avoiding us?!” Amy shouted angrily. Daniel seemed to wake up momentarily from his thoughts and the sweet shop became even quieter. The women at the counter looked a little shocked, “ excuse me?” she said.

Amy didn’t say anything, just stared intently at her,it looked like a staring contest. Daniel didn’t have it in him to try and intervene and just watched to see what happened, the empty shop had now become deserted, he wondered if this was how the Irish just acted.
“ I won’t have any shouting in my shop!” said the old woman who appeared out of nowhere it seemed, she had close cropped white hair, hazel eyes and a stiff mouth, a wooden walking stick the colour of her eyes.
“Now she said, I advise you to say sorry to my grandaughter if you some answers, she then walked back into the room behind the counter, “ Sorry” Amy muttered under her breath and followed the women into the back room. Daniel nodded at the blond haired girl, as to say sorry and ran after his twin.

The back room seemed to be where this family lived, to his left was a door leading into the bedroom, the door was left open so he could see , the living room had no windows and in the right hand corner was a small lamp which was the only source of light, dead bugs were surrounding the oak table where tea was laid out. The furniture and wallpaper looked dated, it seemed these women loved flowers as there were pink flower patterns on the walls, chairs and even the lamp shade. He sat down beside Amy as the old woman introduced herself.
“So I believe your names ar Amy and Daniel, my name is Sarah White and I am the owner of the shop and its my job to assist you” Sarah said with a touch of sarcasm in her voice, “ Tea?” she asked before anyone could start. “ No thanks they both said.” “Well. Amy said, “ Ever since the whole town came out of that church its as if they won’t talk, look or even walk by us, its as if we’re some sort..., “ Creeps” , Daniel said, “yeh something like that”, Amy said.

“ The reason for that now children is not you of course, its your Aunt which we dislike,” the reason is, when she moved here around twenty years ago to the house north of here close to the mountains she came many times to the village to do her general shopping. We are such a tight community we tried to welcome her to our home as much as we could but she kept looking at us as if we were telling the funniest joke and would start laughing and just walk off.” Sarah said. “ After that we left her alone and she stopped coming down to the shop.

Till this day we don’t know how she gets supplies, the gardener who goes up to her house doesn’ t converse with her .” “ The real reason we dislike or even fear her is that the man who runs the parish wanted to help her blend in, he thought she was shy but after going up to the house a few times he disappeared.” Sarah said quietly, “ The police never found out what happened, your Aunt denied all knowledge of it .”

The kids skin was as pale as chalk, Daniel couldn’t help believing the story , he was almost certain that he couldn’t trust his Aunt ,he looked to Amy for answers, there was a little concern in her green eyes.” “Wait how did you know our names?” Amy asked.

“Well,” Sarah started, “ the gardener who works up at your Aunts said that she was talking of nephews and nieces coming from America named Amy and Daniel and news here spreads like wild fire.”

Sarah looked awfully tired after that story, “Anyway,” Amy said quickly, “ we have got to go home before the rain gets worse,” “how do you know its raining ,” Sarah pointed out, finding the error in Amy’s attempt to leave. “Well its late,” “come on Danny.”

“ Just one question, is everyone in this village religious?” “ Yes everyone goes to church.” The image of the shaven headed man came into his head. “Ok then well....goodbye,” Daniel said, he ran through the shop to catch up with his twin, “ believe her?” He asked, “ not really she said as they walked out into the drizzling rain.

Chapter 5 Amy bu Julia

Daniel does not look well at the moment. He can hardly swallow. He just misses Mom and Dad. Daniel and I hate our Auntie Lucinda. I really don’t see how she is related to us. At least we live in a house other then these people who look like they live on the streets. Daniel and I are just looking around town, getting to know the village. It is quite scary and dull like the sunshine never comes round here. Hi I hear all of a sudden. This boy called Sean just passed by us. He seems nice but I don’t think Daniel likes the look of him. “Nice to meet you Amy and Daniel” says Sean. “How did you know our names?”I ask him. “Um.... I heard about your parents’ death...I’m very sorry for your loss” he mumbled to us. “Right.....well we better get going or we will be late for dinner “Daniel told him. I knew he was trying to escape this strange boy.

