Another FABO Story competition is here! Author Melinda Szymanik has written a story starter. Now it’s up to you to finish the story.
1. Read the story starter and continue the story.
2. Your story should be no more than 500 words.
3. You have two weeks to write your story, so there’s no need to rush! Take your time and send us the best story you can write.
4. Send your story to us by 8pm Friday June 21st.
5. The winner of the competition will be announced on this website a few days after the competition closes.
6. Every fortnight a children’s author will post a new story starter for you.
Melinda’s Story Starter: Once, on a Dark and Stormy Night
Every light in the house was on, but the darkness outside still forced its way in through the windows, and past the curtains. Except when lightening blazed jaggedly through the sky, momentarily lighting everything up with a shocking whiteness, like a camera flash.
Sitting in the lounge downstairs, Isabelle counted the seconds between the flare of light and the crash of thunder. Only two. Two measly seconds. The storm was almost right overhead.
Why did they have to live at the end of a long, long driveway? On the very furthest edge of town? Why did both her parents have to go with Jojo? They didn’t want to wait for an ambulance when her little brother fell out of the biggest tree in the backyard. That tree was evil. Isabelle and Jojo both knew it. They never clambered up through its branches, or lay beneath it, even when the shade beckoned them during the hottest summer months. And they both refused to sleep in the middle upstairs bedroom where the branches clawed at the windows, even when there was no breath of wind. Isabelle didn’t even know why Jojo had climbed the tree that afternoon. Or if he even had.
He’d looked so pale lying in the grass, his eyes closed, his body limp.
Dad said, “I’ll drive,” and Mum said, “I’ll sit with him in the back and make sure he’s okay.”
“Don’t worry Isabelle,” Dad said. “I’ll ring Mrs McGreevy and get her to mind you.”
And Isabelle said the words she now deeply regretted and would never forget. “I’m fourteen now. I can mind myself. But call me as soon as you get to the hospital.” She’d smiled bravely then, and waved as the car pulled away, throwing up dust as Dad put his foot down.
Now she was alone in the house at night, with a storm raging all around.
BOOM! An almighty clap of thunder shook the house.
All at once, every single light went off. Everything went dead quiet.
And in the dark Isabelle heard a determined tapping sound coming from upstairs. And then she heard a new sound. A voice. Rasping, and low.
“Let me in.”