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Spirit of the Book by Millicent Ritchie

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Darkness covered the forest slowly, as the moon began to rise above the clouds. A girl named Tracy ran inside her little wooden cottage and shook her sister, Chloe, awake.
“Get up, we need to hunt for treasure!” said Tracy enthusiastically.
“Now?” asked Chloe.
“Yep!” Tracy replied.

Moments later Tracy had grabbed a dusty map and had tucked it inside her new explorers’ backpack. Chloe was now waiting by the door for Tracy to finish packing food, hair-gel, dresses, books and so on!

Finally, they set off into the forest, with Tracy triumphantly holding up the map.
“Wow, I can actually read this ancient map!” cried Tracy.

A burning wood smell weaved its way through the grass under their feet, filling Tracy’s and Chloe’s’ noses. Chloe was far ahead of Tracy, who was chatting wildly behind her, when suddenly, Tracy peered back at the map. A worried expression passed over her face. Her smile faded. Chloe looked back over her shoulder :
“You aren’t talking, are you ok ?”
“I’m so sorry … we are lost!” stammered Tracy.
Suddenly the wind began to howl, like a wolf in pain. A strange shape fluttered past, circling around an ancient old tree. Tracy and Chloe had not noticed it.

After a while, the wind cautiously died down, and the two sisters skipped merrily along as they had done before, though they weren’t quite sure which way to go!
Then…
“Hey, what’s that?” said Tracy curiously, bending down to look at ……
“We are not finding out!” replied Chloe sternly, but it was too late – Tracy had already picked it up, and was struggling to read the words on the front.
“It’s a … j..o..u..r..n..a..l … that spells JOURNAL!” said Tracy.
Chloe rolled her eyes, and came over to see.
Tracy nervously opened up the front of the scratched book and screamed.
“AAGGH!”
From inside, a silvery-white spirit rapidly flew out and into the thick, dense fog that now covered the trees like blankets.

The sisters chased after it, treading on sticks, making them snap as they went.
“Hmm, it’s leading us further into the woods!” said gasped Chloe.
“It’s as if it’s vanished” said Tracy.
The light of the forest dimmed, until everything turned black.
Tracy found herself standing, shivering, all alone. Where was Chloe ?

Meanwhile, Chloe was bravely venturing through the woods, wishing she had a map! The moon had risen up into the milky white clouds. All light had disappeared into the shadows, leaving each lonely sister in pure, ebony blackness, then : Thump.
“AAGHH” screeched Tracy …
…”YIKES, who goes there?” responded Chloe.
But then Chloe paused, recognising Tracy’s voice. They hugged. Then almost at once, Chloe noticed the spirit high up on the branch of a freaky, unusual-looking tree. She wasted no time in climbing after it!
“Now you DO want to go after the spirit!” Tracy teased.
Mysteriously, the tree kept getting taller, and its pale, green, glossy leaves became just a blur in the sky.
Eventually, Chloe gave up. She cautiously climbed down the cold trunk, though inside her head she was as angry as a volcano! A humming noise wafted behind them, creeping along the earthy soil, then …
“Grrr!” The spirit dived out and jumped with the speed of a falcon from behind Chloe.
“OK get the map, we’re out of here!” wailed Chloe.
“It’s staring at us, as though it’s expecting something!” replied Tracy.
“What on earth does it want?” they both said together.

“Oh I know it wants your map because it came from the journal!” cried Chloe.
And the two of them turned round, to face the spirit.

By Millicent Ritchie, Aged 9
St Stephens Community Academy, Launceston

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