I found this unfair so I invited him up for dinner. Daniel glared at me but I carried on ignoring him. I knew Auntie Lucinda won’t mind because she once let a hobo in the house for lunch and a traveller for supper. He agreed to come for dinner. Daniel ignored me all the way up to the house. Aunt Lucinda gave us a smug smile as we entered the house.”And who’s this, a friend of yours?” she asks. “Yes, this is our friend Sean; he is having dinner with us “I told Auntie Lucinda.

Aunt Lucinda gives her smug smile to us then walks away to check on the dinner. I’m still curious about Sean. I mean he knows our names then when I ask him to dinner there is a yes straight away, like he expected me to invite him over. How did he know so much about us?

Dinner is ready and we head into the dining room Aunt Lucinda passes on the plates eyeing Sean all the time. Aunt Lucinda did not talk all dinner time. There was an awkward silence until Daniel spoke. “So Sean are you originally from Ireland?”Daniel asked. I listened carefully to their conversation; I was worried Daniel would get into a row with Sean. “Well.....”Sean began. In the corner Aunt Lucinda looked like she was signalling him to shush. “Ahhh.... I should get going before my bedtime...goodnight and thank you so much for inviting me up for dinner Amy” Sean waved goodbye and left.

Daniel and l stared after him. “You two off to bed now it is getting late. It was only 7:30! Why would Aunt Lucinda want us to go to bed so early? I was very tired though so we both went up to our worn down bedroom. All night I thought of Sean and his weird ways. I could tell Daniel was thinking the same thing. Lots of questions were on my mind. What was the connection between Sean and Aunt Lucinda? Also why was she giving him lots of weird winks and signals at dinner? I decided to go to sleep and leave it till morning.


Chapter 6 DANIEL by Tom

The sun shines through by bedroom window as I wake up. I slowly get out of my bed and enter the bathroom across the hall way. The mirror is all dusty so I give it a wipe with the sleeve of my top. I splash my face with the cold water and head down stairs. As I walk down I hear voices in the kitchen.

It sounds like aunt Lucinda. I creep into the kitchen quietly and she doesn’t notice me as she is looking out the window with her back turned to me. Then I notice that she is on the phone.

“I need the job done soon” she says “I will pay you then”. The old wooden floorboards creek as I get closer to her but she still doesn’t notice me!

“I know you have not got the time but you must hurry as I think they are getting suspicious” She continues “Ok, but you better not mess up this time”. She puts the phone down and turns around and gets a fright as she sees me standing behind her.

“Daniel what are you doing up this early?” “I just came down for a glass of water” I say lying.

She takes out a glass from the cupboard, fills it up and hands it to me. “I’m going into town today would you and Amy like to come with me?” I can sense that Amy doesn’t want to and neither do I.

I say no and go back up stairs to find that Amy is up and dressed already.
“I know what were going to do today she says” with a grin on her face.

We find a bag in the utility room and fill it to the brim with sandwiches, biscuits, sweets and crisps! We’re going on a hike! I can remember going up mountains with the boy scouts and the one time we were in San Francisco with mum and dad. Sean (our friend) called over and Amy asked him if he would like to come with us too. He said ok so now we have to pack an extra one of everything.

We went out of the house and up the road going away from town. It was hard work as the mountain was fairly rocky.

I kept getting my boot stuck in the mud because it was so wet. The sun had gone away and storm clouds looked like they were coming towards us. Then I see a hint of sunlight hinning off something.

I move towards it. The grass is long here and I chop away at it with my hands. Then in front of me I see it. There is a small ditch full of equipment. I call the others over to look at my discovery. There seems to be three high-tech pairs of binoculars, a CCTV screen, a metal container and a rifle. I go into the ditch then
realise I can see our house and my bedroom! In fact I can even see my
bed! I crack open the container and look inside. There is a camera with
a huge lens. I take out my phone and take a picture of all the things
in the ditch. I don’t know why I did it but for some reason I fell like
it will help me somehow.

