Student Excellence: Tabitha Butler (Y10)
One of the most remarkable things about Tabi’s piece was that it was written under exam conditions – she had 45 minutes during her end of year English Language practice exam to plan and produce this wonderful, atmospheric piece. Students were asked to write a piece set on a dark night, and given a photograph to stimulate their imagination.
This was a pleasure to read. Perhaps what I liked most is the use of personification to make the entire setting seem so alive – and threatening. Tabi also made a conscious decision, half-way through this piece, to change from past to present tense. I think the change adds real urgency to the atmosphere, and it goes to show how valuable it is to review your work as you go along, and at the end, looking for opportunities to polish it – something I’m always telling my students!
(note: any spelling or typesetting errors are mine, not hers)
Shivering slightly, I hurry my leaden feet along the tarmac like it is a bed of burning coals. The crooked branches of bald trees reach to the sky like old hands pointing to the full moon. I hear the slight rustling of wilting grass and whip my head round with lightning speed.
The slight autumn breeze tugs at my hair and whispers ghostly tales to my chill-burnt ears. Unblinking, the lamp-posts gaze wordlessly at me with their too-bright eyes. Too silent. The world is too silent tonight. I do not know whether it is the cold or the smell of fetid leaves rotting by the side of the road that makes my nose sting … but I know that neither are what is making my hair stand on end.
The moon fixes its frightening glare on me – god-like – without its angelic stars to raise me from perdition. Grinning like a Cheshire cat, the darkness stalks me around dirty street corners and down damp alleys, impatiently awaiting its chance to sink into me its claws, like razor; its teeth like scythes.
Chattering, I clamp my own teeth shut: they are aching from the cold.
“What do you want from me?” I want to demand, but when I open my mouth all I can muster is a raven’s cry. The darkness closes in further. I begin to feel their evil intentions graze the skin of my legs as I start running.
I thunder down the road with all the energy I have. My heavy feet strike the ground. The dark chaos follows me as united as an army and twice as terrifying. They snap at my heels once. Twice. Three times. I carry on. But the road doesn’t appear to end! Where will I be safe? Where can I be rid of this purgatory?
The rays of dawn crash upon the horizon, as glorious as a king. I sigh a breath of relief at the sight of the brilliant sun, and begin to slow myself down.