Illustration by James de la Rue
As she stood there peering through the frosted window, her fingers trembled. Inside this grand house was the dreaded Ms Willcoat with her thin, straw-like hair drawn tightly into a bun. Nadia, even though she refused to listen, knew she shouldn’t be there.
“Turn away, leave,” she told herself desperately but she couldn’t. Her eyes were fixed on the small, bony figure laying in her armchair unaware of her student’s presence. Ms Willcoat was just as cruel as she looked. Emily Clarkson had been kidnapped and had sent Nadia a letter explaining her situation and Nadia wasn’t going to turn back now.
Outside the winter gale howled viciously, dancing through the branches of the bare winter birch trees. “Why are you here?” Nadia muttered under her breath, “What can you do to help? You’re a twelve year old girl!” but despite every instinct telling her not to, she took one last look at the teacher and pulled open the door.
Inside the house was dark and gloomy. Oil lamps illuminated the living room casting shadows on the linoleum flooring as she tiptoed past. Maroon carpet lined the centre of the stairs and a stunning oak bannister followed the spiralling staircase.
Luckily, Ms Willcoat didn’t hear the subtle creaks of the floor as Nadia stepped onto the dimly lit landing but someone had.
“H-h-hello? M-M-Ms Willcoat?” Emily’s shy voice echoed through the house. Nadia ran along the corridor, pulled open the door and saw Emily tears streaming down her face. Nadia hugged her and whispered,
“Don’t worry! Police are here!” Two seconds later the sound of sirens echoed through Hollow Grove and a distant bellow and a scream of Ms Willcoat in surprise made Emily cry even more. A cry of relief. She had been saved but then…a bullet was fired!