We don’t go to the top of the hill instead we go home. We say by to
Sean. We want to get everything that has happened out of our mind we
watch a movie. Amy makes some popcorn and we settle down on the couch.
The movie is about these kids that are being tracked by a stalker. I
feel like Amy and I are those kids.


Chapter 7 AMY - by Aoife Gillespie

The early morning sun shone through the dirty net curtains and into my room. “It’s our fourth day at Aunt Lucinda’s haunted house”, I said to myself with a yawn. I quickly got dressed and headed downstairs for breakfast.

As I walked down the steps entering the kitchen, I saw Lucinda quickly putting away documents and other seemingly important slips of papers into a brown folder. She left the kitchen through the back door and walked up the stairs without a word. “She looks very suspicious”, I said to myself as I spread marmalade on my toast. The more I thought about Aunt Lucinda’s behaviour and her habit of disappearing and reappearing the more I worried.

As I walked up the old steps exiting the kitchen, I heard a loud bang. I paused, and heard Lucinda cursing and mumbling under her breath. I crept back down the steps to see what was going on and I saw Lucinda removing a piece of wood from underneath the back stairs. I hid behind the Aga to see what she was up to.

The mysterious brown folder she had at breakfast time appeared again, tucked under her arm. She entered the unlit room under the stairs with a torch, and started pulling the board behind her. As she was doing so, small piece of shiny, white paper, slipped out of the folder and wafted to the ground. I breathed a sigh of relief when she finally jammed the board back in place sealing the entrance to the dark passage. She had never noticed the piece of paper she let fall on the ground or me hiding behind the Aga.

I crept over to the stairs and picked up the piece of paper. I heard noise coming from inside this secret room so I quickly ran up the stairs.
I sat on my bed, and opened up the small piece of paper, only to find it to be a picture of me, asleep. My heart started pounding. The time and date of the photograph was displayed in the right-hand corner. It told me that the picture was taken this morning at 4:53 am. For the first time I felt a shiver run down my spine. It was the sort of feeling I cannot convey in words.

I started worrying about Daniel. Where was he? I opened my mouth to call his name but nothing came out. Suddenly, there was a knock on the front door. I raced downstairs and looked through the peephole to see who it was and, to my delight, it was Daniel and Séan. Seeing their faces reminded me they had gone fishing at 4 this morning. I nearly kissed they pair of them but refrained from doing so.
As I was making hot chocolate for the three of us, the kitchen lights turned off. The boys started laughing and making silly jokes but my heart started pounding. I told them it wasn’t a joke and to stop laughing. About a minute later the lights came on again and the kitchen door slammed. I looked at the boys and saw a look of fear in their eyes. They realised that it wasn’t me that turned off the lights, it was somebody else.

As we drank our hot chocolate, Séan told us the history of the village and how Aunt Lucinda’s house was a big part of it. I shivered in my chair at some of the things he told us. We got such a fright when his phone started to ring, shattering the silence of the kitchen. His mother was calling him to come home for his lunch. We arranged to meet later that day so we could get a better knowledge of this strange town.

As soon as Séan left, I dragged Daniel up to my room to show him the photo. I lifted up my pillow but the photo wasn’t there, I started panicking. I knew I had left it under my pillow. I hauled my duvet off my bed violently, but the photo was nowhere to be seen. “Someone has been in my room”, I said to myself. Daniel got mad at me and stormed out of the room telling me he was fed up of me making things up and that Aunt Lucinda was a nice, genuine person. I slid down onto the floor and started crying.

Suddenly, a roar came from the stairs. I rushed out of my room and ran out onto the landing to see Daniel clutching his ankle at the bottom of the stairs. He had tripped over a loose piece of carpet and fell down on his ankle. I inspected the piece of carpet and saw a loose floor board. I lifted back the old floorboard. It was a hoard of information and photographs of the Guinness family. My hands started shaking as I lifted up the photographs of my father and mother and our old house in New York.

I helped Daniel to his feet and led him up to my room. I ran
downstairs and into the kitchen. I grabbed a paper bag, a packet of frozen peas and a tube of Smarties from the press. As I raced back upstairs I stopped at the loose piece of carpet and piled the entire hoard into my paper bag. I put the floorboard back where it belonged, sealed it with the loose piece of carpet, and walked back to my room. My heart was thumping so loudly I could be heard in China.

