07/03/2014 Cavan Scott

Tom could hear Dad dashing around in a panic downstairs. It was the same every day. The frantic search for his keys. His phone. His wallet.

Any minute now Mum would be rolling her eyes, telling him that if he put things away this wouldn’t happen. Dad would splutter in response, finding his belongings at the last minute and charge out of the door – only to reappear moments later to retrieve his forgotten lunch.

Tom swung his legs out of bed and stretched. He hadn’t slept at all well, his dreams disjointed and surreal. Giant eyes blinking at him wherever he turned. Weird.

Still, the sound of his brother and sister arguing told him that he was back in the real world. Shrill, petulant voices, indignantly blaming the other for smashing a glass, or spilling the cereal or whatever they’d done this time.

Tom pulled on his school uniform, absently wondering where he’d left his red and white striped tie, and traipsed downstairs. A full-blown row was raging across the kitchen table.

“Archie’s laughing at me.”

“Am not.”

“Are to!”

“It’s probably ‘cos you smell!”


Scratching his mop of curly brown hair, Tom shuffled into the kitchen, only for everything to go quiet.

He frowned, taking in the shocked expressions on his family’s faces.

“Mum?” he asked, his skin crawling beneath his shirt, “what’s up?”

“Who the hell are you?” Tom’s Mum snapped, “and what are you doing in our home?”


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Comment by Nicola Gowing on March 7, 2014 at 10:15

“Look, stop joking around. I’m gonna be late to school” he sighed shoving a slice of toast in his mouth. He went to pick his school bag up from the kitchen chair, but to find it wasn’t there.

“Hey! Get out! Who are you?! Get out burglar!” Tom’s mum screamed causing alarm and panic through the house.

“Mum! It’s me! Your son Tom!” Tom’s face dropped in shock as he continues to stare at the situation at hand.  

“What! Don’t speak about my Tom! He died years ago! Who do you think you are to talk about him, I don’t even know you! Now get out or I’ll call the police.” She said ushering him out of the door, voice full of panic and getting hoarse from the tears now streaming out of her eyes. Not even thinking of the fact that he was going to be late, he stood facing the closed door. What was happening? Why didn’t anyone recognise him? ”Mum…” He murmured quietly as his mum quietly stood there with an expression that showed utter hurt and pain.

“Out” Was the simple answer he got back.

He hated seeing his mum like this and to think he caused it was agonisingly painful. His face was now moist with fresh tears. Years ago, his father was nearly always at work during his hours at home so he didn’t get to see him much but instead was taken care of by mother. She was a very kind hearted person and always got along well socially. Tom had always admired her from when he was a toddler and loved her very much. Thinking about the days she used to stroke his hair, look after him while he was sick and the playful face she use to pull every time he used to mutter gibberish. These memories only brought more tears into his eyes as he left with his head full of regrets. Tom stepped out onto the empty street and began to walk towards the school, hoping that someone would know what was happening with his family.


He was approached by a couple of students that he recognised to be his friends. He looked hopeful at first and smiled at them.

“Hey Toby! Cameron! Guys it me Tom!” The boys continued to walk towards him but he noticed the looks of disgust he received.

 The two boys started whispering to each other. “Who are you!?”Said the blonde haired boy that he remembered as Cameron.

“It’s me Tom! Stop messing around! Guys you need to help me find out what’s going on!”

The ginger boy, toby, exclaimed “What? You’re not Tom. The only Tom we knew died four years ago.”


By Lauren Church and Kirsty Wong form Great Yarmouth High School

Comment by Vashti Turner on March 7, 2014 at 12:28

Stunned, Tom tried helplessly to give his friends proof that he WAS still alive and he was lost in what seemed to be a dream world. Why did everyone think he had died? Tom’s mind wandered to all the possibilities which could have caused his friends and family to forget about him. Amnesia? No, it couldn’t possibly have occurred to everyone at the same time. Could it?

“Look, it’s me, Tom! I even have the birthmark that we all used to laugh about!” He paused to show them his birthmark, “Why don’t you believe me? I know the password to your laptop, Cameron. Please.” He whimpered, almost breaking down in tears.  The next thing that Toby said almost caused him to choke on the strained silence which was to follow.

“You’re just an imposter. Just because you are jealous of my late best friend, it doesn’t mean that you can replace him!” Toby’s words slapped him in the face and his imagination had finally stopped at the right place.  Somehow, he had managed to fall through time and end up in a parallel dimension.

Abruptly, he finally remembered that his friends were in front of him, and staring with awe filled eyes. This ‘imposter’ had created a cascade of tears running down his cheek and was choking on the rock hard lump forming in his throat.

Wendy Ramku, Bacon’s College, London

Comment by Tricia Oyston on March 7, 2014 at 13:52

Tom turned and ran, desperate to escape the nightmare raging through his mind. He ran and ran, raindrops disguising the tears staining his cheeks. He splashed through puddles and tripped over sodden tree roots until he could run no more. He collapsed on to the water-logged pavement and allowed the pain to take over.

When the pain had subsided a little, Tom lifted his aching head to find crowds of wet people rushing to work, unaware of anything except the meetings that they were late for. Unaware of the surrealism of his life. He glanced down, feeling more alone than ever. A pale, tear stained face topped by a mop of messy hair… brown messy hair.

His hair was ginger.

He leaped to his feet and ran his fingers through the unwanted hair that seemed to be growing out of his head. He walked, unknowing, unfeeling. When he looked up, he found himself outside the rusty gate to the church graveyard. He stumbled aimlessly through the graveyard. Suddenly, his mind started to whirl. Thoughts flashed through his mind.

He had to know the truth.

He searched intently, now with a strong purpose. Eventually, he found it. Rotting flowers were scattered around an intricately carved gravestone.




A soft voice cut through the silence.

‘I had ginger hair, too, you know.’

Tom had never believed in ghosts, but now he wasn’t so sure…

By Isabelle C, Annabel G and Florence C from Sheffield High School.

Comment by Simone Pope on March 7, 2014 at 15:01

Tom slowly turned his head, a chill cutting down his spine. He was expecting his father, who must have finally recognised him. But what he saw was something far worse. Tom Smith stood before him, slightly leaning on a mouldy gravestone. His eyes were barely visible, especially as they had sunken into his eye sockets; only a glassy white iris was visible.  His hair seemed to be rotting away, only showing his pale scalp. He was dressed in a ragged blue polo shirt and torn baggy shorts, revealing pale skin as blue as the sky on a dull, damp day. 

“Who are you?”

“You know, don’t you Tom.”

“But, but I thought that…”

“Yeah, yeah, ghosts don’t exist. That’s what I thought before I became like...well…like this.”

Tom didn’t know what to say. He should have just run away.

“See, Tom. I am you and you are me. We are the same.”

 He started tilting his diseased head and screeched as he floated towards Tom and drained him of his strength and life. Tom felt his brother ghost clutch him in his arms and could feel his blood being sucked out his veins.


Tom woke. Gasping for air. It was just a dream.  

“What is up with my dreams these days?”

He smelt the sweet smell of maple syrup and pancakes. He scrambled out of bed and looked in the mirror. His skin was peeling off his colourless face. White eyes stared at his reflection and his decaying features stared back. A high pitched shrill scream escaped his crumbling clenched teeth.  



 By Ellie Miles & Grace Marston, Year 8, Woolmer Hill, Haslemere

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