Daniel apologised for what he said to me earlier and we sat down on my bed flicking through all the information and photos I found under the floorboard. I gave Daniel the frozen peas to put on his ankle to stop the swelling and we shared the tube of Smarties. Suddenly the lights went out again and this time there wasn’t a squeak out of Daniel. Just as the lights flickered on again the front door downstairs slammed shut as did my bedroom door.

At dinner, we decided to confront Aunt Lucinda about the doors slamming and lights flickering on and off. She just laughed and told us that Ireland can get very windy at times, and that the wind makes the doors slam and sometimes damages electricity wires causing short circuits. Daniel was about to blab about the hoard hidden under the floorboard but I kicked him under the table warning him not to.

Later that night, I though about what had happened during the day and realised maybe Aunt Lucinda might be telling the truth for once. I laughed at my paranoia and was soon asleep.


Chapter 8 - Daniel by Niamh

I think a lot about the photos over the next few days.
What did they mean? Who took them? We decide not to say anything to Aunt Lucinda.
Not that she is around much anyway.

In the mornings she leaves us breakfast and disapears into her study only coming out again that evening for dinner. Lunch we are expected to make ourselves. We are forbidden to go into her study. Aunt Lucinda has made that quite clear from the first day we came here.

"What do you think she does in there?" Amy asks me the next morning.
Lucinda has gone out of the room after reminding us yet again that her study is out of bounds.
"No idea" I reply.
"Could it have something to do with the photos we found?" Amy muses.
"I don't see how" I tell her. "I mean I know Aunt Lucinda isn't exactly the friendliest person in the world but I can't see her being involved in that sort of thing. We don't even know what the photos mean anyway.
"Then what does she do in her study all day?" Amy asks.
"Work?" I suggest.
Amy snorted. "Aunt Lucinda doesn't need to work. She got loads of money from that internet company thing, she's really wealthy."
I sigh. "Then I don't know what she does."
"Well I think it's really suspicious" Amy insisted. "Why else would she be so careful about us not going into her study if she hasn't got something to hide. If it's not to do with the photos then there's something else going on and I want to find out what it is"
I rolled my eyes.

Once Amy gets an idea into her head there's no stopping her.
"Well when are we going to get into are study" I ask her. "You know that Lucinda stays in there for the whole day." Amy looks at me scornfully. "We sneak down there at night when Lucinda's gone to bed. I've seen where she hides the key for the study - it's in the old teapot on the dresser. Lucinda obviously thinks no-one will look there.

I suggest we go down to her study tonight. The sooner we find out what's going on the better."
We both go to bed early much to Aunt Lucinda's surprise but I can't sleep. Amy arranges to wake me at
twelve o' clock and sets her phone on vibrate in case she falls asleep.
I lie on my bed staring at the ceiling. It still seems so strange compared to my bedroom in New York.

Aunt Lucinda hasn't come up to bed yet.

Suddenly I become aware of muffled voices coming from downstairs. I recognise Aunt Lucinda's lilting Irish accent and the other voice sounds like it belongs to a man. I remember the phonecall conversation Amy and I overheard Aunt Lucinda having. Could this be the same man she was talking to a few days ago?

I creep out of bed and onto the landing. I hear a noise and turn around. Amy is coming out of her bedroom a blue dressing gown wrapped around her. She must have heard the voices as well.
I motion her over and put a finger to my lips.

I can hear the voices more clearly now but still can't make out what they're saying. The man's voice is low and husky. Ten minutes pass. Amy stands beside me on the landing looking over the banisters not uttering a word. Suddenly we hear the sounds of footsteps.

We run into Amy's room since it is closer. The footsteps have stopped now. We hear the front door open and then the sound of a car starting up. I run over to the window seeing if I can spot the car amist the blackness. Nothing. The car revs up and then drives away into the darkness.

Amy and I don't dare to say any thing to each other until after we hear Lucinda coming up to bed and the sound of her bedroom light clicking off.
"Should we go down to her study tonight?" I whisper to Amy.
"May as well" she whispers back. "I don't think Lucinda will be getting out of bed again tonight."

After turning off the alarm on her phone - it's past twelve o'clock now anyway - Amy follows me back out onto the landing and down the winding stairs.
We go to the kitchen first and sure enough the key is in the teapot on the dresser. We tiptoe along the corridor to the study, our bare feet making no sound on the thick carpet. Amy turns the key in the lock and the oak door opens with a click. I walk into the room behind her, shutting the door softly after me.
The room is lined with wooden bookshelves filled with thick books and folders. Oil paintings and portaits of strange looking people hang on the walls. At the top of the room is Lucinda's desk, overflowing with papers. Behind it sits a leather armchair. In the corner there is a small table with a laptop.
"Wow" breathes Amy. "This room is pretty cool."

I walk over to the desk, sifting through the papers to see if there if is anything intresting, anything that will tell us why Lucinda has to keep this room a secret. Despite what Amy said I think the room is perfectly ordinary and have no idea why Lucinda really needs it. Could she have a secret job or something, that we don't know about?

There is nothing much on the desk, just bills and accounts and pages with Aunt Lucinda's spidery writing that I can't read. Then underneath a pile of papers I find a small white envelope. The front of it is blank.

"Hey, Amy" I whisper. My sister walks over from where she had been surveying the bookshelves. "Look at this." I point to the envelope. I lift it up. The back of it isn't stuck down. Two photos fall out.

I stare at them. "Amy" I whisper in a strangled voice, pointing a trembling finger to the photos. My twin stood beside me in shocked silence. Whatever I had expected to find down in Lucinda's study tonight it had never been this.
The first one is a photo of our parents. It was probbably taken a few days before they died judging by the way our mum is wearing her haircut. As I stared at it I felt a wave of grief overwhelm me. But it is the second photo that shocks me the most.

It is a picture of our parents car, the one they had the carcrash in that dreadful day. But there are bullet holes in the side of the car. Aunt Lucinda and the police had told us that our parents had died in a car accident. They said that our parents had been driving along the road when a car had come out from a turn suddenly and hit them. But had they been lying?

Had people been shooting at our parents car? And how did Aunt Lucinda know? Where had she got those photos from?

Suddenly we hear a noise from upstairs. "Come on" I whisper frantically to Amy, stuffing the photos in the envelope and putting it back on the desk. "We have to go." We hurry out of the office, locking the door securly behind us.
Amy runs back into the kitchen to replace the key. We listen out for noises before tiptoeing upstairs.

Aunt Lucinda must have been out at the bathroom. I hoped so anyway.
We parted at our rooms both still too shocked to say anything else.
I flopped down on my bed although I knew there was no way I'd be going to sleep anytime soon.

What had happened to our parents? And more importantly, what was going to happen to us?


Chapter 9 - Cassie

Daniel and I are in bed. It look like Daniel’s eyes are getting heavy now but I am wide awake, thinking of mum and dad. Then I look out the window to see a shadow of a body. The window slid open quietly, but not quite enough because Daniel shoots from his bed. We both stare at the window. We ran into our Auntie’s bedroom.

“ROBBER BOBBER” we both shout.
“Children, please don’t be so ridiculous”
We drag her out of her bed and bring her to our room, the robber was gone.
“Children, I told you that was nothing now go to bed!”
She gave us a glare and then told us to go to bed. So we did. Daniel couldn’t sleep and neither could I.

We went down stairs to get some water and then we saw a big pile of money on the table. We both gasped.
“Who do you think this is for?” asked Daniel.
“No idea” I responded.
I felt cold fingers grip my shoulder. We both jumped and there was our auntie.
“What are you doing now?”
“What's all that money there for?” I ask.
Ye, there must be thousands there” says Daniel.
“Well ehhh… it’s for a person not you so get out of the kitchen and go to bed!”
“Can we finish our water first?” I ask.
“Fine. But be quick”

She went upstairs but we didn’t.

We stayed here for a few minutes then the kitchen window opened. We both bolted under the table, he didn’t see us.

He took the money and left. But if he was a robber, why didn’t he steal the expensive dishes or the really expensive paintings on the wall? This went threw my head all night.

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